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2010-02-24 / Front Page

Petition drive is underway to change city government representation here

A petition drive is underway that would compel the Kingsville City Commission to call a charter amendment election in May to expand the present fourmember city commission and mayor to seven city commission members and eliminate the election of the mayor by the voters.

If the petition drive is successful and the charter amendment is approved by the voters, the city would be divided into seven districts with a city commission member elected from each district.

The mayor and mayor protem would then be elected from among the seven city commission members by a majority of the city commission.

The first election of a seven-member city commission would be held in 2012, and initially three of the members would serve two-year terms and four of the members would serve three-year terms, determined by a drawing.

After that, all city commission members would serve three years with commissioners elected in staggered terms.

City commission candidates would have to live in their respective districts for 12 months in order to qualify for election to the office.

All seven members would be required to vote on all issues that come before the city commission unless there was a conflict of interest involving one or more city commission members.

The Kingsville Law Enforcement Association is spearheading the petition drive.

The Committee of Petitioners includes Tamera Meyers Blackstock, president of the local police union; Rosa Munoz- Martinez, Marty Ontiveros, Tomas Sanchez and Jesus Amador.

“Our goal is to acquire enough signatures (560) on

(Petition, Page 8A) our petition to be able to place the charter amendment on the next city elections ballot,” Blackstock said in a guest commentary on Page 2A in today’s edition of the Kingsville Record and Bishop News.

The present city commission members run at large every two years and the top four who receive the most votes are elected.

They mayor is also chosen by the voters. However, the mayor pro-tem is chosen by the city commission, and traditionally the highest polling city commissioner is designated as mayor pro-tem.

The four city commissioners and mayor each have one vote on the city commission, and like the proposed charter amendment, the four commissioners and mayor must vote on all issues unless there is a state conflicted of interest.

An any charter amendment changing the way voters choose their city representatives would have to comply with state and federal laws.

“Who better to know the needs of your district or neighborhood than one of your neighbors?” Blackstock asks in today’s guest commentary.

“This would ensure that all of Kingsville is fairly and responsibly represented,” she said.

“As community members we know that each neighborhood has its own concerns and needs. They may not be the same as the next neighborhood’s concerns and needs.”

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