The final battle for Sarasota term limits is here. In a 4-1 vote with Joe Barbetta (and a vocal crowd of citizens) dissenting, the commission placed a referendum on the ballot to kill once-and-for-all the 8-year term limits Sarasota voters approved overwhelmingly in 1998.
This ballot measure is the culmination of seven years of legal and political manuevers by the commission to keep from enforcing the voter-approved limits. If it passes, the amendment would officially abolish the 8-year term limits and replace them with a new 12-year limit after a 12-year waiting period for sitting commissioners. Further, the new amendment would not become enforceable unless some unspecified court specifically rules Sarasota term limits to be constitutional.
This is a last-minute Hail Mary pass by the county commission, which will spend about $120,000 to put this referendum on the Jan. 31 ballot. As the sun sets on the same day of the commission vote, citizens are already planning the campaign to defeat this shameful measure.
Details to come...