August 22, 2017
Mayor Barbara Sharief
Broward County Governmental Center
115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 437C
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Dear Mayor Sharief:
I want to thank the Board of County Commissioners and, especially, the mayor for sponsoring item #126, a resolution to restore voting rights for felons.
To my knowledge, every one of the commissioners have been elected, not appointed, which means each have bases, constituencies, voting blocs, considerable influence, and resources at your disposal.
Regardless of how you vote today on this resolution, felons in Florida and Broward County still have no resolution. I ask that you all use the platforms that you have, that you’ve built, and create, organize, and promote events for volunteers to gather petitions to make real legislative change on this issue.
We live in the 17th largest county in the United States and, if your vote today is any indication of what you believe, I urge and implore all of you to release press releases from your office, post on your Facebook campaign pages and accounts, tweet, retweet, and share, and publicly support through media events encouraging volunteerism to gather petitions to make an amendment. Regrettably, on the first day of school at Broward College, I could not get any support from my Commissioner to send out as little as a press release to volunteer, while the ACLU has been trying to plan events for months on the campus in district 2 and many other places. Yet, not a single person showed. With hundreds, maybe thousands of people, I was alone to gather signatures. Our commissioners can change that and support the efforts of the ACLU of Broward County and other organizations and coalitions. I was later told, privately, after repeated public requests for my Commissioner to make an announcement, that he would be supporting this resolution and even trying to add his name to it before it’s voted on. Yet, the ACLU contacted me immediately to discuss ways for further involvement.
I ask not as a candidate for the Broward County Commission, but as a resident of this great county, pledging my support in working with any commissioner in any district, especially my own commissioner in district 2, who has not offered any support to the many individuals like me and disparate groups who are organizing at the grassroots level to gain the necessary petitions. But we need your support. We need you to lend your voice and help. Nearly all of you have full-time jobs and do this part time. This is the only meeting you’ve held in the entire month of August and we pay you $97,000 per year. We expect more because we know you are capable leaders. Help us, please.
This resolution makes for a good campaign platitude, but accomplishes nothing in the way of real progress. Please, support us in fighting to restore the voting rights of felons. I thank this great Board and, especially, our Mayor who was the only one to sponsor this resolution. I hope all of you will support this resolution and vote in the affirmative.
CC: Nan Rich
Dale V.C. Holness