LARGO – One member of Largo’s Charter Review Committee thinks it might be a good idea that any changes in the city Charter are not rushed to referendum.
Fred Smith outlined his views in a memo dated September 15 to the committee chairman, Arnold Johnson, and his fellow members.
The committee’s scheduled 14 weeks of work will go to the City Commission which can do one of several things.
If it does go to the voters, Smith wrote in his memo, “It would be prudent to ask the City Commission to postpone the referendum until the November, 2006, election . . .”
Now any referendum is scheduled for next March’s election.
Holding off eight months would give time, Smith wrote, to present arguments for and against suggested proposals.
He also suggests that changes in the Charter should be phrased to avoid an “all or nothing” verdict.
On the idea that the committee’s work will eventually reach the referendum stage, Smith says in his memo, “In order to make certain that the necessary changes will be incorporated into the charter we need to phrase and present them so that they are non-controversial.”
Then he adds, “the changes that are controversial need to be presented to the commission and the electorate in a fashion that allows them to make a choice.”
Smith’s memo is the only manifestation of thoughtful thinking to emanate from the committee which has been dominated so far by a couple of voices (Smith’s voice not among them) that contribute very little.
Week after week, the group gathers and stumbles around with no apparent idea of what it is supposed to do. Very often, the ideas fall into the area of legislation. Much reliance is put on Alan Zimmet, the city’s lawyer, to “fix up the language.”
Smith said that when any changes reach the referendum stage their language and effect should be clearly spelled out.
He is clearly in favor for a considerable length of time for the suggested changes to be publicly debated in order that the voters be fully informed.
The review committee met last night after a week off and has four more meetings scheduled before its work goes to the City Commission.
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