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Longboat Key Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009 10 years ago

O'Connor questions candidate support

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Commissioner Peter O’Connor is questioning whether groups such as The Longboat Key Club and Resort and The Islandside Property Owners Coalition can support a commission candidate financially.

In an e-mail he sent to Town Attorney David Persson Monday, Dec. 21, O’Connor requests a legal opinion.

Wrote O’Connor: “Specifically, how free are incumbent members of the Town Commission to contact or dialog with individual citizens or groups when these citizens or groups may have taken public positions on applications which may or will come before the Town Commission? How free are citizens or groups to contact, dialog with, or support members of the Town Commission who may be facing a re-election challenge during or after the hearing of any case which might or will come before the Town Commission?”

O’Connor says it appears that individuals or groups may be unable to support candidates of their choice, while candidates may be denied that same support. Challengers, O’Connor says, “appear to be under no such impediment.”

Persson responded to O’Connor the same day in an e-mail.

Wrote Persson: “These are extremely important questions concerning not only the potential collision of the electorates' need to know with an applicant's fundamental right to due process, but also the need to treat all running for office as equally and fairly as possible. I will give you a response to these difficult questions as quickly as possible.”

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].

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