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SRQ Daily Nov 1, 2014

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"How do we locate and entice three knowledgeable, progressive minded candidates to run in March for the three District seats, and how do we help them win?"

- Diana Hamilton, What Beats?

[What Beats?]  The Raucous Give and Take
Diana Hamilton

What Beats? (People Places Politics - the Heart of the City), has been my column to write twice monthly for two years. That’s 42 columns or 25,000 words and in the stringing together of those words into stories I’ve always done my best to be true to my promise to cherish the beating heart of this city and to respect, in the words of Charles Kuralt “the raucous give and take of the American democracy."

I generally begin writing at 4am on Friday and rarely finish much before my 5pm deadline. I wish it could be easier for me, but it never is, and it doesn’t help I’m the world’s worst typist.

My sweet Mom, whose own flying fingers kept us fed and shod, warned me, “Diana,” she said, “you need to learn to type so you’ll have something to fall back on.” My hard-headed, smarty pants reply, “ Mom I don’t intend to fall back.” And despite the toll it sometimes takes on my not so hard heart, its that same hard headed refusal to fall back that keeps me doing hunt and peck at 4am and hoping for the best in the face of the worst.

On Nov. 18, two newly vacated City Commission seats will be filled, not by a vote of the people, but by a majority vote of two of the three remaining Commissioners. What will come from this has been much debated with the most prominent concerns being who will take those seats, and how much damage a homogenous Commission majority might do in four months.

Personally I don’t care who gets selected on November 18, and as to damage, it’s hard to say. Maybe they’ll actually do some good, or perhaps, as some predict, we’ll have a City Commission that may get along too well, and in getting along, go along with some things we won’t like.

As I said, it just doesn’t matter—what we can’t change, we endure.  But what does matter, and what anyone looking for real change for the better in Sarasota should be asking today and not four months from now—is how do we locate and entice three knowledgeable, progressive minded candidates to run in March for the three District seats, and how do we help them win?

And speaking of the raucous give and take …

Mr. Frank Brenner last week wrote a windy letter criticizing my Oct. 18 piece describing Commissioner Susan Chapman’s difficulties with Florida’s Sunshine Law. Mr. Brenner has taken offense to my writing before, lampooning my Southern way of speaking and progressive train of thought, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that at first reading his letter stung, but by the third time through I mostly just wished he’d learn the meaning of succinct.

Sarasota has been my home for 35 years. I’ve witnessed sacred parts of her built history bulldozed, her character squandered piecemeal on the alter of good enough and something’s better than nothing, but her great heart beats on, and until mine stops I’ll keeping writing about it.  

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]  Paul Caragiulo, Sarasota County Commission District 2

You’ve heard the one about the definition of politics? “Poly” means many and “ticks” are blood sucking parasites. Most people either nod or laugh when they hear that. I laughed the first time I heard that, but now after three years working the job, I promise you, it’s not funny. Yes, this from a guy who normally finds humor in almost anything.

Politics is serious business where every choice made could inevitably impact for better or worse someone’s quality of life. If the desire is to be universally liked, you will be disappointed, especially at the local level where every vote or action taken is as apt to be booed as applauded—not from a distance but by the neighbors, friends and associates who voted for you and by those who didn’t.

If you’ve followed budget hearings or budget items on the City Commission agenda, you know I am line-by-line item diligent when it comes to spending the people’s money. My time monitoring the Legislative Session for the City Commission the past three years has given me valuable knowledge of our state’s budget and laws as well. But equally as important to voters should be the non-partisan lessons learned working as one of five brothers in a family business; patience in the debate, and an ability to detach from a squabble in order to focus on the job at hand. As an employer, I’ve learned the importance to judge fairly, but hold accountable employees to do their job well, or hire someone who will.

In the complex workings of the County Commission, just as in business, the team must choose their battles wisely in the best interests of our community as a whole. To achieve what is best, it is vital that those you elect have the key skill set of knowing how to work together effectively, set aside the personal and have the ability to hold others and themselves accountable to implement public policy for the greater good.

Our Democracy places the power and responsibility to elect who does the governing in the hands of the voters, and on November 4th, the future of Sarasota County is yours to determine. My name is Paul Caragiulo, and I am asking for your vote. 

Paul Caragiulo is a Republican candidate running for Sarasota County Commission District 2

[Candidate]  Alexandra Coe, Sarasota County Commission District 2

What will the future in Sarasota look like? This election cycle will play a huge part in determining that vision. What people want the future to look like and the direction it is heading in Sarasota are not congruent. Sarasota County has the ability to have an amazing future. What we need are leaders who understand the vision the people want and have the knowledge and understanding of what is happening in the world to make that happen for Sarasota. Campaigns are really auditions for a job. I ask the people of Sarasota to look at my qualifications and decide if I have the skills Sarasota needs for our prosperous future.

I personally am tired of politics and money and that is why I am running NPA [no party affiliation], running against the political machine and running for the people of Sarasota. I want people to think they matter, their voice, their vote.

Quality of life applies to everyone, not just a select few. Homelessness is solvable. The environment can not only be saved but improved. We can have a local food system that will improve the health and well-being of all citizens. All these things are possible with the political will to achieve them. We do not need to diversify our economy, what we need to do is build the economy we have and support small businesses and increase light industry to create more local jobs.  We need to stop this bigbox, commercialized economy mentality and promote local businesses. We need to stop fighting about development issues and start looking at how we create community. Development can be smart and it can serve the people of Sarasota in a positive way. Together we can achieve all these things and more.  Vote Coe. 

Alexandra Coe is a no party affiliation candidate for Sarasota County Commission District 2

[Candidate]  Alan Maio, Sarasota County Commission District 4

Most of us choose to live in Sarasota County because of its overall quality of life. But a high quality of life does not just happen on its own. It’s more than sunshine and beaches, as great as those are.

It is the result of a series of good and sometimes tough decisions that set the table for what makes a high quality of life for the most people.

That requires leadership.

Our quality of life is derived from many areas. We need good schools, nice parks and open spaces, enjoyable, safe, affordable communities in which to live, an efficient transportation network and economic opportunity for everyone.

To accomplish these things requires County Commission leadership that will:

- Keep taxes low by constantly digging into the budget to find savings and efficiencies and questioning each new expenditure. As a trained accountant who has run several successful businesses, I am exceptionally well-prepared to do that.

- Create, along with my fellow County Commissioners and county staff, a comprehensive solution to our transportation challenges. This means looking into the future and planning for those needs. We cannot operate with our head in the ground, or on the thinking of 30 years ago, when it comes to transportation needs. We must plan ahead, consider all viable alternatives, and then fund them. As someone who has built many miles of road in Sarasota County, I deeply understand this.

- Ensure that regulations are in the overall public interest, not just special interests such as developers, environmentalists and anti-growth people. There is thoughtful, workable middle ground that encompasses the need to maintain pleasing, aesthetic open spaces and planning for transportation while allowing opportunities that are economically workable.

- Enable our children and grandchildren to have economic opportunities here. An unbalanced approach to growth can mean that our children that go to college cannot return to find good jobs. That is wrong and has happened too often. Economic opportunity is a bedrock principle of our country’s and county’s success.

Sometimes these objective compete with each other. That requires strong, effective, experienced, successful leadership to help guide the County Commission on a path that is a win for all residents.

That is the type of leadership I showed in starting, running and selling several successful businesses and the type of leadership I will bring to the Sarasota County Commission. 

Alan Maio is a Republican candidate for Sarasota County Commission District 4

[Candidate]  John Minder, Sarasota County Commission District 4

I am running for Sarasota County Commissioner for District 4 because Sarasota County needs a Registered Professional Engineer on the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners. Ninety percent of all business that comes before the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners is engineering related.

I am a 33-year resident of Sarasota County. I am a Registered Professional Engineer in six states. I am a Registered Professional Surveyor and Mapper in two states. I am a U. S. Army Veteran. I have 51 years of professional engineering experience. I have 61 years of professional surveying experience.

I am a graduate of the University of Illinois. I am married with four children. My wife has a Degree in Medical Records Administration.  All of my children are graduates of Sarasota County School System and State of Florida Colleges with my two youngest children with Master Degrees. Three of my children attended Pine View School and I served on the Pine View Association Board. I served on the CEO Executive Committee to the Sarasota County School Board.

I am the Owner and President of Minder and Associates Engineering Corporation, which has been located in Sarasota County for 28 years. I served on the Multi Stake Group, the Florida Engineering Society Committee that reviewed and recommended changes to the Sarasota County Land Development Code. I was Chairman of the FES Committee that reviewed and made changes in the Gulf Gate Septic Tank Sewer Replacement Program.

I am opposed to the 2050 Plan with its Fiscal Neutrality because in my professional opinion it has destroyed the local economy. I have recommended that Sarasota County replace the 2050 Plan with a Total Planned Community Plan with a Master Plan for Utilities and Roads and to adjust the impact fees accordingly.

I support the location of the Homeless Service Shelter in the Sarasota County-owned Bob Building managed by the Sarasota County Health Department and secured by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department and to move the Sarasota County Bob Building Employees to Downtown City of Sarasota and to move the homeless from all of Sarasota County to the Bob Building where they can receive the help for their addictions and to return to a productive Sarasota County resident.  

John Minder is a no party affiliation candidate for Sarasota County Commission District 4

[Candidate]  Ray Porter, Sarasota County Commission District 4

The past five months of intense campaigning for the Sarasota County Commission District 4 seat has provided me a unique perspective on county politics, governance and local journalism. It has been an eye-opener in many ways, and has reinforced many of my prior conclusions.

Sarasota County is a diverse, eclectic community of individuals, many of whom participate energetically in organizations that have our future at heart. The passion they exhibit for their beliefs is evident in their public statements and messages. These are the movers and shakers, representing both ends of the political spectrum and the ideological arguments.

As a moderate centrist, wading into these frays has been difficult at times, as my opinions often clashed with individuals on both sides. However, I maintain that compromise is key to resolving conflict. The major example of this has been the 2050 Plan amendments and the controversy the issue has created.

There are two politically correct answers to the 2050 Plan changes – one is the no-growth answer, that often labels the developers as evil, greedy, irresponsible bandits who simply want to rape the eastern land and reap massive profits at the expense of the existing taxpayer.

The other argument is the “get government off our backs,” growth pays for itself, developers are the lifeblood of the community and the job creators, and no growth advocates are unrealistic, irresponsible and don’t have a clue about how business and economic development works.

Both of these answers—diametrically opposed and filled with labels and assumptions—did not further my goals of clarity through impartial study, negotiation, compromise and eventually community consensus. That’s what we should have been aiming for right from the start. Unfortunately, the process the county embarked upon over a year ago hasn’t led to the conclusion I would support.

I believe the proponents of slow, steady, sustainable growth in our county are correct. And if elected, I would press the board to reopen the discussion of the future of the eastern region of the county in hopes of achieving that end result.

Unbridled growth, reckless development, booms and busts—these scenarios do not improve our quality of life. They damage and eventually destroy it. 

Ray Porter is a Democratic candidate for Sarasota County Commission District 4

[CFASRQ]  Notable Buildings: Sarasota County Area Transit Station

Center for Architecture Sarasota is recognizing landmark buildings this month as part of their Archtober celebration of design and architecture. We'll be sharing a few buildings from their series in the upcoming weeks. Below is the Sarasota County Area Transit station. The Sarasota community is trying to breathe a new breath of life into their public transportation system by promoting Brand Identity and ridership through functional structural expression, use of color, and inspiring open air space. The long radial form allows for ease of bus access, limits crossing point of busses and people, but more importantly creates a large civic plaza on the south. The long arching form also presents an open gesture to the major entry point to the County Campus.

The campus master plan is centered around a “Eco-Campus” Idea where all vehicle traffic is pushed to the outside and the internal campus is focused on reclaiming wetland and natural vegetation as a primary asset. This project will serve as a major catalyst for pedestrian and eco-friendly development. After various configurations for transportation vehicle approach, internal circulation, staging, pedestrian access, and campus master plan goals were analyzed, the resultant radial form proved to be most beneficial. Transportation facilitates necessitate structured solutions. Open long spans with minimal column intrusions help to keep an open platform for clear views for both pedestrians and busses. This 280’ Spine is supported by 6 mast columns and tube steel supports that cantilever 40’ out over the driving area. Curtain wall was used in both clear and translucent to adjust for privacy and clear views.

Center for Architecture Sarasota is a 2014-15 SRQ Story Project partner. 

Learn More

[TREAT]  Bjou Cafe's Famous Pommes To Go

Best holiday entertaining tip ever: When you want to serve something decadently rich, warm and comforting on your Fall dinner table, pick up one of Bijou Cafe's delicious "Pommes Gratin"  to share with friends and family at home. Bring in your own serving bowl and the Bijou team will fill with the  famous potato side dish. Finish at home and garnish to personalize then take a bow as you get rave reviews from your guests. It really is that good.  

Bijou Cafe

[SOON]  Ringling College of Art and Design Visual Arts Center

Ringling College of Art and Design today announced plans to build an approximately 20,000 square foot Visual Arts Center thanks to a $3 million gift by Ringling College Board of Trustee Dr. Richard Basch and his wife Barbara Basch, who is a Sarasota The facility is planned to open by December 31, 2016. The new Visual Arts Center, planned to open by December 31, 2016, will be named for Richard and Barbara. The focus of the facility will be fine arts, including the study of sculpture, glass, wood, and clay, and will include exhibition and gallery space as well as the possibility of studios for studies in fiber, jewelry, and metal. The glass facilities will have the capability of both hot glass casting and cold working.  

Ringling College of Art and Design

[SOON]  Inaugural Longboat Key Veterans Day Parade

Longboat Key will be the proud host of its inaugural Longboat Key Veterans Day Parade, on Tuesday, November 11, starting at 4:30 pm.  The parade route begins between Sun Trust Bank and Bank of America on Bay Isles Road and will proceed to Temple Beth Israel where a brief Recognition Program will take place and light refreshments will be served. The parade is a project of the newly chartered Rotary Club of Longboat Key. Over 80 veterans, including eight female veterans, have registered to participate in the event. These local heroes either live, work or worship on Longboat Key. The earliest participant began their service in 1942 during World War II and the roster also includes veterans who served during the Korean War and Vietnam War and those who served during the Cold War and in more recent times, including one veteran who is still currently enlisted. Veterans from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces - the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and National Guard - were invited to participate. All parade participants are requested to gather at Bay Isles Road by 4 p.m. Veterans who have indicated the need to ride in one of the convertibles are to gather at the grass lot to the right of the Temple. Parking for walking veterans and general public is available in the lots adjacent to Bay Isles Road. There will be signs directing parade participants where to gather. In the event of rain, the parade will be cancelled but the Recognition Program will still be held at Temple Beth Israel, beginning at 4:30 pm.





[SOON]  Sarasota Farmers Market is Expanding

The Sarasota Farmers Market is expanding its presence in downtown Sarasota.  Beginning on Wednesday, November 5, 40 vendors from the Sarasota Farmers Market will be conducting business in Five Points Park. The Midweek Market will primarily focus on agricultural products with some crafts, local restaurants will offer cooking demonstrations and local musicians and non-profits will also be featured. The Sarasota Farmers Midweek Market will take place November - April on Wednesdays in downtown Sarasota between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm at Five Points Park. The Sarasota Farmers Market takes place year-round on Saturdays in downtown Sarasota between the hours of 7am and 1pm at the intersection of Main and Lemon. Sarasota Farmers Market Vendors, Inc. is a non-profit organization committed to continuing the 35-year tradition of enhancing and improving the quality of life in Sarasota. 

Sarasota Farmers Market

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SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine and edited by Senior Editor Phil LedererNote: 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. 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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