Pinellas County Charter Amendments will be voted on by Mitch E. Perry

10/25/06

A Pinellas County Judge today ruled that a vote will go ahead in Pinellas County on 7 proposed charter amendments next month.

Nearly every one of the cities that comprises Pinellas County – 21 of the 24 - had gone to court to argue that some of the proposed amendments were inconsistent with state law and were not stated clearly enough.

But Judge Robert Beach ruled today, that with less than 2 weeks before the scheduled vote, it is simply too late to stop the election.

But the Judge did reserve the right and jurisdiction to rule on questions of Sunshine violations, vague language, and constitutionality at a later date.

Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard is the chairman of the Pinellas Cities for Home Rule Committee. He told WMNF this afternoon that he wasn’t surprised by the Judge’s ruling, and in fact was pleased that he may rule on some of the legal issues at a later date.

He says the battle is between the right that citizens currently have, so that if the Counties want to make a change In certain services, members of an individual city would get to have that vote (roll tape#1 o.q.�we don’t want to lose it�)

Jim Bennett is the Senior Assistant Attorney with Pinellas County. He also represents the Charter Review Commission in Pinellas, which came up with the idea with the proposed Amendments. He says several of these amendment are concerned with process. (roll tape#1 o.q.� grab remote parcels�)

So even though the Mayors of the 21 municipalities opposing the proposed Charter Amendments are disappointed with today’s ruling, they still have nearly 2 weeks to educate Pinellas voters about why they believe the Charter Amendments are a bad thing. Again, Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard (roll tape#3 o.q.�to give that information to folks�)

For more information on the issue, you can go to citiesfor homerule.com

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