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SRQ Daily Feb 4, 2017

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"The fact that no judge wants to be overturned will have them spending countless hours researching and writing an almost perfect justification for all to read and to hold them accountable. If only the legislature could be governed the same way."

- Susan Nilon, The Nilon Report
 

[Community]  Leaving a Legacy
Roxie Jerde, roxie@cfsarasota.org

As president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, one of my most cherished times of the year is during our annual Legacy Society Luncheon. Our Legacy Society was founded in order to recognize those forward-thinking individuals who have created future gifts for the charitable causes that are meaningful to them, and during our luncheon we honor and celebrate those who have made an everlasting commitment to philanthropy. We also recognize the members who passed away during the last year.

Yesterday, with candles lit and lights dimmed, I read each name one by one. Each represents a life that was lived with intentionality by a person who believed in the power of giving to others. Lives like Even Collinsworth’s, whose success and appreciation for philanthropy inspired him to pass down the gift of giving to his children and grandchildren; Ted Weiller’s, a former Community Foundation Investment Committee Chair and Board member, who held an incredible passion for the arts and believed that every child deserves a chance at a good life; and Ward Dahlgren’s, whose vision and expertise helped establish the Community Foundation back in 1979. 

It’s difficult for us to say goodbye to friends, but knowing that their lives positively impacted others—one person at a time—makes it easier and serves as a reminder to do what we can with the time, talent and treasure that is afforded to us.

No matter what your individual circumstance may be, each of us has three potential gifts to share: our time, our talents and our treasure. As we go about our days, I hope you consider the chances we are given to be a part of a larger landscape of positive impact in our community and on the lives of those we touch. Legacies are not created when we pass away, but are born when people consciously chose to live the beliefs and values that are important to them. They are shaped by how we choose to connect with others and share the treasured experiences we hold.

Together with my colleagues, I am privileged to be at the intersection of so much good being done in the community fueled by philanthropy. We are truly honored to have been chosen as a trusted philanthropic partner by so many who care so deeply about others and our community. As always, I thank you for your part in being the one to make a difference.

Roxie Jerde is president of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. 

[The Report]  The Bias of a Judge
Susan Nilon, susan.nilon@gmail.com

Alexander Hamilton wrote: “The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body.” - Federalist Papers #78

It was only a week ago that Representative Julio Gonzalez, R-Venice, and I debated the merits of his House Joint Resolution 121 (HJR 121) that proposes the creation of Section 22 of Article III of the State Constitution. It provides for legislative review of a judicial ruling declaring a legislative act void. It goes on to say: “Any law, resolution, or other legislative act declared void by the supreme court, district court of appeal, circuit court, or county court of this state may be deemed active and operational, notwithstanding the court's ruling, if agreed to by the legislature pursuant to a resolution adopted by a two-thirds vote of each house within five years after the date that the ruling becomes final. Such resolution is exempt from section 8 of this article and shall take effect immediately upon passage.” It finishes with, “the resolution is not subject to veto by the Governor and takes effect immediately.” Rep. Gonzalez has also penned House memorial (HM 125) for the federal level judges under the same premise. If approved in the 2017 Legislative Session, it would allow lawmakers to put the issue on the ballot and ask the people to amend the state Constitution.

In a court case resulting in an unwelcomed ruling, it’s easy to conclude that a political slant is what skewed the logic of a particular decision. That conclusion is reached because everything else fails expectations. The term “activist” judge peppers the argument in support of the conclusions and heads nod in agreement. We can accept that a judge is biased because of our own bias. We assume that everyone is motivated by their politics because we are. And yet, we long for the day when a judge leaves the bench in order for the President or Governor of our liking to appoint the “proper” judge who is aligned with our own political bias. What we really want is a judiciary that reflects our own ideology.

As a student of law, I have come to appreciate the process in which a judicial decision is made. We cry for judicial review, but we fail to recognize that the legal system has it built into the process. From the District Court to the Appellate to the Supreme Court, all levels provide the accountability that is needed. The escalation in the number of judges at each level higher makes the challenge even more difficult for an attorney to convince the panel to rule in their favor. The fact that no judge wants to be overturned will have them spending countless hours researching and writing an almost perfect justification for all to read and to hold them accountable. If only the legislature could be governed the same way.

James Madison wrote: “The accumulation of all powers legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

This legislative overreach is far more than wanting to reign in the judiciary. It will warp our state and federal constitutions into an unrecognizable impersonation creating an unprincipled forgery. It will cut the judiciary off at the knees and undermine all its authority. It will give total dominion to the legislative branch and allow them to govern with no checks and balances. If the legislature does not like being overturned by the courts, then I have an alternative for them: “Work harder at your job and write laws that will uphold our constitutions.” That is the people’s will.

Susan Nilon of The Nilon Report. Contact Nilon at susan.nilon@gmail.com.


 


[SCOOP]  LECOM's Give Kids a Smile

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 25 percent of children under age five have cavities and many kids enrolled in Medicaid receive no dental services throughout the year. On March 4, LECOM Bradenton’s School of Dental Medicine will host Give Kids a Smile to provide free dental services to qualifying individuals and to raise awareness of the consequences of untreated dental disease. Now in its third year at LECOM, the free services will include dental screenings and cleanings, X-rays and sealants, if needed, minor restorations (fillings) and simple extractions for children ages 2 to 18 accompanied by a parent or guardian. Walk-ins will be treated on a first-come-first-served basis. 

ADA Foundation

[SCOOP]  "The Exonerated"

Imagine spending days, weeks or months in a space that is cold and unfamiliar, with concrete walls, floors and bars that keep you from going where you want. Jails are not welcoming, nor are they meant to be. Imagine spending years in one, especially if you are not guilty of the crime for which you’ve been convicted. Florida Studio Theatre’s Stage III production of The Exonerated adapted by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen will play from April 19-23 in the Keating Theatre, revealing true stories of exonerated prisoners from interviews and court transcripts, some of whom spent as many as 22 years behind bars. 

Florida Studio Theatre

[KUDOS]  4th Annual A New Beginning Fashion Show

The sold out 4th annual A New Beginning Fashion Show helped sponsor 280 girls in Selah Freedom’s Teen Prevention Program, exceeding the original goal of 100. Selah Freedom’s goal for 2017 is to reach 600 teen girls through this program. Selah Freedom is currently urging supporters to host a Cocktails for a Cause or Party With A Purpose event in which your circle of influence or business will hear from Elizabeth Fisher or the Selah Team about how to get involved and support its mission to end sex trafficking and bring freedom to the exploited. 

Selah Freedom

[KUDOS]  Local Volunteer Helps Celebrate Literacy Week

Ruth Barker has a passion for reading and teaching and has volunteered for Children First for nearly 10 years, spending time in several classrooms each week to read and interact with the children. During Celebrate Literacy Week, Barker acknowledges the importance of getting kids to read early and to love reading for a lifetime. "Reading, I think, is the most important thing for children," she says. "Especially in this day and age, when children have TV, Game Boys, smart phones and so many other distractions, reading and the arts are so important." 

Children First

[KUDOS]  Goodwill Manasota Releases 2016 Impact Numbers

Goodwill Manasota recently released its 2016 impact numbers, in the primary areas of employment, environmental, educational and economic impacts. Overall, Goodwill Manasota had a more than $92-million economic impact on the region and placed 764 people in jobs. They also assisted more than 28,200 individuals through free career services and programs. Goodwill Manasota diverted approximately 40-million pounds from local landfills, thanks to their recycling and salvage efforts, green business practices and resale of unwanted items donated by community members. Through its Veterans and Services Program, Goodwill helped 240 veterans to reintegrate into their families, communities and jobs. 

Goodwill Manasota

[SCOOP]  Sarasota Opera to Announce 2017-2018 Season

Maestro Victor DeRenzi and Richard Russell invite you to the Sarasota Opera House stage on February 3 as they announce plans for the 2017 Fall Season and the 2018 Winter Festival Season. The announcement will include news on three Sarasota Opera premieres and the Sarasota Youth Opera’s sixth world premiere. Maestro DeRenzi and Russell will be joined by Sarasota Opera artists who will offer a selection from next season’s operas.  

Sarasota Opera

[KUDOS]  2016 Siesta Key Crystal Classic Exceeds $8 Million

Based on data research, the overall economic impact of the 2016 Siesta Key Crystal Classic in partnership with the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and Mote Marine Laboratory was $8,134,000. Total attendance reached over 56,600 people and the average length of stay for visitors was around seven and a half days. Founded in 2010, the Crystal Classic is a collaborative community event that supports the cultural arts and celebrates beautiful Siesta Key Beach. For more information about the Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival please visit the website below. 

Siesta Key Crystal Classic

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine and edited by Senior Editor Jacob Ogles. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising, please contact Ashley Ryan at 941-365-7702 x211 or at her contact page. To unsubscribe, please click here.

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