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SRQ DAILY Mar 18, 2017

"The dangers of incivility are numerous. It turns off political participation. It results in needless government gridlock. And it sows the seeds of intolerance."

- Mark Pritchett, Gulf Coast Community Foundation

[Argus]  Humanizing the Debate
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

Our last Meet the Minds luncheon with Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran sold out in four days. It sold out quickly for many reasons, including the state controversy over Enterprise Florida, Visit Florida and business incentives.

It was easy to vilify the Speaker if you disagreed with him. The sound bites and back-and-forth barbs in the press between Governor Rick Scott and Speaker Corcoran has become a weekly occurrence which now includes professionally produced videos. We watch it all like a TV show and remove ourselves from the real-life implications. Some of the controversy has even bled down to the local level here in Sarasota County.

I have my own opinion about incentives, as does The Argus Foundation. We have a pragmatic approach. We believe that incentives play an important role in today’s marketplace of state and local business attraction competition. We also believe that a system that creates certainty and accountability is important. 

I followed the Tallahassee conversation closely as the implications on the local level are big. In my mind, I had myself admittedly scoffed the position of the Speaker and shook my head with each news article. 

Then, I had a by-chance meeting with Speaker Corcoran in an unusual setting. While visiting my sister in Wesley Chapel, we took the kids to a nearby family fun center to play laser tag. It was there where I met the Speaker with his lovely wife and very beautiful family. 

I greeted him, shook his hand and thanked him for his service. He was incredibly polite despite being out with his family. He later introduced me to his sweet wife and we chatted. I was amazed at how generous he was with his time while our kids played laser tag. Quite frankly, he was just a very nice guy.

I learned something that day and it changed my view about state politics and what I read. Despite having held elected office myself and facing the same scrutiny on a much smaller local level, I bought into what I was reading and it was not an accurate picture.

I decided it would be good for our community to learn the same and Speaker Corcoran was kind enough to agree to come speak. The Meet the Minds turned out exactly as I hoped, a civil dialogue and a deeper understanding of the positions of various sides. The position holders were humanized. The questions, especially the questions by Sarasota’s own passionate economic development advocate Enterprise Florida Board Member Jesse Biter, were informative and the answers showed the Speaker’s devotion to our state. 

The conversation provided for a deeper understanding of the people who took positions on those issues. I am proud of Sarasota for generously welcoming the Speaker whether they agreed with him or not and I commend Speaker Corcoran for coming to the hotbed of this debate, informing us, and sharing his thoughts. 

Thoughtful, deeper, informative, and civil debate is alive and well, and it is happening at The Argus Foundation.

Christine Robinson is executive director of The Argus Foundation. 

[Gulf Coast]  Civility Is the Foundation of Community
Mark Pritchett, mpritchett@gulfcoastcf.org

A couple of weeks ago, historian David McCullough told a funny story to a crowd of nearly 700 community members in Sarasota. His tale got to the heart of a divide in our country that feels as frustrating to accept as it seems impossible to repair. We all would do well to heed his wise advice.

Mr. McCullough was discussing why disagreeing with another person’s politics doesn’t mean we have to despise the person too. He shared a story of walking to the White House with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who was about to meet with then-President George W. Bush. McCullough recalled the senator railing against the President’s policies, grumbling things like, “The President is doing this!” and “I can’t believe the President wants to do that!” Growing concerned about the imminent confrontation he foresaw, McCullough asked Kennedy, “Senator, you do realize you’re about to meet with the President?” To which Kennedy replied, “Of course! I like the President; I think he’s a great guy!”

In his disarmingly folksy way, David McCullough did what he does so well: He shared a profound and universal lesson through an iconic story rooted in his sensible witness to history. If the Liberal Lion and Bush-43 could treat each other civilly—and actually like one another as people—perhaps we all might remember that finding common ground actually serves the common good.

The dangers of incivility are numerous. It turns off political participation. It results in needless government gridlock. And it sows the seeds of intolerance. These all are threats to our representative democracy.

How do we reverse this trend?

In a recent AP story, writer Matt Sedensky unveiled several small experiments to restore civility in our popular culture. For example, Allegheny College created a “Prize for Civility in Public Life” and awarded last year’s to Senator John McCain and Vice President Joe Biden. As the two received their award, they faced each other in a collegial embrace instead of a partisan glare.

The University of Arizona is home to the National Institute for Civil Discourse. According to Sedensky, interest in its programs has surged. It is no coincidence that the home of this institute is where Representative Gabby Giffords was shot and six others died at a local rally.

At Gulf Coast, we recently previewed our “Civility Squad”—a team of animated characters created by students at Ringling College of Art and Design. The Civility Squad aims to “save our community one good deed at a time” by promoting 10 “keys to civility,” such as respecting others (“You are you and I am me. We can agree to disagree”) or speaking kindly (“Say what you mean, mean what you say, just don’t say it in a mean way”).

Which brings me back to another salient point made by David McCullough during his recent visit. His advice on how to constructively communicate with those whose beliefs might differ from yours: appreciate that “they want to be as valuable and contribute as much as you do” to our community, and then treat them as such. That is the dignity everyone deserves, recommended by a dignitary who has studied some of our most renowned and effective statesmen.

Mark Pritchett is president of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. 

[Letter from David Kotok]  Financial Literacy Day to Convene
David Kotok

Local financial luminaries and international investment thought leaders on March 30 will convene at the University of South Florida’s Sarasota-Manatee campus to celebrate the establishment of USF’s brand new 12-terminal Bloomberg Financial Laboratory. Open to all students who attend the colleges that comprise the Consortium of Colleges on the Creative Coast (the “C4”), the lab will be housed at the University of South Florida’s College of Business. Students and the community at-large will have access to these terminals for coursework, training and research. Seven short years ago, Cumberland relocated its headquarters to Sarasota from New Jersey. We decided that this gift and an integrated Financial Literacy Day would be a way we could give back part of our success to the community that we now call home. 

In an effort to elevate financial education and financial literacy to a level where there will be better results for the community, more money to be distributed for philanthropic activities, and a better understanding of the economics of our nation and the world, our firm has worked closely with the C4 to organize a Davos-like event with four panel sessions: a special section on financial issues for women, trustee and fiduciary roles and responsibilities, investments and a session on the global economic outlook. Here is a sampling of speakers flying in from across the globe to participate:

  • Ramiro Lopez Larroy, partner and director at Integras Capital, headquartered in Buenos Aires, has a broad range of expertise that includes South America. He will comment on this large region that neighbors the US and encompasses 500 million people. Ramiro will also discuss the outlook for the economies in the region, specifically Argentina.
  • Kozo Koide is traveling to Sarasota from Tokyo. He is the chief economist of the largest asset manager in Asia, a global personality, and a personal colleague on the board of the Global Interdependence Center, as well as a member of the National Business Economic Issues Council.
  • William Dudley , president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and New College of Florida graduate, will deliver the keynote speech.

Women, men, trustees, fiduciaries, investment committee members and pension beneficiaries—all are welcome to participate in Financial Literacy Day, along with the academics representing the six institutions and their boards, trustees, and committees.

April is Financial Literacy Month, nationally and in the State of Florida. On March 30, we will help kick off this focus on financial education. We hope to see you for Financial Literacy Day at the University of South Florida. The link for registration again is usfsm.edu/event/financial-literacy-day/.

David Kotok is Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Cumberland Advisors.  

[Letter from Vald Svekis]  Logical Voter Distribution
Vald Svekis

The bullet point distribution is logical. Ahearn-Koch and Chapman would have shared many ballots from united neighborhood voting thus the low bullet votes. I would expect Ahern-Koch to have more bullet votes in the run-off. She will share ballot mostly with Brody. Hyde was the only Republican (and possible Trump supporter) and thus had a singular following beyond the other candidates in bullet votes. I would expect Atkins voters to mainly support Ahearn-Koch while Gannon's votes will split between Ahearn-Koch and Brody. These are SWAGS, at best.

Vald Svekis, responding to the "Where The Votes Are: Bullet Votes" factoid in the March 16 edition of SRQ Daily. 

[SCOOP]  Cirque des Voix: Circus of the Voices

The Circus Arts Conservatory (CAC) and Key Chorale present an artistic experience like no other in Cirque des Voix: Circus of the Voices. This spectacular production beautifully intertwines wondrously engaging circus arts entertainment, by world-renowned circus artists with live choral music, and a 30-piece orchestra performing music from classical and famous composers. Cirque des Voix is presented for three shows only from March 24th to March 26th under the Big Top at Nathan Benderson Park. This is the sixth consecutive collaboration between The CAC and Key Chorale. In addition to the 100+ chorale singers, student choirs from Riverview High School, Sarasota High School and The Church of the Redeemer choir will join the group during select performances.  

Circus Arts Conservatory

[SCOOP]  Montessori Inspired Lifestyle Dementia Programming

Pines of Sarasota Education and Training Institute hosted a two-day Seminar and Workshop presented by internationally renowned research scientist, author and trainer, Cameron J. Camp, Ph.D. of the Center for Applied Research in Dementia. 

Dr. Camp has taken the Montessori method traditionally used on young children and retooled it to help people with Alzheimer’s disease regain some of the skills that have fallen prey to their illness. Montessori Inspired Lifestyle Dementia Programming (MDP) involves an effective non-pharmacological approach to working with older adults living with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Dr. Cameron Camp and his colleagues have researched the concept of using the Montessori method as a treatment for dementia for over 20 years. Among its many benefits, MDP has been shown to increase levels of engagement and functioning in persons with dementia. 

Pines of Sarasota

[KUDOS]  Goodwill Manasota's Vice President Nominated For International Awards

Goodwill Manasota vice president Margie Genter, who oversees the organization’s mission services, has recently been nominated for two distinguished awards presented annually by Goodwill Industries International (GII). The recognition acknowledges Genter’s leadership and 28 years of trailblazing impact on the nonprofit, which serves Sarasota, Manatee, Desoto and Hardee counties. The first nomination is for the Edgar J. Helms Award for Staff, named for the founder of Goodwill Industries, which is presented to an individual who exemplifies the mission of Goodwill and the Rev. Helms’ values of unselfish service to people with disabilities. Genter’s other nomination is for the Robert E. Charlotte Watkins Award for Excellence in Mission Advancement, which honors achievement by a local Goodwill organization in advancing the Goodwill mission by serving persons with disabilities or other barriers to employment. The awards will be presented during the GII Spring Conference in Houston, Texas this April.  

Goodwill Manasota

[SCOOP]  Meow Madness

Attention sports fans. The Humane Society of Sarasota County (HSSC) presents its first-ever Meow Madness basketball game for the shelter cats. HSSC’s purring players will be facing off for adoption madness from March 14 to April 3. Every time a player goes home, another fearsome purr machine will advance in the tournament. Follow HSSC’s Facebook Page to stay up-to-date with the games and our bracket. The official Meow Madness champion will win a sponsored adoption fee. HSSC’s adoption fee includes a comprehensive medical exam, vaccinations, spay or neutering, deworming, micro-chipping, and a free first exam at the Animal Clinic of the Humane Society of Sarasota County. We make sure your new player is court ready.  

Humane Society of Sarasota County

[KUDOS ]  Manatee Memorial Hospital Celebrates Certified Nurses Day

Manatee Memorial Hospital celebrated Certified Nurses Day with a special luncheon on March 17 honoring their board certified nurses. Board Certification of nurses plays an increasingly important role in the assurance of high standards of care for patients and their loved ones. Nursing, like health care in general has become increasingly complex. While a registered nurse (RN) license provides entry to general nursing practice, the knowledge-intensive requirements of modern nursing require extensive education, as well as a strong personal commitment to excellence by the nurse. Manatee Memorial Hospital encourages national board certification for all its nurses from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).  

Manatee Memorial Hospital

[SCOOP]  Sarasota Opera Unveils New Artist Housing

Sarasota Opera’s Maestro Victor DeRenzi and Richard Russell will dedicate the newly built Steinwachs Artist Residences Tuesday, March 21st with a ribbon cutting ceremony as well as a short performance by Sarasota Opera artists. After the official ground breaking on August 7, 2016, construction began on a new development designed to be a mixed-use complex at 1440 Boulevard of the Arts between Central and Lemon Avenues. Developed by Dr. Mark Kauffman and partners, Rosemary Square will include retail, office space, and condominium units. Sarasota Opera has purchased 30 units in the new development to house artists and members of the artistic staff during the company’s fall and winter seasons. This new building has allowed the company to increase its available housing from 43 to 70 company members.  

Sarasota Opera

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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