Fold on charter, focus on real issues
It is ironic that state Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, threatened the county with a legislative push to establish a charter government commission considering Corcoran's anger at the courts for imposing their ruling related to the legislature redrawing districts.
Corcoran said, "We are under direction by a court ... that continues to exceed their constitutional authority." And, "When one branch goes deep into other areas, the people lose. We have to make sure that doesn't happen.''
Shades of hypocrisy. That is exactly what he and other legislators did by pushing Pasco County to establish a charter government advisory committee.
So far, Pasco's citizens lost or will lose $60,000 to a consultant, wasted staff time with months of meetings and vague discussions. But the big loss will be if his push for an elected mayor comes to fruition. I and others see that this change will cause turmoil in county government at a time when stability is key for economic growth.
There can be other costs. Remember, of the 20 counties in Florida that have a charter, 12 have imposed the 10 percent utility tax.
A number of the citizens committee members have struggled to see a reason for a change in government structure. Others are locked in step behind Corcoran's premise and support the Empower Pasco Citizens agenda and his $100,000 political committee that will support or oppose elements of a charter. Hopefully, next week, Corcoran's empower agenda will become clear.
This charter advisory committee has been a disaster from the beginning: limited appointments that lacked gender, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, and no push from citizens to change government. The original impetus came from Tallahassee and a state representative who should have concentrated on state issues but decided he needed to "empower Pasco citizens" even though there was not some groundswell of grass-roots public demand for a charter.
Fold the tent. County government isn't broken. Move on and get back to important issues — economic growth and transportation — and keep stability in Pasco County government.
Pat Mulieri, Spring Hill