Bid For County Mayor in Hillsborough Fails to quality for ballot by Mitch E.Perry

08/08/06

A group pushing a proposal to create an elected County Mayor position in Hillsborough County failed today to collect enough valid signatures on its petitions, meaning it will NOT be on this November’s ballot.

The Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections, Buddy Johnson announced today that The group Taking Back Taking Back Hillsborough Political Committee fell 3,034 valid signatures short of the required 37,202 to put the question on the November ballot.

The campaign to get such a form of government was led attorney and lobbyist Mary Ann Stiles , who late last year said s said the county commission has become too distracted with issues such as banning gay pride recognition or prohibiting strip clubs and done "absolutely nothing" on transportation and other growth-related problems.

There were actually 2 proposals – one to replace the County Administrator with the Mayor, and a 2nd to provide the County Mayor with Veto Powers – providing Board Power to override the Mayor’s vote with a 2/3rd majority….

Stiles says she’ll keep up the effort…She says in the end, there were too many illegitimate signatures on the groups petitions.(roll tape#1 o.q.�on the 2008 ballot�)

A strong majority of the County Commissioners – perhaps all, with the exception of Kathy Castor made critical remarks about the possibility of a County Mayor…Criticism also came from former Commmisioner , Democrat Jan Platt, who said the County Mayor was not the answer to those who felt alienated from the Board.

Commissioner Tom Scott – in particular – took time out from several Board of Commission Meetings to say that citizens needed to be informed about what the County Mayor would do …..Scott, Ken Hagen, and Ronda Storms all took turns at Commission meetings blasting the proposal (roll tape#2 o.q.�I was right �)

Back in February, Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson said he wasn’t sure if the signatures to get on the ballot needed to be turned in earlier – like February 1st- because of new state restrictions on how to amend the state constitution….Taking Back Hillsborough County’s Mary Ann Stiles says THAT was the move that cost her campaign (roll tape#3 o.q.�that hurt us more than anything else�)

Stiles joked that she wished the County Commision would go ahead and put the measures up for a vote this November, but realized that will not happen.

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