A reader asked, in response to my previous “Local endorsements” post, for guidance on several ballot items I had not discussed: the Mosquito Control District 2 and Soil & Water Conservation Group 4 elections, the nonbinding state-wide advisory referendum calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and the county straw ballot question about consolidation of fire districts. While I’ll be writing about the constitutional amendments in the next day or so, here’s what I can tell you about those other items.
Soil & Water/Mosquito Control -- I am not familiar with these bodies or the candidates running, so I checked with the Collier County Democratic Party for their recommendations. Although these are nonpartisan positions, the CC Dems support Laurie Mitchell and Robert Geroy, respectively.
Nonbinding referendum -- The question is:
In order to stop the uncontrolled growth of our national debt and prevent excessive borrowing by the Federal Government, which threatens our economy and national security, should the United States Constitution be amended to require a balanced federal budget without raising taxes?
This question was placed on the ballot by – you guessed it – the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature. The very same Legislature that balanced Florida’s current budget with federal stimulus money.
It seems to me that this referendum is nothing more than political posturing, since it would have no effect on anything. Amending the U.S. Constitution is no small feat. Just ask those of us who have been trying to get the Equal Rights Amendment – first proposed in 1923 - passed.
I will be voting NO on this ballot question.
Straw ballot question re: unincorporated fire district consolidation – The possibility of fire district consolidation and the somewhat related question of how emergency medical services should be provided in Collier County have been recurring yet unresolved issues for many years, and this nonbinding straw ballot won’t change anything.
Collier County is divided into a hodge-podge of five independent fire districts, two dependent fire districts, and two city (Naples and Marco Island) fire districts. This ballot question specifically addresses the unincorporated districts – i.e. the parts of the county that are not within the Naples or Marco Island city limits.
In August 2006, I gave a presentation titled “County-wide Fire and EMS Service: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?” which provided an overview of how these services are provided and paid for in the county, and discussed the proposal at the time that the independent fire districts be merged. It’s a useful overview, if you’re interested.
To me the question is a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t support consolidation if it would “improve efficiency and promote a more cost-effective use of tax dollars?” The devil, I suspect, is in the details.
A reminder – please continue to hold off on voting until it is clear whether a vote for Kendrick Meek (D) will be a wasted vote in the effort to defeat Marco Rubio (R) for U.S. Senate. Meek continues to emphatically deny the possibility of withdrawing from the race, despite the fact that Crist is gaining support from prominent Democrats. The latest polls reported by RealClearPolitics show Crist taking votes from Rubio, with Meek holding steady at about 21-22 percent.
The Collier Democrats website states: “We are recommending Kendrick Meek because a vote for either of the other candidates will put control of the U.S. Senate at risk! Some feel that Charlie Crist has a better chance of defeating Marco Rubio, but there is no guarantee that he would caucus with the Democrats. The Meek campaign states that this race will be won by about 38% of the vote, which they feel is doable for Kendrick Meek.”
I’m not at all sure. If Crist continues to strengthen, a vote for him may be the way to go. But again, there’s no rush to vote. Let’s keep watching.
By the way – please note that Charlie Crist’s last name does not have an “h” between the “C” and the “r” ....