Tuesday, 10 April 2007 01:00
Petition DriveWritten by WGCU Newsroom
A group called ‘Citizens for a Better Fort Myers Government’ – along with the American Civil Liberties Union - launched a petition drive yesterday...in support of an elected, civilian police oversight board.
The group’s goal is to get the 25-hundred or so signatures needed over the next 100 days and then request the Fort Myers City Council call a special election. The council voted down such a review board last summer.
The group’s chairman – Anthony Thomas, Jr. – says he thinks the idea will get wide support.
“I really don’t think this is a partisan issue…I’m a republican, the vice chair of my committee is a democrat. We have white members, we have black members, Hispanic members…this is an issue about government. In the last election – in 2006 – the voters in America voted for change, they voted for oversight. And I believe they’re going to do the same here in Fort Myers.”
The Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida – Howard Simon – was on hand for yesterday’s announcement.
“It is clear that this is an effort to go over the head of the city council. We were here back in the late summer when the council gave most of the day consideration to the proposal for an independent civilian review board, it failed. Although there has been some change in the make up of the city council here.”
Longtime city councilwoman Veronica Shoemaker lost her seat last week to former Fort Myers Police Officer – Johnny Streets, Jr. She’d voted against the civilian review board. He said during the campaign that he’d support such a board.