Sarasota News Leader


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Sarasota News Leader
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Rachel Brown Hackney ( Publisher )
New Sheriff Publishing, Inc.
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Robert S. Hackney, General Manager(Oct. 26, 2012)

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COVER THE SARASOTA News Leader Vol. 2, No. 10 November 22, 2013 Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida May 29, 1917 Nov. 22, 1963




Rachel Brown Hackney Editor and Publisher Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Stan Zimmerman City Editor Roger Drouin County Editor Roger Norman Schimmel Staff Photographer Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer John Riley Editorial Cartoonist Vicki Chatley Copy Editor Letters To the Editor Cleve Posey Production Manager / Graphic Designer Robert S. Hackney Opinion Editor / General Manager Advertising Sales Subscription Services Press Releases & News Tips MASTHEAD The Sarasota News Leader and The Progressive Voice of Southwest Florida are registered trademarks of New Sheriff Publishing, Inc., which publishes The Sarasota News Leader. Copyright 2013 Sarasota News Leader. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Member National Digital Press Association Post Ofce Box 5099 Sarasota, FL 34277 941-227-1080


If it seems as though we have a wealth of stories this week about addressing homelessness in Sarasota, it was not planned that way. I daresay no one knew consultant Robert Marbut would release a draft of his recommendations for the community just one day before our publication deadline. Along with tackling the report itself, County Editor Roger Drouin covered Marbuts Nov. 15 presentation to a local chapter of the League of Women Voters, City Editor Stan Zimmerman attend ed a regular focus group meeting this week on homelessness is sues, and I covered a County Commission discussion on a fund ing source for community action. While some publications might have pulled one or all of those other stories after Marbuts draft appeared, I felt it important to include them. Few topics over recent years have garnered as much public atten tion as homelessness, and the more you know about the many facets of the issue, the better able you are to develop an opinion on how it should be handled. This was a very big week for Sarasota Countys 2050 Plan, too, but Associate Editor Cooper Levey-Baker has done a masterful job of gath ering the material into one article that easily will let you know the most important facets of what transpired. Thankfully, after all the hard news, Staff Pho tographer Norman Schimmel with a little help spent a lot of time at both the Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition and the Chalk Festival. Pro duction Manager Cleve Posey has incorpo rated those photos into lovely looks at the work of the tremendously talented artists. By all means, do take your time with this issue. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


DIVIDE TO CONQUER MARBUTS PLAN NE WS & COMMENTARY DIVIDE TO CONQUER 9 Former city mayors voice support for Chapman in the latest Sunshine suit Stan Zimmerman MARBUTS PLAN 13 The homeless consultant suggests four preferred sites in the city of Sarasota for a permanent homeless shelter, though the locations are likely to spur a heated City Commission discussion Roger Drouin A SECOND TRY AT A FIRST DRAFT 21 Despite sharp criticism of a consultants scal neutrality report, Sarasota County moves ahead with its contract Cooper Levey-Baker ZONING AND PARKING 26 A plan to triple the density for development in the Rosemary District will proceed, but the question of paid garage parking remains open Stan Zimmerman MARCH 25 IT IS 30 In spite of objections to the timing, the County Commission votes 4-1 to approve another spring School Board referendum on a special 1 mill tax Rachel Brown Hackney HIGH HOPES 36 Several of the affected property owners say they are relieved the Fruitville Initiative is moving forward after a three-year delay Roger Drouin BIG WEEK FOR SARASOTA 2050 40 County Commission gives the OK to numerous Sarasota 2050 revisions Cooper Levey-Baker A ROUGH OUTLINE 44 The Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Agency Study Committee votes unanimously to recommend a 30-year extension of the district and to keep 1986 as the base tax value year Stan Zimmerman TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: Where were you when you heard? Norman Schimmel Sarasota Leisure: A Tranquil Sail Norman Schimmel


OPINION NEWS BRIEFS FINALIZING HIS REPORT 49 Homelessness consultant Robert Marbut has a list of four possible locations for a permanent homeless shelter in Sarasota County, a recommendation that will be part of the plan he presents Nov. 25 Roger Drouin ANOTHER AVENUE FOR HELP 54 The County Commission will hold a public hearing on changes to ordinances that could create more funding exibility to address homelessness strategies Rachel Brown Hackney HABITS AND HOUSING 58 A community focus group talks of breaking residents from acts of help that do not really assist the homeless as well as the need for affordable residences Stan Zimmerman PARK PLAN PROCEEDS 60 The County Commission approves purchase of 115 acres, with a contingency Roger Drouin COMMENTS AND CONTROVERSY 63 A County Commission exchange with a public speaker leads to harsh words Rachel Brown Hackney NEWS BRIEFS 70 CRIME BLOTTER 80 OPINION EDITORIAL 85 County Domestic Partnership Registry a good rst step SLIGHTLY HACKNEYED 87 A tragic anniversary COMMENTARY 89 Lets play Harriet Cuthb ert Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article FOR ADVERTISING INFO (941) 227-1080


MASTER PIECES SIESTA SEEN SARASOTA LEISURE NOISE R US 92 Dozens of performers celebrate the latest Noise Ordinance compilation all day Saturday Cooper Levey-Baker MASTER PIECES 95 From whimsy to current topics and even a tribute to one of their own the 2013 Crystal Classic sculptors entries wowed the crowds Rachel Brown Hackney PATRIOTIC FERVOR 108 The 2013 Chalk Festival features multi-hued tributes to the nations heroes Staff Reports SIESTA SEEN 118 Shay wins the top Keep Sarasota County Beautiful volunteer award; efforts continue to start a Village recycling initiative; and the keys holiday season kickoff is on the horizon Rachel Brown Hackney A&E BRIEFS 125 RELIGION BRIEFS 132 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 135 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 136 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article For Advertising Info (941) 227-1080


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A tactic used by the plaintiffs in the latest Sunshine lawsuit against the Sarasota City Commission appears to be working. When Citizens for Sunshine led its complaint, it sued not only the City Commission as a body but also two com mis sioners individually. Commissi oners Suz anne Atwell and Susan Chapman were named personally as defendants. They both received the same notication lett er, and Ch apman told the City Com mission on Nov. 18 that both letters were rejected. Chapman then received an emergency injunction and was served with a set of interrogatories That was followed with a request to set a sched ule for depositions in the case. Atwell instead received an offer to settle the case, which she accepted. In other words, while law yers fo r Citizens for Then City Commission candidate Susan Chapman speaks at a campaign rally in April with former Mayor Mollie Cardamone standing next to her. Photo by Stan Zimmerman FORMER CITY MAYORS VOICE SUPPORT FOR CHAPMAN IN THE LATEST SUNSHINE SUIT DIVIDE TO CONQUER We elect you to conduct the business of the city. One of your obligations to us is to protect each other. You must provide legal coverage for each other. Mollie Cardamone Former Mayor City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor NEWS & COMMENTARY


Sunshine pursued their case against Chapman, they quietly settled with Atwell and the city. The offer that Commissioner Atwell took has never been offered to me, said Chapman. Her line has been consistent throughout the case. I strongly disagree with any assump tion I violated the Sunshine Law, she told her fellow commissioners at the Monday meeting. The agenda item prompting her comment was what to do about her legal fees. City Attorney Bob Fournier told the commission, Under state law, if Ms. Chapman prevails, you must pay the fees. If she settles without admission of a violation, you have to pay. Under other circumstances, I believe the city charter fully authorizes you to pay the fees, or within your discretionary authority, not to pay. The oor was then opened for public com ments on the issue. Fourteen people stepped up to the microphone, including three former mayors. They all expressed concern both about the way the city had caved in to Citizens for Sunshine and the future implications. Retired Judge Frank Brenner was blunt. If the bully succeeds today, hell try again tomor row. A time comes when enough is enough, Brenner said. County Commissioner Nora Patterson a former Sarasota mayor reminded the City Commission she had been in the same position and was treated much differently in a Citizens for Sunshine suit over baseball. This same issue came before the county. Commissioners [Shannon] Staub, [Joe] Barbetta and myself were sued personally along with the county. I elected to be covered by the County Attorneys Ofce. Staub and Barbetta took private attorneys. Both fees were covered without a question. How difcult is it to do your job? How many hours? How much stress? Would other qual ity candidates be willing to serve if they were placed in great nancial jeopardy? asked Patterson. You may be the next to be targeted, said another former mayor, Mollie Cardamone. The City Commission listens to a presentation. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 10


We elect you to conduct the business of the city. One of your obligations to us is to protect each other. You must provide legal coverage for each other. Gretchen Serrie, a longtime neighborhood activist, said the Citizens for Sunshine suit is part of a larger problem. There seems to be a proliferation of Sunshine cases in Florida. Its become a legal gotcha industry, she added. Has this spate of ambulance-chasing Sunshine suits led to a more transparent, responsive government? In fact, its been the reverse, pointed out former Mayor Kelly Kirschner. Its time to stand up to the school yard bully. The litany continued, with city advisory board members and neighborhood leaders urging the city commissioners to defend Chapman and not divide themselves. Mayo r Shan non Snyder has been urging a set tlement to the suit to keep legal costs down. He moved to cover Chapmans legal fees through the end of the month. It gives her two weeks to decide how she wants to pro ceed with her problem, her situation, he said. Fournier told the board, This is sort of a tem porary solution. And well have to have the same discussion again. The commissioners voted 3-1 to approve the motion, with Chapman abstaining because she has a nancial stake in the decision. The only one against the temporary pay plan was Vice Mayor Willie Shaw. In the meantime, City Manager Tom Barwin will look into the citys errors and omissions insurance policy to determine if it can or will pay for Chapmans defense. It is coverage we have bought and p ai d for, he said. % City Attorney Robert Fournier reviews city documents. Photo by Norman Schimmel City Commissioner Susan Chapmans legal fee matter remains unsettled. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 11


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Robert Marb uts 55-page draft report outlines a comprehensive approach to homelessness in a community that has been grappling with a growing homeless population. Marbut, who was hired by the city and county to come up with a plan to address homeless ness, will present his report to the county and city commission ers Monday, Nov. 25. The draft of the report, released Wednesday, lists 12 major recommendations. The plan includes a master case management system to keep track of homeless individuals and families and to try to provide them services. Marbut also recommends Emergency Intake Portal s for homeless families with children in North County and South County. His big gest recommendation and the one that will likely prove most controversial is for a permanent homeless shelter in the city of A man standing alongside Bee Ridge Road seeks help from motorists. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE HOMELESS CONSULTANT SUGGESTS FOUR PREFERRED SITES IN THE CITY OF SARASOTA FOR A PERMANENT HOMELESS SHELTER, THOUGH THE LOCATIONS ARE LIKELY TO SPUR A HEATED CITY COMMISSION DISCUSSION MARBUTS PLAN The main goal is to pick the site that is in the best overall interest of Sarasota and one that promotes the operational success of Sarasota Safe Harbor. Robert Marbut Homelessness Consultant By Roger Drouin County Editor


Sarasota that includes services from medical help to job training. In his report, Marbut suggested his four opti mal sites for the homeless shelter, which he has called a transformational center and stabilization unit. This facility would also be the location for the master case managers who would try to assist homeless men and women. Marbut suggests naming the shelter Sarasota Safe Harbor after Pinellas Safe Harbor, which has served as inspiration for those backing shelter plans in Sarasota County. The facility should be run by the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce, he writes. Pinellas Safe Harbor and Prospects Courtyard in San Antonio, TX, are Marbuts models for a Sa rasota center. He also lists other potential names for it, from Sarasota Safe Beginnings to Bridges to Home. ONE CITY COMMISSIONER DISAPPOINTED All four of Marbuts top suggested sites for the facility are in the city limits. Three are in the City Commissions District 1, which encom passes parts of downtown north of Fruitville Road as well as north Sarasota. Marbut evaluated 65 sites before coming up with four optimal locations that are either for sale or publically owned; he lists six addi tional possibly viable sites. The top four locations are 1003 N. Washington Blvd ., north of Gillespie Park; 1121 Lewis Homeless people gathered on Central Avenue in downtown Sarasota earlier this year. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 14


Ave., near 12th S treet and Tuttle Avenue, near Ed Smith Stadium; 1330 N. Osprey Ave. (and/ or 1530 N. Osprey Ave.), near the Sarasota Police Department; and 1800 East Ave., near Osprey Avenue, Webber Street and Southside Elementary School. The parcel at 1003 N. Washington Blvd. has garnered its share of recent public attention, as it was donated to Vallerie Guillory, execu tive director of the nonprot Trinity Without Borders. Guillory uses it as a temporary out door shelter site. City Commissioner Willie Shaw has objected to a homeless facility in his district, District 1, which encompasses most of the current social ser vices provided for the homeless. Shaw tol d Th e Sarasota News Leader this week he was disappointed with Marbuts recommendations. Another city commissioner, Susan Chapman, voted against setting aside $500,000 in city funding for a shelter. Although it is not Marbuts top choice, he wrote the following about the parcel at 1330 N. Osprey Ave.: Of all the possibilities in the County, this is the best overall location. It is close to the county jail, as well as the Police Department, the ofces of the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Glasser/Shoenbaum Human Services Center and several businesses. The parcel at 1003 N. Washington Blvd. in Sarasota is Robert Marbuts top choice for a shelter location. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 15


Marbut also noted of it, [G]reat existing buf fers exist, and plenty of space to add more buffering. In his recent presentation at a League of Women Voters meeting, Marbut said it is essential to locate the center near existing social services ofces and facilities, such as those of The Salvation Army and others in the Rosemary District. He added that proximity to the county courthouse and jail was desir able, too. He mentioned the parcel at 1330 N. Osprey Ave. (See the related story in this issue.) In his report, Marbut anticipated some polit ical debate over his recommendations. The rst step in his plan is to Get started and do n ot get bogged down in politics, Marbut wrote. Simply just start!! He also anticipated the shelter would be the most controversial element of his plan. The main goal is to pick the site that is in the best overall interest of Sarasota and one that pro motes the operational success of Sarasota Safe Harbor, Marbut wrote. The hope is the site selection will not get bogged down by NIMBYism nor political rivalries, referring to the not in my backyard school of thought. HOMELESS OUTREACH TEAMS Once the family portals and the shelter are almost ready to open, homeless outreach teams (HOTs) should then be activated 2-4 Robert Marbut and County Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Mason chatted after Marbut spoke at a Tiger Bay Club meeting this week. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 16


One section of the draft report addresses a public safety triage and stabilization unit for men and women. Image courtesy Robert Marbut Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 17


A section of the draft report outlines reasons why Robert Marbut chose to list the above sites as his second and third choices for a Sarasota shelter. Image courtesy Robert Marbut Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 18


weeks before the opening of these new facil ities, Marbut recommends in the report. These teams would include law enforcement ofcers and social service workers; their job would be to persuade homeless people to enter either the family portal or the shelter for men and women. Street outreach teams will be critical to the success of the overall system, Marbut wrote. The best HOTs pair a social service worker with a police officer. Additionally, every LEO [law enforcement ofcial] in the County should go through an appropriate level of homeless engagement and sensitivity training. Wayne Applebee is the county employee who will be charged with implementing Marbuts plan after the consultant leaves. If commu nity leaders agree on a shelter, Applebee will work to make sure that goal is achieved. The News Leader was unable to reach Applebee before deadline to seek his comments on the draft report. A 24/7 SHELTER Although Marbut suggests the Sheriffs Ofce should run the new shelter, the County and City commissions would formally have to request that the ofce be the lead agency at Sarasota Safe Harbor. A range of services should be included within the Sarasota Safe Harbor, Marbut suggests. With some full-time and others part-time, they would include engagement through the Homeless Outre ach Teams; medical and pharmacy services; mental health and addic tive disorders and substance abuse services; job placement services, including job skills training; hygiene services, including haircuts (to be presentable for job interviews); over night sleeping quarters; and a commercial kitchen. The shelter would also include veterans ser vices, a clothing closet, a donation center, administrative services, security and volunteer coordination. Meals should be coordinated with delivery and prep from non-prots and church groups, he recommends. Marbut notes that Sarasota Safe Harbor must be a good neighbor: A robust buffer around the Sarasota Safe Harbor needs to be developed. A physical fencing barrier needs to line Sarasota Safe Harbor. If possible, foliage or other screen ing should be integrated within the fencing system to create a visually aesthetic barrier. Additionally, the structures within Sarasota Safe Harbor need to be laid out in such away as to create positive ergonomic flow and defensible space. Marbut suggests another important factor that could alleviate the concerns of some res idents near the eventual site for a shelter if city and county ofcials agree to build one: For safety reasons, the queuing for intake must occur inside of Sarasota Safe Harbor and not on the street. City Editor Stan Zimmerman contributed to this report. % Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 19


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The Sarasota County Commission this week roundly dismissed the rst draft of an analy sis of portions of the countys Sarasota 2050 Plan, while at the same time absolving Laffer Associates, the consulting rm that prepared it, of blame, and recommitting to its contract with the company. The county signed the deal with Laffer, the Tennesseebased firm, in early September, agreeing to pay $90,000 for a review of Sarasota 2050s scal neutrality requirements. Fiscal neutrality is the principle that a new develop ment generates enough county revenue in the form of impact fees and taxes that it compen sates for any increase in demand for public services. Laffer delivered the rst draft of its report two weeks ago, and it has been the subject of blis tering criticism from all sides. The draft calls for the total elimina tion of sc al neutrality, all zoning rules and the countys Urban Service Boundary, among other things, and dra ws on the The Arduin Laffer & Moore website explains the services the firm provides. Image from www. DESPITE SHARP CRITICISM OF A CONSULTANTS FISCAL NEUTRALITY REPORT, SARASOTA COUNTY MOVES AHEAD WITH ITS CONTRACT A SECOND TRY AT A FIRST DRAFT They did what they were asked to do. Charles Hines Vice Chairman Sarasota County Commission By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


work of writers associated with right-wing organizations such as the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation to label the entire smart growth move ment authoritarian and elitist. Laffer was founded by Arthur Laffer, a former Reagan Administration offi cial known as the father of supply-side economics, accord ing to the website of a Tallahassee rm he runs with Donna Arduin, one of three names suggested for the project by County Commissioner Joe Barbetta. Arduin has close ties to Gov. Rick Scott. New College of Florida Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies David Brain labeled Laffer Associates report an ideological rant. Hes hardly alone in blast ing it; even the County Commission was dis pleased. Barbetta said portions of the report were of grave concern to him, while Commissioner Christine Robinson said she A graphic explains New Urbanism concepts in the context of the countys 2050 Plan. Image courtesy Sarasota County If the board doesnt want to scrap it and wants it fixed, it seems logical you would go to an organization or an individual that is at least neutral on those issues. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 22


was very upset at the use of taxpayer money to pay for the report. But the consensus was that Laffer was not to blame. The rms contract with the county called for Laffer to review the history of New Urbanism/Smart Growth development and to place the Florida state regulations, as well as the Sarasota 2050 Policy, into proper context. They did what they were asked to do, Commission Vice Chairman Charles Hines said of Laffer. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason agreed: Its not this rms fault. Interim C ounty Administrator Tom Harmer said the request for the history of smart growth was added at the request of Laffer, but that staff is responsible for managing the contract and nalizing the scope of work. Harmer spoke with Laffer representatives Wednesday morning, Nov. 20, after hearing the boards criticisms Tuesday. He later told the commissioners the document the county received should be considered an initial pre liminary draft, and that the rm is willing to rework it and come back with a second rst draft. Under the revamped arrangement, Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer listens to discussion in a workshop. File photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 23


Laffer is due to b e paid half its $90,000 fee upon delivery of that version, and it will present its nal draft in January instead of December, as originally planned. Staff members had been preparing a response to the draft to be sent back to Laffer this week, but Harmer said he instructed them to put that work on hold. But even if its mission is restricted to review ing just fiscal neutrality, can Laffer really be trusted to do so objectively? Thats what Commissioner Nora Patterson asked. She is the lone board member to support bringing in an academic team, instead of Laffer to study the scal neutrality element. It was no secret that Laffer had a supply-side point-of-view, she pointed out to her col leagues this week. You got your answer, from their particular perspective, what one should do with scal neutrality, which is scrap it, she p ointed out. If the board doesnt want to scrap it and wants it xed, it seems logical you would go to an organization or an indi vidual that is at least neutral on those issues. Harmer said Laffer representatives told him they originally intended to provide a more macro-level review of county policy, but that they could indeed still objectively ana lyze scal neutrality. Without taking a vote, the commission approved the adjustments to the report timeline that Harmer presented. Patterson said the rst draft perhaps gives the commission more insight into Laffers thinking. Her opinion of scal neutrality is pretty clearly expressed, Patterson noted of the reports author. Whether shes right or not, she says it doesnt work. She says its irrelevant and get rid of it. Im not casting any blame on her. She says what she thinks. % Arthur Laffer is a nationally known economist. Photo courtesy The Laffer Center Donna Arduin was hired to examine the countys 2050 Plan. Photo courtesy Virginia Institute for Public Policy Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 24


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The Sarasota City Commission tackled two issues in radically different fashion during the Monday, Nov. 18, meeting one involv ing zoning; the other, when to start charging drivers to park in city garages. Attorney Bill Merrill asked for a speedy change to the citys comprehensive plan to increase density in the Rosemary District. He was standing by with charts and photos, as was land-use consultant Joel Freedman. But neither had the chance to say a word. The item was on the consent agenda, and nobody pulled it for discussion. It passed by a 5-0 vote without a whisper of comment. This allows Merrill to work with staff to tri ple the current 25-units-per-acre density in the Rosemary District, just across Fruitville Road from downtown. A staff report says that would allow for the development of smaller, market rate housing units. Merrills plan calls for creation of a Rosemary Residential Overlay District. His client is Rosalyne Holdings. He says the rm has a short timeline for developing this project, and Louies Modern is on the ground oor of the Palm Avenue parking garage. Photo by Norman Schimmel A PLAN TO TRIPLE THE DENSITY FOR DEVELOPMENT IN THE ROSEMARY DISTRICT WILL PROCEED, BUT THE QUESTION OF PAID GARAGE PARKING REMAINS OPEN ZONING AND PARKING By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


would like to have the comprehensive plan and zoning text amendments in place by next summer, according to a staff memo. Unless Rosalyne backs off, we will be hear ing more about this item in the next several months. The desired zoning would be the most intense in city history. STUCK ON PARKING Parking is a live wire for city commissioners. It seems every time they touch it, somebody gets shocked. At Mondays meeting, the shockee was Parking Director Mark Lyons. T he o wner of Louies Modern restaurant on the rst oor of the relatively new Palm Avenue parking garage asked the city to postpone the date when it would start charging people to park in the garage until after the end of the tourist season. The city has been running a half-million-dol lar decit in its Parking Department budget since the city commissioners uninstalled their newly installed parking meters after a few downtown merchants showed up at a commission meeting with paper bags over their h eads. The Palm Avenue garage is one of several parking facilities in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 27


To increase revenue, the City Commission then decided to keep parking on the streets free but to charge for use of the citys garages. That is exactly the opposite of what the Parking Advisory Committee suggested. When Commissioner Susan Chapman made a motion Monday to continue the current plan to start paid parking in the garages in early January, it was voted down 2-3. Voting against it were Mayor Shannon Snyder and Commissioners Paul Caragiulo and Suzanne Atwell. However, no motion was made to keep the use of the parking garages free until the end of season. When asked later if such parking would be free or not in early January, Lyons could only say he did not know. Did the fail ure to support the status quo mean the old decision was vacated? Did the failure to cre ate a replacement policy mean the status quo still applies? Was it a decision or a non-deci sion or an anti-decision? City Manager Tom Barwin later reminded the commission the Parking Division is an enter prise fund, meaning it is supposed to break even or even make money. If an enterprise fund consistently loses half a million dollars or more each year, auditors and bond rating specialists will start to ask questions with s cal c onsequences. % A map shows the boundaries of the Rosemary District. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 28


This may take a while. Some things are just hard to resist. Like The Sarasota News Leader Its a feast of in-depth local news, delightful and entertaining features, and a community calendar that highlights the best upcoming events in the area. The rst impulse is just to gobble it all up. But its better to take it slow and relish every news morsel. Theres no rush. You have a whole week. Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The Progressive Voice of Southwest Florida


With Commissioner Joe Barbetta in the minority on Nov. 20, the Sarasota County Commission voted 4-1 to approve a resolution setting March 25 as the date for the fourth Sarasota County Scho ol Board refer endum on a special 1 mill tax. Reiterating a point he had made in previ ous discussions of the issue, Barbetta said, Its all about $500,000 and voter t urnout. He pointed out that the School Board should have the referendum in conjunction with a November general election, when voter turn out typically is higher. They could plan for that, he said of the Sch ool Board mem bers. Theyve had years to plan for it. Although he con tended $500,000 would be the School Boards expense for the ref erendum, Sarasota County Supervisor of Sarasota County School Board members say the revenue produced by the special 1 mill tax is critical to maintaining high-quality staff and programs. Image from IN SPITE OF OBJECTIONS TO THE TIMING, THE COUNTY COMMISSION VOTES 4-1 TO APPROVE ANOTHER SPRING SCHOOL BOARD REFERENDUM ON A SPECIAL 1 MILL TAX MARCH 25 IT IS The negative impact on educational programs and retaining quality staff would be signicant and would far outweigh any negative consequence of a March election. Lori White Superintendent Sarasota County Schools By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Elections Kathy De nt reconrmed for The Sarasota News Leader on Nov. 20 that the cost would be between $400,000 and $425,000 the gure she initially provided the News Leader in September. Although Commissioner Nora Patterson agreed with everything Commissioner Barbetta said about changing the date of the vote, she told her colleagues she would go along with the School Boards request. I still have some trouble voting against something if I know it will cause a great deal of problem for our school system. Commissioner Christine Robinson made the motion to approve the spring special referendum. She also agreed with Barbetta, she added. However, she pointed out, [The School Board is] a separately ele cted body. Its their separate budget. The folks that are to hold them accountable are the folks in the public. School Board members told the News Leader again on Nov. 20 that they literally could not afford to lose the approximately $40 mil lion out of their budget for their next scal year if they had to switch the referendum to November. Under state law, the School Board budget has to be completed in July. If we had [the referendum] in November [2014], it would be too late for our budget, Vice Chairman Frank Kovach said. We get into a real squishy situation, Chairwoman Jane Goodwin told the News Leader If the School Board were to move the date to November in the future, she added, it The School Board meets with Deputy Chief Financial Ofcer Al Weidner (far left) and Chief Operating Ofcer Scott Lempe (next to Weidner). File photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 31


would have to ask for the special 1 mill fund ing for two years or six years, neither of which option might be welcome to voters who have been supporting the tax. In a Nov. 13 letter to Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer, Superintendent Lori White referenced the two-year alterna tive Goodwin mentioned. There is a concern that the citizens will perceive a bid for an early extension of the four-year additional millage as a move simply designed to give the [School] Board an option to go back to the voters the following year if approval is not achieved. THE LAW AND THE STATISTICS Under Florida law, the County Commission has to call for the School Board referendum to be on t he ballot. When the issue rst arose at the commissions regular meeting on Sept. 24, Barbetta asked County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh to research the matter to determine whether the county board could set a differ ent date than the School Board sought. In an Oct. 2 memo to the commission, Deputy County Attorney Kathleen F. Schneider wrote that Florida Statute 1011.71(9) provides that the School Board is authorized to direct the county to call for the election and that the School Board is required to provide the wording of the measure and ballot title. However, Schneider wrote, [T]he statute does not provide that the School Board direct the County Commission as to the date of the special election. Superintendent Lori White and Chairwoman Jane Goodwin prepare for a School Board workshop to begin. File photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 32


A portion of a letter from Schools Superintendent Lori White to Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer explains why the School Board sought the County Commissions support for the March 25 referendum. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 33


During the N ov. 20 meeting, Patterson asked whether the County Commission could change the date. I dont know what the reaction of the School Board would be, DeMarsh told her. What he could say, he added, was that under state law, the County Commission can determine the date of the election. Obviously, Patterson replied, we would get into some form of argument if the commis sion approved a different date. In her letter to Harmer, Superintendent White wrote that she had learned of commissioners concerns about the scheduling of the referen dum. It is clear from the conversation that some of the Commissioners are misinformed about the budgeting process for public school districts as determined by state statute, she added. Our fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30, White continued. The states Truth in Millage statute requires that we properly adopt our millage rate for a designated s cal year in July for notices to be mailed to taxpayers in August. We are prohibited from advertising any additional millage that has not been approved by the public through a refer endum. Even if additional millage were to be approved after the scal year had started it could not be collected or applied until it had been properly advertised for the following s cal year. White also pointed out that the revenue brought in annually by the special 1 mill tax is the equivalent of 500 positions. She added, The negative impact on educational programs and retaining quality staff would be signi cant and would far outweigh any nega tive consequence of a March election. During his Nov. 20 comments, Barbetta pointed out that White also indicated in her letter that she doesnt see any substan tial difference in the voter turnout between March and November. I nd that a little disingenuous. Barbetta then cited statistics he had obtained from the Supervisor of Elections Ofce to show much higher turnout statistics for November elections compared to those in March. The facts are the facts, Barbetta added. Im all for the referendum for the monies for education. I dont have a prob lem with that at all because we need quality education. But this is an issue of taxpayers/ residents being involved in voting. Referring to a shift to a November referen dum date, Patterson said of the School Board members, They havent done the planning in the past. I think that they should, she Commissioner Joe Barbetta makes a point during a budget workshop. File photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 34


added, noting that regardless of the schedul ing of the vote, they should be able to have enough money in reserve to make up that difference should they encounter a prob lem with the voters, which could happen anyway. When Chairwoman Carolyn Mason finally called for a vote, a pause ensued. Commissioners? she asked again. Is this the last moment that we can actually do this? Patterson asked DeMarsh. Its an election thats already being planned for by the Supervisor of Elections, he replied. I cant specically address the last potential date. After Robinson made the motion to approve the March 25 referendum, Vice Chairman Charles Hines agreed with her point about elected board members authority. I believe its their decision, he said of the School Board members, but I agree with Commissioner Barbetta with the planning part of [the date]. Actually, weve held a couple of elections in March, too, Patterson pointed out. Those were for the penny sales tax for capital proj ects, she added. And we stopped doing that when it became so expensive. I think its really time for the School Board to start tak ing that into consideration. Hines noted that Art Hardy, the School Boards attorney, was in the audience for the commis sion meeting. I am sure he will take back this discussion as to our concerns, Hines added. SC H OOL BOARD REACTION School Board Vice Chairman Kovach said he planned t o initiate a new discussion among his colleagues about m oving the referen dum to November. I would certainly be in favor of that. However, School Board member Caroline Zucker pointed out that the board members had had difculty determining how they could achieve a smooth transition to a fall general election. Her primary concern was losing the tax rev enue. We would have to cut programs, cut teachers, she noted. Legislative action might be necessary for the School Board to change the referendum tim ing, Kovach added. He did appreciate Robinsons and Hines remarks about the School Boards authority, he said. Referring to a situation in which one elected board might vote to deny a request of another elected board, he added, I nd that a little distasteful. I dont want to make a mountain out of a molehill, Goodwin told the News Leader We appreciate [the county commissioners] good thoughts and their consideration. At a later date, perhaps, she added, the School Board could work out a way to move the date of the referendum. % [The School Board is] a separately elected body. Its their separate budget. The folks that are to hold them accountable are the folks in the public. Christine Robinson Commissioner Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 35


Develope r Wayne Ruben expects the Fruitville Road area east of Interstate 75 to bloom once the county sets into motion a long-planned and ambitious Fruitville Initiative that would rezone mo re than 300 acres. Ruben, who owns property in that area, envisions a com mercial hub. An important part of this process is to promote economic develop ment and create jobs, so our children have jobs and dont have to lea ve the area, Ruben said. We hope we can create that and ll a void. Rubens vision became more plausible Tuesday, Nov. 19, as the Sarasota County com missioners approved the boundaries for the F ruitville Initiative Special Planning Area, which includes rezon ing the approximately 300 acres. The vote is the latest phase in the Initiative, the countys master plan outlining a mixeduse gateway village east of I-75. Land to the east of Coburn Road falls within the boundaries of the proposed Fruitville Initiative. All photos by Roger Drouin SEVERAL OF THE AFFECTED PROPERTY OWNERS SAY THEY ARE RELIEVED THE FRUITVILLE INITIATIVE IS MOVING FORWARD AFTER A THREE-YEAR DELAY HIGH HOPES An important part of this process is to promote economic development and create jobs, so our children have jobs and dont have to leave the area. We hope we can create that and ll a void. Wayne Ruben Developer By Roger Drouin County Editor


The next phas e includes a meeting with Florida Department of Transportation of cials that county Planner Beth Rozansky calls one of the key milestones in the effort. The Fruitville Initiative area encompasses several vacant properties east of I-75. Among the owners are the county, which has a public library and 42 of the acres; Fox Creek Holdings; Glenn D. and Margaret E. Walters; Luella M. and Bryan E. Crofut; Sarasota Business Plaza, owned by Ruben; and Thomas F. Kelly. Several of the private property owners who attended the County Commission meeting Tuesday told The Sarasota News Leader they were relieved the plan was moving forward after a three-year delay. David Walters said all of the owners have been approached by prospective buyers recently, but they have not been able to nego tiate potential deals because the Fruitville Initiative has been in limbo. The exciting part of this is all these proper ties will come together within a master plan, noted Walters, whose family has owned prop erty in the area for about 30 years. Shelly Crofut said her family has been willing to wait more than ve years for the Fruitville Initiative to come to fruition because the Coburn Road cuts through the Fruitville Initiative area. Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 37


Red lines denote the boundaries of the Fruitville Initiative study area. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 38


new plan off ers a cohesive vision for the area thus creating the economic opportunity Ruben envisions. She added that the vote Tuesday was a big step forward. Were waiting for the next step, Crofut told the News Leader after the board made its decision. TWO COORDINATED EFFORTS As directed by the County Commission, county planners are trying to expedite the nal phases of the Fruitville Initiative, said Interim County Administrator Thomas Harmer. The project area should be coming into shape, as the county moves forward with another project. Next week, the County Commission is slated to select one of two proposals from developers wanting to build on the coun ty-owned 42 acres at Fruitville Road and Colburn Road. At a Nov. 26 workshop, the County Commission will hear more details of the proposals from Benderson Development Co. and Goodsports Enterprises Global LLC. If the commissioners choose to move ahead with one of the projects, county planners will work with the developer to ensure the plans are coordinated with the Fruitville Initiative process. We will then work with a consultant to mir ror that [42 acres] into the Fruitville Initiative process, Harmer told the commissioners. County planners are working to ensure they connect the time frames of these two proj ects, Rozansky said. A NEW CHAPTER The Tuesday vote to approve the boundary was unanimous. Weve been working on this for ve and a half years, said Commissioner Joe Barbetta, who noted that the 300 acres comprise a rare block of undeveloped land in a visible area, clearing the way for a large opportunity. Hopefully we will have quality development and an economic generator, Barbetta said. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason thanked the property owners for their persistence and for waiting on the county to move ahead with plans. This is how you get something accomplished continually working together, Mason said. Commissioner Christine Robinson embraced Barbettas optimism. I think this is the moment here where we start a new chapter for this Initiative, Robinson said. It has been rough going up to this point. This is nally the moment I feel where we are pushing through. I cant wait to see what exciting things come out of this, Robinson added. The commissioner said she was hopeful Fruitvilles Special Planning Area becomes as successful as another one in the county, in Nokomis. I cant help but think of Nokomis when they designated their special planning area, Robinson said just before voting to approve the plann ing area boundaries. % Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 39


Changes to the countys Sarasota 2050 pol icy took a big step toward becoming reality this week, as the County Commission approved a series of zoning edits, moved for ward on comprehensive plan changes and gave the thumbs-up to a privately initiated request to rewrite the rules for a parcel along Clark Road. Saras ota 2050 has been a topic of erce debate since the county began exploring the possi bility of altering it in 2011. Commissioners say th e land-use plans detailed regulations are stiing development, while 2050 defenders charge that the board is gutting the plan in an effort to please politically powerful builders. Approved approximately a decade ago, 2050 was intended to encour age the construction of walkable, mixed-use communities in areas that were previously off-limits for dense ne w neighbor hoods, largely east of Interstate 75. On Wednesday, Nov. 20, the commission approved a series of zoning changes The countryside well east of Sarasota on Fruitville Road has a number of pastoral scenes. Photo by Rachel Hackney COUNTY COMMISSION GIVES THE OK TO NUMEROUS SARASOTA 2050 REVISIONS BIG WEEK FOR SARASOTA 2050 If a village cant be done on this property, I really wonder if it can be done anywhere. Jim Turner Attorney Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


A graphic shows the location of the Clark Road project planned under the aegis of Sarasota 2050. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 41


presented by staff as part of its long-term review of 2050 among them a reduction in the number of housing types required to be built in neighborhoods and the elimination of a requirement that a new neighborhoods commercial sector be located inside the com munity. The change in rules opens the doors for developers to build fewer housing types within a new community, and to place com mercial properties closer to arterial roads. A longtime critic of the decision to rewrite 2050, Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations President Lourdes Ramirez said allowing developers to move the commercial center outward will degrade walkability, a key component of 2050s New Urbanist prin ciples. Commissioners disagreed, pointing to the failure of commercial village centers in planned communities, such as Disneys Celebration here in Florida, as evidence that the New Urbanist layout simply doesnt work. Commissioner Nora Patterson voted to approve the zoning changes, but she said she wanted to make sure that the language doesnt allow commercial centers to become mere strip malls. Everyone, it seems, wants to avoid creating more Bee Ridge Roads. Id love to see language that pushes it in the direc tion of integrating other than at the front, she added, saying staff should be beeng up its language to make sure that happens. Working into the evening, the commission also approved a timetable for 2050 changes in the countys comprehensive plan, scheduling a series of public meetings on the topic and sending them on to the Planning Commission. But thats not all. In earlier action, the County Commission approved changes to 2050 affect ing 4,638 acres along Clark Road east of the interstate, opening the possibility of 9,334 rather than 934 units there. That proposal, brought by representatives of LT Ranch and 3 H Ranch, called for a change in how density rules are calculated, a reduc tion in the amount of open space required to A chart shows revised percentages of land use requirements for village centers under the Sarasota 2050 Plan. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 42


be set asi de and the elimination of the rule that commercial space be centrally located, among other items. County staff largely sup ported the applicants requests, with the exception of the density edits. But even in that instance, county Long-Range Planning Manager Allen Parsons said staffs objection was not about the eventual number of units that could be built on the Clark Road prop erties, but with the formula used to generate that number. Critics of the proposal argued the changes will lead to suburban sprawl, exactly what 2050 was created to prevent. Ramirez testied that the revision a makes a mockery of Sarasota 2050, while Sarasota Audubon Society Conservation Chairman Wade Matthews argued that any concessions granted to the LT and 3H developers would automatically be demanded by any other property owners. Plus, it ma kes no sense to tweak the plan for this particular piece of land while the county is in the thick of its much broader 2050 review, he said. But the commission gave the go-ahead, voting 4-1 to approve the changes, with Patterson alone in opposition. Commissioner Christine Robinson said the comprehensive plan is meant to live and breathe and that the county needs to be able to make adjust ments to it over time. Sounding a common note, Commissioner Charles Hines said 2050 sounds great in theory, but when applied to real-world situations such as the Clark Road properties, its not viable. If a village cant be done on this property, Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen attorney Jim Turner said, I really wonder if it can be do ne anywhere. % Gene Burgess and Melonie Burgess, licensed acupuncture physicians Serving Sarasota since 2008 Treatment rates are on a sliding scale, from $15-$35; new patients pay a one-time additional fee of $10 AFFORDABLE ACUPUNCTURE FOR EVERYONE 3615 Webber St Sarasota, FL 34232 (941) 922-4611 Open Tuesday through Saturday Our Mission To provide our community with high quality and affordable acupuncture and herbal medicine and to create a treatment space that connects people and builds community. Click for larger map and driving directions Click To Schedule An Appointment Online MENTION THIS AD TO RECEIVE $5 OFF THE NEW PATIENT FEE Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 43


It was decision time. For months, the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Area Extension Study Committee has met to pon der, in a systematic manner, the future of a property tax scheme worth perhaps a quar ter of a billion dollars into the future. But Wednesday evening, Nov. 20, was time for judgment. Way back in 1986, the City and County of Sarasota cut a deal to use a n ew scheme to put downt own back on its feet. Stores were closing, and malls were said to be stealing the heart of many town centers. The scheme was called TIF tax-increment nancing. The scheme set the property tax revenue bench m ark at the 1986 level. Any difference in income after that date for both city and county property tax collections would accrue to something called a Communit y The CRA Extension Study Committee members work at their Nov. 20 meeting. Photo by Stan Zimmerman THE DOWNTOWN SARASOTA COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY STUDY COMMITTEE VOTES UNANIMOUSLY TO RECOMMEND A 30-YEAR EXTENSION OF THE DISTRICT AND TO KEEP 1986 AS THE BASE TAX VALUE YEAR A ROUGH OUTLINE How can you expect a local elected ofcial to be anything less than political? Fredd Atkins Former Mayor City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Redevelopm ent Agency. As property values rose, so did the difference in revenue values until the CRA annually apportioned $6 million or more. But the deal was good for 30 years only. As the 2016 deadline approached, both the City and County commissions assembled a committee to make recommendations about the future of the CRA and its increasingly valuable TIF scheme. The recommendations will go to both com missions in January. After their deliberation, a new interlocal agreement may be crafted to memorialize the terms of the eventual understanding. However, it is possible the CRA could be allowed to expire if the city or county cannot come to terms. TH E GOVERNANCE QUESTION In their two-hour meeting on Nov. 20, the com mittee members made six decisions. Three were unanimous, and three were split. Today, the CRA is ruled by ve Sarasota city commissioners sitting as the CRA govern ing board. By a 7-1 vote, the CRA Extension Study Committee members recommended a change in that, but the complexion of that change took almost an hour to devise. The 7-1 vote said the governing board should be a mixture of city and county commission ers and common citizens. Only Chairman Andy Dorr said the City Commission alone should remain in charge. Former Mayor Fredd Atkins (left) and Vice Mayor Willie Shaw chat after the meeting. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 45


Deciding the how many city and county com missioners, and who would appoint the citizen members proved difcult. While there was general agreement the new governing board should consist of seven members, how would those be parsed? One for each commission and ve citizens? Or the other extreme, three from each commission and a lone citizen? I dont see how youre going to take poli tics out of it by adding one or two or three commissioners. How can you expect a local elected ofcial to be anything less than polit ical? asked Fredd Atkins. He is the most political member of the board, a ve-term city commissioner with multi ple turns as Sarasota mayor. In fact he is the only member of the committee who has won elected ofce. If were trying to do redevelopment without it being political, I do not think we can hit that mark, added Atkins. Dont masquer ade this as being apolitical. That isnt going to happen. Each suggestion of board composition scheme was dissected. Could the ve citizens have a different agenda and form a supermajority and public ofcials not be able to block it or stop it? asked member Ernie DuBose. A proposal to compose a governing board of two coun ty commissioners, two city A map shows the boundaries of the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Agency area. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 46


The CRA was established to rid downtown Sarasota of blight. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 47


commis sioners and three citizens was approved 5-3. With that vote, the role of the City Commission in CRA governance went from total (5-0) to 2-5. Why does the city have to surrender every thing to the county? Who is so sick of the city that they want us to surrender everything? asked Atkins. If I was a city commissioner, I wouldnt even consider this mess. It is possible Atkins outburst resulted in the modied, subsequent vote to allow the city to appoint all three citizen members of the governing board. By the slimmest margin of the evening, that suggestion passed 4-3. Committee member Bill Russell was attend ing by telephone, but the line was dead for this and later votes. DOWNHILL FROM THERE It was as if the committee had been toiling uphill for 90 minutes. Only one of seven dif ferent categories needing decisions had been tackled. But the remainder of the meeting was a sleigh ride downhill. The next category was Boundaries. During previous meetings, a variety of other areas were proposed where the CRA/TIF scheme could apply the Rosemary District, the North Tamiami Trail, the Cultural District and the gap between downtown and Newtown. By 6-0 vote, with one abstention, the com mittee members said this issue required signicantly more analysis. Any new CRA area requires a study to determine the degree of slum and blight. Should a new area deserve its own CRA o r j oin an existing one? Member Casey Coburn moved that the city and county should undertake to modify the boundaries of the CRA or create multiple CRA districts for areas of the city and possi bly the county. DuBose abstained, asking if this motion ran afoul of County Commission sensitivities about the committees earlier recommen dation of the creation of new CRAs. The previous chairman, David Merrill, was asked to resign when he proposed new CRAs. Are we threatening losing the possibility of get ting this thing extended by going somewhere we were told not to go? asked DuBose. Some retroactive gloss was laid on the motion, and the committee moved on. The clock was ticking to adjournment. Atkins then made the critical motion: There should be a reset of the CRA for another 30 years. Noting his colleagues were ready to vote and move on, committee member Chris Gallagher said, I dont want to blow past this moment without a commentary from us. The simple logic is, if the tool is working, why not use it for an extended time? The 30-year extension passed unanimously, 7-0. Member Michael Beaumier then moved to reset the Newtown CRAs base year for tax calculations to 2013, even though the City Commission already has this initia tive in motion. But his motion also called for no reset of the downtowns 1986 base year, maintaining the TIF money-machine that Chairman Dorr says should produce $250,000,000 in the next 30 years, all to be spent downtown. Beaumiers motion passed unanimously as well. % Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 48


If Sarasota builds a homeless facility, about 85 to 91 percent of the areas homeless population will go into the new shelter which would also serve as a hub for social services ranging from substance abuse and mental health coun seling to job training homeless consultant Dr. Robert Marbut told the League of Women Vot e rs of Sarasota County at a luncheon Friday, Nov. 15. Of that group, an esti mated 51 percent will graduat e from one or mo re of the programs and move from living on the street to living in a home. That is the ultimate goal, said Marbut, who is wrapping up the last of his community meet ings and preparing to make presentations of his n al report to local elected ofcials Nov. 25. Marbut has been w orking on the report since August One of the audi ence members at the League of Women Dr. Robert Marbut addresses the audience at the League of Women Voters of Sarasota County on Nov. 15. Photo by Roger Drouin HOMELESSNESS CONSULTANT ROBERT MARBUT HAS A LIST OF FOUR POSSIBLE LOCATIONS FOR A PERMANENT HOMELESS SHELTER IN SARASOTA COUNTY, A RECOMMENDATION THAT WILL BE PART OF THE PLAN HE PRESENTS NOV. 25 FINALIZING HIS REPORT How you run the building is almost as important as where. Dr. Robert Marbut Homelessness Consultant By Roger Drouin County Editor


Voters luncheon asked Marbut, an expert who has tackled homelessness for three decades, about a key aspect of his anticipated report: Has he found a site for a permanent homeless shelter? Marbut replied that he has looked at 65 places, and he has narrowed his list down to four or ve suitable sites for a potential Sarasota shelter. In his answer to the next question, he touched on a controversial aspect of the plan to open a center in Sarasota. Marbut calls the facilities transformational centers. Pinellas Safe Harbor in Clearwater, which he helped open, is a model local govern ment ofcials have discussed during recent City and County commission meetings. Both the city and county have set aside $500,000 towards the construction of a shelter. Talk about the location for such a Sarasota facility, however, has been a contentious one among city commissioners. The vote to set aside city funding for a shelter was a 3-2 deci sion. Vice Mayor Willie Shaw has objected to Wayne Applebee takes the microphone at the League of Women Voters luncheon on Nov. 15. Photo by Roger Drouin Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 50


a facility in his district, which encompasses north Sarasota and much of the Rosemary District; that is the area where current social services for the homeless are located. Commissioner Susan Chapman also voted against the funding. It looks like a foregone conclusion, Chapman said Sept. 2 about a shelter in the city. Why should the city bear the burdens for the regions chronic homelessness? Marbuts draft report recommends a facility in the city limits. He lists four top sites. He told the audience Friday, Do you want to put an ER (emergency room) where no one lives? This is an ER for homeless people. You put the ER where the homeless people live. Marbut also said it is essential to locate the center close to existing social services and facilities, such as those provided by The Salvation Army and in the Rosemary District The Pinellas Safe Harbor homeless facility in Clearwater has been considered a model for a potential Sarasota center. Photo courtesy of Pinellas Safe Harbor Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 51


as well as the county courthouse and jail, which are located downtown. That would be critical, he pointed out, especially if Sarasota opts for a smaller and thus less expensive facility that does not house as many ser vice providers on the campus. REPORT PRESENTATIONS A permanent shelter site is expected to be part of Marbuts plan to address homelessness, a problem the consultant says will continue to swell as many are still unemployed in the fallout of the economic recession and the num ber of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder increases. Nationally, one-third of the people living on the street are combat vet erans, Marbut told the League audience. In October, a Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness survey found that 1,460 home less adults live in Sarasota County. The consultant will present his report on Monday, Nov. 25, at two local government meetings: 9 to 11 a.m.: Sarasota County Commission joint meeting with North Port and Venice commissioners at the Venice Community Center, 326 S. Nokomis Ave., Venice. 2 to 4 p.m.: County Commission joint meet ing with the Sarasota City Commission at the County Commission Chambers, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. Homeless people gather outside Selby Library in downtown Sarasota in April. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 52


HOW Y OU RUN THE BUILDING Marbut believes opposition to a facility could be alleviated once people learn how the cen ters he previously helped open are operated. How you run the building is almost as important as where, Marbut told League of Women Voters members. The facilities he has helped plan are designed to keep people inside, instead of fostering gatherings on the grounds. Marbut offered an example from San Antonio, TX, where he lives. Before a shelter was con structed in that city of 1.3 million people, the homeless population took over three down town parks and there was pee and poo all over the ground. You couldnt even go to the Alamo at night, Marbut pointed out. Yet, there was still strong opposition to open ing a homeless facility. At one public meeting, Marbut offered to take a handful of the most outspoken opponents of the plan on a eld trip to see another shelter he had helped establish. All of them spoke in support after seeing our facility, Marbut said. Cha nges are possible, Marbut told the audi ence Friday, and one overall result is a reduction in expenses. It costs about $20 a night to house a person in a shelter compared to approximately $120 to keep such a person in jail overnight. Since Marbut helped open the center in San Antonio, the citys streets and parks have been clean, he said. Pinellas County saw a 91-percent reduction in its homeless popula tion after the opening of Pinellas Safe Harbor. Marbut did acknowledge, however, that Sarasotas center would probably look much different than the $125-million facility in San Antonio. At the luncheon, Marbut also took the oppor tunity to introduce Wayne Applebee, the countys point person for homelessness issues, who will be charged with implement ing Marbuts plan after the consultant leaves. If Marbut recommends a permanent shelter for the homeless within Sarasota County and community leaders agree to build it, Applebee will be the manager working to make sure the goal is achieved. Applebee concurred with Marbuts comments Friday: We only have limited money in this bucket. Our goal is to get them used efciently and effectively. City Editor Stan Zimmerman contributed to this report % For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. | Tonya Herschberger & Linda KeefeAfter a terrible accident I required surgery. Tonya shared with me that Dr. Koval was responsible for her beautiful smile. She gave me hope and direction. Im so grateful to Dr, Koval. Now I have a smile that I love to share with everyone. Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 53


With homelessness expert Dr. Robert Marbut already having provided them a draft of his recommendations for the community, the Sarasota County commissioners on Nov. 20 voted unanimously to advertise a public hearing on two amended ordinances to allow affordable housing funds to be used for purposes such as job training, which could be associated with a new shelter. (See the related stories in this issue.) The p ublic hearing tentatively has been scheduled for Jan. 28, Leigh Sprimont with the Commission Services office told The Sarasota News Leader A Nov 20 memo to the board from county Plan ning and Dev elopment Services staff pointed out, On previous occasions the Board of County Commissioners has expressed a desire to use the Com munity The King Stone Townhome affordable housing complex was dedicated in Sarasota in January. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE COUNTY COMMISSION WILL HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING ON CHANGES TO ORDINANCES THAT COULD CREATE MORE FUNDING FLEXIBILITY TO ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS STRATEGIES ANOTHER AVENUE FOR HELP By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Im not sure weve got capital dollars to get anything started right now. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County


Housing Fund to support economic develop ment initiatives. The proposed amendment to that ordinance, the memo continues, will expand the program to include community and economic development functions. Since the Community Housing Fund was cre ated in 2007, the memo notes, $12,181,871 has been allocated from it for affordable housing, while $8,776,000 has gone to economic devel opment efforts. A balance of $2,556,460 remains, the memo says. At present, as specified in Ordinance No. 2004-103, money reserved from the sale of escheated lots is to be used for the purposes of inll development and affordable housing, the memo adds. The ordinance refers to such property as [a]ny lots escheated by law for the non-payment of taxes, which are not ded icated by [the County Commission] for other purposes or are not to be conveyed to the recorded fee simple owner of the lot Ordinance No. 2007-016 established the Community Housing and Community Development Fund Program. The amendment would rename the initiative the Housing and Community Development Fund Program and say it is to promote community and economic development, including the development of quality affordable housing, infrastructure improvements, and local jobs. Lourdes Ramirez, president of the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations, criticized the board during public comments on Nov. 20 for thinking about raiding the affordable housing fund. Therefore, Commissioner Christine Robinson asked county Planner Mary Beth Humphreys for clarication of the amended language in the escheated lot ordinance. Is the proposed [change] in any way taking these funds away from housing completely and assigning them to economic development? No, maam, Humphreys responded. The board could use the money in whatever way it chose if the amended ordinance were approved, Humphreys added. Which is not the way it is currently? Robinson asked. Correct, Humphreys replied. The County Commission sits in session for a regular meeting. File photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 55


REFINING THE LANGUAGE However, Commissioner Nora Patterson told her colleagues, I have a little bit of a problem with this, only because of a lack of money in general. It seems to me [the Community Housing Fund is] about the only source we have [for affordable residences] With the [Marbut] initiative on the homeless, [that fund is] a possible source of [money] to try to do something. Its going to be rough to reach into reserves to do it, and Im not sure there is commission support or public support to try to raise taxes to try to follow the recommen dations that will be given. Then Patterson asked Humphreys for clari cation. Would affordable housing include something like helping with a homeless shelter? Thats exactly what the amendments are going to allow, Humphreys told her. In response to another question from Patterson, Humphreys pointed out that the current language in the escheated lots ordi nance does not make it clear the funds can be used for a homeless shelter. Therefore, the planning staff worked with the Ofce of the County Attorney, Humphreys said, to make certain the revised ordinance would permit such action. Robi nson told Patterson, My rst knee-jerk tendency is to agree with you Nonetheless, Robinson continued, she tried to gure out a better way to reword the ordinance to make certain money in the escheated lot fund also could be used to plug a funding hole for a pur pose related to the shelters services, such as job training. There is no other encompassing word like economic development, Robinson pointed out. So Im trying to nd a way to keep the door open enough to allow us to use this [fund bal ance] creatively, Robinson added, which she felt community members would support. Patterson said she concurred with Robinsons comments, though Im not sure weve got capital dollars to get anything started right now. Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Robinson considers staff comments at a meeting. File photo So Im trying to nd a way to keep the door open enough to allow us to use this [fund balance] creatively. Christine Robinson Commissioner Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 56


Patterson ad ded, Theres no way $2 million is going to embrace a job program for the homeless Patterson continued to press for new wording in the amendment to make the boards intent clearer. Vice Chairman Charles Hines suggested the commission go ahead and approve the adver tisement of the public hearing. I dont think we need to have the debate today [on the exact language], he told his colleagues. At that point, County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh explained the current ordinance does not make it clear the funds can be used for economic development. I think that language needs to nd its way into the amendment, he added. I think it would be advisable to have an ordinance thats consis tent with past board policy. Still, if the amendment to the ordinance were advertised as written, DeMarsh continued, the language could be tweaked during the public hearing process. Robinson suggested modifying the wording to include placing a priority on homeless ness and job program efforts Chairwoman Carolyn Mason agreed with the proposal. Then Patterson moved to change the pro posed amended ordinance on escheated lots No. 2004-103 to reect Robinsons sug gestion. Mason seconded the motion. When Patterson asked DeMarsh whether the language in the other proposed amended ordinance, No. 2007-016, should be modied as well, DeMarsh said that was not necessary. One section of that revised ordinance pre pared by staff already says Funding or construction of emergency shelters, transi tional housing, permanent supportive housing and appropriate services for people who are homeless are among the eligible activities and projects of the program. Patterson amended her motion to reect the escheated lot ordinance only. Mason agreed to the change. Then the board unanimously approved the advertisement of that amended ordinance. Next, Robinson made the motion to approve the amended language staff had proposed for Ordinance No. 2007-016. With no further discussion, that motion also won unanimous support. % County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh answers a board question. File photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 57


As homelessness consultant Dr. Robert Marbut was putting the nishing touches on his draft report, a long-standing community focus group on homelessness began pulling the threads together to push it forward. Even without know ing the specics of the report, the members of the Focus Group on the Homeless sensed community habits were going to have to be broken. The Sarasota Salvation Armys commander, Maj. Ethan Frizzell, said people should stop giving out stuff, for example. Compassion drives by. Love walks in, he pointed out. Im tired of carrying stuff off the corner. His Salvation Army colleague Bryan Pope added, Stop giving out dollars and dough nuts. This advice reinforces Marbuts contention that enabling homeless Maj. Ethan and Sue Frizzell are welcomed to Sarasota during a Salvation Army Advisory Board meeting. Image courtesy of The Salvation Army of Sarasota Facebook page A COMMUNITY FOCUS GROUP TALKS OF BREAKING RESIDENTS FROM ACTS OF HELP THAT DO NOT REALLY ASSIST THE HOMELESS AS WELL AS THE NEED FOR AFFORDABLE RESIDENCES HABITS AND HOUSING Can you afford to live in this community? If you are a maid with three kids and a single mom, you need to ask if you can afford to live here. Bryan Pope The Salvation Army Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


people to s urvive on the street does nothing to help them get off the street. The focus group is unique in that its monthly meetings are always attended by at least one person who describes himself as homeless. Often it is more than one. The remainder of the attendees are people who are actively involved in hands-on activities related to homelessness. One theme running through the Nov. 19 meet ing in a conference room at Sarasota City Hall was the cost of housing. Pope asked a blunt question of the group: Can you afford to live in this community? If you are a maid with three kids and a single mom, you need to ask if you can afford to live here. Several participants who knew the math said people holding poorly paid jobs often will spend half or even two-thirds of their income on housing in the city. And they are only one missed paycheck from being homeless. Any town with an economy of wealthy people, youll nd the people who work the service economy live 50, 60 miles away to work at $9-per-hour jobs, noted Pope. While there have been years of appeals for community leaders to build affordable hous ing in Sarasota, few units actually have been constructed. In the meantime, foreclosures have taken many residential properties off the market. Bankers like to say they are not in the property management business, and in real ity, many of the foreclosed properties have seen only minimal maintenance or repairs. Investors have swooped in with cash over the past 18 months to snap up foreclosed prop erties at depressed prices, undertaken quick x-ups and put the houses on the rental market for a substantial r eturn on their investments. You need a business plan that shows a return, said Pope, referring to affordable housing initiatives. If you cant nd a way to make a reasonable prot, the investor is not going to risk their money. Marbuts plan calls for giving the homeless and vagrants the ability to move from a free shelter to transitional housing and then full independence. But that will require real bricks-and-mortar solutions. The Community Foundation [of Sarasota County] has donated $250,000 to work with Resurrection House to put people up. But this is not a systems approach, added Frizzell. Its helping one individual at a time. Marbuts draft plan meshes somewhat with these observations from the front lines of homelessness providers. Until we have housing for people when they come out of transitional housing, we are wasting our ti me, said one focus group participant. We need somebody to come to the table and iden tify funding. Editors note: See the related stories in this is sue. % A homeless man camps out at a former service station on Pineapple Avenue. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 59


A deal to purchase 115 acres of Newtown land for a North County Sports Complex hit a small roadblock or a fence, to be accurate on Nov. 19. The commissioners held a lengthy discussion during their regular meeting Tuesday after learn ing that several adjacent property owners had illegally put up fences encroaching on the par cel owned by Dolomite Utilities Corp. They said they had hoped that day to nal ize a deal to purchase the former wastewater treatment plant site for $2 million. The plan is to develop the 115 acres into a long discussed North County Sports Complex that would become the third largest recreational facility in the county. They finally voted unanimously to move forward with the purchase with a con tingency: Dolomite Corp. must handle the removal of the make shift fences or cover the cost of the coun tys doing so after the deal is closed. Along the perime ter of the Dolomite The land proposed for the North County Sports Complex is located at the northwest corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Tuttle Avenue. The county is moving ahead with the $2 million deal. Image courtesy Sarasota County THE COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVES PURCHASE OF 115 ACRES, WITH A CONTINGENCY PARK PLAN PROCEEDS I dont want to buy a lawsuit here. Charles Hines Vice Chairman County Commission By Roger Drouin County Editor


Maps show an aerial view of Kensington Park and detail about its location in Sarasota County. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 61


proper ty, the fences block off sever al strips of land, ranging in depth from 3 to 16 feet. According to county staff, about 1,500 to 1,600 feet of fencing has to be removed. The Dolomite parcel is located at the north west corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Tuttle Avenue. Commission Vice Chairman Charles Hines voiced concern after hearing about the encroachments. The fences do not signi cantly devalue the property, Hines said. However, they could be the crux of a com plicated situation if county staff had to gure out how to get the four owners to take down the fences if those owners were not agreeable to the prospect of such action. I dont want to buy a lawsuit here, Hines added. Commissioner Joe Barbetta agreed, ques tioning how the hiccup had shown up this far along in work on an agreement that has to be approved by next week. Although Barbetta has expressed reserva tions about the purchase of the Dolomite utility system, he has voiced support of the parcel purchase. I want to buy this property real bad, but we have to clear up this defect, Barbetta pointed out. He was worried about the type of deed trans action that would hold the county responsible for clearing up the encroachments, he added. Commissioner Nora Patterson said trying to get the owners to take down the fences could trigger a political problem. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason suggested county staff try working with the Newtown Estates Neighborhood Association president to arrang e a meeting with the property own ers adjacent to the 115 acres, in an attempt to get them to remove the fences. I think that would work, Mason said. John Jenkins, special counsel for the county, told the board the fences are a minor issue he believes staff can handle. My suggestion to you is to try to keep this in perspective, Jenkins said. We have these encroachments, a couple of fences that run along four lots. Jenkins recommended the county move ahead with the acquisition and direct its attorneys to work with Dolomite on an agreement for removing the fences at Dolomites cost. These are details we work with buyers and sellers on all the time, Jenkins pointed out. Thats what we do on your behalf. We will get this worked out. Barbetta made the motion that the County Commission proceed with the acquisition of the 115 acres, contingent on Dolomite remov ing the fences, or setting aside funds for the county to do so. % Vice Chairman Charles Hines listens to a speaker during a regular meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 62


Occasi onally, when people address the Sarasota County Commission during the Open to the Public segments of meetings, board members will ask questions to clar ify points when they feel staff follow-up is needed. An exchange during the morning Open to the Public segment of the commissions regular session on Nov. 20 in Sarasota led one sp eaker to le a complaint that afternoon with two national organizations that work to protect free speech and another person to chastise the board. In the morning session, Lourdes Ramirez, presi dent of the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA), stepped to the podium to voice displeasure with county economic development incen tives, referen cing an Lourdes Ramirez addresses the County Commission during an April meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel A COUNTY COMMISSION EXCHANGE WITH A PUBLIC SPEAKER LEADS TO HARSH WORDS COMMENTS AND CONTROVERSY You are correct that the conversations are not always good with us, that we have people coming after us many times that are wrong. Its also our obligation to let folks know what the actual facts are. Christine Robinson Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


articl e in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune about a business that had received such county assis tance and had failed to fulll its obligations. (Ramirez is also a candidate for County Commission.) She put the story in the context of action the County Commission was expected to take later in the day regarding a proposal to modify uses of a fund set aside for affordable hous ing. (See the related story in this issue.) Then Ramirez mentioned a Charlotte County company that also had received a county eco nomic incentive grant but did not provide new jobs She added, Your choices have not been good. After Ramirez concluded her statement, Commissioner Christine Robinson asked the name of the Charlotte County com pany to which Ramirez had alluded. It was Enzymedica Inc., Ramirez responded. Robinson said she believed the County Commission provided an economic incentive grant to the business for new job creation only. I want to see proof of that, Ramirez retorted. Have you checked the contract for that, Robinson asked, or are you just saying that? Ramirez admitted she had not read the con tract, adding, The contract could be one thing. What is reality? I will check for you, Robinson said. Commissioners Joe Barbetta and Christine Robinson consider material during a budget workshop. File photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 64


A section of Sarasota Countys nancial incentive agreement with Enzymedica Inc. mentions the 47 full-time employees the rm would be bringing to Sarasota County. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 65


A short while later, Robinson told her col leagues, I want to derail something before it gets off-track, if I may. She had asked staff to research the Enzymedica matter, she continued. I have the actual contract in front of me; you all have it, she added. That contract specically stated the grant was for the creation of 47 fulltime positions that would be new in Sarasota County, Robinson explained. The company was busting at the seams in Charlotte County, she continued, so it was looking to move to another loca tion in Florida, and it even researched a site in Wisconsin, she believed, when Sarasota County offered the incentive funds. So I want to make sure the conversations are based upon facts before we disparage a local company, Robinson added. Thank you v ery much, Chairwoman Carolyn Mason responded. Then Commissioner Nora Patterson reminded her colleagues, There was a period of time, when these incentives were first created, when we didnt do sufcient due diligence. But that is not the way it is today. Thats a great point to make, Commissioner Patterson, Robinson told her. Robinson added that, in the beginning of 2012, she had discussions with Chamber of Commerce members, realtors and the Argus Foundation to seek help in reforming the economic incen tive grant program because of the weaknesses identied in it. Unfortunately, the discussion of how much [the program] improved doesnt make the newspapers, Robinson pointed out. Commissioner Joe Barbetta expressed the view that when people make public comments during the boards meetings, they should tell the truth. Vic e Chairman Charles Hines added that speakers should make it clear when they are voicing opin ions instead of facts. He continued, Part of the procedure of Open to the Public is that youre commit ting to stand up there and follow the rules that are on the back of the speaker card. Hines was referring to the card each person is asked to ll out, supplying name, address and phone number as well as the topic the person wishes to discuss. The card also calls for the person to observe civil decorum and requests a signature. Were not just getting your name and address, Hines pointed out. Youre commit ting to follow those rules Hines added that, on occasion, This com mission takes an extra moment in time to explain the rules a nd the process so people I am here to address the personal attack that was made this morning as well as the violation of free speech that I witnessed. It is disingenuous for this County Commission to call a citizen a liar, especially when it comes from a commission that doesnt know how to tell the truth. Lourdes Ramirez President Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 66


dont just get up and make, as Commissioner Robinson used the term, hearsay LATER IN THE DAY Ramirez returned to the podium during the public comments portion of the afternoon session. She made a point of telling the board she had not signed a speakers card because it is not required for open to the public She continued, I am here to address the personal attack that was made this morning as well as the violation of free speech that I witnessed. It is disingenuous for this County Commission to call a citizen a liar, especially when it comes from a commission that doesnt know how to tell the truth. A section from the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners Rules of Procedure, adopted June 4, 2013, explains the process for making public comments at meetings. Image courtesy Sarasota County Vice Chairman Charles Hines studies a slide during a PowerPoint presentation. File photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 67


R amirez went on, I notice that theres also been a pattern where commissioners grill citizens on their comments. She likened the situation to intimidation tactics she said board members had used on county employees. It does not matter whether you believe a statement a citizen makes is factual, since citizens like me believe what were saying is factual, Ramirez added. Just because youre government ofcials, that does not mean what you say is right and the public is automati cally wrong. It is an attack on free speech when you try to control how a citizen makes his comments. She also told the board that, according to the county charter, a person is required to sign the oath on the speakers card only if the per son is going to make remarks during a public hearing. It says it right there on the front of the card, she pointed out. Then she read one of the provisions on the card. All public comments should avoid attacks, abusive language or redundancy. Ramirez asked, Who denes that, noting that if the board members do, Are you restricting a persons free speech? She added that after the morning exchange with Robinson, she led a complaint online. Ramirez told The Sarasota News Leader she called the First Amendment Foundation, but the person with whom she spoke rec ommended she contact the American Civil Liberties Union. She did so, she wrote in an email, but there is no guarantee anything will be done. Cathy Antunes, vice president of CONA, stood at the podium moments later. As pub lic officials, she told the commissioners, its unreasonable to expect that everybody is going to agree with you or be even nice to you. But that is part of the job. Its con cerning to hear comments about disparaging the truthfulness of citizens. Thats not the rst time thats happened. Its very discouraging to hear comments suggesting that this commis sion has a role in controlling what is being said by the public Antunes added, It seems to me that an atmo sphere of intimidation is inconsistent with your role as public servants. Cathy Antunes makes public comments at a County Commission meeting this fall. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 68


BOAR D REMARKS After the public comments segment con cluded, Robinson reiterated that, during the morning session, she felt it was important to investigate Ramirezs statement about Enzymedica. It turned out what was said from the podium was not true. It is a responsibility that we do look into things. I dont regret the fact that I ask questions and it should be the role of the commission that when there are improprieties brought up, the board acts on them. Robinson also addressed Antunes. You are correct that the conversations are not always good with us, that we have people coming after us many times that are wrong. Its also our obligation to let folks know what the actual facts are. Robinson further pointed out that she was the one about a year and a half ago who asked that public comments be allowed at the beginning of the board meetings, not just in the afternoon sessions, to allow more time for citizen participation. Referring to the morning incident, Barbetta said, I would encourage anybody whos here or listening to this just go back and look at the [video]. The tape speaks for itself. It was a civil discussion. It was a factual discussion. Th en Hines thanked Ramirez for pointing out the difference between general public comments and those offered during a public hearing. As for his comments that morn ing, he added that if a commissioner felt the facts were different from those a speaker provided, and didnt say anything or inves tigate, then it almost would be tacit on our part to say that fact was accurate. I apolo gize if my statements were taken for anything othe r than that. % Manuel R. Chepote, LUTCF Chepote Insurance Inc. 1300 Main Street Sarasota, Florida (941) 366-0100 Serving Sarasota & Manatee Counties Click for driving directions Auto Home Life Renters Motorcycles Flood Business Annuities Financial Services Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 69


The Gulf Coast Af rming Interfaith Network (GAIN) will sponsor the annual World AIDS Day service in Sarasota County at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, at the Church of the Trinity Metropolitan Community Church, located at 7225 Lockwood Ridge Road in Sarasota, GAIN has announced. The featured speaker will be Valerie Wojciechowicz, creator of the Living Positive Workshops, who has been providing HIV/ AIDS education to middle and high school students in Sarasota and Manatee counties for 11 years, a news release says. A guest speaker at national conferences and train ing sessions, she has been honored for her work by Women of Strength and Manatee Red Ribbon, the release notes, and she has been featured on National Public Radio. A graduate of The White House Project Wojciechowicz serves on the HIV/AIDS Advisory Board of the Florida Statewide Consumer Advisory Group and on the board of directors of Trinity Charities, the release adds. The guest soloist for the event will be Susie Brenner, a Sarasota singer-songwriter. Her most recent CD, And So It Goes is her sixth, the release continues. She and her partner were the rst to obtain their marriage license following the Iowa decision to legalize gay marriage in 2009, the release notes. Additionally, Diversity: The Voices of Sarasota will be offering musical selections, along with The Interfaith Chorus. AIDS quilts will be on display and a social hour with refreshme nts will follow the service. Valerie Wojciechowicz/Contributed photo WORLD AIDS DAY TO BE OBSERVED BY COMMUNITY ON DEC. 1 NEWS BRIEFS


The World Ai ds Day service is free and open to the public. GAIN is a diverse coalition of congregations and organizations that afrms the inherent dignity and worth of all people, including les bian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, the release points out. World AIDS Day is held annually in early December; it is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the ght against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died, the release says. World AIDS Day, established in 1988, was the rst global health observance, the release notes. An estimated 34 million people around the world have HIV, the release says. More than 25 million people died between 1981 and 2007 as a result of contracting the virus, making [AIDS] one of the most destructive pandem ics in history, the release concludes. The White House wears a red ribbon in recognition of World AIDS Day in 2007. Photo by dbking via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 71


On Wednesday, Nov. 27, from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Sarasota Ministerial Association will host a free Thanksgiving turkey luncheon and a comedy, Thanksgiving at the Circus by Kathryn Chesley, to benet the homeless. The play will feature Sarasota County Public Defender Larry Eger, County Commissioner Joe Barbetta and City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo as the clowns Zip, Zap and Zop, a news release notes. Others featured in the play will be Sarasota County Fire Chief Mike Tobias as Fred the Fire Eater, School Board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin, School Board member Caroline Zucker, Downtown Improvement District Chairman Ernie Ritz, Downtown Sarasota Association mem ber John Harshman, County Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Mason, NASCP President Trevor Harvey, Westcoast Black Theatre Tr oupe CEO Christine Jennings, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce President Steve Queior and past Sarasota Mayor Lou Ann Palmer, the release adds. A freewill offering will be taken up to bene t The Salvation Armys Thanksgiving meal initiative. Homeless residents of Sarasota will be special guests, the release continues. The event will be held in St. Marthas Catholic Church Circus Hall, located at 200 Orange Ave. (the intersection of Orange Avenue and Fruitville Road) in Sarasota. A large parking lot is on the north side of the building, the release notes. No reservations are needed. For further information, call chaplain Tom Pfaff of the Sarasota Minister ial Association at 724-5018. THANKSGIVING BENEFIT PLANNED FOR THE HOMELESS Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 72


Sarasota Audubon is reaching out to the pub lic for help in reaching its $75,000 Matching Challenge goal for the Gift of Nature Campaign. The chapter needs only a few thousand dollars more to reach its goal, a news release says, but the Challenge closes at the end of the month. With only two weeks left, Sarasota Audubon is hoping county residents will want to get their dollars matched. Every dollar up to $75,000 will be doubled, the release points out. The purpose of the Matching Challenge is to help the organization move closer to its goal of building a Visitor and Nature Center at the Celery Fields, the release adds. The environ mental education center is envisioned to be a destination for eco-tourists and residents. It will complement the local Audubon chapters existing programs at the Celery Fields, such as the popular Bird Naturalist program. Gifts of all sizes are welcome, said Jeanne Dubi, president of Sarasota Audubon, in the release. To support the Gift of Nature Campaign, visit and click on the donate button or call Jeanne Dubi at 724-1709. SARASOTA AUDUBON SOCIETY ASKS PUBLIC FOR SUPPORT An observation deck at the Celery Fields allows visitors to observe a wide variety of birds in the surrounding marsh. File photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 73


NEW BOATING SPEED ZONE APPROVED FOR MOORING FIELD The City of Sarasotas mooring eld is south of OLearys Tiki Bar and Grill in Bayfront Park off U.S. 41 in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel At the request of the Sarasota City Commission, the Sarasota County Commission on Tuesday, Nov. 19, unanimously approved the creation of a new slow speed zone for boats within the citys Bayfront Mooring Field. According to the revised ordinance the com missioners voted on, A minimum of four Slow Speed Minimum Wake signs and/or buoys [will] be posted around the perimeter of the Bayfront Mooring Field to control traf c within the mooring eld. At staffs recommendation, the County Commission did not act on a city request for a second slow speed zone, in the channel along side Golden Gate Point approaching Marina Jack. A staff memo explained that that zone did not appear to meet state criteria, as there is no substantial competent evidence that a public safety issue exists. The memo p ointed out, Unlike manatee pro tection speed zones that are set by state rule, boating safety speed zones are adopted at the local level and then considered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission [FWC]. Laird Wreford, the countys coastal resources manager, told the County Commission that if it approved the amended ordinance, the doc ument would be submitted to the FWC, which would review it for compliance with state cri teria for speed zones. If the FWC nds it does, he continued, the zones can be posted and the speeds enforced by marine patrol agencies. If the county receives state approval for the zones, the staff memo added, funding for the initial installation of the signs and their main tenance would be covered by funds from the West Coast Inland Navigation District Rachel Brown Hackney Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 74


Upc oming 2014 Bay Guardian volunteer proj ects include an Air Potato Vine removal at Arlington Park on Jan. 25, a native planting along the Braden River at Jiggs Landing on Feb. 8, a rain garden planting project at New College of Florida on March 15 and a joint volunteer outing with Tampa Bay Estuary Program to plant native species at Perico Preserve on April 12. All of the projects take place in the morning followed by a picnic lunch provided by SBEP, the release notes. Each Bay Guardians family-friendly out ing features environmental education, the release adds. Local school, Scout and church groups interested in volun teering may contact Stephanie Hames at info@sar SBEP BAY GUARDIANS WIN SEA PRESERVATION AWARD The Bay Guardians efforts to protect Sarasota Bay have won the group an award from Sarasota County. Photo by Norman Schimmel The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) Bay Guardians were honored last week with the annual Sea Preservation Award from Keep Sarasota County Beautiful, the SBEP has announced. The award was presented at a dinner held Nov. 13 at the Venice Community Center. (See the related item in Siesta Seen this week.) The Bay Guardians is the areas largest and most active volunteer program focused on Sarasota Bay, a news release says. The pro gram is managed by SBEP in partnership with Around the Bend Nature Tours. In 2013, the Bay Guardians completed volunteer proj ects at Jiggs Landing and Perico Preserve in Manatee County and North Water Tower Park and Bay Walk Creek in Sarasota County, the release note s. Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 75


Open enrollm ent for Sarasota Virtual School began Nov. 19 for the second semester of the current 2013-14 school year, the Sarasota County Schools has announced. The period will close at 4 p.m., Friday, Dec. 13. The semester will start Monday, Jan. 13, a news release says. Sarasota Virtual School is a district pub lic school that provides a full-time online learning option for students in grades K-12. Students in kindergarten through fth grade may enroll in the districts full-time virtual program regardless of where they were pre viously enrolled in school, the release adds. Students in grades 6-12 must have been enrolled full-time in a Florida public school (traditional, charter or alternative) in the previous year to be eligible for enrollment in Sarasota Virtual School. Sarasota Virtual School is an interactive learning environment, created through tech nology, in which the student and teacher are separated by time, space or both, the release notes. Students access lessons and assignments and receive assessments via the Internet. Using technology, teachers com municate with students and parents in many different ways. The school meets all Florida public school standards and requirements, the release points out. Students completing graduation requirements will be awarded high school diplomas. The Sarasota County School District con tracts with three outside virtual instruction providers approved by the School Board to serve Sarasota Virtual School. K12 Florida offers online learni ng services for students in grad es K-12; Florida Virtual School serves students in grades 9-12; and Edgenuity pro vides virtual instruction to students enrolled in grades 6-12. Middle school students may choose either K12 Florida or Edgenuity, the release notes; high school students have the option of using any of the three virtual instruction providers to meet their specic needs. The school uses a state-approved curricu lum with instructional materials that may include textbooks and a variety of printed materials. Computers may be provided at no charge to eligible students who meet fam ily income requirements, the release points out. Instructors are certied highly qualied teachers, as dened by the federal No Child Left Behind law, it adds. Sarasota Virtual School is graded, just as all schools in Florida receive a grade each year, the release says. Student attendance is moni tored based on online activity, completion of material and successful assessment scores. Textbooks and traditional instructional materials are used, but much of the con tent is delivered via the providers websites, (K12 Florida), (Florida Virtual School) and (Edgenuity). Parents of eligible students who are interested in this option must schedule an appointment with the Sarasota Virtual School adminis trator to discuss their students needs, the release notes. The Sarasota Virtual School ofce may be reached at 927-9000, Ext. 32289, or via email at ENROLLMENT UNDER WAY FOR SARASOTA VIRTUAL SCHOOL Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 76


The U.S. Depar tment of Justices Ofce on Violence Against Women (OVW) has approved the Sarasota County Government applica tion for funding the community Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program in the amount of $400,000 over a three-year period, the county has announced. The Child Protection Center Inc. the 12th Judicial Circuit Court and the Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC) will join Sarasota County Government to form a com munity collaboration to keep children and adult victims safe through supervised vis itations and exchanges with families who have experienced domestic violence, dat ing violence, sexual assault, child abuse and stalking, a news release says. This opportunity will allow us to view the problems through a diverse lens, address existing systems and improve responses while creating a partnership and coordination among community entities in order to ensure continuity of services to protect victims of domestic violence, said Doug Staley, exec utive director of the Child Protection Center, in the release. Sarasota County Government will serve as the coordinator for scal and programmatic aspects of the project, ensuring compliance with statutory and mandatory requirements, the release continues. Child Protection Centers Children and Families Supervised Visitation Program will handle the direct supervised visitation service and day-to-day operations. The 12th Judicial Court will critically review, revise and establish practices to protect the adult victims and children of domestic vio lence, the release adds. SPARCC will provide training designed to teach people how to han dle domestic violence issues, sexual assault, child abuse, dating violence and stalking, the release points out. Additionally, [a] vic tim advocate will give support to victims of domestic violence and provide referrals to other agencies. We are excited about the opportunity to uti lize the Safe Havens model and formalize a clear community response to domestic vio lence, said Sheila Miller, program director for the Child Protection Centers Children and Family Supervised Visitation Program, in the release. Sarasota County will have a col laborative force in ghting domestic violence, instead of four individual agencies striving to address a complex, community issue. SPARCC CEO and President Olivia Thomas added in the release, SPARCC is looking for ward to working with our community partners to implement best practices in supervised vis itation cases where the safety of primary and secondary victims of domestic violence is at the forefront. SARASOTA COUNTY AWARDED $400,000 SAFE HAVENS GRANT SCHOOL BOARD RE-ELECTS JANE GOODWIN AS CHAIRWOMAN The School Boar d o f Sarasota County has re-elected Jane Goodwin as chairwoman for an additional one-year term, the school dis trict has announced. Goodwin has served as chairwoman since November 2012. Chair manship of the board ro tates each November among the ve mem bers, who have the option of re-electing a chair for another term, a news release notes. Frank Kovach was elected vice chairman. The decisions were made during the School Boards annual reorganization meeting on Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 77


Tuesd ay, Nov. 19, held before the regular twice-monthly meeting. School Board member Shirley Brown nom inated Goodwin to serve a second term as chairwoman, noting that continuity of leader ship will be benecial as the special election for the renewal of the 1 mill school referen dum approaches in March, the news release notes. (See the related story in this issue.) We are so fortunate to live in a county with excellent public schools, said Goodwin in the release. It is my pleasure to serve as School Board chairwoman for an additional year. Goodwin was elected to the School Board in August 2010 and began serving in November of that year. She began her professional career as a high school teacher, but she spent more than 20 years as a marketing representative for IBM, specializing in serving K-12 and postsecondary educational institutions, the release notes. After moving to Venice in 1998, she joined the Sarasota Family YMCA as the director of marketing and community rela tions. Goodwin was executive vice president of the Sarasota Home Builders Association in 2008-09, the release adds. She was active in Citizens for Better Schools (CBS) in 2002 and 2006, when that organiza tion spearheaded successful campaigns for referenda on the additional 1 mill property tax for schools, the release points out. She also chaired CBS in 2010, when 66 percent of voters casting ballots approved the continua tion of the levy, the release says. One of her two grandchildren attends Gulf Gate Elementary School; the other is at Sarasota Middle School, the release notes. Kovach has been a School Board member since November 2000. Jane Goodwin/Contributed photo Frank Kovach/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 78


The Sarasota Police Department K-9 Unit has announced that Ofcer Sean Gleason and his partner, Hixon, were voted Top K-9 Team for both the Explosives Division and Narcotics Division out of 100 teams from around the country during the 16th Annual Bomb and Drug Detection seminar in Daytona Beach, Florida. The event was put on by Southern Coast K-9, a news release says. Gleason and three other Sarasota Police Department K-9 teams attended the seminar Nov. 1-14. The seminar included classroom instruction, eld exer cises and certications for proper handling of K9s, h ands-on detection work, K9 rst aid classes, and instruction in search patterns, record-keeping and practical scenarios, the release adds. Ofcers and their K9 partners also attended eld training exercises in storage units, ware houses, vehicles, boats, an airport and a hotel, the release notes. Sgt. Mick McHale of the K-9 Unit said in the release, Im proud of Ofcer Gleasons dedi cation to the program and his contribution as a trainer to the unit. The award is something that is well earned and well deserved. % SARASOTA POLICE K9 TEAM WINS TOP HONORS DURING SEMINAR Ofcer Sean Gleason and Hixon celebrate their recognition during the 16th Annual Bomb and Drug Detection seminar in Daytona Beach. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 79


U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday on Nov. 20 sentenced David P. Lawrence, 26, of Bradenton, to 11 years and eight months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a rearm, the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has reported. On Nov. 6, Lawrences co-defendant, Mark Alan Finehout, 37, of Sarasota, was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a rearm, a news release says. Lawrence and Finehout were indicted on June 12 of this year. Both pleaded guilty to the charges in August, the release adds. According to court documents, on April 17, Lawrence and Finehout purchased a .40-cal iber Taurus pistol from another man, the release continues. During the transaction, Lawrence and Finehout took pictures of the Taurus pistol, along with a Norinco model SKS rie that they were interested in purchas ing, the release says. A search warrant executed on Lawrences cellphone recovered pictures of the Taurus pistol, the SKS rie and text messages sent to an individual regarding the potential resale of both the pistol and the rie, the release adds. Lawrence and Finehout are previously con victed felons, the release notes, so federal law prohibits them from possessing a rearm or ammunition. This case was jointly investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Sarasota County Inset: David Lawrence/Contributed photo. Image courtey of LOCAL PROLIFIC OFFENDERS SENTENCED IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT CRIME BLOTTER


Sheriffs Office and the Manatee County Sheriffs Office, the release points out. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark E. Bini. It is another case under the aegis of the Department of Justices Project Safe Neighborhoods program a nationwide gun-violence reduction strategy, the release points out. Acting U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III, along with ATF Special Agent in Charge Julie Leon, is coordinating the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort in the Middle District of Florida in cooperation with federal, state and local law enforcement ofcials, the release says. Mark Finehout/Contributed photo OPERATION SAFE FAMILIES RESULTED IN 5,544 ARRESTS The Florida Sheriffs Task Force (FSTF) has announced that 5,544 arrests were made during Operation Safe Families, the latest ini tiative aimed at protecting youth and families in Florida. The four-week-long operation targeted individuals with outstanding warrants for domestic violence and writs of bodily attach ments for non-support, which are used to bring in individuals who have failed to pay child support, a news release says. The oper ation was conducted from Oct. 13 through Nov. 9. Domestic violence impacts the lives of countless families and innocent children, said FSTF Chairman and Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualteri in the release. Besides the immediate physical pain and emotional trauma often caused by domestic violence, I am gravely concerned about this cyclical behavior that harms the growth and develop ment of the next generation our children, he added. While the formal task force known as Operation Safe Families has ended, citizens should rest assured knowing that no matter what day it is, the sheriffs of Florida will con tinue working to combat domestic violence. The start of Operation Safe Families coin cided with the National Family Violence Apprehension Detail initiative, a one-day national effort to serve outstanding family violence warrants; it was coordinated by the Clackamas County Sheriffs Ofce in Oregon, the release explains. Operation Safe Families targeted those who endangered the lives of their children and families here in Florida, the release adds. The operation produced the following results: 2,587 arrests for domestic violence. Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 81


772 writs of bodily attachment for non-sup port served. 89 children taken into protective custody. In the 2012 Uniform Crime Report, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) noted that 108,046 domestic violence offenses were reported to law enforcement agencies, and 202 individuals died as a result of domes tic violence, the release continues. This represents approximately 20 percent of all homicides in Florida, the release points out. When th e safety of Floridas citizens is threatened, our sheriffs have developed the resources to act swiftly and strategically to address the issue at hand, said Florida Sheriffs Association President and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in the release. FSA is proud of Sheriff Gualteri and the great work by the Florida Sheriffs Task Force. The Florida Sheriffs Task Force pools resources from the 67 sheriffs ofces to address specic areas of con cern, the release adds. With Thanksg iving right around the corner, people will soon ock to the roads to visit and celebrate with family and friends. The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce is reminding all travelers, whether they are heading across the country or just across town, to ensure a safe arrival and a happy holiday by buckling up Every Trip, Every Time a news release says. To reinforce the law and encourage safe driv ing habits, deputies will participate in the Click It or Ticket campaign from Nov. 18 to Dec. 1, the release adds. Such a simple step as wearing a seat belt can save a life, the release notes, but too many lives are being lost because some have still not gotten the message. The risk of being involved in a serious or deadly car crash increases when the number of cars on the road increases, and the long Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel times of the year, said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. So we want to remind everyone that your seat belts can save your life and thos e you are traveling with. SHERIFFS OFFICE REMINDING MOTORISTS TO BUCKLE UP According to the U.S. Department of Transportations National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 249 passenger vehi cle occupants were killed in motor vehicle crashes across the country during the 2011 Thanksgiving holiday. Fifty percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts, the release points out. Simply put, Crime Stoppers relies upon the cooperation between the police the media and the community to provide a flow of information about crime and criminals. Call: (941) 366-TIPS (8477) Click: Text: Text TIP109 plus your message to CRIMES (274637) All submitted tips are secure and anonymous Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 82


The Sarasota C ounty Sheriffs Office has arrested two men for having sex with a minor and creating videos and photos of the encoun ters, the ofce has announced. The 16-year-old victim reported that the inci dents took place between July and October, a news release says. Detectives executed a search warrant last month at the home of one of the suspects, Sean Smart, 37, of 1807 Marbeth St., Sarasota, and seized evidence in the case, the release adds. Smart ed the state, but a deputy with the Fugitive Apprehension Unit, working in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force, devel oped information on Smarts location and the Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team captured him Nov. 20 in Cincinnati, the release continues. His arrest warrant orders him held without bond until he faces a judge in Sarasota County. Smart is charged with three counts of Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors; four counts of Sexual Performance by a Child, for directing sexual conduct of the victim; and 11 counts of Sexual Performance by a Child, for the pictures and videos. The second suspect, David Bell, 27, of 3365 Seventh St., Sarasota, was arrested Monday and charged with one count of Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors and one count of Directing or Promoting Sexual Performance by a Child. He is being held on $350,000 bond. % TWO ARRESTED FOR FILMING SEXUAL ACTIVITY WITH A MINOR David Gregory Bell/Contributed photo Sean Smart/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 83


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OPINION EDITORIAL EDITORIAL If one wanted to leave public service with a noble legacy that would endure long after ward, being an advocate for the equality and dignity of all citizens, regardless of station, surely would be at the top of the list. The ve Sarasota County commissioners took a rm step in that direction on Nov. 6, when they voted unanimously to establish a county wide Domestic Partnership Registry. The registry, or DPR as it is most commonly known, will allow unmarried couples to visit one another in the hospital, be involved in healthcare decisions for each other and even make funeral or burial arrangements in the event of a partners death. Former Sarasota City Commissioner Ken Shelin has been an indefatigable advocate for the DPR, having successfully lobbied for passage of similar ordinances in the cities of Sarasota and Venice. But it was obvious to him that a countywide ordinance was necessary. At rst glance, it seems to be mostly a gay rights issue, since Florida passed a consti tutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage. However, Sarasota County is home to a large population of senior citizens, and many older couples also choose to live in inti mate, committed relationships without being married. Given the statistical probability of hospitalizations and even death among older couples, the DPR will be especially important to Sarasotas senior residents. Still, at its heart, the DPR is about equality and dignity the right of couples who might not be married to participate more fully in COUNTY DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP REGISTRY A GOOD FIRST STEP


each others lives in the most difcult of cir cum stances, and dignity in interacting with healthcare providers. Shelin did not get everything he wanted. He had asked that the ordinance be open to even part-time Sarasota residents, not just those who live here year-round. Given the large number of snow birds who winter here and might experi ence a hospitalization or even death, this seemed a logical and fair request. He also asked that those in the registry be allowed to participate in parent-teacher conferences if a partner had school-age children. These are issues that can be discussed further by the commission and, we hope, added to the ordi nance at a later time. Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Mason was the principal catalyst for the countywide DPR. In fact, we believe the unanimous vote following some skepticism on the part of a few commissioners in previous board dis cussions on the ordinance is a testimony to the high regard in which she is held by her peers on the commission. We hope that high regard continues as she next advocates for the passage of a county wide human rights ordinance. Mason has publicly stated her desire to pass such an ordinance to protect members of the LGBT community from discrimination in housing and em ployment. State anti-discrimination laws do not afford such protection, so many cities and counties around the Sunshine State have adopted local ordinances to provide that security. As with the DPR, the cities of Sarasota and Venice already have such an ordinance. The commission has charg ed the county attorney with inves tigating the laws in other counties in Florida. He likely will give them his report early next year. However, we urge the County Commission to not ju st be a follower. Have the county attorney look outside the state, if necessary, to nd the most pro tective anti-discrimination ordinances to use as a model for Sarasota. We believe the county would be wise to distinguish itself as a leader in develop ing comprehensive protections for all of its citizens. Seeking to simply stay within the parameters of other Florida counties actions will not do that. No citizen of Sarasota County is more or less deserving of protection against the prejudices of others. For equality to exist, rights cannot be afforded to some but not to others. The Domestic Partnership Registry was a good rst step for the commission in foster ing that equality. Passage of a human rights ordinance is the logical next step in creating the secure and inclusive community that all who live here deserve. We hope it is do ne sooner rather than later. % At its heart, the DPR is about equality and dignity the right of couples who might not be married to participate more fully in each others lives in the most difcult of circumstances, and the dignity it affords each in interacting with healthcare providers. Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 86


COMMENTARY Today mar ks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It was made even more tragic as the opening salvo in a decade of senseless slay ings, including those of his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ve years later. President Kennedys assassination left an indelible mark on all of us who were living at that time, but it has had almost as great an impact on those who were born afterward. His death galvanized a generation in its com mitment to service to the country and equality for all. He sk illfully confronted the aggression of the Soviet Union that precipitated the Cuban Missile Crisis, which took us to the brink of nuclear conict. More import ant, his brief presidency articulated a vision that largely came to fruition after his death: The passage of the Civil Rights Act; the Voting Rights Act; the opening of the Space Age and our quest to put a man on th e moon; the Peace Corps; and the Nuclea r Test Ban Tre aty. His impact on the nation has extended decades beyond his life. Our cover this week is a photo of an homage to Kennedy and the anniversary of his death crafted by a street artist at the recently con cluded Sarasota Chalk Festival. EDITORIALS VERSUS COMMENTARIES We occasionally are asked why commentar ies include the identities of the authors, but editorials remain anonymous. Why isnt the writer of the editorial listed? is the frequent question. And the answer is quite simple. To paraphrase former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Newspapers are pe ople, too. In other words, editorials are not the opinion of the writer or even of the editorial board. Editorials are the opinion of the publi cation. Th ey really are not unsigned the signature is in the ban ner at the top of the cover page. SLIGHTLY HACKNEYED President Kennedys assassination left an indelible mark on all of us who were living at that time, but it has had almost as great an impact on those who were born afterward. A TRAGIC ANNIVERSARY Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 87


Commentaries, o n the other hand, are the opin ions only of the authors and might not reect the opinion of the publication. That, of course, includes the author of this humble column. If something written here is objectionable to you, the only person respon sible is yours truly. I also would be remiss if I did not point out that we scrupulously maintain a rewall between our news reporting and our Opinion section. In fact, we are committed to ensur ing that one will never find even a hint of bias anywhere in our publication except in the opinion section, where it is appropriate. The public is not served when news is not accurately and impartially reported, and our mission is always to protect the integrity of that reporting. GIVE US A BREAK DEPARTMENT: If you hire the Ku Klux Klan to develop a racial desegregat ion plan, and it offers a report that recommends apartheid, it is disingenuous to feign surprise. And it adds fatuity to folly to then maintain that, despite the obvious prejudices, it still can render an impartial plan for desegrega tion if it is asked specically to do so. The County Commissions bungling of this Laffer Associates debacle, including its con tinued insistence that Donna Arduin and her cronies will provide any semblance of an impartial, defensible analysis of our 2050 Plan, insults the intelligence of every citizen of Sarasota County. THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Inaugural Addr ess, Jan. 20, 1961 % The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money. Thomas Jefferson Dont have your own subscription to The Sarasota News Leader ? Subscribe for FREE and receive a latest issue is available online. FREE SUBSCRIPTION Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 88


COMMENTARY Do you wanna play with us? Those six words, making up that simple sen tence, evoke huge memories for me. And in composing a universally recognized question, they are both an equalizer and an ageless invi tation. This is a very powerful sentence. The last time I said it was not long ago at my local tennis court. We had three players and were looking for a fourth. I saw a man approaching the court next to ours, and since I thought he was alone and looking for a game, I invited him to play with us. Childhood games that we make up as we go along always seem to allow for more players. As a youngster growing up in a large apart ment complex, you never knew what the game of the day would be until you went over to the yard/playing area, saw something going on and responded to the question, Do you wanna play with us? The answer was always a resounding and unequivocal YES!! You were then part of the group, feeling that sense of belonging. You might have been competing with the others, but you were feeling abso lutely comfortable. Teenage years are mostly complicated and difcult, for both the parents and the teenag ers. As teens, are we still feeling more like small children? Can we take on more adult responsibilities? Will we always feel like out siders, as we do then? Once more, that same six-word sentence, offering a sense of belonging and comfort, comes up. We can join a team, be accepted and not feel so alone. We do not have to be limited to one sport, either, or one game. The possibilities are endless, and the warm wel come is extended for all of us. Later in life, if we seek new companionship and are taking up new interests (Pickleball, anybody?), the idea that someone we have not met yet will invite us into a group of peo ple, asking if we want to play with them, is a most wondrous and welcoming concept. Let the games begin I am always ready to play. % LETS PLAY By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader wel comes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and in clude the name, street address and telephone number of the writer. Letters should be emailed to with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Letters ac tually printed will be selected based on space avail able, subject matter and other factors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted be come the property of The Sarasota News Leader. COMMENTARY Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 89


Sarasota Leisure SARASOTA LEISURE Your Lifestyle Guide To The Suncoast Inside NOISE R US MASTER PIECES PATRIOTIC FERVOR


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The cover of Noise Ordinance 4 was designed by Matthew Decker. Photo courtesy NOISE R US Bands that are out playing a lot actually dont get to go out and see other bands, and so this gives bands a chance to see what else is going on in town. Ed Middler Organizer Noise Ordinance


Its become a tradition: A few dozen or so local bands come together in the backyard of the Cock & Bull, playing short sets on two stages, all in celebration of the release of the latest Noise Ordinance compilation. The orga nizers behind the event Ed Middler, Claire Franklin and Kat Derr have tweaked the process slightly over the years, but things this Saturday will largely be the same as those at the rst event, held way, way back in 2010. Heck, why mess with a good thing? Each year, Middler, Franklin and Derr put out a call for submissions from local bands and musicians, asking them to submit a well-re corded original track. They pick the best songs, but also look to see if the bands are active, playing shows and promoting them selves around town. The submissions are pared down to just under 40. Noise Ordinance No. 1 had 38 tracks; this years double CD has 35. Middler who runs the website Sarasota Mu sic Scene dedicated to covering and pro moting area music sees a big uptick in interest in Noise Ordinance from local media and bands alike. Hes getting calls, emails and Facebook messages year-round from groups wanting to know what the plan is for the next Noise Ordinance and how they can partici pate. Young groups just forming are reaching out because they want to get involved to build buzz. One of th e best features of the event, and the CDs, for that matter? The impressive musical variety. Reggae bumps up against punk rock; folk collides with funk. When asked if this years album has a particular avor compared to those of years past, Middler says each one is a unique potpourri. This year weve got a little more country than we did in the past, he says. We do have a good amount of punk this year. The only genre that we lack is heavy metal, death metal. But overall, its just a good mix of all types of music. Last years event drew about 1,000 Middler says he thinks this year should do just as well. The first 100 attendees this Saturday will receive a copy of the compilation when they pay their $10 entry fee. Everyone else will need to pony up another $5. Past versions have offered a wonderful and bewildering snapshot of the regions original pop music, and each new release can be listened to as a state of the scene address. Each of the per formers gets 40 copies as part of the deal they can sell those at their own shows, give them away, pass them along to radio stations, play Frisbee with them, whatever. While Noise Ordinance organizers would, of course, love to grow the event so much that it exceeds the Cock & Bulls space, and Middler would like to include local artisans and craft ers and food, Middler says the organization is largely content to keep doing what its doing supportin g the creation of an authentic DOZENS OF PERFORMERS CELEBRATE THE LATEST NOISE ORDINANCE COMPILATION ALL DAY SATURDAY By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 93


local musical community. Bands that are out playing a lot actually dont get to go out and see other bands, he adds, and so this gives bands a chance to see what else is going on in town. Noise Ordinance 4 runs 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at Cock & Bull, 975 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota. Tickets are $10; the event is free for kids 12 and under. Go to for a complete sched ule of performers. % Image courtesy Stock.xchng Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 94


I like the coffee guy over here the best, I think. That comment was reiterated in var ious forms on Monday, Nov. 18, as visitors contemplated the entries in the 2013 Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition. The coffee guy took top prize in the fourth annual event. Sculptors Karen Fralich and Dan Belcher 2011 Crystal Classic winners intrigued people with the chemical formula inscribed on one side of Brainstorm: An Ode to Coffee As Ma rcus Cicero of Tampa and Arjan Hudepol of The Netherlands eyed that formula, Cicero said, I feel like I should know; its probably something simple. Thinking it just might be the chemistry for coffee, Cicero pulled out his smartphone. After a couple of minutes of tapping keys, he announced, It is coffee. Thank you, Wikipedia. In the meantime, other people paused at length to survey the sculpture, with one Brainstorm won top honors in the 2013 Crystal Classic. Photo by Robert Hackney FROM WHIMSY TO CURRENT TOPICS AND EVEN A TRIBUTE TO ONE OF THEIR OWN THE 2013 CRYSTAL CLASSIC SCULPTORS ENTRIES WOWED THE CROWDS MASTER PIECES By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Work is under way on Brainstorm on the rst day of the 2013 Crystal Classic, Nov. 15. Photo by Norman Schimmel World Breathe won second place. Photo by Robert Hackney Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 96


Michela Ciopini and Jan Zelinka work on World Breathe on Nov. 15. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 97


woman telling her c ompanion, See the wires sticking out [of the hair] and another just murmuring, Thats so cool. Judy Kophs and her husband, Stan, were among those taking it all in. They had come with a group of 165 residents of The Villages to see the results of the competition. Monika Ince of New York and Maria McDonald of Houston both snowbirds here for the season relished the details in the various pieces. Its really beautiful, McDonald said as they stood in front of the third-place win ner, The Amazin Sand Castle Machine! by Matt Long and Andy Gertler, both of New York. That sculpture was a tribute to sculptor Walter McDonald of South Padre Island, TX Amazin Walter, as his fellow master sand sculptors call him. A not e attached to the platform in front of that piece says McDonald is the oldest living sand sculptor in captivity McDonald was in charge of sand-sculpting demonstrations for the Crystal Classic this year. The second-place award went to World Breathe created by Michela Ciopini of Italy and Jan Zelinka of the Czech Republic. Looks like lungs, said a woman looking at that sculpture. Wow. WOW! added another. As Ince and McDonald made their way over to the entry by Craig Mutch and Bill Dow The Stray Bar they again took their time as they studied all the features. Look at the eyes of that dog, McDonald pointed to one feature and laughed. She chortled moments later as The Amazin Sand Castle Machine! won third-place honors. Photo by Robert Hackney Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 98


Amazin Walter is in the drivers seat already on Nov. 15, headed to a third-place award. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 99

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she read the name of the establishment, with its dog patrons on all sides including one drinking out of a toilet and a cat popping out of the roof. Ohhh! Facebark! she added with yet another laugh as she read the name on the tablet one dog was reading. At the last sculpture with its Medusa-type head featuring National Security Agency wires instead of snakes, Claudia Finlan of Siesta Key noted the route of those wires, in your eyes and in your ears. The piece was by Sandis Kondrats of Latvia and Bert Adams of Washington state. This is our third [Crystal Classic], Finlan told The Sarasota News Leader Her husband, Dennis, added that he thought an earlier years examples were better. One of his very favor ite Crystal Classic sculptures, he said, was Nightmares which took top honors in 2011. Craig Mutch and Bill Dows The Stray Bar won a lot of admirers, even if it did not garner any prizes from the judges. Photo by Robert Hackney Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 100

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Craig Mutch and Bill Dow build The Stray Bar. Photo by Norman Schimmel Visitors were well advised to walk all the way around a sculpture, so as not to miss any details, including those of The Stray Bar. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 101

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Fans of the FX TV show of a similar name could not help but be drawn to Sons of Anarchy 10,000 BC by Ronald McDonald and Steve Topazio. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 102

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A master sand sculptor puts ne detail work into a sandcastle on Nov. 15. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 103

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Coincidentally, Nightmares was the co-cre ation of 2013 co-champion Karen Fralich. Nonetheless, the Finlans were taking their time, too, to survey the sculpture in its entirety, making sure they had seen every carved word from SPAM to Big Data. Cheryl Gaddie, president of the Siesta Key Village Association and one of the orga nizers told the News Leader on Nov. 18 that while the event had been as wonderful as ever, The weather was tough Saturday, obviously. Once the rain ceased, she added, the Crystal Classic enjoyed a decent crowd. Sundays attendance was amazing, she pointed out. Still, she said, We couldnt make up for Saturday. In spite of the organizers weather woes, the crowd Monday was an appreciative one. Its wonderful, wonderful, Maria McDonald told the News Leader We dont have this beach in Texas. Profits from the event will benefit Mote Marine Laboratorys sea turtle research and conservation programs. % Brett Stocker and Fred Mallet offered visitors a view into a land of castles and dragons. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 104

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Master sculptor Sandis Kondrats crafts the NSA wires of his sculpture as the Crystal Classic gets under way on Nov. 15. Photo by Norman Schimmel The completed version of the NSA/Big Data sculpture had its share of small details deserving study. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 105

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The Margaritaville Apparel logo stands tall at the front of the sponsor logos. The rm provided $20,000 to the event this year. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sculptors are at work and the Vendors Village is busy on the opening day of the 2013 Crystal Classic. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 106

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Overcast skies do not deter visitors from enjoying the bounty offered by the Vendors Village. Contributed photo by Peter van Roekens Along with the sand sculpting, the Crystal Classic offered live entertainment. Contributed photo by Peter van Roekens % Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 107

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Burns Square and its environs once again were the center of colorful collaboration as the 2013 Chalk Festival brought hundreds of artists and tens of thousands of visitors to downtown Sarasota Nov. 13-18. The theme this year was Legacy of Valor in partnership with the community campaign to honor veterans, inspire patriotism and pass freedom on to others, as organizers put it. Event founder Deni se Kowal, a Burns Square businesswoman, says the festivals archives chairman, David Taylor, suggested the theme to her. Taylor is a Vietnam War veteran and a recipient of the Purple Heart. Classic American war images kept company with more modern variations on service to the United States and its citizens. % Photo by Norman Schimmel THE 2013 CHALK FESTIVAL FEATURES MULTI-HUED TRIBUTES TO THE NATIONS HEROES PATRIOTIC FERVOR Staff Reports

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Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 109

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Many of the works of art are a group effort. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota artist Anita Wexler gets a start on her entry. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 110

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Anita Wexlers work is complete. Photo by Norman Schimmel Photo contributed by Peter van Roekens Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 111

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Work is in progress on an image of one of World War IIs iconic bombers. Photo contributed by Peter van Roekens Photo contributed by Peter van Roekens Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 112

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Photo contributed by Peter van Roekens Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 113

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Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 114

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Photo by Norman Schimmel Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 115

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Photo by Norman Schimmel Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 116

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Photo by Norman Schimmel % Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 117

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SHAY WINS THE TOP KEEP SARASOTA COUNTY BEAUTIFUL VOLUNTEER AWARD; EFFORTS CONTINUE TO START A VILLAGE RECYCLING INITIATIVE; AND THE KEYS HOLIDAY SEASON KICKOFF IS ON THE HORIZON By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor SIESTA SEEN A he arty Congratulations goes out to Michael Shay, vice president of the Siesta Key Association (SKA), for being named Volunteer of the Year last week by Keep Sarasota County Beautiful (KSCB). Anyone familiar with Shays efforts to keep Siesta Keys gorgeous vistas clear of trash knows he is most deserving of the award. It was presented at the annual KSCB volunteer recognition program, held on Nov. 13 at the Venice Community Center. Two children found a way to get extra enjoyment out of the fourth annual Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition. Photo contributed by Peter van Roekens

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As part of his latest initiatives, Shay not only is organizing another Adopt-a-Road event on Nov. 23 as reported in this space last week he also remains at work on the effort to implement a recycling program in Siesta Village. He provided the Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA) an update on the latter at the groups Nov. 5 regular meeting. Shay who represents the SKA at the SKVA sessions reported that he had contacted Waste Management and learned the firm does not provide recycling bins for curbside use. However, he said, the company will put another dumpster or carts in the municipal parking lot, which is located between Avenida Madera and Avenida de Mayo. They do not want to get involved in the curb side stuff, Shay added of Waste Management representatives. Michael Shay of Siesta Key displays his Volunteer of the Year award from Keep Sarasota County Beautiful. Photo by Norman Schimmel Village Caf will provide a free breakfast at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, for Adopt-ARoad volunteers. (Organizers suggest heavy tipping.) The trash cleanup effort will begin at 9 a.m. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 119

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Based on a book Russell Matthes, past SKVA president, had given him, Shay continued, the recycling bins would be about $200 each, if the organization wanted a design similar to that of Village garbage cans. The recycling bins could be blue, for example, to distinguish their use from the garbage cans, he noted. For the next step in the process, Shay sug gested he would contact Sarasota County staff and nd out whether the county could help the Village obtain less expensive bins. In response to questions from Matthes and SKVA President Cheryl Gaddie, Shay said, My assumption is that Championship would be the one to empty [the recycling bins], just as its workers put the Village garbage in the dumpster in the municipal lot. Championship Landscape Maintenance Professionals of Fort Myers is the rm that has the contract for Village upkeep. Another container might have to be placed in the municipal lot for the recyclables, Shay pointed out. The size would depend on the volume, he added, noting, Your garbage vol ume is going to decrease once recycling gets under way. Youre not increasing the stuff thats being collected. Now youre spreading it into two components. A Keep Sarasota County Beautiful slide shows Siesta Key Association and Siesta Key Village Association volunteers during an Adopt-A-Road cleanup event. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 120

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Mark Smith, he a d of the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp., pointed out that, years ago before the county began the Village beautication project the county helped the SKVA buy extra garbage cans. He said he could contact county staff to determine whether the county would be willing to cover half the cost, perhaps, of recycling bins. A determination would also have to be made about whether the dumpster in the munici pal lot is big enough to accommodate both garbage and recyclables, Smith continued. Someone might need to be designated to bring carts with the collected recyclables to the dumpster site on garbage pick-up day, he said. Shay had counted 12 locations where recy clable bins are most needed in the Village, Gaddie noted, based on the typical contents in the garbage cans in those spots. However, Shay pointed out that fewer loca tions could be tried at rst on a trial basis. Matthes questioned whether 12 was a number big enough to garner county interest in offer ing funding assistance. Let me at least ask, Smith replied. Perhaps grant money could be found to help pay for the project, Smith added. I was going to ask that question, too, Shay said. Gaddie, Shay and Smith will continue work on the details, Gaddie told members attending the meeting. She hopes to have another report by the time the SKVA holds its Dec. 3 meeting. LIGHT UP THE VILLAGE Planning has continued for the traditional holiday kickoff in Siesta Village, Light Up the Village, which will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30, right after Thanksgiving. During the SKVA meeting this month, Gaddie encouraged people to sign up to participate in the parade, which will begin around 5:30 p.m. and proceed down Ocean Boulevard. Its the biggest and best parade in the area, she proclaimed. A lot of effort has gone into the parade since it began a few years ago. Last year, it featured about 25 oats. Anyone seeking more details about participat ing in the parade may email Gaddie directly at As the SKVA website points out, children can give Santa their wish lists, have their faces painted, visit with Santas elves and be entertained by Clifford the Big Red Dog and Sunshine the Clown at Siesta Center during the event. Santas gift bags, provided by Beach Bazaar, will be given to the rst 250 children who visit with Santa. The Jolly Old Elf is expected to arrive at Siesta Center at 6:15 p.m. Businesses will offer refreshments, and live musical entertainment will be presented by the Pine View High School Jazz Band, Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 121

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barbershop quartets, keyboard players and choirs. Ocean Boulevard will be lined with luminarias, and businesses will be bright and merry with holiday decorations. Free trolley rides will be available from Siesta Key Public Beach to the Village from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Details about sponsorships of the event also are available on the SKVA website THAT NEVER-ENDING PARKING DILEMMA When members showed up for the SKA meet ing on Nov. 7, more than a few were taken aback to see just how full the parking lots were at St. Boniface Episcopal Church, where the organizations sessions are held. It turned out that the bishop of the diocese that includes St. Boniface was there to meet with parishioners. Fortunately, SKA President Catherine Luckner and SKA Director Joe Volpe had scrambled and won the approval of the neighborhood across the street from the church to allow vehicle parking in open space near the road. We thought we had lots of people here for the cupcakes, Luckner joked when she opened the meeti ng, referring to the treats Joe and More oats are welcome for the holiday parade that will be part of Light Up the Village on Nov. 30. Contributed photo by Peter van Roekens Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 122

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Lana Volpe h ad brought to help celebrate SKAs 65th anniversary. When Sarasota County Code Enforcement Ofcer John Lally stood before SKA members to make his report, the parking situation obvi ously was very much on his mind. T his looks like January, February, March on Siesta Key, he said, referring to the height of season. It is evident, he continued, that the island still does not have sufcient parking for visi tors and residents, especially during periods of high demand. He had no doubt, he added, A graphic shows the nal phase of improvements at Siesta Public Beach, with the extra 130 parking spaces completed. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 123

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that people will be charging visitors to park in their yards again once season begins in ear nest, even though that is prohibited by law. Well do our best to enforce what we can on it, Lally pointed out of Code Enforcement staff. Its kind of a shame for our tourists to come here and cant nd a parking spot. We spend millions of dollars to get our tour ists here, he pointed out, but they have a lot of trouble nding parking spaces they can lawfully use. While he spoke early this year of his own proposal for a Gulf-side structure housing a parking deck with a restaurant on top, he con tinued, he keeps hearing that is not a viable option. And even though the improvements planned at Siesta Public Beach include 130 new parking spaces, he said, they really need about 450 new spots. Just two days earlier, Sgt. Steve Leavitt of the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce told SKVA members at their meeting how much busier the beach has been in recent weeks. Ofcers have seen quite a number of students from northern states who apparently had two weeks of fall break, he noted, for one example. Ive seen a lot more activity here in the Village, he added, and were starting to see the snowbirds come back. Its cold up North already, Gaddie responded with a laugh. It is getting cold up North, Leavitt concurred. After Lally completed his report to SKA mem bers (see more details in the Nov. 15 Siesta Seen ), he bid them goodbye, saying, Ill go give my parking space up to somebody. % A week before the opening of the 2013 Crystal Classic, plenty of visitors were spread across the wide swath of Siesta Public Beach. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 124

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Six nationa lly acclaimed singers will take concert-goers on an enchanting, seductive, show-stopping tour of G.F. Handels masterful opera, Alcina Sunday, Nov. 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the Church of the Redeemer in downtown Sarasota, the church has announced. Powerhouse Metropolitan Opera singers Rebecca Price and Jason Stearns, along with established and up-and-coming singers Adelaide Boedecker, Adam Bielamowicz, Monica Pasquini and Reba Evans will per form select arias of the opera, with narration provided by June LeBell of Sarasota, a news release says. The singers will be accom panied by a full chamber orchestra led by Todd Craven, conductor of the First Brass ensemble, with Redeemers choirmaster Ann Stephenson-Moe, playing harpsichord. Alcina is a beautiful and powerful sorceress, says Stephenson-Moe in the release. Men swoon and fall in love with her, but when she tires of them, as she inevitably does, she uses sorcery to turn them into stones or trees. She must never fall in love. If she does, she loses her powers. Twists and turns of love, betrayal, desire and illusion compel the story, the release points out. Alcina (Boedecker) is embroiled in a passionate love affair with Ruggiero (Price), but Ruggiero is affianced to Bradamante (Evans). With her tutor, Melisso (Stearns), along for the ride, Bradamante disguises her self as a young man named Ricciardo and travels to spy on her straying anc. Alcinas sister, Morgana (Pasquini), becomes besotted with Ricciardo/Bradamante, and her regular lover, Oronte (Biel amowicz), responds by Adelaide Boedecker will play the part of Alcina in performances of arias from Handels opera of the same name. Contributed photo SORCERY & ILLUSION TO BE OFFERED AT CHURCH OF THE REDEEMER A&E BRIEFS

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fueling jealous rage in Ruggiero. In the end, some relationships are torn apart [and] some prevail, as powers of sorcery and seduction fail and illusions are exposed for truths, the release notes. Stearns has been a baritone soloist with the Metropolitan Opera since 2008. His perfor mance as Iago in last summers production of Otello at the opera festival in Utah was hailed by The Salt Lake Tribune for the singers burnished, resonant tones, and thrilling top notes, the release continues. Price is a cover singer with the Metropolitan Opera. Pasquini is a coloratura soprano known for singing in altissimo soprano range, and her voice soars a full octave above high C, the release adds. She performs with the Choreo Theatro Company in Brooklyn, NY. Also from New York City, Evans recently per formed as alto soloist in Vivaldis Gloria RV 588 with the Metropolitan Greek Chorale, the release notes. Bielamowicz will be making his Carnegie Hall debut this December. In 2011, he played Borsa in the Sarasota Operas performance of Rigoletto Boedecker is a graduate student at the Eastman School of Music, pursuing a master of music in vocal performance and literature, the release continues. She was a Marcello Giordani Young Artist at the Crested Butte Music Festival in Crested Butte, CO, over the past summer. Advance ticket purchase for this concert is highly recommended, the release points out. Tickets are $20; they may be purchased online at or through the parish ofce (955-4263) during regular busi ness hours. The Church of the Redeemer is located at 222 S. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota. The Hermitage Artist Retreat has announced that Englewood artist Carroll Swayze will hold an open studio and exhibit of her work at the Hermitage, located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood, on Friday, Nov. 22, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Swayze is not only a popular Englewood artist, but she is also a member of the fam ily that occupied th e property before it was purchased by Sarasota County, a news release notes. Program Director Patricia Caswell explains in the release, I knew the entire Swayze SWAYZE TO EXHIBIT WORK AT HERMITAGE ARTIST RETREAT family and have many fond memories of life on Manasota Key in the 1970s and 80s. Knowing the property as I did, I knew it would be a great artist retreat. In the late 1990s, Sarasota arts patron Syd Adler partnered with me in my position as executive director of the Arts Council, and we enlisted the sup port of Manasota Key residents to restore the buildings. That was the start of making this wonderful dream come true. Sway ze has been an independent artist all of her life, the release adds. She is communica tions chairwoman for the National Association of Independent Artists and has maintained an Engle wood studio for more than 35 years. Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 126

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committe e that saved, restored and created The Hermitage Artists Retreat, in what was her mothers former beach house. She was also on the board of directors of the Englewood Art Center, which raised the money to expand and build what has become one of the most vibrant community art cen ters in the area, now operated by the Ringling College of Art and Design, the release adds. When not making art, Swayze teaches art to home-schooled children in three counties and as well as to adults. For more information about The Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 475-2098 or visit the web site at www.HermitageArtistRe Carroll Swayze will exhibit her work at the Hermitage on Nov. 22. Contributed photo She began working in oils, moved on to India inks, watercolors and, nally, acrylics, the release says. Soon after relocating perma nently to Florida, Swayze bought an etching press and started working in intaglio etching hand-painted with acrylic washes, the release says. Her artwork is highly regarded both locally and around the globe, the release points out. In October 2009, she was chosen as one of only 10 North American artists to participate in the rst outdoor art festival in Japan, the Yokohama International Open Air Art Fair in Yokohama, it notes. Carroll Swayze has always been involved with, and given back to, her community, the release continues. She was on the steering Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 127

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Trapeze acts are featured in the Vague de Cirque shows. Contributed photo CIRCUS SARASOTA KICKS OFF SEASON WITH NEW CIRCUS TROUPE Circus Sarasota is kicking off its 201314 season with an avant-garde circus troupe that is not only new to Sarasota but also making its debut on U.S. soil Vague de Cirque, a unique and inter active troupe straight from Quebec, the organization has announced. Vague de Cirque features stunning acrobatics, aerobatics and circus art istry masterfully intertwined with both music and comedy, a news release says. This up-close-and-personal cir cus arts experience will be offered at Westeld Sarasota Square Mall in a quaint, boutique-style circus tent complete with cabaret-style seating just outside Costco, the release adds. Shows are scheduled for three consec utive weeks, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 1. We are dedicated to promoting the circus arts throughout our com munity, and Vague de Cirque is a real winner, said The Circus Arts Conservatory Co-Founder and CEO Pedro Reis in the release. Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 128

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All of t he performers have spent a lifetime training in gymnastics or the circus arts, the release notes, and many have performed with world-renowned groups such as Cirque du Soleil. Performances began Nov. 15 and will continue Nov. 22, 23, 24, 29 and 30 as well as Dec. 1. Tickets are $35 for adults and $18 for children. They may be purchased by calling The Circus Arts Conservatory box ofce at 355-9805 or going online at The Vague de C irque shows, which are about two hours with intermission, are inspired by the European circuses of the 1940s and are designed to mesmerize audiences with an unexpected, interactive storyline that intermittently crosses from reality into the magical world of circus artistry, the release continues. The amazing performance includes eight of the worlds nest acrobatic performers, who will entertain with every thing from hand vaulting and human towers to group juggling, Chinese pole, teeter board [and] Russian bar re, the release points out. A variety of aerial arts are included in the Vague de Cirque program. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 129

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In a rst for Sarasotas Ed Smith Stadium, the Baltimore Orioles will present Ice on the Diamond A Holiday Celebration a dazzling, holiday-themed show featuring world-class ice skaters on a specially engi neered ice stage at the ballpark, the baseball organization has announced. The show will be offered at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20, with the stadium decorated for the holidays, creating a festive backdrop to this family-friendly event, a news release says. This event is part of the Orioles Arts in the Ballpark initiative, a series of arts and enter tainment activities for the public at Ed Smith Stadium designed to appeal to a wide range of tastes and interests, the release notes. Tick ets are on sale at the stadium box ofce, online at and by phone at 893-6300. Prices range from $5 to $30, with a limited number of Gold Circle seats for $45, the release notes. Children age 2 and under, sitting on a parents lap, will be admitted free. The shows cast will include a world-class team of national and international skaters, the release points out. The soloists will be Michael Chack, a U.S. national Bronze med alist, and Erica Archambault, a U.S. junior national champion, the release continues. Triple Gold medalists Stephanie Kuban and John Hunt will be the lead pair. Actors Joe ORIOLES TO HOST ICE ON THE DIAMOND ON DEC. 20 World-class ice skaters will perform in Ice on the Diamond at Ed Smith Stadium. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 130

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Gnoffo and Casey Peterson as elves will narrate the show, the release says. Jeb K. Rand, son of Sarasota residents Dr. Howard Rand and Nanci Rand, is the shows producer. A former nationally ranked pairs gure skater, he is president and executive producer of Las Vegas-based Rand Enterprises & Productions Inc. and has been involved in gure skating for more than 30 years, produc ing or directing dozens of ice shows around the world, the release adds. The Ed Smith Stadium box ofce is located at 2700 12th St. in Sarasota. It is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking the night of the event will cost $5 in the East and North lots, with a portion of proceeds sup porting the Sarasota YMCA. For additional information on this event or other upcoming Arts in the Ballpark activi ties, visit % The family-friendly Ice on the Diamond will include humor as well as ice dancing. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 131

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Members of the community are warmly invited to a joyous Hanukkah celebration as Temple Emanu-El, located at 151 McIntosh Road in Sarasota, hosts the annual Hanukkah Happening on Friday, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m. An exuberant and spirited evening for all ages, the Hanukkah Happening features a delicious dinner of homemade brisket and chicken with all the trimmings as well as the tra ditional latkes (fried potato pancakes); crafts and childrens activities; a menorah-making contest with prizes for all entrants; and a visit from Hanukkah hero Judah Maccabee, who will retell the story of Hanukkah and dis tribute dreidels and chocolate gelt, a news releas e says. The annual Hanukkah Family Service, which includes candle lighting, songs and a Hanukkah play, will follow at 7:30 p.m. Reservations for the Hanukkah Happening are required. The cost is $25 per adult and $15 for children under 13. All proceeds ben et educational and scholarship programs at Temple Emanu-El Religious School. Checks made out to Temple Emanu-El Religious School and the names of attendees may be mailed to Temple Emanu-El, 151 McIntosh Road, Sarasota, FL 34232. For more information, cal l 371-2788. Temple Emanu-El leaders joined Rabbi Brenner Glickman in kindling the Temples menorah at a previous Hanukkah Happening. Contributed photo TEMPLE EMANU-EL TO HOST HANUKKAH HAPPENING RELIGION BRIEFS

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Temple Emanu-El Religious School student Riley Silva showed off her winning menorah at a previous Hanukkah Happening. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 133

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One of seve ral social groups for members of the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism is its Bike Riders. Over the past couple of years, the participants in that group have covered the many beautiful planned bicy cle paths devoted to riders in the county, a Congregation news release says. Most recently, they met at Blackburn Point Park and proceeded to ride along Casey Key. Th ey enjoyed viewing the million-dollar houses, and then, at the Venice North Jetty, they were surprised and thrilled to see a spectacular dolphin show, the release adds. For more information about the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism go to or call 929-7771. % (From left) Congregation for Humanistic Judaism members Carol Heckert, Len Rosen, Amy Eliezer, Ken Heckert, Sandy Siegel, Marty Hollander and Wolfe Zucker enjoy taking bike rides together in the community. Contributed photo BIKE RIDERS AMONG CONGREGATIONS SOCIAL GROUPS Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 134

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YOUR LIFESTYLE GUIDE TO THE SUNCOAST 22+ NOVEMBER Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe presents Purlie Through Dec. 15; times vary. Theatre located at 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Tickets: $28.50. Information: 366-1505 or 22+ NOVEMBER Dabbert Gallery presents Season of Color Through Nov. 29, 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free admission. Information: 955-1315 or 22+ NOVEMBER FST presents Monty Pythons Spamalot Through Jan. 5, times vary. Gompertz Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Avenue. Tickets: $18-49. Information: 366-9000 or 27 NOVEMBER Thanksgiving benet for the homeless Nov. 27, 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., a free Thanksgiving luncheon plus a comedy, Thanksgiv ing at the Circus featuring local government ofcials. Freewill offering to benet The Salvation Armys Thanksgiving meals initiative. No reservations needed. Event hosted by the Sarasota Ministerial Association in St. Marthas Catholic Church Circus Hall, 200 Orange Ave., Sarasota. For info or to volunteer, call chaplain Tom Pfaff: 724-5018. 29 NOVEMBER WSLR presents John McEuen in concert Nov. 29, 8 p.m., Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota. Tickets: $20 in advance; $25 at door. Information: 894-6469 or 30 NOVEMBER Light Up the Village Nov. 30, 5:30 to 9 p.m., Siesta Village, Ocean Boulevard on Siesta Key, featuring a holiday parade, Santa Claus accepting childrens Christmas wish lists, gift bags and live musical entertainment. For info, visit the Siesta Key Village Association website Community Calendar The best of upcoming EVENTS Sarasota News Leader November 22, 2013 Page 135

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Each week, Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel searches Sarasota County for iconic shots that underscore why the community is a favorite with residents and tourists alike. SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS AHHH, THE SATISFACTION THAT COMES WITH A GOOD RUN. SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS