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SRQ DAILY Aug 16, 2014

Saturday Perspectives Edition

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Saturday Perspectives Edition

"One ought not need be a downtown property owner to have standing to debate a plan that essentially replaces 26 healthy native palms with an unnecessary, ecological downgrade to a less-than-nuanced landscape of exotics."

- Diana Hamilton, What Beats?

[Innovation]  Moonshot Thinking for the Gulf Coast's Good
Teri A. Hansen

“The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”

That’s the motto of a big thinker I’ve come to admire. Dr. Peter Diamandis is a futurist, entrepreneur and innovation pioneer. He founded the X Prize, the global leader in creating incentivized competitions that drive radical breakthroughs to benefit humanity. He cofounded two universities: International Space University and Silicon Valley-based Singularity University, which trains some of the world’s brightest minds to use exponentially growing technologies to solve grand challenges. He is also a medical doctor, aerospace engineer and best-selling author of Abundance.

Peter Diamandis is one more thing: an optimist. He subtitled his book—which contends that our ability to meet the needs of every man, woman, and child on the planet is just years away—"The Future Is Better Than You Think."

While we are bombarded with negative news pushed from the media (sorry, SRQ!) and pulled through our ubiquitous devices, says Diamandis, we actually live in an “extraordinary time” of unprecedented possibility. Lifespans doubled in the past century, he points out. Childhood mortality dropped tenfold. Costs for food, power and transportation have fallen by factors of 10 to 100. Historically speaking, today’s world is not nearly as violent as we may think. Watch his TED talk or read his book for more examples.

Making much of this possible is technology—especially what Diamandis calls “exponential technologies.” The device you’re reading this on is a million times cheaper and a thousand times faster than the supercomputers of the 1970s. Technology is a resource liberator. Consider that 150 years ago, aluminum—which doesn’t exist as a pure metal—was more valuable than gold or even platinum. But since the technology of electrolysis made it dirt cheap, we throw away aluminum foil like it’s, well, aluminum foil. The same abundance is possible with energy, water and more, insists  Diamandis. “It’s not about being scarce; it’s about accessibility,” he says.

So, how does this apply to our region? Why not ask, how doesn’t it? In Diamandis’ words, the right combination of people, technology and capital can solve any problem. We’ve learned since the Great Recession that our region’s future success depends on our ability to work together, to confront real needs, to measure our progress, and to move toward an innovation economy. We’ve also seen how seemingly intractable social problems remain intractable if we won’t think big, take risks and truly collaborate.

Gulf Coast Community Foundation plans to bring Diamandis to our community early next year to teach and inspire us to do just that. We intend his talk to help us collectively see past traditional thinking and risk aversion so we can create a community culture of innovation. We’ll learn why unlikely partnerships, systemic thinking and tapping our entrepreneurial spirt can make all the difference in our daily efforts to improve our region. Please save the date: February 24, 2015. (And meanwhile…watch his TED Talk or read his book!)

Seth Godin, another entrepreneur and big thinker I admire, recently wrote: “I'm all in favor of self-driving cars and advanced robotics that will change everything. But few of us get to do that for a living. Mostly, we find new ways to do old things, better…. Find something that will touch us, move us, improve us or change us. Then ship.” Does that contradict Diamandis’ moonshot thinking? I don’t think so. We won’t all win an X Prize. But we can—and should—look for new ways to do things better. In leadership, business or the nonprofit sector, at whatever level we work, we can improve lives, even transform them. We can help create a future of abundant opportunity for all. Think about it. 

Teri A Hansen is president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation

[What Beats?]  DIDs and Don'ts
Diana Hamilton

It rained Thursday, just enough to lend evidence to a “river of water” problem the small shops on the downhill side of Bay Plaza on Palm Avenue have endured for much longer than a while. Unless you are a 10-year-old wearing Crocs, high-stepping it through water to do business is hardly preferred, and now with the Downtown Improvement District offering to solve the problem it’s difficult not to be pleased for those shopkeepers who must be thrilled.  However, solving their flooding problem appears to me to be a secondary effect masking a larger cause; the DID’s own long-held desire to scrape away a shady little grove of 26 bird-infested, Florida native cabbage palms, each approximately 90 years old, growing innocently in the right of way.

The DID, a special taxing district self-funded by downtown property owners, has its own Board whose focus and funding has gone toward achieving much of the Downtown Master Plan’s vision of more pedestrian-friendly, wider sidewalks, expanded outdoor areas for cafés and open space for people to enjoy the “gregarious environment.” The DID twice replaced our embarrassing, scruffy landscaping and continues to pay for maintenance.

Is it any wonder that with each success the DID has become increasingly autonomous, insular and protective of its turf? Or that its members, who volunteer countless hours developing a plan, are less than welcoming of questions from “outsiders?” Even so, reading the DID response to Jono Miller’s questions regarding the Palm Avenue 26 reminded me most uncomfortably of the parent who says to the child, “My house, my money, I make the rules.”  Simply unacceptable.

I don’t wish to start a fight with the DID, but I do hope to challenge you. I too am standing up for the Palm Avenue 26 because it’s the right thing to do, not just for them and the fauna they support, but for the DID as well.  I know how difficult it was convincing property owners to go along with an improvement district at a time when the economy was going south, but, forgive the pun, you did it. What the DID has achieved since is remarkable, but if you don’t begin to open up now today to a broader “outsider” perspective, one that supports choosing more natives and less exotics, the time will come when you may look around and see what many of us are already seeing—a stale, repetitive look that does not inspire.

One ought not need be a downtown property owner to have standing to debate a plan that essentially replaces 26 healthy native palms with an unnecessary, ecological downgrade to a less-than-nuanced landscape of exotics.  Getting your way just because you can doesn’t serve any of us, and at the end of the day it replicates the very attitude that so many of us resist and resent and have fought to change. As to the flooding, I’m happy to come dig a diverter trench the next time it rains, or perhaps the DID might spring for a good ole French drain. That should do the trick, and I won’t need to chain myself to those trees. 

SRQ Daily Columnist Diana Hamilton, after living 35 years in Sarasota, labels herself a pragmatic optimist with radical humorist tendencies and a new found resistance to ice cream

[Candidate Letters] 

Editor's Note: SRQ invited all candidates for Florida House of Representatives 74 to write about their candidacies in today's edition of SRQ Daily. Responses are below. 

[Candidate]  Richard DeNapoli, District 74

Having been adopted and raised by my maternal grandparents and caring for them through the last stages of their life has afforded me a perspective and opportunity to want to give back to my community and promote conservative Republican ideals. I believe in lowering taxes and a smaller government, which will lead to economic prosperity and more high quality and higher paying jobs for Floridians. Using my training as a Certified Financial Planner, I want to seek out and eliminate wasteful government spending, protect law abiding and legal residents from tax payer-funded giveaways to illegal aliens and safeguard the promises given to our seniors by former elected officials.  As a Certified Financial Planner Professional and successful businessman, I know how to balance a budget and help families and seniors plan for the future. Also, as a former Florida Real Estate Commissioner for the last six years, I worked to reduce excessive government regulations, while still protecting the public from unscrupulous individuals.  I also served as a local Republican Party County Chairman where I grew up and fought for conservative values for the last 15 years.  I've been knocking on thousands of voters' doors throughout South Sarasota County for almost a year now and understand the issues that are important to you.  My experience in these areas sets me apart and makes me uniquely qualified to help grow Florida's economy and build a bright future for our children and grandchildren.

The voters want someone who will listen, someone who is accessible and someone who is honest. My pledge to you is that I will always listen to your concerns and approach the issues—whether it be health care, education, jobs and the economy—from a conservative standpoint.  I’m a fighter for conservative values that you can trust to care about you and fight for you in Tallahassee.

On Aug. 26, I would be humbled by your vote.  Please contact me with any questions on my personal cell phone at 941-228-3738.  Thank you and God Bless You. 

Richard DeNapoli is a Republican candidate for Florida House of Representatives District 74

[Candidate]  Julio Gonzalez, District 74

Our Republic's health is dependent on people from each community, comprised of all walks of life to bring their experiences and insights to unite them as one as the common body of knowledge that we recognize as the legislature.  In 2012, long before our opponent arrived to our region, I volunteered to do just that.  I recognized that as a small business owner, a veteran and an orthopedic surgeon who has been serving our community for the past 10 years, I was in a unique position to truly serve the people of South Sarasota County by representing their interests in Tallahassee. 

I envision a Florida where small businesses flourish.  A Florida where individuals discover their passions and take them, unencumbered, to market.  I see a state where our children are taught the lessons they need to succeed in a school system unparalleled to any other.  I envision a region where people chase their dreams while enjoying the freshest and most pristine waters graced by the most unique habitats on earth.  And most importantly, I envision a Florida that serves as the beacon for the rest of our great country as it searches for a way to wade towards an uncertain future.  Since 2009, I have fought on the frontlines for the causes that I have campaigned on: securing our borders, stopping illegal immigration, fighting Obamacare, protecting our seniors and securing a quality education for our children. 

On Aug. 26, voters in south Sarasota have a clear choice on deciding how to propel our state towards that noble ideal.   They can select a candidate to serve in their legislature that has undertaken the effort of representing his community in service to it, or they can select an individual who has moved here from the opposite side of the state. An individual whose sole purpose of running for that seat was motivated by his desire to continue his career in politics, thus having specific devotions and priorities that lie outside the best interest of our district. 

South Sarasota can elect an individual who has raised two daughters in this community and is fully invested in it, or one whose devotion to this community remains unclear. This Aug. 26, the choice for the best candidate to represent District 74 is clear.  This Aug. 26, the top choice to represent our District in Tallahassee is Julio Gonzalez. 

Julio Gonzalez is a Republican candidate for Florida House of Representatives District 74

[SRQ Volunteers]  Client Development Manager Ashley Ryan Helps At Nate's Honor Animal Rescue

SRQ’s Client Development Manager Ashley Ryan is one of the volunteers at Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue, a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal rescue organization. Said Ryan, "Attending and training in the Nate's Animal Honor Rescue Orientation was a perfect way to spend a Sunday. Without the help of volunteers, these adorable adoptees would not be able to find their Forever homes. I am thrilled to now be a part of the Honor Animal Rescue Volunteer team."   

Read More And See Pictures

[SOON]  Sarasota SUP Race Series & SRQ Daily Reader Coupon Code

Grab your board and head to Nathan Benderson Park on August 23 for the second race in the 2014 Sarasota SUP Race Series. Great news! SUP has created a coupon code for SRQ Daily readers so you can get $25 off the registration fee. Simply enter "SRQ Magazine" when registering to receive your discount. Featuring Elite and Open Races, Dash for Cash and Landboard/Penny Skateboard Course Events, the Sarasota SUP Race  will also include lunch, Sarasota Custom Flex Fit hats to all entries, free Longboard, Penny Skateboard and Vert Ramp course, Tommy Bahama Lounge with appetizers and cocktails and Kona girls paddling out with samples of their delicious Kona brews. Host location Nathan Benderson Park, the largest Rowing/Aquatic Facility in the Western Hemisphere, is one of the few locations that can guarantee flat water and even features wave attenuation systems in place to keep board wake to a minimum. The SUPRace Series celebrates the healthy lifestyle of Stand Up Paddleboarding at three of Sarasota County's most beautiful Parks. Siesta Key Beach, Lake Benderson Park and Sarasota Sailor Squadron with the goal to make the Coastal Waterways of Sarasota County a national destination for Stand Up Paddleboarding. 



Sarasota SUP Race Series

[SOON]  A Hero's Luncheon: Impossible Odds

The Brian Bill Foundation will host a Hero's Luncheon at the Sarasota Yacht Club on August 25 to honor and celebrate the great sacrifices of our Navy SEALs. Guest speaker  for the event is Jessica Buchanan, author of “Impossible Odds” which recounts the story of Buchanan’s kidnapping in Somalia and the dramatic rescue by SEAL Team Six. Every Guest will receive an autographed copy of “Impossible Odds”. The Brian Bill Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non profit Organization dedicated to continuing the beliefs and vision of Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian Robert Bill, kia in Afghanistan on 8/6/2011.The Foundation is establishing Brian’s House, a retreat house for Navy SEAL survivors and families. The Foundation also provides programs and services that help the families of Navy Special Warfare. For more information contact Scott Bill at (941) 840-4204 or scott@brianbillfoundation.org. 

Brian Bill Foundation

[TODAY:]  Back 2 School Bash

Westfield Sarasota Square is hosting its annual “Back 2 School Bash” today, August 16. The event will take place in the mall’s Center Promenade, beginning at 10 am. “As one of Sarasota’s primary destinations for back-to-school shopping, we are doing all we can to make it a fun, pleasant experience for the whole family,” said Shannon Brzuchalski, marketing manager for Westfield Sarasota. Continuing the youth-based theme, the mall will host the cast of Miami-based pop group HitStreak on Sunday, August 17. The family-friendly group will sing songs from their popular internet series featured on mobile video platform site ShowMobile, as well as share a number of melodies related to anti-bullying. “We think anti-bullying is an important message for young people to take with them as they head back to the books,” Brzuchalski said, “and we encourage local families to join us for this unique concert.”   

[SOON]  OSU Alumni Club Hosts Tailgate Party & Military Salute to Navy

The Sarasota-Manatee Ohio State Alumni Club invites all Buckeye fans, Navy veterans, current Navy personnel and their families to participate in a “Countdown to Kick-off” party at 10 am to noon on Saturday August 30 at Captain Curt’s on Siesta Key. There is no fee to attend the tailgate party which will feature games, football activities, live music compliments of “Sailors” from Sarasota High School and a special tribute to the military at 11:45 a.m. The Ohio State Buckeyes kick-off their football season opener at noon vs. the Navy Midshipmen, immediately following the tailgate event and military salute. Chance drawings and other activities at the game watch gatherings help raise scholarship funds. The local OSU organization recently presented $2,000 scholarships to 11 incoming and current OSU college students from eight high schools throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties, $22,000 in total for the 2014-2015 academic year. 

Sarasota-Manatee Ohio State Alumni Club

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. 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. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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