It's time to change how we pick county commissioners, petition backers say.Citizens for Equal County Representation wants to get rid of three county-wide commission seats and replace them with smaller district seats.
The group hopes to get 37,000 signatures on a petition in the next six months so the proposal can be put to voters on the November 2008 ballot.
If the county charter amendment passes, it would take effect in 2010.
It would divide the county into seven districts with equal populations. Currently, the commission consists of three at-large and four single-district seats.
Supporters of the proposal say it would provide a better geographic mix of representatives on the commission, make it less expensive to run a campaign and force commissioners to adhere to term limits.
Patrick Manteiga, publisher of La Gaceta newspaper is chairman of Citizens for Equal County Representation. He says the change would add diversity to the commission.
Activist and author Doris Weatherford, treasurer of the group, says that,
historically, residents in south Hillsborough County have not been properly represented on the County Commission. Six of the seven current commissioners have Tampa addresses, she said. The seventh lives in Plant City.
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