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SRQ DAILY Feb 14, 2015

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"The easy approach would have perhaps been to cherry-pick a few moderately to well-known community leaders/activists under the guise of a vetting process. Instead, the group hosted nearly 100 community meetings, ranging in nature from an open-house at a local brewery to a dinner at a local community center. "

- Kevin Cooper, The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

[Chamber]  Process Poised for Greater Good
Kevin Cooper, Kcooper@sarasotachamber.com

Business is about strategy.  Michael Porter, the founder of the modern business strategy field, once posited that “the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”  Indeed, for every decision we make we also, in essence, forgo countless other options by at the same time choosing not to pursue them instead. It is from this vantage point whereby one might most appreciate the work being undertaken by the citizen/community group Bayfront 20:20.

The group made a significant choice not to be exclusionary. What this brought to the process was opposing views, pointed criticisms, contrasting personalities, difficult questions and exponentially more work for those closely devoted to the process. What it resulted in was what many consider to be a wholly unique and unprecedented example of a unified and regionally positive goal for one of the area’s most valuable assets, the City of Sarasota’s coastline. 

The easy approach would have perhaps been to cherry-pick a few moderately to well-known community leaders/activists under the guise of a vetting process. Instead, the group hosted nearly 100 community meetings, ranging in nature from an open-house at a local brewery to a dinner at a local community center. Those involved waded through thousands of suggestions, comments, and revisions in an effort to ensure that the guiding principles were refined and reflective of a multi-generational vision for the next iteration of Sarasota’s iconic history.

The group also made a significant choice not to focus on a single beneficiary. The Bayfront 20:20 question has never been one of what it might do for the arts, or for business, or the tourist, or the resident, or for the job seeker. Rather, the question has been centered on how to maximize the potential that the bayfront holds for all of the subsets of the community who make it what it is.  From a business perspective, it couldn’t make more sense… invest significantly in your most important assets in a way that creates a unique and valuable outcome for everyone involved. 

On February 17, the civic leaders who carry the torch for Bayfront 20:20 will look to the Sarasota City Commission for action or direction on further advancing the efforts of the community collaborative.  Specifically, the group seeks to have the Commission adopt the implementation principles that have emerged from the process. A choice to adopt those principles, and to support the ongoing efforts of the group, would seemingly be in the best interest of the greater community. Choosing not to abandon a fundamentally sound process, choosing not to steer clear of a regionally significant opportunity, choosing not to restrict the maximization of our core assets, choosing not to continue leaving the legacy of Sarasota’s bayfront yet unwritten–these would be an appropriate strategy. 

SRQ Daily Columnist Kevin Cooper is the vice president for Public Policy and Sarasota Tomorrow Initiatives for The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

[The Report]  Nonpartisan Races Not What You Think
Susan Nilon, susan.nilon@gmail.com

Nonpartisan races—what should unite us with its core intent—continue to divide us in ways that one would never have thought. Established to control partisanship amongst candidates, the rules dictate no political party shall be indicated on the ballot and no candidate should identify which party they are a member of. Yet in order to register as a voter, and therefore a candidate, one must declare a party affiliation. 

Most people have a romantic notion nonpartisan races mean political parties should not participate in campaigns. Yet election after election, parties never stay away. Anger and frustration have peppered every race, dividing friends and solidifying enemies as to whom has a right to participate. 

It’s a fool’s notion to think parties do not have a place in nonpartisan elections. I will even be bold enough to say I welcome their participation. Show me a candidate that does not need the support of their party and I will show you a fool.  If a candidate believes they are the right person for the office, why would supporters not engage the machine parties are known for? Getting out the vote, fundraising, reaching out to networks that have been cultivated for years is what parties they do best. If you are against that, you should stay out of politics.

Another misguided notion is political parties are limited to ones listed with the Supervisor of Elections. Let’s be real; political machines are also forged in special interests groups, neighborhoods and boardrooms. They too work campaigns, except there are no rules that require them to identify themselves. Working hard behind the scenes, they appear to be grassroots efforts—a groundswell of support for a candidate that inspires thembut operate in the shadows with the same political interest found in any other partisan race. 

Those that support this idea nonpartisan races are no place for political parties missthe beauty of these elections. Nonpartisan races are a true democratic process. With no party primary, everyone gets to vote. The top candidates who make it to a runoff allow everyone to vote again.  They win by a truly popular vote. This process also keeps parties in line and takes away manipulation of party hopping and fake candidates who close the primaries. It also requires the voter to do more research. You can’t rely on the “D” or “R” next to the name. 

As a voter, I am not always happy with my party. Sometimes my ideology does not align with the platform.  But because I have to choose a party in order to vote, I choose the party closest to my principles. Because I have to identify my party affiliation, I want to know more than what the candidate is telling on the campaign trail. 

Naively, one might question why social issues that are a huge platform of political parties, such as gay rights, would play into the city elections. And yet, it was just this past year that our city and county commissions were asked to support the Domestic Partnership Registry and consider transgender protection in the workforce.  How would I have known where candidate stood without the party to call on? 

Those who want honest races should support the demand of full transparency. That means knowing who the candidates are, not only on and off the trail, but before and after the elections. And how will we know that unless we fully understand what forces they align themselves with? 


SRQ Daily Columnist Susan Nilon is the president of Florida Talk Radio and owner of WSRQ Radio. She hosts The Nilon Report on WSRQ Sarasota 1220AM/106.9FM weekdays 4pm-6pm. Email her at susan@sarasotatalkradio.com.

[Candidate]  Facts, who needs 'em?
Stan Zimmerman

City Commission Candidate Matt Wooddall’s piece in SRQ Daily’s Opinion Edition sets a new low not only for the writer but the publication. Wooddall is currently running for the seat I occupy representing the city’s Third District.

The first sentence contains a critical error. Wooddall says the vice mayor committed a crime. In politics, of course, anything goes. But in the practice of journalism, that’s slander. His sentence concludes: “…in the face of her Sunshine Law violation.” In fact, there is no judicial determination anybody violated the Sunshine Law when two city commissioners met 18 months ago with merchants to hear complaints about the impact of vagrants on business. Commissioners Suzanne Atwell and Susan Chapman were there to listen. The two did not talk to each other of any conceivable future actions. This kind of interchange is a long-established practice. How else are organizations expected to share concerns with elected representatives? 

Wooddall’s assertion mirrors exactly the pleading filed by attorney Andrea Mogensen for “Citizens for Sunshine.” Wooddall worked with Mogensen associate Michael Barfield circulating a petition for a strong mayor exempt from Sunshine Law requirements. If Wooddall read the case file, he’d find no references to prior judicial decisions upholding his assertion. Chapman did not capitulate. Private attorneys ran up about $80,000 in legal fees before Atwell – joined by then-Commissioners Paul Caragiulo and Shannon Snyder – cut off funding for Chapman’s lawyers, a turning point in city history. Never had the City of Sarasota abandoned legal defense of an employee or volunteer not charged with criminal behavior.

Since Chapman’s city defense was stopped, her lawyers ran up another $24,000, which she is personally responsible to pay. I followed with increasing dismay the effort to exclude Ms. Chapman and any other city employee or volunteer from legal protection should a majority wish to “throw them under the bus.” This is where Mr. Wooddall’s conspiratorial mindset steps in. He wrote: “I question whether my opponent is engaging in some political ‘back scratching.’ ” That would imply more Sunshine Law violations. Wooddall issued the allegation without a scintilla of evidence; there is none. I have a 40-year reputation of honesty and fair dealing in this community. To have a political candidate accuse me of criminal behavior was unexpected and unwarranted. To include four commissioners in his allegation bodes poorly for him and the city should voters pick Wooddall to serve a four-year term.

Mr. Wooddall’s cites a $104,000 bill, but fails to acknowledge $80,000 was previously approved by Caragiulo, Snyder and Atwell. He also failed to examine costs run up in continued lawsuits. The activities of Mogensen and Barfield cost the City of Sarasota $704,000 in the past three years. In round numbers, the city paid $108,000 to the Mogensen law firm, $181,000 to the city attorney to defend a variety of suits launched by Mogensen and Barfield, $125,000 in “deductibles” for legal insurance for civil rights cases, and $291,000 to “outside attorneys” for several cases brought by Mogensen and Barfield. Mr. Wooddall’s bluster is about $24,000 paid since the cut-off a year ago.

When faced with a bully, you must fight back. Wooddall would rather give in, that’s clear. 

Stan Zimmerman was a journalist for 40 years before his appointment to the Sarasota City Commission three months ago. He is running for Sarasota City Commission District 3.

[SCOOP]  Taking Care of People

Cool Today, Plumbing Today and Energy Today has launched a cool campaign to highlight the value of helping others and showcase the ways in which the company supports its customers and those in need in the community. With its #TCPtoday campaign, the company encourages everyone to celebrate it’s mission of ‘Taking Care Of People’. “At Cool Today, taking care of business or ‘TCB’ is really ‘TCP’ or taking care of people. We love TCP so much we are celebrating it in a fun way,” said Jaime DiDomenico, President of Cool Today, Plumbing Today and Energy Today. Share your stories and see how you can join in the company’s celebration of Taking Care of People using hashtag #TCPtoday on Facebook,Twitter and Pinterest.  

TCP Today

[SOON]  2015 Modern Pentathlon World Cup #1

After a hosting a successful Modern Pentathlon World Cup Final in 2014, Sarasota and Bradenton continue this partnership as the hosts of several more events on the Modern Pentathlon World Cup Calendar: The 2015 Modern Pentathlon World Cup #1, The 2016 World Cup Final, and the 2016 US Olympic Trials. This year's Modern Pentathlon World Cup #1 offers a international sports competition that is a sensational, multicultural experience for viewers. With a brilliant blend of arts, education, and athleticism, this core Olympic level competition paired with an arts and culture celebration not only highlights the offerings of the Sarasota-Manatee area, but also ensures that there is something for everyone. 

2015 Modern Pentathlon

[SCOOP]  Blue Sunshine

Marina Jack is celebrating the recent completed renovation of its patio bar. The newly remodeled Blue Sunshine Patio Bar reflects a physical transformation into a nautical/south beach design theme with an updated menu and beverage selections. Some of the new menu items include Black & Blue Saku Tuna Sliders, Parmesan Onion Rings with Creole Mustard Sauce, Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, Black Bean Veggie Burger with Provolone on a Sesame Seed Bun, Tortilla Crusted Grouper with Pico De Gallo And Jalapeno Vinaigrette and Signature Broasted Chicken. The patio is open daily starting at 11:15 with open seating and live music in the evenings.  

Marina Jack

[SOON]  Brews For Brian At Mandeville Beer Garden

On April 1, the newly opened Mandeville Beer Garden in the Rosemary District  will host “Brews for Brian”, a fundraiser for the Brian Bill Foundation from 7-10 pm. The Brian Bill Foundation honors the legacy and service of fallen Navy SEAL Brian Robert Bill and his SEAL Teammates killed in action August 6, 2011 on Extortion 17 in the Tangi Valley, Afghanistan. The Foundation through its work and programs will support families of Navy Special Warfare. A portion of the proceeds from this event will go to “Brian’s House”, the Foundation’s retreat house on peaceful Manasota Key, a place where families can find comfort, support and healing after losing a loved one in the service.Local radio personality, Maverick, will facilitate the night’s activities which will include Ping Pong tournaments and giant Connect Four. Navy seals will be selling raffle tickets with military themed prizes. Boardwalk Food Company’s will be serving beer bread bites and there will be lots of swag from local beer vendors. Mandeville Beer Garden’s 30 taps will be flowing and a full menu will be served. Come out and support veterans and their families. 

Mandeville Beer Garden

[SOON]  Fleet Feet On The Move

For more than a decade, Molly and David Jackson have been committed to Sarasota’s running and fitness community and to giving back. Now the fitness and philanthropic duo are moving their Fleet Feet Sarasota store to a larger space less than a mile from their current space. The new location is 711 S. Osprey Avenue will be open February 20. The Jacksons also own and operate New Balance Sarasota, New Balance University Park and Molly’s! A Chic and Unique Boutique. The couple serves on a variety of Boards and are active in numerous charitable organizations. Their most recent event, Sarasota Music Half Marathon held Feb.8th, raised more than $25,000 for 20 local non-profits. To celebrate the new location, the Jacksons have scheduled several free events for the community including a Manasota Track Club Fun Run on February 19 at 6pm during which you can run to help Fleet Feet Sports Sarasota lighten their load while moving. Runners will run to the old location, grab boxes to carry back to the new location and be rewarded with food, giveaways and beer. On March 28 don’t miss the New Location Celebration with vendor demos, games, entertainment, and prizes for the whole family. And every Monday at 6pm the company hosts a 5k Fun Runs for all levels.  

Fleet Feet Sarasota

[SOON]  Gulf Coast Leadership Institute Application Deadline

Through its Gulf Coast Leadership Institute (GCLI), the organization identifies and develops aspiring, emerging, and experienced leaders from across our region and provides them with the skills they need to help transform our communities.  The twenty-five individuals selected by Gulf Coast to participate in the 10-week leadership development program will take part in seven training sessions from April through mid-June led by the nationally recognized J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development; Plug into a diverse network of fellow leaders - including more than 225 Leadership Institute alumni - who represent the region's public, private, and independent sectors; Receive all training and resources at no cost, other than a commitment to use your new skills to benefit your community. Completed applications must be received by 4 p.m. on March 5, 2015.  

Gulf Coast Community Foundation

[SOON]  Westfield Sarasota Square Hosts HSSC Pet Adoptions

The Humane Society of Sarasota County (HSSC) has partnered with Westfield Sarasota Square Mall to help find homes for its shelter residents.  Beginning February 28, on the last Saturday of every month, from 11am-2pm, HSSC will set up shop inside the mall with shelter pets available for adoption. HSSC’s adoption fees range from $45-$150. The adoption fee includes a comprehensive medical exam, vaccinations, spay or neutering, deworming and micro-chipping “"We are thankful for our partnership with Westfield Sarasota Square Mall and their support for animals in need.  We are hopeful this additional adoption location will appeal to our south county residents interested in adopting a shelter pet and saving a life,” said Kristi Dorman, Executive Director of HSSC. 

The Humane Society of Sarasota County

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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