Foster, cities fight possible change to charter repeals
An otherwise low-key run of the Pinellas County Charter Review Commission has turned more heated because of a proposal to allow the charter to be repealed in the future without the Legislature approving it first.
It's now the latest round of city-county arguing.
Along with other mayors, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster has challenged the proposal, (Download Duncan.PCCRC.6.07.10) writing that "I'm not aware of this issue being an area of concern by any community groups or organizations within our city. I am also sensitive to the history of discussions stemming from this issue and do not feel it necessary to revive it."
Monday night's meeting elevated the fight, though panelists say it's merely to give a future panel more authority -- "home rule" -- to decide whether to put a repeal on the ballot without needing state lawmakers to approve.
In essence, Foster and the cities fear the charter review panel is moving to upend the dual vote requirements in the charter that give cities a chance to "opt out" of changes to the charter. (A primer: In a dual vote referendum, the countywide tally must be in favor of the amendment, plus each city's voters also must say yes, before the change in service or regulatory authority can take effect through all Pinellas. If a city's voters say no, the charter amendment doesn't apply.)
David DeCamp, Times staff writer