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Sarasota Commissioner Hagen Brody demands apology from Commissioner Willie Shaw

Sarasota Commissioner Hagen Brody is demanding Commissioner Willie Shaw apologize after comments Shaw made at Monday’s commission meeting. Brody said that Shaw’s comments were “divisive” and had no place in a commission meeting.

Willie Shaw

During a discussion regarding the election date change referendum, things became tense when Shaw grew frustrated with the wording of the language in the ballot referendum. Shaw said the potential language for the ballot referendum was confusing, and referred to himself as “colored” and others as “white folks.”

“I’m one of those little colored folks that all you white folks done spoke for that don’t understand none of this,” Shaw said. “Since all y’all have spoke and told me how many of us are going to vote for y’all and for everybody else, but ain’t nobody ’splain nothing to me. I can’t see what ‘A,’ ‘B’ nor ‘C’ does for me. I’m just a bit confused here. ’Cause it’s not clear. It’s not concise. None of this here fits me at all. Unless some of y’all white folks can come back down here and tell me more ’bout this, I wouldn’t vote for none of this,” said Shaw.

Brody believes Shaw’s apology should be directed to community members who organized the election date change campaign.

The election date change referendum would move city election dates from March and May of odd years to August and November of even years, to coincide with the county, district, state, and national elections.

Moving the election date saves money by holding voting dates at the same time, and is thought to boost voter turnout overall as well as among black and Hispanic voters. The referendum language will go before the commission for final approval before it is placed on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Hagen Brody

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