Taxation without representation in Collier County

Round Up the Usual Suspects

The present Collier County Commission set-up is taxation without representation. All 5 Commissioners are suppose to represent us; they spend some 35% of our tax dollars and we only get to vote for one commissioner. Where is the logic in this?
This topic is obviously a much debated issue, it was right around 1987 or 1988 when the change was made from countywide election to single member districts. In the former system, the people in the districts felt that they did not have their own representative. The current system is bad, but the old one was worse. Current commission meetings are nothing more than negotiations and deadlock between commissioners trying to get what they want for their districts because there limited accountability to the electorate. The system I would like to see, and it is permitted under state law, is a seven member commission with two members elected at large and the other five by district. This gives a broader view to the decision making process. It also gives us, the voters, a chance to have more than one commissioner represent a given district. What do you think?

  • Print

Comments » 7

lightenup writes:

The current system is fair to all residents of collier county.

This way the people of Immolalee and Glolden Gate have as much power as the wealthy folks on gulf shore blvd.

What you are purposing would leave 2 commissioners unassigned.

Those unassigned commissioners could both side with the gulf shore folks and give that area more power over the people in Immokalee and Golden Gate.

The way things are now is just fine. Fair for everyone.

keekee writes:

I think lightenup has a good point. It would leave the two floaters a bit vulnerable to those that wanted a swing vote one way or the other. That’s a bit jaded I know, and I hate to have my mind work like that, but as it is now, it seems a large percentage of Collier Citizens were not represented no matter what district we happened to be in when it came to the Jackson Laboratory controversy.

I’m no expert, but we still have an opportunity to eventually vote for or against a representative that should know the strengths and weaknesses of a particular district.

At least that’s the way it should be, but even the fast talkin’ Music Man would have a run for his money with this panel of Commissioners.

“Ya got trouble, my friend, right here,
I say, trouble
right here in Collier County…..”

GoneFishin writes:

I like the concept of two at large commissioners, but the problem today is that the commissioners are running a show without opening the curtain.

swfl_ff writes:

in response to lightenup:

The current system is fair to all residents of collier county.

This way the people of Immolalee and Glolden Gate have as much power as the wealthy folks on gulf shore blvd.

What you are purposing would leave 2 commissioners unassigned.

Those unassigned commissioners could both side with the gulf shore folks and give that area more power over the people in Immokalee and Golden Gate.

The way things are now is just fine. Fair for everyone.

I tend to agree with you overall. I well remember the fight that took place back in the late 1980's to create the present system of single member districts.

The fight was led by the people of Golden Gate, Marco, Immokalee and the Everglades City area. Residents of the interior sections of the county had become tired of the coastal areas dictating how who was elected and how things were run.

Even though the candidates had to live within their districts they ran on a county wide basis. Many times the voters of a particular district would vote in favor of a certain candidate that they wished to have represent them only to have the voters from the City of Naples and Pelican Bay override their vote by supporting another candidate.

Back then it was a well known fact that if you wanted to get elected you did not have to concern yourself with the voters of your district. Your main concern was to pander to the coastal areas as that is where the voting strength lied.

After some considerable debate and fighting this issue was placed on the ballot and was passed due to the heavy support of the residents of Marco and the inland communities who had formed an alliance of sort to pass this measure.

I admit that at times I think having the other two at large commissioners would not be a bad idea I would not want to see that anytime soon. First of all it would only cost us more money having to fund the two additional commissioners and their staff. The other thing is just as was mentioned by one of the other posters more than likely the other two at large commissioners would come from the coastal area which could again through the balance of power off to favor one part of the county over the others.

It may not be perfect but I will stick with the system we have now.

keekee writes:

Swfl_ff

I think you make perfect sense.

I don’t think it would help with two extra floaters. Probably take more time and money to make a decision, and money is something we just don’t have right now.

My memory of the 80’s commissioners would also have them pandering to the developers, a little palm greasing going on…etc etc And anyone who has spent their whole life in Naples can certainly see what pandering to the developers has done for us.

Cody writes:

I would vote for the 2 'at large' commissioners. We have to do what is best for the County. This is not the time to become territorial. The times have changed, and we have been reeling from the effects of this on our local economy. And I do not think things will change anytime soon.

There is nothing unfair about having 2 'at large' commissioners. As Mr. Lytle indicated, everyone in Collier County would be able to vote. I would hope that the voters would vote for the candidate based on the issues, irrespective of where their residence is.

ejburger writes:

The system is unfair; it fails some and benefits others. Some areas pay more tax dollars and get less representation, how is that fair?

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features