Observer Updates 09.09.10

 

Observer Updates 09.09.10

 

Date: September 9, 2010
by: Robin Roy | City Editor

 
 

+ Recount attorney requests voting evidence
The attorney representing Charter Review Board candidate Kathy Bolam in her fight for a recount has asked Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent to preserve all evidence in the event a court allows a recount.

Attorney Dan Lobeck requested in writing that Dent secure all ballots and voting machines, because Bolam is suing over the denial of a recount.

Bolam lost her election by 151 votes Aug. 24. Dent called Bolam the next day to tell her that because her opponent’s margin of victory was less than 0.5%, a mandatory recount was in order, unless she wanted to concede the race.

After consulting with the chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota County, Bolam decided to concede, but changed her mind several hours later.

Dent told Bolam that once she gave notice she was conceding she could not reverse course. State elections officials supported that ruling.

But Bolam is claiming that Dent’s phone call improperly influenced her to quit the race, and she is objecting to the fact that Dent sits on the Canvassing Board, which reviewed Bolam’s appeal and voted 2-1 to deny a recount. Dent was one of the two board members in the majority.

Dent has denied trying to influence Bolam.


+ Commission supports private-park exploration
Former Vice Mayor Ken Shelin took to the City Commission his proposal for a private corporation to take over operations of Selby Five Points Park.

Shelin requested, and received, permission to ask the city attorney to explore any legal issues with his plan.

The former vice mayor suggested using the model of Bryant Park in New York City, which used to be known as “Needle Park,” because it was overrun with drug dealers.

In 1980, a group of prominent New Yorkers founded a private corporation to take control of the park. The city still owned it, but the nonprofit group paid for its operation and maintenance.

Bryant Park underwent a transformation into a place filled with families and attractions such as a carousel, food vendors, theater, Broadway performances and fitness classes.

Shelin envisions a private takeover of Selby Five Points Park would have the same effect.


+ Mayor seeks discussion on charter proposal
Mayor Kelly Kirschner requested the city auditor and clerk’s office schedule an informal meeting between commissioners, in which a proposal from Commissioner Terry Turner would be discussed.

Turner appeared before the city’s Charter Review Committee last month to ask committee members to consider a charter change that would create a directly elected mayor, strip the mayor of some power and consolidate power in the city manager’s office by having the city manager directly appoint and manage the city attorney and city auditor and clerk.

Kirschner and Vice Mayor Fredd Atkins oppose Turner’s suggestion. Turner said he made the proposal as a private citizen and not as a city commissioner.

The commission has traditionally used its informal retreats, which occur once every two years, to clear the air on controversial subjects.

The next retreat is not scheduled until January, so Kirschner requested a meeting in the fall. That request was not immediately addressed.
 

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