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SRQ DAILY Apr 14, 2018

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"Their entry into first grade coincided with the release of the iPhone. They encountered touch screens before entering middle school and have never been in a world without Google and social media."

- Donal O'Shea, New College of Florida

[Politics]  Will Blue Wave Crash Gulf Coast
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

If you trust social media and the major headlines, #Blue Wave seems predetermined in the 2018 mid-terms nationwide. Look no further than this week’s announcement Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan won’t even seek re-election. Locally, ballots in Sarasota and Manatee counties will host the names of more qualified Democrats running for office than in half a century. But what exactly can Team Donkey expect? After all, this coastal community knows how to deal with changing tides better than most.

Looking at the universe of special elections held throughout the country in 2018 for legislative seats, Democrats have outperformed almost everywhere, getting an average of 22 percent more of the vote in these races than Democrat Hillary Clinton won in the same districts against Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Some races earn national attention, like Sarasota Democrat Margaret Good’s recent victory in a state House district Trump won by 5 points.

The dynamics of a November election will be different, every race a different puzzle. Democrats can’t, for instance,  count on Good’s re-election effort to draw support from nationwide donors making a statement in an isolated February race when they now have 435 U.S. House seats to worry about.

Handicapping things, I believe Democrats will be in solid shape in any district Trump won by 5 percent or less. Any district Trump won by 10 could be flipped with the right resources and qualifications. I’ll go on a limb and say any jurisdiction Trump won by 15 could be made competitive with the perfect candidate, a boatload of money and a freighter of luck.

I’ve compiled data from MCI Maps, DailyKos and Supervisor of Elections offices to show how Trump performed here. You can see why Democrats pounced at state House 72—Trump performed worse there than any state House jurisdiction in Southwest Florida sans Democrat Newt Newton’s deep blue District 70. I expect former Rep. Ray Pilon will make a tougher Republican opponent than neophyte James Buchanan did in February, but the district should be one where Democrats perform well in the current political environment.

The next most furtive ground seems to be U.S. House District 16, held by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota. But it will still be a huge challenge. Trump won here by just over 10 percent, and Buchanan routinely outperforms statewide Republicans. That said, a number of Democrats filed, and one boasts serious bank. David Shapiro raised $401,723 in the first quarter of 2018, on the top of $250,128 the prior quarter. He’s still playing catch-up—Buchanan raised $470,000 in Q1 and sits on $2.5 million cash on hand—but it’s clear this race will be closely watched, even if it requires a misstep by Buchanan to truly put the district in play.

State Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, gets termed out in District 71 this year, and Republican Will Robinson and Democrat Tracy Pratt, both attorneys, fight in a seat that should stay red but could get the blue team hoping.

U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney’s retirement from the most pro-Trump district on the Gulf Coast, District 17, means little for Democrats in D.C., but creates an interesting dynamic in Sarasota area legislative races. State Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, and state Rep. Julio Gonzalez, R-Venice, want Rooney’s seat, and state Rep. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, wants Steube’s Senate seat, so most districts here will be open in the fall.

Gruters’ District 73 draws qualified Republicans Manatee Commissioner Vanessa Baugh and Sarasota attorney Tommy Gregory, and professor Liv Coleman runs as a Democrat in this longshot race. There’s even three Democrats fighting in to fill Gonzalez’s spot in deep-red District 74. But the best that can be said for Dems is neither race includes an incumbent.

Gruters feels comfortable running in Senate District 23, which by my math is barely within reach for Democrats in the event of a blue tidal wave, but Democrat and disabled advocate Olivia Babis is ready if that happens.

Countywide races in Sarasota may be more hopeful for Democrats, as the county still holds many Democratic bastions. But whether a blue tide saturates as far down the ballot as county commission or the nonpartisan-but-pretty-partisan school board races is anyone’s guess.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ Media Group. 

[GCBX]  Cooperation Amid Competition
Mary Dougherty

Henry Ford once said, "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." Moving forward in business is one thing but in a community, it can be entirely different. Collaboration is not always easy in the face of political agendas, divisiveness and controversy. However, I take solace in knowing that our community is full of forward-thinking, progressive leaders who know that only by working together will we be successful.

As the executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, a main goal of my job is to facilitate collaboration. It’s something our members exemplify every day in everything that they do. I witness the way our members seek to strengthen relationships between trades to foster a members-working-with-members rapport and it’s a good reminder about how important it is to collaborate and forge positive relationships—even between competitors. Let me illustrate with a few examples.

On April 2, PGT Innovations and the SKY Family Venice unveiled a new 7,500-square-foot child care center. This much-needed project offers affordable, convenient child care services to PGT Innovations’ families with young children as well as parents who work in the Triple Diamond Commerce Park and surrounding area in North Venice.

Many of our members in addition to PGT Innovations worked together to bring this 25-year-old dream to fruition, including J.E. Charlotte Construction and Hall Architects. This PGT Innovations-owned facility, built right in our backyard, could be seen as a statewide model.

For our local businesses, it’s so important to have a local contractor involved every step of the way. Their presence ensures that their fees stay in the local economy. When these area contractors get paid, they dine, shop, buy homes and send their children to schools here. Out-of-town crews will take their money elsewhere.

Jason Swift, president at Jon F. Swift Construction, agrees. Finding quality local subcontractors for the Siesta Beach project was one his top priorities, he says. As a local company, we live here, invest here and raise our kids here. Engaging these subcontractors ultimately will contribute to growing our business and the local economy.

Swift’s team led the renovation and improvement project for Siesta Key Public Beach, along with seven other members, to update its existing facilities, increase parking and add new public facilities. It officially opened in February 2016.

Another example is The Mall at University Town Center, which employed a whopping total of 24 GCBX members.

Right now, at least 10 GCBX members—from Tandem Construction and Sutter Roofing to Key Glass and Mullet’s Aluminum Products—are working on the new Atlanta Braves spring training complex in North Port. Tandem Construction is seeing the benefits.

Our ability to partner with a core base of local subcontractors on the Atlanta Braves spring training facility has facilitated benefits in manpower, pricing and scheduling that wouldn’t have been achieved otherwise, says Tandem Construction’s director of Client Services, Kent Hayes.

We live in a competitive marketplace, but as our economy improves, there is work for everyone. It is only by strengthening our partnerships with each other that we will collectively move forward as a community. I commend the GCBX membership for always being a shining example of this important guiding vision.

Mary Dougherty is executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. 

[Higher Education]  April and Seniors
Donal O'Shea, doshea@ncf.edu

The relentless turn of ancient academic rhythms bears down hardest in April. At New College, students are putting on the last push in a long semester. Time and sleep are in short supply. No group feels more tightly stretched than seniors. Some await word of highly competitive fellowships, and others juggle options for the next year. Virtually all struggle to complete their theses, the capstone projects required to graduate New College.


Last weekend, as the current crop of New College seniors worked to finish up, a substantial number of the incoming cohort began. These are high school seniors who had been accepted to New College and were visiting to make decisions about the academic year to come. Like our graduating seniors, they are enormously talented. As a group, they are, as students before them, deeply committed as a group to the ethics of environmental stewardship. One has been heavily involved in project to restore oysters to New York harbor.

The students in the incoming class are true digital natives. Their entry into first grade coincided with the release of the iPhone. They encountered touch screens before entering middle school and have never been in a world without Google and social media. They were in seventh grade when Facebook surpassed a billion users. Many have never read a print newspaper unless it was assigned in a school class. They inhabit a world filled with metal detectors, lockdowns and emergency response drills. The 9/11 attacks occurred the year they were born. Columbine occurred the year before, and we know what’s happened since.

Common to both sets of seniors is uncertainty. They sense, correctly, that the decisions they are about to make could irrevocably alter their futures, but they do not have enough knowledge to choose with full confidence. Also common to both groups is that they can, with any luck, reasonably expect to live another 80 years. Eighty years ago was 1938. Who would have foreseen what has happened since? How would one have advised high school graduates then?

I know what I tell New College seniors. Finish that thesis. It is important that you complete and defend a major piece of work that you have played a major role in designing. Your conclusions may not be earth-shattering, but the experience will stand you in good stead over the next 80 years. You have learned to think critically, to defend your views, to learn, and to pursue a passion. These matter. You will likely hold many jobs in the course of your life, and those skills will be critical both to employers and to starting your own businesses. They will enable you to continue learning, whether in graduate or professional school, online or on the job.

To the high school seniors, I suggest they consider investing in themselves by getting a good education. Some students will not want to plunge back into four more years of schooling, and it is certainly okay to step out for a year or two to travel or to work. Some will be impatient to enter the workforce, possibly taking classes part-time, and that is certainly a viable option. But those able to study full-time for four years should do so. They should find a university, like New College (or the Cross College Alliance schools), that encourages them to explore what they love, what they are good at and what makes this world better. They should learn to think critically and to write and speak well. They should learn to work with others, to learn to learn, and to cultivate their curiosity. Such learning allows graduates to act upon and to shape their own futures in an ever-accelerating world and it leads to rewarding jobs. It provides the tools for life that allow graduates to write their own ticket and not have it written for them.

Dr. Donal O'Shea is president of New College of Florida 

[SCOOP ]  Center for Architecture To Host Scavenger Hunt

The CENTER FOR ARCHITECTURE SARASOTA will provide an Architectural Scavenger Hunt for young people as part of its third annual Modern Show fundraiser on May 5 from 9:30-11 at Center for Architecture Sarasota. The Architectural Scavenger Hunt is the brainchild of Pine View 8th grader, Nora Kuhn. “I've always been interested in education and architecture and thought that it would be a wonderful idea to combine the two into one big project as a way to complete my Girl Scout Silver Award,” she said. Nora brought the idea to Modern Show Committee Chair, Cheryl Gaddie and the committee decided to include it in the weekend fundraising event. Participants will receive a special prize when they return their completed forms into the Center following the hunt. 

Center for Architecture Sarasota

[SCOOP ]  Sarasota Ballet Announces 2018-2019 Season

The Sarasota Ballet’s Director, Iain Webb, announced the Company’s 2018 – 2019 Season—A Season of Tributes, with seven programs featuring ballets by some of the most celebrated and prestigious choreographers and composers of the ballet world. This Season perfectly demonstrates The Sarasota Ballet’s dedication to performing ballets that have the same passion and authenticity on stage today as they had during their original premieres as well as a commitment to performing works by choreographers of today and of the future. The Season will see a World Premiere by Resident Choreographer Ricardo Graziano; as well as Company Premieres of Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring; Sir Frederick Ashton’s RhapsodyVarii Capricci and Apparitions; and Jerome Robbins’ The Concert. Revivals include the long awaited return of Sir Peter Wright’s production of Giselle and Ashton’s Les Patineurs, as well as revivals of George Balanchine’s Diamonds and Stars and Stripes, Christopher Wheeldon’s There Where She Loved, Galina Samsova’s production of Paquita, Ashton’s Enigma Variations, David Bintley’s Four Scottish Dances and Graziano’s Symphony of Sorrows

Sarasota Ballet

[SCOOP ]  First Annual Cancer Wellness Celebration

JFCS of the Suncoast and HealthFit, powered by Sarasota Memorial Hospital, are celebrating the one year anniversary of their partnership to provide free classes to community members impacted by cancer diagnosis, including their family members and caregivers. Free and open to the public, the celebration includes a presentation from Dr. Richard Brown of Florida Cancer Specialists, who will be discussing the benefits of exercise and demonstrating chair-based exercises to guests, who will also be invited and encouraged to participate. Every program is designed to help make the journey to wellness easier. By reducing stress, patients can focus on healing. With a supportive group of caring leaders and participants, everyone always feels welcome. 

Register Here

[SCOOP ]  New Program Targets Shortage of ER Physicians

The Florida State University College of Medicine and Sarasota Memorial Health Care System have received approval to launch a new Emergency Medicine residency program to meet health-care and physician workforce needs in Sarasota and surrounding communities. The new Emergency Medicine residency program and an Internal Medicine residency program FSU and SMH started last year are critical to addressing physician shortages in our region, said SMH CEO David Verinder. Statewide studies continue to show that the supply of primary care and emergency doctors in our region is critically below our residents’ needs. Medical school graduates are required to complete residency training in their chosen specialty in order to gain board certification and become an independently practicing physician. Numerous studies have shown that most physicians end up practicing near where they completed residency training. The approval clears the way for SMH and FSU to begin reaching out to graduating medical students interested in enrolling in the specialty program in the summer of 2019.  

Sarasota Memorial Healthcare

[SCOOP ]  Chillounge Under the Stars

Join the Sarasota Film Festival on Saturday April 21 and "Chill Under the Stars" as Chillounge Night makes its triumphant return to Sarasota and transforms Five Points Park into a magnificent outdoor lounge with all the chic and stylish vibes that it has become known for throughout Florida. The event starts at 6pm and will showcase live band performances, a sophisticated and fun fashion daybed parade, the signature and colorful Brazilian Samba Parade and much more. With hundreds of cool outdoor furnishings and fine food/drinks to complement the entertainment, this will be an intimate and magical evening for thousands to enjoy. Admission is $30 per person in advance and $40 at the door (must be 21 or older). Chillounge Night, founded in Sarasota 10 years ago, continues to bring a unique brand of "dazzle" with the ultimate outdoor lounge party. 

Sarasota Film Festival

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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