The Hillsborough County Commission has delayed its decision on expanding to nine single-member districts and three other changes to the county charter; that came after several members of the public spoke out Wednesday morning against the proposed changes and against how the process seemed rushed. One of them was long-time Hillsborough resident, Taylor Ward.
“I’ve been witness to the struggle to make our county government more representative and to move forward from the ‘bad old days,’ which I do not wish to revisit. … And the reason that more of us are not here today is because we just heard about it. And you didn’t hear from us before because we just heard about it. This has been done with shocking haste and with disregard for the voters of Hillsborough County. I want to speak today in opposition to the upending of the Hillsborough County Charter, specifically the amendments regarding term limits and redistricting. This attempt to radically change the charter and representation of Hillsborough County is not good governance. This looks bad; the timing looks bad, the methods look bad, the lack of transparency looks bad. And it is bad for Hillsborough County. It reduces our representation, it gives us less representation, less voice when we should be striving for more. Don’t do this. It needs to go through the [charter] review process and rushing it through without appropriate input from voters is not the right way to do it.”
Commissioner Pat Kemp called the proposed changes “100 percent wrong.”
The County Commission will bring the issue up again at a public hearing on June 20.
The Commission also approved expanding the waiting period for purchasing firearms in Hillsborough from three to five days. That’s despite protests from some local gun store owners and other gun supporters. The vote was 5-to-2 with Commissioners Ken Hagan and Stacy White opposed.