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Sarasota Friday, Sep. 25, 2020 2 months ago

Sarasota Charter Review Board District 1: Alexandra Coe

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Meet the candidate.

These questionnaire responses were originally published in July for the primary election.

Name: Alexandra Coe

Age: 56

Family: (not disclosed)

Bio: I am a 25-year resident of Sarasota County. I raised two sons here. My youngest was born here. I have been an active member of the community for the entire time. I have worked extensively with young people and a variety of local issues including education, social justice, environment, cattle ranching, the future of agriculture and importance of rural/urban balance.

 

Why do you want to serve on the Charter Review Board?

The main role of the Charter Review Board is to make sure the charter and all amendments are in line with the constitution and protect people’s rights. As a constitutional conservative with a great passion for liberty, I am well suited for this position. I currently serve on two county advisory boards in my capacity as an anthropologist. I serve on the Historic Preservation Advisory Board and the Historic Commission for Sarasota County.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities during your term?

The most important issue is the people’s right to access to the charter. After three amendments were passed in 2016, the two amendments that were presented and approved by the voters of Sarasota county have been tied up in court because the judge concluded that the Sarasota County charter vests “all legislative authority in the Board of the County Commissioners” and the “people of Sarasota County did not reserve to themselves the power to adopt, amend or repeal ordinances.” I would say if this document is supposed to be our constitution as some state, then the people of Sarasota County should reserve to themselves the power to adopt, amend or repeal ordinances. There are many county ordinances that need to be changed or repealed.

Where do you stand: Should the Charter Review Board be proactive initiating changes to charter, or should the board make recommendations based on voter desires and ideas brought to the board?

The most important issue is the people’s right to access to the charter. As an elected member of the Charter Review Board, I am accountable to the people and there to help promote and advocate for the people. I am not there to promote special interest or my own agenda.

What is your position on turning the Charter Review Board into an appointed position rather than an elected office?

This is a boring constant discussion about the charter review. What matters most is if the board is effective. If the board is loaded with do-nothing cronies or people promoting agendas against the people, then it is not effective whether it’s elected or appointed.

What, if anything, in your view, needs to be updated/changed in the county charter?

The original charter was written in 1972, and I think few people would disagree that the world is a very different place today. There are many things we see in the world and many practices of government and its agencies that could be change with an updated charter, but this needs to come to from the people.

The CRB has been discussing changes to the charter amendment process. What’s your position on that?

Anything that limits people’s access to bring forth amendments I would not support.

What are your comments about reforming the CRB, so it mirrors the State Constitutional Revision Commission — appointed members every 10 or 20 years to review the charter, rather than the existing system of elected members who serve four-year terms?

Well, we saw from the last election cycle how the State Constitutional Revision Commission became corrupted and ineffective. There are so many statutes that should be repelled due to their unconstitutionality, and the CRC focused on vaping, gambling, greyhound racing and empowering judges. I will go back to my earlier statement: Any board must be effective. The Historic Preservation Advisory Board is appointed, and it is very effective. One thing that might be considered for future CRB is to have requirements for the Charter Review Board like other advisory boards in the county or maybe have disqualifications, like you or your direct relatives cannot be engaged in business with the government or any business that benefits from government promoted economic activity.

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