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SRQ Daily Sep 5, 2015

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"So, why don't airplanes typically experience traffic jams while in flight? It isn't just because there's a lot of sky. Rather, air traffic control and flight plans that force everyone to think about everyone else mitigate the negative effects of 'selfish routing.'"

- Kevin Cooper, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
 

[The Way I See It]  Repairing The World
Ian Black

In between elephant rides, micro-lite flights over Victoria Falls and other unique experiences while on vacation, I was able to give serious thought to this column. On the one hand, an opinion is just that, a personal judgement about an issue. I knew I would lay myself open to criticism and perhaps ridicule. A bit like undressing in public! A good friend, who is politically astute, once told me that politics is a “full contact body sport.” On the other hand my Jewish upbringing has instilled in me the maxim of “Tikun Olam” a Hebrew phrase that means “repairing the world" or "healing the world" which suggests humanity's shared responsibility to heal, repair and transform the world. Not that I would be so presumptuous as to suggest that my monthly ramblings would attain such status but my conscience prompted me not to be a “shrinking violet” and take up the challenge that had come my way.

Here I am fully clothed and somewhat excited by the monthly challenge to be a political observer with strong opinions. Hopefully I can be just that without coming across as “opinionated.”

If I had been writing this column 12-18 months ago I would have been bemoaning the lack of forward momentum emanating from City Hall. What a difference a year makes. Ten years ago as Chairman of the then Downtown Partnership we championed the creation of AROD (Affordable Residential Overlay District).With no political support it died on arrival. Fast forward to today where we are seeing the immediate results of the City Commission’s progressive actions that have resulted in the creation of the ROD (Rosemary Overlay District) which tripled density in the affected area. Recently coined “The Dynamic District” by the SHT’s Business Weekly edition, this has stimulated the proposed development of over 1000 rental apartments with a construction value in excess of $100,000,000. While there are no guarantees that these units will pass the smell test of affordability and assuming that they are all eventually built, it is fair to say that market forces rather that legislative action will be a factor in contributing to attainability with the anticipated addition of 1500 +/- new residents. With all this activity surely the time has come to improve the accessibility from the Rosemary District to Downtown and rename Fruitville to 3rd Street.

Finally I have a confession to make; I have an addiction, to Uber. There appears to be concerns that the ordinance that is coming before the Commission on Tuesday will stop Uber from operating in Sarasota. Au contraire mes amis, it is a sensible regulation that is similar to others that have been adopted in other municipalities across the country and is a timely response by our City to this new industry. It only regulates picking up passengers in the City of Sarasota. Please no Black T shirts. If it is not Uber it will be another TNC that will work within the system. At the end of the day the consumer will be best served by whoever provides the best deal.  

That’s the way I see it. 

[Community]  36,400 Expressions of Love for Our Community
Roxie Jerde

A lot of magic happened on September 1 and 2 when members of our community gave more than 36,400 gifts in just 24 hours, infusing large and small local organizations with funding and affirmation of their important impact. We love to reflect on the dollars generated for diverse and meaningful missions in our community from so much generosity: $6,674,614, including individual donors’ gifts, matching dollars from The Patterson Foundation, and grant incentives from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, Manatee Commuity Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

But what’s the story behind the Challenge? It’s actually much bigger.

In 2011, a group of foundations wanted to elevate every citizen’s power of choice in philanthropy. Hundreds of nonprofits have taken long hours to detail their impact, financials, leadership and strategies on The Giving Partner to help all of us understand who is doing what in our community, how we are different and how we work together.

And qualifying organizations had the opportunity to participate in the Giving Challenge earlier this week. They are a mighty bunch. Staff, volunteers and board members rallied behind their causes. Staying true to their missions, these nonprofits developed entertaining, educational, and emotional (often a mixture of all three) campaigns to inspire both loyal and new donors to give during the short amount of time. 22 participating nonprofits partnered with another participating nonprofit to achieve joint goals in their campaigns, 26 nonprofits found a committed business partner to increase their exposure to new audiences, 35 had stand-out boards of directors who developed creative outreach strategies, 33 organizations submitted comprehensive fund and communications strategies for their campaigns and 46 submitted creative videos that evoked emotions in powerful storytelling about their missions. 

Although the Giving Challenge was driven and operated online, the movement wasn’t just about technology. Thanks to all the efforts of the participating organizations, the Challenge was brought to life. Through concerts, celebrations, food and drink events, walkathons, pajama parties, and even pie throwing, people were able to personally experience the excitement of the 24 hours firsthand. 

The movement isn’t over. The impact of what each organization accomplished goes beyond the dollars, and it’s going to make a difference for a long time. Even now, the participating charities are thanking their loyal donors, fostering the new relationships they worked hard to gain and amplifying the good they are able to achieve.

The donors who believed they can be the ones to make a difference and gave during the Giving Challenge can follow the impact of their investments using The Giving Partner. Unrestricted funding can be hard to come by—nonprofits need them for operations. By investing dollars into our community through local nonprofits, those who contributed during the 24 hours demonstrated their passion for our region and added a vote of confidence for the impact that our organizations are achieving. 

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

[Chamber]  The Price of Anarchy
Kevin Cooper, Kcooper@sarasotachamber.com

In the United States, there are more than 87,000 flights in the skies on any given day. In flight, why do these planes rarely, if ever, experience traffic jams?  

For the automobile, however, traffic jams are a more common occurrence. As perceived traffic issues increase in likelihood and severity, what follows is typically a conversation that begs for additional roadway investment and construction. Typically devoid from these conversations, however, is a focus on something equally as important as funding and roadway capacity: the driver.

In Sarasota, letters to the editor and lunchtime conversations often attribute traffic problems to tourists, snowbirds or drivers past a certain age. However, the larger issue is more simple and broadly assignable. In his seminal work, Dr. Tim Roughgarden, associate professor at Stanford University, described the problem well.  In exploring the concept of ‘selfish routing’, he focused on “the degradation in network performance due to selfish, uncoordinated behavior by network users.”  The contribution that drivers make to Sarasota’s perceived traffic issues has far less to do with age or home state than it does the propensity to make isolated, self-serving decisions.

A 2014 roadway level of service report showed that, of the 460 studied, Sarasota County had 62 major roadway segments operating below their adopted level of service. However, one could locate adequately performing, parallel segments near those underperforming segments. In fact, the entire system actually had an additional capacity of almost 265,000 vehicles during the peak hour. Why wouldn’t some of the drivers on the failing segments just shift to geographically similar, non-failing segments?

So, why don’t airplanes typically experience traffic jams while in flight? It isn’t just because there’s a lot of sky. Rather, air traffic control and flight plans that force everyone to think about everyone else mitigate the negative effects of 'selfish routing.’  Roadway traffic systems are devoid of an omnipresent controller and regulated, planned routes. Of course, it’s likely undesirable and wholly improbable for such a condition to occur. However, in the absence of such planning and oversight, the result is that drivers with inherently habitual, unaware and self-serving tendencies consume the commodity of roadway capacity without ever considering how conflicting interests fail to maximize potential.  

There are significant economic and environmental costs associated with traffic congestion. Theorists like Roughgarden wouldn’t just describe these costs as the price of development or the price of tourism.  Both of those factors, unlike the concept of ‘selfish routing,’ can have positive contributions that outweigh their cost. Instead, a significant portion of the cost we pay can be aptly described as the price of anarchy—the measure of the inefficiency of self-serving, uncoordinated behavior.   

It isn’t just that traffic exists, it’s that there isn’t a reasonable way to predict what it will do.  Even if money were of no issue, building roads to eliminate congestion can be a risky and uncertain proposition. The challenge isn’t just reengineering the system, it’s also reengineering the driver’s approach to it.   

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

[On Uber]  Regulatory Overload
Gabriel Hament

The concept of “Creative Destruction” was first identified and explained by the world’s greatest critic of Capitalism, Karl Marx. Later coined by famed economist Joseph Schumpeter, Creative Destruction is the process whereby a new technology, product or process is introduced to an existing market subsequently rendering current products or services obsolete. Every businessperson, scientist and inventor is looking to find a way to deliver a product or service superior to those currently available to consumers. For example, Henry Ford not only revolutionized the automobile industry by perfecting the assembly line and paying his workers twice the typical hourly wage; he incidentally put carriage makers out of business. The result—automobiles rolling out of his factories even his workers could afford!

“One’s own employees ought to be one’s own best customers.”— Henry Ford

Fast forward to 2015 when the City of Sarasota is currently contemplating the passage of an ordinance that would impose onerous regulations on an innovative new mobile application dubbed Uber.

Here is how Uber works. First the user inputs their credit card information, then he/she “drops a pin” on a map indicating pick-up location and final destination. A quote for the ride is then generated. Then a nearby Uber driver acknowledges the request. A picture of the Uber driver and the model of the car are transmitted to the passenger’s phone. If the passenger accepts, the driver proceeds to pick you up. Upon arrival at the destination, your credit card is charged at approximately the same rate, give or take a few cents that was initially quoted. But—here is the key to Uber’s self-regulating genius—the passenger provides a rating of one to five stars and can leave a comment about the driver, the cleanliness of the vehicle, etc. If a driver’s average rating falls below 4.6 stars, Uber can deactivate the driver’s account.

Uber covers each of its drivers with $1 million of liability coverage per incident. In addition, Uber does its own county, state and federal background checks of each driver. Uber drivers cannot utilize a vehicle more than 10 years old. Quality control is further assured through the passenger rating system.

Why is the City proposing duplicative background checks, a mechanic’s inspection of the vehicle and a $35 licensing fee? To generate fees, of course, and to appease the antiquated taxicab industry. Is this the type of culture our City’s leaders should be promoting—one of over-regulation and backward-looking thinking? Or should Sarasota embrace the technological innovation of tomorrow? If our elected officials are serious about attracting and retaining its graduates and young professionals, building a well-diversified economy and competing with neighboring St. Petersburg and Tampa for good-paying jobs, they should make sure Uber stays! 

Gabriel Hament, Sarasota

[Correction]  Fawley Remembered for Community Contribution
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Rick Fawley's name was misstated in part of an article about his death in the Sept. 4 edition of SRQ Daily. Fawley Bryant is the name of the the firm Fawley founded with Mike Bryant. 



[SOON]  USF Sarasota-Manatee To Host Noted Author Tom Shroder

He’s edited humor columnist Dave Barry and tackled weighty issues such as 2010’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. His book “The Hunt for Bin Laden” became the No. 1-selling Kindle single on Amazon.com. Journalist, writer and editor Tom Shroder has written and edited awarded-winning news articles and books over the course of nearly 40 years, and now he’s coming to USF Sarasota-Manatee. On September 22 from 5-8pm, Shroder will kick off this year’s “Knowledge-A-Bull Speaker Series” at USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Selby Auditorium.  His career included stints at the Cincinnati Enquirer and Miami Herald, including at the Herald’s Tropic magazine. As editor of The Washington Post Magazine from 2001 to 2009 he oversaw Gene Weingarten's two Pulitzer Prize-winning stories, “Fiddler in the Subway” and “Fatal Distraction.” But Shroder is perhaps best-known for his book “Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal,” which won praise from a host of critics and authors. In addition to writing, Shroder has built a remarkable resume as a writing coach and editor, collaborating with authors from Dana Priest and Weingarten to Tony Kornheiser, the sports writer and talk show host, and humorist Barry. He co-authored the book “Fire on the Horizon: The Untold Story of the Gulf Oil Disaster” with John Konrad.  Shroder was born in New York City in 1954, the son of a novelist and a builder, and the grandson of MacKinlay Kantor, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his Civil War novel “Andersonville.”    “The Knowledge-A-Bull Speaker Series was developed to bring world-renowned experts to our campus in order to engage the community in thoughtful discussion,” said Dennis Stover, regional vice chancellor for University Advancement. “We hope that by bringing people like Tom Shroder to the campus that the community will take an opportunity to visit our campus and begin to associate us with these thought-provoking conversations.” 

USF Sarasota-Manatee

[SCOOP]  Realize Bradenton Unveils the 2015 Bradenton Blues Festival Poster

Don Brandes, a former Hallmark artist and current Ringling College faculty member, is the illustrator of the 2015 Bradenton Blues Festival poster. Brandes worked with graphic designer Paula Murray, principal of Artefact Design, on the finished design. The poster, which depicts a musician strumming a guitar on the railway bridge crossing the Manatee River, is being printed by Manatee Printers Inc. Proceeds from sales of the limited-edition, artist-signed poster, and original artwork, will benefit Realize Bradenton's music and youth outreach programs, including "Blues in the Schools." Starting the week of September 11, a limited number of posters will be available for $30 at Keeton’s Office and Art Supply in Bradenton and online at the link below. The poster will also be available for purchase at the 2015 Bradenton Blues Festival on December 5. Brandes, who has been teaching in the illustration department at Ringling College of Art and Design since 1988, says that his design for the 2015 Bradenton Blues Festival poster is, "my attempt to get sound out of an image. A combination of contrast in color and movement creates a feeling of energy resonating from the blues guitar. All of this is set on the railway bridge across the Manatee River—a perfect backdrop for the blues."  

Realize Bradenton

[SCOOP]  Bradenton Area's 'Throwback Go Back' Social Media Campaign

This September, past visitors to the Bradenton Area (Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key) on Florida’s West Coast are invited to take part in the inaugural “Throwback Go Back” social media campaign, created by the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (BACVB) by sharing photos from previous trips to the area to enter to win a vacation package to experience the Bradenton Area all over again. Those posting a photo taken during a past visit to the Bradenton Area and utilizing the hashtag #ThrowbackGoBack will be entered to win a “Throwback Go Back” Vacation Package (valued at $2,000) that includes: Three night stay at Bridgewalk for a maximum of four guests, Sunset Dolphin Boat Tour with Paradise Boat Tour for four, one-hour Paddleboard Rental with Coastal Watersports Paddle, Massage on the Beach with Serenity Spa for two, Four one-hour Segway Rentals from Segs by the Sea, Putt Putt at Fish Hole Miniature Golf for four, Dinner for four at the Island Time Bar & Grill,  Dinner for four at the Blue Marlin Restaurant, Dinner for four at the Bridge Tender Inn, Dinner for four at the Beach House, a luggage bag full of things they’ll need on their trip and more. Three finalists will be selected, and the Bradenton Area’s Facebook followers will vote to select a winner. Finalists will be selected on September 29 and voting begins on September 30, ending on October 4.  The winner will be announced on October 5.


 

Bradenton Area Visitors Convention Bureau

[SOON]  Electrify the Island

Electric vehicles and other eco-friendly technologies will show their power during “Electrify the Island”: the Sarasota-based kickoff for the nationwide celebration of National Drive Electric Week on Saturday, September 12 from 10am-3pm. Electrify the Island will feature a plug-in electric vehicle (EV) expo, ride-and-drive sessions that allow visitors to test some of the sleekest EVs around, along with vendors focused on sustainability and energy efficiency and educational booths. Mote Aquarium admission is not required to attend Electrify the Island. However, it's a great day to visit: Mote's admission is reduced to $6 for Florida residents every Saturday in September 2015.  

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

[SCOOP]  UF IFAS Gives Kudos To All Faiths BackPack Kids Programs

 University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at Sarasota Extension commended All Faiths Food Bank “excellent job” when noting the work of All Faiths’ Director of Nutrition Education, Jenna Jones. The University of Florida, IFAS Extension Office along and the Family and Consumer Sciences Department and the Family Nutrition Program, have partnered with All Faith’s Food Bank on several projects for more than a decade including BackPack Kids and Growing Healthy Kids programs, School Pantries, Cooking Matters in the Community, and Summer Food Programs. In a letter following a review of the BackPack Kids program, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent Maria J. Portelos-Rometo wrote, “Ms. Jones has done an excellent job factoring the cost of each backpack while meeting all of the RDA’s nutritional requirements.” In 2014, the BackPack program provided more than 103,000 bags of food to students to take home on Fridays so they could eat over weekends and holidays. Now part of the Food Bank’s summer food programs, by mid-July of this year, more than 12,500 bags of food were distributed at 27 new summer sites. New partnerships with the Sarasota County Public Libraries, Children First, Boys & Girls Clubs, several programs of the Early Learning Coalition and others worked with All Faiths to ensure children had food all summer long. The programs and partnerships will continue to feed children as school begins again later this month. 

All Faiths Food Bank

[SCOOP]  Forty Carrots Expands to New Building

 Forty Carrots Family Center recently purchased the building adjacent to its existing Kane Campus and is undertaking a $600,000 capital campaign to underwrite the cost of the project. The campaign was launched with a leadership gift of $200,000 from The Brunckhorst Family, and the not-for-profit organization has raised another $235,000 thus far. Forty Carrots is seeking donations to raise the remaining $165,000. Naming opportunities are available. The purchase of the building at 1426 Tuttle Avenue will allow Forty Carrots to expand its Parenting Education and Mental Health Programs by creating more Child and Family Therapy Rooms. Relocating some administrative staff to the new building also will provide much-needed workspace for program staff at the Kane Campus and enable the creation of a new Science Room for the Preschool at Forty Carrots. “This was an incredibly timely opportunity for us to purchase the building across the street. We are now serving more than 3,500 children and adults throughout the community each year, and our current center is bursting at the seams,” said Forty Carrots Executive Director Michelle Kapreilian. “The dedicated Science Room was top of the ‘dream big’ wish list for our preschool. We are so grateful to the Brunckhorst Family for kicking off this campaign and helping to make this dream come true.” In addition to the Brunckhorst Family’s leadership gift, substantial contributions have been made by the Steinwachs Family Foundation, Dart Foundation, Jemison-DeLong Family, Publix Super Markets Charities and the Janet & Stanley Kane Foundation. Forty Carrots also has benefitted from significant in-kind donations of professional services from Richard C. Lawrence, real estate attorney with the law firm of Williams Parker and former board chair for Forty Carrots. 

http://www.fortycarrots.org

SRQ Media Group

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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