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Letter: Opinions of the new Palm Coast

March 29, 2014 | By More

300-300-LETTERS-EDITORLetter: Opinions of the new Palm Coast

Dennis K McDonald
Flagler Beach, FL

Dear Editor:

Mayor Netts, City Manager Jim Landon, and members of the City Council, do everything they can to steer the elections in Palm Coast. The city held a referendum vote on a Primary Ballot, trying to minimize voting, since Primary Elections are the lowest turnout.

Netts narrowly won election with 6% or 2,850 votes out of 54,000 registered voters.

Holding referendums on Primary ballots is contrary to Florida Statutes which state a referendum must be on a General or Special election ballot. The reason why the City did not seek an AG Opinion, as requested by the Supervisor of Elections, Kimberle B Weeks, is that the city was in the wrong.

Voters from Palm Coast have applied for that opinion to try to resolve this issue, only to be told by AG Pam Bondi that “only the City may make the request”. If the AG was to issue an opinion that the referendum was done wrong, then Mayor Netts, who is “termed out” in November 2015, LOSES his extra year [2016] that the questioned referendum gave him and forces two other Councilmen to run a year earlier.

I sent this email, below, to show that Weeks was on this month’s back and the city has taken this to the edge on purpose. Mr. Holland’s email is self-explanatory.

From: Holland, Gary J
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 6:52 PM
To: Weeks, Kimberle
Cc: Matthews, Maria I
Subject: RE: City of Palm Coast

Kimberle:

The only requirement of which I am aware that the Election Code places upon you for municipal elections is that found in s. 101.002(2), Fla. Stat., which requires you to furnish the voter records for conducting a municipal election to the municipal election official. The intent underlying the Election Code is that municipalities are responsible for their own elections absent an agreement with the county.

Please see this link for information about requesting Attorney General opinions.

The Secretary of State has no jurisdiction over municipal governments; so, I doubt if he would take any further action regarding the filing of the charter amendment absent a court order. As a filing officer for charter amendments, he serves merely as a ministerial officer. Also, based upon the guidance found at the above link, I doubt if the Attorney General will render any opinion that decisively rules about the propriety of the city’s action unless it was asked by the city’s governing body. The AG opinion is advisory only and not binding on anyone – that’s one of the reasons I mentioned that it would take a legal challenge to decide the issue. If people are concerned about this matter, the proper approach is to tell them to seek relief from a court assuming they get no satisfaction from the city itself.

Regards,
Gary J. Holland
Assistant Director, Division of Elections
Florida Department of State

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Category: Editorials

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