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SRQ DAILY Aug 1, 2015

"Simply put, transportation concurrency exists today largely in name only. This is at least partially due to changes required by the complex, unpredictable, oftentimes inequitable and unintended-consequence-laden policies."

- Kevin Cooper, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

[Community]  Crowdfunding Compassion
Roxie Jerde

Isn’t it exciting to live in a time when people from around the world have never been more connected? Thanks to advances in technology, smart minds from all walks of life and locations are sharing ideas, opinions, current events and money at an astounding rate.

If you’ve opened up a web browser in the last year or two, it’s hard to miss “crowdfunding” dedicated to charitable endeavors in action—people coming together to make something “big” possible with a collection of smaller donations, making it possible for anyone in the world to feel that they can improve the human condition. A variety of websites and online platforms have opened up for people to contribute to diverse causes—whether they are close to home or somewhere across the globe.

This model especially embraces Millennials and those who have smaller resources to give, while also leveraging social sharing and awareness building as capital. At the heart of it, crowdfunding fuels the “everybody can be a philanthropist” spirit that we love at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County!  

While it’s a beautiful thing that so many people are being connected to multiple causes around the globe through crowdfunding, it can be easy to forget about the needs in our own backyard. Local Giving Days have sprouted up all across the nation to bring the focus back home and still keep the tradition of collective philanthropy alive. Hosted by a local community foundation, these powerful 24-hour online fundraising events unite people to raise money for regional charities, spread awareness about local choices in giving and inspire pride in one’s community.

Crowdfunding opens up exciting new avenues for people to give and learn about interests and causes around the world and at home, but it’s important to keep caution in mind.

There are numerous examples of individuals using crowdfunding to exploit good-willed people, giving birth to the term “crowdfrauding.” These crowdfunding platforms don’t offer true insights into what donors are being asked to support. Trust your instincts when you look for information. As with all forms of well-intentioned giving, making your donation to an organization that values and demonstrates transparency will increase the likelihood your dollars will make a difference.

Unique to our community’s Giving Challenge, each qualifying nonprofit has taken many hours to complete and update a profile in The Giving Partner, www.thegivingpartner.org, an online tool that helps you understand the programmatic impact of the organization as well as its leadership, financial history, needs and planning priorities.

Over the last three years, local nonprofits serving Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties have raised more than $8 million in our region’s own Giving Challenge. That’s an incredible testament to crowdfunding and to the power of the individual donor. Nearly 70 percent of last year’s gifts were $50 or less.

Mark Sept. 1 and 2 from noon to noon on your calendar and join the community movement! The Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation, with support from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, Manatee Community Foundation, and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, have some special ways you can help your favorite causes double their traction. 

SRQ Daily columnist Roxie Jerde is the president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County

Learn more about The Giving Partner here.

[Chamber]  The Concurrency Conundrum
Kevin Cooper, Kcooper@sarasotachamber.com

The Sarasota County Commission next month will hold a public hearing to consider the adoption of a mobility fee. The fee, which is intended to address the future need for multimodal transportation improvements in the area, would replace the current roadway impact fee. The mobility plan has been noted in the media, and denounced by some critics, for repealing concurrency. Specifically, those opposed to the change criticize the County Commission for removing what is perceived to be a long-standing taxpayer protection. Absent from the conversation is how concurrency is defined in 2015 and how the mobility plan would affect it.

The idea behind transportation concurrency was simple: development shouldn’t be allowed to proceed unless infrastructure capacity is available to serve it. A highlight of Florida’s landmark 1985 Growth Management Act, concurrency was widely considered a watershed moment in attempting to address the state’s infrastructure needs. What followed, however, was a struggle to implement a costly, complex policy fraught with unintended consequences that was later extensively amended by the state legislature.

By as early as 1992, the challenges of concurrency warranted addressing. One significant unintended consequence was the policy’s propensity to discourage urban infill and redevelopment. The nature of concurrency was that it incentivized development to either move to where roadway capacity already existed or where it would be inexpensive to construct.  Neither of those are the case in densely populated urban areas. As such, concurrency not only put urban areas at a severe competitive disadvantage, but it also produced results that were counterproductive in some areas. In response, the Florida Legislature created a concept known as transportation concurrency exception areas (TECA) which, as named, allowed for exceptions to concurrency requirements. By 1998, for the reasons noted above, a TECA was created within the City of Sarasota. Unfortunately, TECAs weren’t a panacea for the capacity-chasing issues that plagued the policy.

Over the following two decades, the Florida Legislature would make a number of changes to the concurrency mandate. However, perhaps none were more significant than what was seen in 2011. Under Florida’s 2011 Community Planning Act, concurrency became optional, and not only that, but local governments opting to continue implementing concurrency would have to follow a new set of requirements. 

By 2011, government could no longer halt development under the tenets of concurrency. Quite notably, new development could no longer be responsible for correcting already existing roadway deficiencies. Furthermore, impacts mitigated by previous phases or reserved projects were to be considered fully mitigated in future analyses. 

While these policies and the subsequent changes are complex, the current state of concurrency is not. Simply put, transportation concurrency exists today largely in name only.  This is at least partially due to changes required by the complex, unpredictable, oftentimes inequitable and unintended-consequence-laden policies. There are those who might reasonably disagree with the changes that were made, but that’s hardly germane to the local conversation.  imilarly, there are those who might reasonably disagree with the calculated mobility fees or the community’s future multimodal needs. However, decrying the plan and County Commission for the “repealing” of concurrency fails to reasonably account for concurrency as it is applied today. 

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

[Homelessness]  Move Beyond Apathy
Steve McAllister

Randy Miller has been homeless for a long time. He has been described as a gentle giant who suffers from alcoholism and the consequences of inebriating addictions. Yet regardless of Mr. Miller's frequent visits to the Sarasota County Jail and his inability to work toward a better life for himself, he should not be subjected to being treated the way that he was by Officer Andrew Halpin on July 18. That behavior is fine for college frat parties, and perhaps if Officer Halpin had let Mr. Miller throw peanuts into his mouth we would have no problem at all, yet it is unacceptable when you are the representative care provider of someone whom you have handcuffed at the behest of this community.

I believe that when enabling a person with the tools to force others into submission in the name of the law, we had better be very selective in our choice of person. If an officer shows symptoms of disdain for humanity or acts in a way disrespectful of the people he is supposed to protect, he should not be given a gun, badge and handcuffs with which he can misuse his authority. Considering Officer Halpin's treatment of Randy Miller, his taking advantage of Mr. Miller's inebriated state and the inappropriate use of the power entrusted to him by using a disadvantaged citizen for target practice, he is probably better suited for a career putting peanuts and other groceries into bags than protecting and serving the people of Sarasota by handcuffing and teasing them for his own amusement.

The most unfortunate thing about Officer Andrew Halpin's treatment of Randy Miller is that it does so closely resemble Sarasota's public policy in dealing with the homeless overall. Halpin's inability to respect human dignity, and the officers that stand by and allowed the violation to happen, is indicative of the way this community regularly treats our homeless residents. Unfortunately, we've been tossing peanuts for quite awhile, and teasing of solutions and shelter while most of us sit by and watch as human dignity is disregarded for sake of a system that doesn't work and a people that don't seem to care if it does.

Should we be able to move beyond the apathy that many feel for people like Randy Miller and inspire him to move beyond the apathy that keeps him in his state of outlaw addiction, we will be able to make this kind of scenario possible much less often. From the dehumanizing treatment he was shown by the Sarasota Police Department's representative to the way he often interacts with the rest of his world, Randy Miller is a tragic story, and while many would like to wait for him to magically find the faith to do the heroic thing and conquer his demons by himself, we will be better served across the board should we be able to recognize our power to be heroes to those who can't do it for themselves. As the Doug Logan leads the City of Sarasota through its Housing First initiative, I hope Randy Miller's housing is made a priority to make up for this unfortunate incident, and I hope Sarasota stops playing games and instead implements solutions. 

Steve McAllister is the author of How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld, host of Renaissance SRQ on WSLR and producer of the Home Free Project

[SOON]  Meet the Brewers

State Street Eating House + Cocktails is all set to host local brewers at a Sunday afternoon fest. Friends are invited to meet the brewers, sample their brews, and savor State Street lite bites! The restaurant will open its doors at 5pm August 16 to host local brewers Fat Point, Big Top and JDub’s for an afternoon of great food, great beer and great fun! State Street’s chef, Adam Ruth ensures that the tastings will be enhanced with his freshly prepared lite bite offerings. This event will benefit The Humane Society of Sarasota County. The Humane Society’s mobile adoption center (Big Mac) will be on hand with adoptable pets. Thirst-quenching beer, delicious food, adorable puppies and kittens, raffles, and music- what a perfect way to spend an August afternoon. 

State Street Eating House + Cocktails

[SCOOP]  Canine Therapy

Danielle Hughes of Sarasota’s Child Protection Center spoke to representatives from 48 states about P.A.W.S. at the 2015 Krimes Against Kids, a national conference held last week in Lake Buena Vista.  P.A.W.S. is a pet therapy program in which volunteer handlers have their dogs professionally trained to offer comfort to children who have been victims of abuse. The dogs are used to calm anxieties during group therapy and also in matters leading up to and during a trial. The P.A.W.S. program is getting a great deal of national attention since Florida is one of only a few states in the U.S. to have a statute allowing a child to have a therapy dog while they are in the witness stand during their testimony. Andrea McHugh of the State Attorney’s office stated, “Imagine you are a child talking about horrific things that have happened to you in front of a jury, a judge, a courtroom audience, lawyers, and even your perpetrator. Having a therapy dog with the child in the witness stand provides the child with a source of comfort and support, helping to reduce the chances of further traumatizing the child.” P.A.W.S. dogs are required to be certified through a recognized pet therapy program.  The volunteer handler undergoes extensive background checks and training.  Child Protection Center currently has nine active therapy dogs: Gary, Raven, Buck, Big Red, Dalen, Ruby, Sunny, Oliver, and Miss Fiona Marie. 

Child Protection Center Inc

[SCOOP]  Investing in our Future

Gecko’s Grill and Pub has renewed its ongoing commitment as a business partner with the Sarasota County 4-H Clubs & Foundation and designated 4-H as the direct beneficiary of donations raised during their 23rd Anniversary BBQ and Party. Gecko’s Co-Owners Michael Quillen and Mike Gowan awarded 4-H the check at a presentation ceremony at the original Gecko’s at The Landings. Quillen said,“Mike & I are proud to support the pivotal experiences provided by the 4-H programs which build a foundation of leadership and skills for success in the future careers of children in our community. We believe that investing in 4-H serves to honor the agricultural legacy of the great State of Florida, which has provided the livestock and produce that feeds our citizens and visitors alike, and which offers our children the programs that help them develop the life skills so essential to helping them become good citizens.”  

Gecko's Grill and Pub

[SCOOP]  Blue Economy Change-Makers

The results are in! The Gulf Coast Innovation Challenge has found their five finalists! Each of the finalists will receive a grant up to $25,000 to prototype its solution. The first challengers are a group of individuals looking to develop advanced solar-powered filtration technology for marine environments to access potable freshwater and ensure maximum productivity. Next up are Mote Marine Lab Biomedical, Immunology, and Microbiology Research Scientists looking to use certain marine bacterial specials as a source for developing novel antibiotics and therapeutic agents. The third group’s challenge is to develop a fishery for the invasive lionfish species in order to ensure long-term health of Gulf of Mexico ecosystems. Group four is looking to isolate active agents from Mote Marine’s existing shark-derived cancer fighting material to help improve quality of life for cancer patients. Last but certainly not least, is a collection of researchers looking to conduct a Gulf Fisheries improvement project and build a no-waste processing plant that produces multiple value-added products including fish fillets, omega-3 fish oil, and fishmeal. Watch as these five innovative teams contend to be declared the winner of this year’s Gulf Coast Innovation Challenge to develop the blue economy of Florida’s Gulf Coast.   

Gulf Coast Innovation Challenge

[SOON]  Encore!

Sarasota Opera is proud to announce casting for the 2015-2016 fall and winter season, truly the most climactic in the company’s 57 year history. The season will feature the final two installments of the 28 year Verdi Cycle – The Battle of Legnano and Aida- in a grand spectacle of music, vocal prowess, awe-inspiring choruses, sumptuous scenery, and luxurious costumes. In addition, the company will present Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, Mozart’s comedic Così fan tutte, Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème, and Hans Krása’s Brundibár. “This is a landmark season for the company and I think we have a wonderful line-up of artists for this important event,” says Maestro Victor DeRenzi, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor at Sarasota Opera.” At the close of the Verdi Cycle on March 20, 2016, Sarasota Opera will be the only company in the world to have performed every note of Giuseppe Verdi intended for performance that is currently available. Sarasota Opera will close the Cycle with a “Verdi Festival Week” March 15 – 20, 2016 which will include performances of both Verdi operas, two concerts dedicated to the music of Verdi, an international Verdi Conference, and many more commemorative events. Single tickets for the 2015/16 Fall and Winter Opera Festival go on sale exclusively online Saturday, August 1.  Single tickets will be available for purchase through the Sarasota Opera Box Office on Tuesday, September 1. 

Sarasota Opera

[SOON]  Creating Connections

Hungry for new business? Leverage your lunch with the power of business referrals this fall at the Greater Sarasota Chamber’s Power Hour Luncheons. At these events, each guest is invited to make an introduction to the group and pitch an elevator speech about their business. RSVPs are requested 24-hours prior to the event. $20 Pre-Registered Member; $30 Non-Member. This August there will be three luncheons at three irresistible locations: Hotel Indigo on August 12, Anna Maria Oyster Bar on August 28, and Shore Diner on September 9. Take this opportunity to expand your business network over lunch! 

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

[SOON]  Tour de SRQ-Part 2

Earlier this summer, Tour de SRQ held a restaurant and landmark tour around Sarasota. This time, Tour de SRQ has returned for a delicious brunch edition! Sip, sample, and savor Sarasota’s premier restaurants as you tour the town on a trolley. Guest will enjoy the area’s best Bloody Mary’s, mimosas, and brunch favorites.  Grab your crew and jump aboard the August 15 brunch tour and indulge your cravings all across Sarasota from Siesta Key to Downtown to St. Armands. Right now, you can save $20 with promo code BUYNOW. Your stomach will thank you later for all the great brunch you’ll get to eat, so don’t miss out! 

Tour de SRQ

[SOON]  Treat Yourself

This August, New Balance Sarasota, Fleet Feet Sarasota, and Molly’s Boutique are holding some great events for their customers, so take advantage of these opportunities while they last! August 1 marks National Girlfriends Day and you can head on over to New Balance for a free 5k Fun Run/Walk or celebrate at Molly’s Boutique as you get great deals on handbags and enjoy lite bites and libations. Parents, you can get your kids prepared for school starting and enjoy tax free week at all three locations, send your middle-school and high-school runners to a Cross Country Team Night at Fleet Feet on August 12, and donate your children’s old books and supplies to give to area teachers at Molly’s on August 13 for 10% off a single regular item purchase at any of the three locations. Teachers, head into Molly’s on August 13 so that we can celebrate you and get ready for a great year back in school. There’s lots going on at these three stores, so make sure to enjoy everything they have to offer! 

Molly's Boutique

[@ The Studio]  SRQ Hosts AIA 10x10

On Thursday, July 30th, SRQ Media hosted a group of Sarasota's influencers in the fields of art, design, architecture, environmental sciences, marketing, luxury watercraft design and cultural organizations at AIA 10x10. Beginning at 5:30PM, guests sampled a delicious and artistic array sushi crafted by Daniel Dokko of Jpan. Presenters Dwight Currie, Sheryl Haler, David Jennings, Daniel Jittu, Dustin Juengel, Peter Lizon, Jono Miller, Rich Odato, Jennifer Rominiecki and Michael Peters each delivered a discussion and slides illustrating major life milestones and events that shaped their individual histories throughout the event. For a gallery of images from the evening, click here.  

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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