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Date of Issue: September 01, 2005

Cramer calls for full commission vote on referendum

Anna Maria City Commissioner Linda Cramer said the consolidation referendum issue in her city is "not dead yet," despite the 2-2 vote that quashed a non-binding referendum at the Aug. 25 commission meeting.

The tie vote meant the resolution to put a non-binding referendum on the November ballot asking Anna Maria voters whether or not they wanted the city to explore the feasibility of consolidating the three Island cities was halted for lack of a majority vote.

The resolution needs to be at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office by Sept. 19 to be on the November ballot.

Cramer, however, believes all five commissioners need to make a decision.

"I'm calling for a renewal of the motion under Roberts Rules of Order so that the full commission can decide the issue," Cramer said. Commissioner Duke Miller was absent from the Aug. 25 meeting.

Cramer asked Mayor SueLynn to review the procedure with City Attorney Jim Dye before the request is forwarded to Commission Chairperson John Quam. She said she'd ask that the item be on the Sept. 13 commission agenda.

"At the moment, it's not a dead issue," said Cramer, who was discouraged at the Aug. 25 meeting to hear personal attacks and innuendo intrude into what was supposed to have been a discussion about the resolution.

But according to Miller, who returned to Anna Maria Aug. 29, the issue could well be dead.

Miller said any referendum vote was a "moot point" to him. "I don't think we need a vote because the people of Anna Maria are against consolidation," he said.

Cramer has other issues stemming from the Aug. 25 meeting she wants to discuss Sept. 13.

"I also want to talk to the chairman about allowing people to get up many times on the same issue and make personal attacks on our mayor and commissioners. It's disheartening," she said.

Quam said any commissioner can call a special meeting or make a request to rehear an issue, but as of noon Aug. 30, he'd not yet received any request.

Holmes Beach City Commissioner Don Maloney, long a proponent of consolidation, was at the Aug. 25 meeting and came away perplexed.

"I can't understand why the commissioners are not even willing to give people a vote," he said, "although they keep saying they represent the people. What's the justification in not finding out what the people want? I'm amazed they would not even allow a people's choice for a non-binding referendum."

Maloney said he would urge Holmes Beach commissioners, who have already approved a similar resolution, to keep the referendum on the November ballot.

"I sill want to know what the people think," he said.