Southwest Florida’s congressional representation could shift after the 2010 census.
U.S. House district lines are always redrawn after each head count, and one scenario has Collier County losing its east-coast connection with District 25 now represented by Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami.
In exchange, eastern Collier would join with the rest of the county in Rep. Connie Mack IV’s District 14. In the bargain, District 14 would lose the upper part of Lee County, letting that area form a new district with points north and east.
Put another way, all of Collier and part of Lee — instead of all of Lee and part of Collier — would be in a single House district, Mack’s.
That is what Lee County Commission Chairman Ray Judah was talking about on “One on One” a few weeks ago. When asked about his political future, he spoke in general terms about a potential interest in a new congressional district — not Mack’s — anchored in Lee.
Still, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Any new redistricting will have to pass a litmus test for maintaining or enhancing minority influence in each congressional zone. That means black and Hispanic voters in eastern Collier would have to join as many or more minority voters in their new political base. It is a delicate yet legally mandated balance.
Diaz-Balart, calling the minority math tricky, says “one never knows.” He says has been too busy with health-care reform to pay much attention. Mack’s press secretary is more to the political point: “With the Democrats’ countless bailouts, spending sprees and desire to enact a government takeover of our health-care system, we’re not thinking of redistricting right now.”
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Somehow this event gets shuffled aside or ignored.
I won’t let that happen this year.
Circle next Sunday, Oct. 25, on your calendar.
Write in the time: 3 p.m.
That is when the full 49-member Naples Philharmonic Orchestra will perform its annual free concert at Naples’ Cambier Park.
The Philharmonic says a program of classical, pop and show tunes is in store for all those who bring folding chairs and blankets to this treat.
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A fundraiser patented in Naples is expanding to Fort Myers.
Empty Bowls, which lets you pick and keep a handmade, donated ceramic bowl and fill it with donated soup for $10, will have its first try at the Alliance for the Arts on picturesque McGregor Boulevard, hoping to tap the magic of three annual successes at Cambier Park.
The Lee event, benefitting the same great cause, the regional Harry Chapin Food Bank, will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 7.
Following in the tradition of the Naples Empty Bowls, which have been led by Barron Collier High School art teacher Donna Torrance, the Fort Myers fundraiser is chaired by Lehigh Senior High School art teacher Suzanne Somogyi.
Torrance is so into it that she holds Clay Camp during the summer for students and other volunteers to get a head start on the bowls, which last year brought in nearly $25,000.
The concept has even garnered the most sincere form of flattery. Orchid lovers now have an Empty Pots event, for ticket-holders to select and take home a plant.
For more information about the Fort Myers event, call the food bank at (239) 334-7007.
FYI, the Naples Empty Bowls in 2010 will be at Cambier on Jan. 30.
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Our lineup of great new blogs keeps expanding.
The latest additions, all available at naplesnews.com/blogs include:
* From the Floor Up by Tom Dardis, a third-generation flooring contractor who is active with the Collier Building Industry Association.
* Content Marketing Strategies for Small Business by Newt Barrett, a 25-year publishing veteran who has sage advice for successful promotions on a budget.
We have other blogs this close to launch on politics, architecture, the crossroads of environmentalism and private property rights, and traffic planning/road design.
If you or your organization have an idea for a blog, please see the contact information at the end of this column.
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Five years ago we made and shared DVD copies of a 1972 promotional film for Naples that declared in loving detail how much our area respects and protects its wildlife.
The title: “Naples: Guardian of the Everglades.”
Now ... would anyone happen to have one of those DVDs that I could borrow to put online for everyone to see and enjoy — and maybe even debate?
I promise to return it.
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Jeff Lytle is editorial page editor of the Daily News. His e-mail address is email@example.com. Call him at 263-4773. Check his blog at naplesnews.com/blogs/jefflytle