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SRQ DAILY Jul 30, 2016

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

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[The Report]  Why Aug. 30 is Sarasota's Election Day
Cathy Antunes, cathycantunes@gmail.com

Crucial races will be decided in Sarasota’s Aug. 30 primary election. No matter what your party affiliation, voting in the school board race is critical. With only two candidates vying for the non-partisan school board (not the usual three or four), there will be no November runoff. All registered voters can cast a ballot in the August school board race. For GOP voters, the District 1 County Commission primary is another pivotal election. Sarasota’s County Commission has been 100 percent Republican for nearly 50 years, making the August GOP primary a de facto County Commission election.

Sarasota’s nonpartisan School Board District 2 race on August 30 between incumbent Caroline Zucker and challenger Teresa Mast is the actual school board election, and may also determine whether our school board is run by a PAC-supported majority.

Sarasota’s other open school board seat (District 3) will be filled by Eric Robinson, whose two challengers withdrew from the race. For those opposed to Citizens United, Robinson’s unopposed run for School Board is particularly cringe-worthy. Robinson’s work managing millions in state and local GOP political action committee money, the lucrative accounting and consulting fees he has gained from PAC management, don’t align with a nonpartisan elected office.  Robinson joins Bridget Ziegler on the Sarasota School Board, who benefited from over $45,000 in donations from out-of-state entity Phoenix Media, which doesn’t need to report its own funding source, to a PAC that supported her 2014 School Board victory.

Given Robinson’s and Ziegler’s connections to opaque PACs, concerned voters would do well to pay careful attention to the Zucker-Mast race. Zucker has served on the School Board for 17 years, and has never been supported by this type of money. As a newcomer, Mast’s source of  support is less certain. We’ve seen mailers and robocalls with opaque PAC funding enter local races in the final weeks of a campaign, making it next to impossible for the non-machine candidate to effectively respond.

Since 1970, every single Sarasota County Commissioner has been a Republican. Winners of the August GOP Sarasota County Commission primaries have gone on to become our County Commissioners for the past 46 years. About 28,000 Sarasota Republicans voted in the 2014 primary, just over 10 percent of the total electorate.  Those who vote in the August GOP primary have, as a practical matter, been picking our County Commission for nearly 50 years. 

GOP candidates Nancy Detert and Charles Hines are running for the County Commission without opposition from within the GOP—or outside their party. 

But in the District 1 County Commission race, GOP voters have a choice between Frank DiCicco and Mike Moran. DiCicco is a local leader who says he will work for “responsible growth” and is tired of “business as usual.” Moran is supported by the development machine—Pat Neal, Randy Benderson, Carlos Beruff.

Monday is the deadline to register to vote or to change parties, to vote in the Aug. 30 primary election. www.sarasotavotes.com

Our quality of life and our children’s education are on the ballot on August 30.  Vote!

Cathy Antunes serves on the board of Sarasota Citizens for Responsible Government. 

[Letter from Peter Paul]  Storm Always a Surprise
Peter Paul

Larry, Your article was an amazing piece on reflection and a reality check on life and basic values for all of us. You and I are in the same age group and we’re now keeping an eye on the weather-health report. Even so, the storm always comes as a surprise and no-one is totally prepared.

I agree with your gratitude to our local health system and agree with the call for our support in times when everything is calm. Thank you for your statement of encouragement to the community on this subject.

Peter Paul, responding to an article in the July 23 edition of SRQ Daily. 

[Real Estate]  Prime Inventor For Summer
Michael Moulton

The Sarasota Real Estate Market summer selling season is primed with inventory for the traditional busy months of July and August. With new listings of existing homes and condominiums across nearly all price tiers showing adequate replacement of sold properties, it appears that there is stabilization, which will likely help to moderate escalating prices. 

The strong price performance in the Sarasota Real Estate Market indicates a continued "seller's market" with inventory below what is considered a balanced market, and also continued impressive market demand. The stable inventory conditions and momentum of demand are encouraging sellers, who have been on the hunt for just the right time to list their homes, to finally bite the bullet and enter the game. 

I am seeing buyers in the mid-to-top tier price markets that are ready, willing and able to make an immediate purchase. However, they have become pickier over time and expect the properties that they are inspecting to be in excellent condition, or priced to compensate for repairs and maintenance that are required to bring it to move-in condition. 

Though reports of total sales appear to show waning activity, transactions of distressed properties have become a diminutive portion of the market, causing wide irregularity in data year-over year.  In fact, sales of foreclosed and short-sale properties in the Sarasota Real Estate Market have fallen more than 70 percent since last year at this time.  When reviewing numbers of "traditional" sales, closings on existing homes and condos not in the distressed group have grown 11.7 percent and 2.5 percent respectively.

With homeowners seeing a return to equity on their current homes as real estate values have increased, cash sales, especially at the top of the market, continue to be strong in the Sarasota Real Estate Market.  This element will also contribute to quicker closings. If you are a potential seller and haven't listed your property yet, here are some things to consider:

  • · Listings of new inventory are increasing in the market, which is expected to continue making competition more likely as the year progresses.
  • · More buyers have ready cash or credit to make a rapid decision.
  • · Interest rates for new mortgages remain at extremely low levels - last month a 30-year mortgage averaged just 3.6 percent.  Imagine locking in your new purchases for 30 years at less than 4 percent.
  • · What are you waiting for to make your next move, whether it be a move-up, downsize or geographic move?

Michael Moulton is a real estate agent with Michael Saunders and Company. 

Sarasota's Finest Properties

[Letter From Cathi Clark Bell]  Important to Re-Elect Zucker
Cathi Clark Bell

Growing up in a small, rural, north Florida town that only had one school, I didn’t understand the importance of educational excellence and diversity. How that changed when I moved to Sarasota 32 years ago. In Sarasota County, we are fortunate to have so many good public schools that offer our students exceptional educational opportunities. Next February our superintendent, Lori White, will retire after 40 years service to our schools. Now more than ever, it is important to have strong leadership on the Sarasota County School Board who will ultimately decide who the next superintendent will be. Caroline Zucker who is up for re-election to the Sarasota County School Board on August 30 has the experience of sound leadership to keep our schools on the path to excellence. She has served on the board for 17 years. During that time, graduation rates increased, alternative programs for expelled and suspended students were implemented, IB, MAST and AICE programs were established, technology plans strengthening the learning environment were put in place, North Port High was built, school choice and charter schools were put into place and expanded, art and music programs were reinforced district wide and a comprehensive measuring tool to assess the performance of the superintendent was developed, just to name a few. Sarasota County needs the continuity and experience Caroline Zucker can provide. When voting in the general election on August 30, I ask you to help protect our community’s most important resource, quality education for all students by re-electing Caroline Zucker.

Cathi Clark Bell is the mother of a Pine View graduate. 



[SCOOP]  Mission Cataract

Surgeons at Center For Sight performed life changing cataract surgeries as part of its Mission Cataract program. The surgeries took place at the practice’s state-of-the-art AAAHC-accredited surgery facility in Sarasota. Under the direction of David W. Shoemaker, M.D., Center for Sight’s nationally acclaimed ophthalmologic surgeons, Williams J. Lahners, M.D., Joshua W. Kim, M.D., and William L. Soscia, M.D., along with a team of ophthalmic technicians, nurse anesthetists, medical technicians, nurses, and administrative staff, donated their time and experience to Mission Cataract. Mission Cataract is a national program and Center For Sight is the only practice in Florida to participate. 

Center For Sight

[SCOOP]  Nurturing Dads

“Dadvertising” is the new catchword for reflecting fathers as responsible nurturers and caregivers in major ad campaigns. Dads are featured in Pantene “Dad ‘Do” commercials, Disney ads, and even a Daddy/Daughter ad for The Force Awakens. Children First has been ahead of the cultural curve since the fall of 1999 when the first Nurturing Dadsclass was held. The Nurturing Dads Initiative raises awareness of the vital role fathers play in the lives of their children and families. Today, 191 classes have been completed and 1,873 men have “graduated.” This free course begins in the Fall, 2016. 

Children First

[SCOOP]  Therapy Bikes

Easter Seals students are moving a little faster these days thanks to the five brand new bikes donated by Bright House Networks. Both his and hers tricycles were delivered to the Easter Seals campus where dozens of kids from the Easter Seals Lily School waited to take them for a test ride. The pink and black bikes were creatively themed with the Tampa Bay Bucs logo and Hello Kitty emblems. The bikes came equipped with Fat Wheels, making them useful for kids with special needs.  

Easter Seals Southwest Florida

[SCOOP]  New Generation of Giving

On Wednesday, 13-year-old Lexi Mariash, founder of Turtle Inc. presented two $7,000 checks, one to Easter Seals of Southwest Florida and one to Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Mariash raised the funds by organizing the 2nd Annual Turtle Inc. Mini Golf Tournament that took place at Evie's Family Golf Center this past May. This young entrepreneur said, "Age is just a number, not an expectation," and plans to further continue her philanthropic work in the future. Turtle Inc. is an organization committed to helping the sea turtles at Mote Marine Laboratory and educating youth of the environment and sea creatures.  

[SOON]  NewGate Golf Classic

The 1st Annual NewGate Golf Classic tees off on September 25 at the Ritz-Carlton Member’s Golf Club (NewGate is a nonprofit independent Montessori school in Sarasota, Florida, serving students from the ages of 18 months through the 12th grade. Proceeds from the tournament will go to support the Newgate Annual Fund). Players will gather for a shotgun start on the greens and a great day of golf. Contests will include the Million Dollar Hole-In-One, Closest to the Pin, Longest Drive, and Putting Green. 

NewGate Golf Classic

[SCOOP]  Trash Fish

Edible Sarasota and seven of Sarasota’s favorite chefs will be gathering at Louie's Modern for Trash Fish Sarasota on August 7. Trash Fish Sarasota is a delicious opportunity to taste underutilized, invasive and aquaculture seafood species, learn about the future of sustainable seafood, and connect with leading change makers in the Sarasota culinary community. These incredible chefs will prepare “trash” fish species like rudderfish, lionfish, Healthy Earth Sarasota sturgeon, and more. 

Louie's Modern

[SCOOP]  SRQ Airport Unveils Pet Amenities

SRQ Executives and Southeastern Guide Dogs staff with service dogs will unveil the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport’s (SRQ) service animal/pet relief area on the B concourse. This new amenity was built to accommodate passengers traveling with service animals and pets.Equipped with a fire hydrant and waste disposal bags, these services will provide a comfortable space for owners and their furry friends. 

Sarasota Bradenton International Airport

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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