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SRQ DAILY Oct 22, 2016

"We will soon have the important and challenging public discussions that will be vital to saving or adapting the coastline in a state whose popularity and economy, if not very existence, is based upon public access to our ocean, bays and beaches."

- Tom Barwin, Sarasota City Manager

[Under The Hood]  Return Of The Split Ticket?
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Are political coattails a thing of the past? It’s clear U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio hopes so. At his first Senate debate with Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy, Rubio spent about as much time going after Republican nominee Donald Trump as he did his opponent.

That’s not to say Murphy got a pass. When Murphy challenged Rubio on his infamous absenteeism, Rubio countered that he accomplished more as a senator than Murphy had over the past two years in the House and suggested the congressman had done little more than sign letters. But Rubio also said he didn’t trust Donald Trump any more than he trusted Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He didn’t put distance between himself and Trump so much as he long-jumped away doing everything short of withdrawing his endorsement, and even then cleverly deflecting that he would have done that had Trump done “the things” Clinton has done.

But where does that leave the race come Nov. 8? Our senator clearly hopes for a resurgence in a voter behavior not seen since, well, the last time a Clinton was in the White House. He expects ballot-splitting this November.

For those not ancient enough to remember such a practice, it was all the rage in the 1990s. Voters would vote one party into the White House and other into lower offices like senator and congressman. The last time it really happened in a meaningful way was probably the year 2000. Florida voters were in the game that year, comfortably electing Bill Nelson to his first Senate term while (just barely) delivering George W. Bush the state’s electoral votes and keys to the White House. But every presidential election since then, the party that won the presidency also picked up seats in Congress.

With most models predicting Clinton will win her contest, Rubio has decided to go it alone. It’s no surprise, since he delivered some of the best zingers against Trump while running against him in the GOP’s presidential primary. But it’s also risky, since Rubio couldn’t outperform Trump in the primary even in his home state, the same turf he is fighting for today.

Democrats, of course, would very much like Clinton’s coattails to remain as strong as President Obama’s proved to be in his 2008 landslide. During a speech in Miami Thursday where Obama talked up Murphy as much as Clinton and attacked Rubio as often as Trump, the sitting Democrat-in-chief scoffed at how Rubio could endorse Trump while running from him. While the two Republicans won’t campaign together, Obama still hopes they can lose campaigns together.

Yet, there is every reason to believe Rubio could be right. Revered analyst site FiveThirtyEight.com found evidence earlier this month that as Trump fell behind in debate season, and especially after the embarrassing tape we’ve all heard surfaced, battleground Senate races started to break a little for Republicans. The site noted Rubio has led every poll taken of the Senate race since summer.

It will still be close. A Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday shows Rubio leading by 2 percent, within the margin of error. The RealClearPolitics aggregate of all public polls shows Rubio up by 4.8 points.

In contrast, Trump hasn’t won a statewide poll here since before the debates. The RCP average shows Clinton win a 3.8-point aggregate lead, and the same Quinnipiac showing Rubio with a slight edge shows Clinton winning by a 4-point margin.

Anything could happen between today and Election Day, of course, but it seems likely Florida will award Rubio a second term as it denies Trump a first.  

[City Government]  Welcome to thisspaceshipearth.org
Tom Barwin, Thomas.Barwin@sarasotagov.com

For those watching the local TV news weather reports this week, we learned September was the warmest September on Earth since weather records began being kept. 

Locally, ABC 7's Bob Harrigan reported that September 2016 was over 2 degrees warmer here than September 2015. In fact, 11 of the past 12 months have been record-setting in terms of temperature on our spaceship-planet.

Rising global temperatures is not really a news flash. If there is one nearly universal agreement point related to rising global temperatures, it is that temperatures have been rising and that the earth’s ice glaciers are melting accordingly.

Most now believe, just as 2 + 2 = 4, that the melting of earth’s massive ice caps will continue to result in steadily rising sea levels.

As a vulnerable coastal community, in a highly populated state surrounded by the oceans, the City of Sarasota has begun the process of preparing to anticipate the impacts of climate change on our future. We are undertaking this analysis to be able to attempt to adapt and help to minimize the threats to our community as we move forward. I suspect as more and more citizens and policy makers learn how rising sea levels could impact Florida’s main assets, our heavily populated 5,000 miles of coastlines and beaches, many more will get serious about attempting to minimize the potential damage.

We are able to become more proactive on this concern through the City Commission's recent decision to set aside resources from the $2 million BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil spill settlement to develop our climate adaptation plan. Over the next year, a plan will be pulled together to begin to anticipate and plan appropriately for rising sea levels and more volatile weather events due to the Earth heating up. 

As we begin to review and update our public policies and priorities to respond locally to the global environmental situation impacting us, I discovered that Sarasota is now the international home base to the climate change response thought leader organization called ThisSpaceshipEarth.org.

The authors of the easy-to-read yet powerful book, This Spaceship Earth, are Ringling College Professor Tim Rumage and futurist David Houle, who also teaches at Ringling. Tim lives here and David recently moved full-time to Sarasota from Chicago.

As our community begins to anticipate and respond to climate change more assertively, thisspaceshipearth.org adds even more local capacity to the other local agencies we can partner with for information, expertise, reliable research data and implementing actions.

With Mote Marine Research, the Sarasota Bay Estuary, the Science and Environmental Council of Southwest FL, Ringling College, New College, USF and other conservation and environmental organizations represented in our town, we will soon have the important and challenging public discussions that will be vital to saving or adapting the coastline in a state whose popularity and economy, if not very existence, is based upon public access to our ocean, bays and beaches.

I highly recommend This Spaceship Earth for your beach reading this season, and thank residents David Houle and Tim Rumage for writing it.

As always, I welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.

Thank you for taking the time to read this month’s column. 

Tom Barwin is city manager for the City of Sarasota. Forward any thoughts you may have on this or related subjects to: thomas.barwin@sarasotagov.com

[The Detail]  Benderson Plans On The Ballot?
Cathy Antunes, cathycantunes@gmail.com

This presidential race is full of crazy headlines. Meanwhile, important local races will be decided in November. As party lines are blurring nationally, local elections may be similar. Party affiliation may not be helpful in identifying who will effectively steward our community, especially since effective oversight of development decisions is no longer found at the state level. Important decisions lie ahead, and they will be decided by the County Commission. Siesta Key’s south bridge at Stickney Point and US 41, a major gateway to a local economic engine and prized beach, may suffer a suffocating traffic future. County government is responsible for creating safe and economically viable development. The County Commission election matters.

We used to be able to count on the Department of Community Affairs for wise development standards in Florida. The state agency, established in 1969, worked to reduce sprawl and congestion for 42 years. DCA was abolished in 2011. In Sarasota, the most obvious evidence of the absence of DCA oversight is traffic at University Parkway and I75. Without DCA’s usual oversight requirements (e.g. a DRI - Development Regional Impact study), Sarasotans have seen the new mall create dangerous congestion and siphon retailers from existing commercial centers. The traffic fix—a cumbersome diverging diamond—comes with an $80-million price tag.

You might think that the Florida Department of Transportation has the power to prevent local traffic problems. FDOT has no veto power in local development decisions. This past July, FDOT sent Sarasota County a letter expressing concern about future traffic problems at Stickney Point and US 41. Why? Benderson Development is petitioning the County for permission to build 510 residential units, 150 hotel rooms and 140,000 square feet of retail at the northwest corner of the intersection. That 24-acre parcel was purchased in 2005, when it was home to just a gas station and 300 mobile homes. Quite a difference, and FDOT noticed.

The July FDOT letter indicates traffic at Stickney Point and 41 is already hazardous. The intersection is on the “High Crash Segments” list. FDOT’s Keith Slater writes: “…over the past five years there has been a constant increase in crashes in this segment [intersection]. Crashes have increased an average 30 percent per year with an astonishing 175 percent total increase between 2010 and 2014.” Slater calls for the County to engage in “vital” coordination with FDOT.

Given the Benderson-friendly County Commission’s traffic record, FDOT’s concern is warranted. If the Commission rubber stamps this project, what kind of traffic fix is possible? There’s no room for a diverging diamond entering Siesta Key.

You may remember that when approving the new Benderson mall, the County removed a requirement to build over 400 affordable housing units. Affordable housing for those working nearby could have alleviated some traffic near the mall. No affordable housing is planned at Stickney Point and 41.

In the County Commission race between Fredd Atkins and Mike Moran, Benderson’s choice as evidenced by Moran campaign signs at Stickney Point and 41. Who will you support?

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

[Higher Education]  Early Registration Equals Success
Carol Probstfeld, presidentsoffice@scf.edu

Applying to college and getting accepted is an exciting time for a student. Academic planning gets overlooked in that excitement, but it couldn’t be more important.

Simply stated, students need a plan to follow. This is what gets a student from the first semester to the second, and from freshman year to graduation. More than just a course schedule for one semester, a plan maps out all the classes a student needs for their degree in sequence.

Timing is everything in executing a solid academic plan. I can remember not getting the class I wanted, at the time I wanted it, with the professor I wanted to take it from… that was how I learned the value of registering as early as possible. When classes are not available due to late registration, or cannot be taken at the optimal time, completion becomes delayed, and for some, fleeting.

From their first semester to their last, students need to focus on their plan, work with their advisors and register for their next semester’s classes as early as possible. Early registration is the key to keeping on track.

At the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, many of our students work full-time or part-time. Work schedules are fixed and family needs are not optional. Classes must fit specific times to allow the student to balance work, family and school. Early registration helps to ensure that students get the classes that fit their busy schedule.

Students who register early can manage their schedule, not let their schedule manage them. Late in the term, when class projects and final tests create stress for students, registration for the next semester can become one burden too many. Last-minute registration is typically rushed and unfocused. With all the distractions of life, getting off track in just one semester can derail a student’s plan and educational goals.

Registering early also gives students time to plan their extra-curricular activities, campus social groups and campus-based activities. Students who are active outside the classroom on their campus are typically more academically successful and more likely to have a well-rounded and fulfilling college experience.

It is critical that more than just professors and advisors deliver the message about early registration. Community leaders, parents and mentors need to reinforce the message to keep our students on track to college graduation. Adding more college graduates to our community benefits our region economically and culturally.

It’s a simple message—have a plan, register early and graduate. 

Dr. Carol Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.  

[SCOOP]  Chart House Opens For Lunch Saturdays and Sundays

Chart House Longboat Key is thrilled to announce they will be open for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays beginning Saturday, October 29 from 11am – 4pm. The new lunch menu will feature a variety of dynamic dishes including entrée salads, sandwiches, breakfast for lunch, entrées and signature desserts. Enjoy $3 Mimosas or Bloody Marys with your meal. For more information or to make your reservation, please call (941) 383-5593 or visit www.chart-house.com. 

Chart House

[SCOOP ]  Costumes and Cocktails

Join Overturf's Floor & Fabric Care and First Impressions by Deborah Gerard for the 2nd Annual Costumes & Cocktails event on October 29 at Renaissance on 9th. This event supports Meals on Wheels Plus and the adoption fund of a local family. Tickets include one cocktail and a buffet dinner with dessert. It’s sure to be a night of fun complete with costume contest, trivia music dancing and so much more.  

Costumes and Cocktails

[KUDOS ]  SMH's Medicare 5-Star Rating

Sarasota Memorial Hospital is the only hospital in Florida with the federal government’s 5-Star Rating for quality and safety. Just 2 percent of hospitals evaluated by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) earned the government’s 5-Star rating in its latest overall quality and safety review. Most of the 4,818 eligible facilities were rated in the middle with three stars. All other hospitals in the Sarasota-Manatee-Venice region earned the average 3-Star Rating or lower. CMS also awarded Sarasota Memorial five stars in its first-ever ratings report released in July.  

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

[SCOOP ]  Trunk or Treat

The 4th Annual Trunk or Treat will be held at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex on October 28 at 5:30 pm followed by a family-friendly outdoor movie shown at 7 p.m. Trunk or Treat is a free, fun safe community event where children and families can don their best Halloween costumes and enjoy ghoulish activities.  Residents are invited to trim their vehicle trunks with spooky decorations and hand out tasty treats including fun games, bounce houses, and a haunted house.  Trunk or Treat will conclude with a special moonlight screening of the family-friendly movie ‘Goosebumps’ shown outdoors.  

Sarasota Government

[KUDOS ]  Sarasota-Manatee Originals Celebrate A Successful 'Dine to the Nines' Restaurant Week

The Sarasota–Manatee Originals recently hosted the first annual Eat Like a Local Restaurant Week. Restaurants from Anna Maria Island to South Venice came together to create specially priced menus to their guests. The restaurants all reported an increase in sales and traffic during the week in comparison to the same dates in 2015. Many participants said they can’t wait to see what the restaurants will offer for the 2017 Eat Like a Local Restaurant Week which will take place from October 2 – 15,2017.  

Eat Like A Local

[SCOOP ]  Kiwanis Club Third Annual Veterans Day Breakfast

For the third year, the Sarasota Kiwanis Club invites the community to attend its Veterans Day Breakfast, on November 11, from 7:00 am–9:00 am at Robarts Arena. The event will benefit the Sarasota Kiwanis Foundation and Goodwill Manasota’s Veterans Services Program. Featuring keynote speaker Rear Admiral Thomas Logan Malone, whose 30 years of US Navy service was spent principally in nuclear attack and ballistic missile submarines starting as a junior officer and rising to the command of a nuclear attack submarine. The national anthem will be sung by Erika Quartuccio, and Danny Bilyeu will play a medley of service anthems on the trumpet. Tickets are $25 per person.  

Goodwill Manasota

[SCOOP ]  Music Compound's "Backstage Tour" for Local Youth

Music Compound will host a Backstage Tour on Monday October 24 from 8:30am to 4:30pm, showcasing local arts and entertainment organizations, industry leaders and different aspects of the business. Attendees will receive a backstage tour of facilities, meet costume designers, booking managers, sound engineers and other key individuals. This unique experience is exclusive to middle and high school students with an interest in arts and entertainment. The tour includes six destinations, transportation by SRQ Trolley, and dining. Stops include the Sarasota Opera House, Asolo Reparatory Theatre, iHeart Media, JumpDog Audio Productions, Super-Sensitive Musical String Co., and the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota. Tickets are $70 per person, with discounts available to VPA students and MC members.  

Music Compound

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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