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Three Email Debate Challenges to the Board of Commissioners of Charlotte County, Florida

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On August 16, 2011, the Board of [Charlotte] County Commissioners unanimously adopted the Parkside Redevelopment Plan (PRP) – a neighborhood "revitalization" project budgeted at $35 million over a period of up to 20 years. This project is explained and justified in a 47-page document written and published by the Commission, titled "Citizen's Master Plan" (CMP.)

At page 4 the Commission writes:

"It is envisioned that as the redevelopment of the district area occurs, the Citizens' Master Plan will serve as a framework for any future Revitalization Plans under the County's Comprehensive Plan," (emphasis added)

on July 28, 2013, Robert Peterson, joined by David Kesselring, submitted a document titled "Rebuttal to the Citizens' Master Plan," (also referred to as "Rebuttal to the PRP.)" WE AFFIRM that we have read this Rebuttal. We find its arguments are at least plausible enough to justify a serious response from the Commissioners. We believe that email debates are an effective forum for them.

Upon receiving the signatures of at least 425 residents of Charlotte County to this petition, WE, as such signatories, CHALLENGE the Board of Commissioners to such email debates.OR, ALTERNATIVELY, in the interest of promoting a better public understanding of the points that issue, WE SUPPORT the challenges to the Commissioners regarding such points.

The resolutions to such debates are as follows:

(1) Resolved, the contention that underlies the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) employed under the CMP [p. 31] – the contention that County expenditures made under TIF will be paid for by enhanced revenue from Parkside – and so will not really incur any expense to the County – is a groundless and irresponsible claim.

(2) Resolved, contrary to the contention made in the CMP [p, 1,] there is no meaningful "private/public partnership" between TEAM Port Charlotte and the Commission in the implementation of the PRP, nor should there be.

(3) Resolved, the Commission has failed to justify its selection of the Parkside district [p.4 and elsewhere] over other districts in the County for "revitalization;" it has failed to establish its competence for "revitalizing" Parkside, and it has failed to establish why it should be focusing County funds on any select district, as opposed to the County as a whole.

As author of the aforementioned "Rebuttal…,"WE CHOOSE Robert Peterson to serve as our advocate. (Additional basis for this choice appears here.) (As advocate, he would not necessarily engage in the email debates himself, but would have the authority to determine who would do so.)


Should the Commissioners except one or more of these challenges, but there is no mutual agreement with the opposition on what one or more of the email debate parameters should be, WE PETITION that the default parameters be as follows:

(1) Each debate will consist of an opening statement, rebuttal, and two rounds of counter-rebuttal.

(2) Following documented acceptance of challenge, an interval of up to two weeks will be allowed for opening statements; one week for rebuttals, and one week for counter-rebuttals.

(3) The total word-count allowed to each advocate for the opening statement; rebuttal, counter-rebuttal 1; counter-rebuttal 2 will be up to 600; 300; 300; 300, respectively.

(4) In the rebuttals and counter-rebuttals, advocates may, for purposes of response, reproduce prior passages of their opponent without such passages counting against their allowable word-count.

(5) Should a commissioner disagree with any statement or argument made by the Commission's own advocate, he or she may express such disagreement in an addendum to the pertinent phase of the debate, and this shall not be counted against the allowable word-count. (Barring such dissent, commissioners will be individually accountable for the statements and arguments put forth by the Commission's advocate.)

(6) The transcript of the email debate will be posted on the Commission's website as part of the public record.




Most people seeing this petition will probably have received a cover email that gives some background and introduction. If that's not you, and you want some more perspective on this, you can access the text of that email here.
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