Editor: Shall the five members of the Board of County Commissioners of Hernando County be elected to office from single-member districts residing in each of those districts only? Single-district membership was tried in Hernando County with little success. In the late 1940s in a referendum, they went back to countywide elections. I understand there were two commissioners who held office for some 25 years at one stretch. It seems the only way they could get rid of them was to change back to countywide. Single districts lead to "ward heel" politics. It results in entrenched political machines whereby three commissioners can conspire to rule mercilessly.
It takes a majority of three to pass legislation or to appropriate money for whatever purpose. A loner does not stand much of a chance. I do not understand why anyone would give up his right to elect five commissioners instead of one. With five, the two-party system comes into play. One party watches the other.
Those who support the single district claim they will get more response from one elected official. This is the same group that claims all our present commissioners are losers. What secret do they have to enable them to pick a "super commissioner" who can accomplish more than five? I cannot see going to vote every four years for one candidate. It leaves a big void. The biggest concern I feel is what happens if we pick the wrong candidate. We are stuck with him or her for four years.
One commissioner in Brevard County reported some disturbing changes have occurred now that commissioners answer to only a small portion of the county. Zoning requests outside commissioners' own districts don't get the same attention they used to give them. He said, "I would go down and physically inspect it, now I don't feel the same intensity of responsibility" which he said isn't right.
And, carving up the tax dollars has taken a twist. We now have to bring home the bacon to our district or we are not perceived as doing the job. This could overlook the well-being of the entire county. Is this good or bad?
From what I have learned, our Board of Education was never under a single-member district. Appeasing the constituents would be a greater problem than ever with this setup because schools are such an emotional issue. From what I heard and read I will vote against single-member district representation.
Kenneth J. White Jr.