Hillsborough County Mayor proposal partially on ballot

10/31/08 Mitch E. Perry
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In Hillsborough County, voters are facing a ballot question that asks to provide a County Mayor with veto power.

That could confuse voters, since the larger question – should there be a County Mayor – was removed from the ballot by a Court after an activist sued earlier this year.

The push for a County Mayor has been going on for nearly three years. It has been led by attorney Mary Ann Stiles, a Hillsborough County Republican, who initially tried to get the measure on the 2006 ballot. She was able to get enough signatures to get it on this year’s ballot before a suit was filed against it.

Stiles says the legality of the issue of a County Mayor in Hillsborough has not yet be decided upon by the Florida Supreme Court. She calls the legal wrangling a deliberate move by opponents of the measure to kill fundraising efforts by supporters.

She worries that the measure could lose because of the confusion about the matter, and is worried that she hasn’t been able to message out to support the veto power measure.

And she reiterated her original intent on why Hillsborough County needs a County Mayor form of government.

One of the leading critics of the County Mayor proposal has been former County Commissioner Jan Platt.

Although the measure on a County Mayor is not on the ballot this year, it will be in 2010. The amendment question on the 2008 ballot over whether to give a County Mayor veto power was created because state law forbids an initiative to have more than one main idea in it.

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