Community Supports Soto

Letter from Christine Baer


Who determined that Ron Soto caused “widespread disgust and outrage”? Who is the “local community” you are claiming identified him as the “meanest city’s meanest man”?  Who are you referring to, or what group are you claiming defines that “local community”?

You further claim Soto Optical's Facebook rating plummeted from a 5 to a 1.7 stars as the “community fought back”—this is your allegation. Truth is, the “community” never fought back. This was an active campaign solely by you and your followers on your Facebook page (most of your followers being from Tampa not Sarasota and thus in no way "local") to intentionally besmirch the reputation of Ron Soto and undermine a long established and well-respected brick-and-mortar business in Downtown Sarasota. 

You wrote “I thought I should sound the alarm on this guy” urging your Facebook followers to “Let him know what you think...Leave a review.” This is what you wrote on your Facebook page.

Let me briefly educate you about the character of the “meanest city’s meanest man.” His altruism and dedication to the community of Sarasota is boundless. Ron Soto has given bus tickets to runaways and street people that wish to return home. He has given street people money and food to aid them. He personally picks up the trash they leave in the park. His Downtown Cares program that he initiated has generated thousands of dollars for benevolent organizations whose missions are to aid the homeless. This in the wake of businesses closing and moving away from Downtown Sarasota to free themselves from the burden of this homeless situation.

In closing, all I can say is shame, shame, shame on you. What you are saying and inciting is unconscionable.

Christine Baer, Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association, responding to a letter from Bryan Ellis in the July 2 edition of SRQ Daily.

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