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SRQ DAILY May 11, 2019

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"[Beverly Tatum] has an extraordinary gift for drawing from her personal experience to speak to and about extraordinarily complex and emotionally charged issues in memorable and accessible ways."

- Donal O'Shea, New College of Florida

[Under The Hood]  Gambling On Addiction
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Should Florida’s education funding depend on the impulses of gambling addicts?

An interesting debate on this took place in Tallahassee almost in the background. I never heard the words “sin tax” uttered, but the practice of using the Florida Lottery to supply the public school system with revenue experienced significantly scrutiny.

State Rep. Will Robinson, R-Bradenton, in his first term passed what may be among the most financially meaningful bills of the session. Warning labels will now appear on lottery tickets reminding consumers these scratch-offs indeed feed the appetites of gamblers who compulsively chase that jackpot thrill.

The legislation evolved tremendously between Feb. 1, when Robinson filed it, and May 3, when it passed hours before session closed. Some figured Robinson’s original bill would cost Florida education more than $200 million. The last state revenue estimates figured the impact around $64 million in the first full year of implementation.

For comparison, the general fund for the Sarasota County school district this year was about $465 million. So this isn’t pocket change.

It’s worth noting those last estimates were based on a longer, more heavy-handed warning label than the Legislature ultimately approved. A 26-word passage in earlier legislation explicitly raised the specter of addiction while advising “the chanced of winning a big prize are very low.” The language ultimately adopted allowed two labels, either one saying “Lottery games may be addictive” or one saying “Play responsibly.”

I wonder which lottery officials will prefer?

The language may ultimately produce less fiscal impact than feared. But in some way, that’s a shame. This legislation raises an important, existential question about the lottery itself.

Florida allows relatively few forms of gambling, and voters in fact pretty much shut down one of those when they votes to stop dog racing in Florida. But lotto remains

Personally, I’ve no problem with people gambling, or with the government profiting from it. But we can’t ignore social repercussions or enable any type of addiction unchecked.

That’s the greater issue with sin taxes, those politically expedient fees that allow lawmakers to say ‘Smoke as much as you want as long as you also pay us $1.34 per pack. We charge excite taxes in Florida on tobacco and alcohol, and if voters approve recreational marijuana next year, expect a levy for every joint.

Since the state actually runs the lottery, it doesn’t get listed as a sin tax, but represents the philosophy in the extreme. Here, the state actually funds marketing campaigns encouraging an essentially unhealthy activity, but assuages any public guilt with the knowledge this helps the kids.

“The lottery is significantly regulated for a purpose,” Robinson said. He’s hopeful the warning labels don’t cost the state that much in lost education revenue, particularly with a shortened label.

Of course, if it does, that means are people thinking twice about buying stubs by the dozen in hopes pays for that ticket to Fiji (which will never happen).

State Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, reached the heart of this issue when the bill hit the Senate floor. If the state shows such reluctance to warn against compulsive lotto purchases, “maybe we’re the ones addicted to this money,” he said. The next day, he voted against the bill, a somehow poignant acknowledgement of this hard truth.

Robinson’s original bill also tackled online scams and overseas electronic sales, other ways the state profits off abuse of lottery services. This year, those provisions couldn’t survive a single Senate hearing. The potential costs just seemed too high.

But that means there’s room for further conversation next year. Lucky us.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ Media Group. 

[Higher Education]  Talking About Race
Donal O'Shea, doshea@ncf.edu

We will celebrate graduation next week at New College of Florida when more than 200 students walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. It is always a joyous occasion for our graduates and their families. This year, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College, will deliver the Commencement speech and receive the honorary degree Doctor of Science.

Dr. Tatum is a psychologist, educator and scholar who has focused on racial identity development in teenagers. Her best-selling book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race, first published in 1997 and helped us understand the development of racial identity. It opened our eyes to the complexities of identity more generally, and plumbed the faces of otherness: race or ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, and physical or mental ability, and the oppression and privilege associated with each.

Because so many of the issues that she raised in the original edition still resonate today, she released an updated version in 2017 that included 100 pages of new content.

I had the privilege of working with Dr. Tatum at my previous institution, Mount Holyoke College, where she served as professor, vice president of student affairs, and acting president before accepting the presidency at Spelman. She also maintained a clinical practice and raised two small children with her husband, Travis. She has an extraordinary gift for drawing from her personal experience to speak to and about extraordinarily complex and emotionally charged issues in memorable and accessible ways.

Dr. Tatum was born in Tallahassee in the same year as Brown v. Board of Education. Rather than allow an African-American to enter Florida State University, the state of Florida paid travel expenses for her father, then an art teacher at Florida A&M University, to receive his doctorate in art education at Penn State. The family did not come back.

It is a pleasure to welcome Dr. Tatum back to her native state.

Graduation starts at 7pm on Friday, May 17 on the bay front at New College. All are welcome.

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

[On Planning]  Lincoln Board Backs Selby Plan

We are the Board of Directors of The Lincoln Park Homeowners Association located on Osprey Ave in Hudson Bayou.

After reviewing Selby Gardens' Masterplan and revisions, and as their neighbors, we approve of Selby Gardens' revised Masterplan. 

We believe Selby Gardens is a wonderful asset to our community and are happy that they want to improve, expand and update their facilities while remaining on the same footprint of land. 

Thank you to Selby Gardens for keeping the area informed and taking steps to protect the neighborhood from noise, smell, traffic and other impacts. We appreciate that they have spent the effort and money to address issues and hear what their neighbors have to say.

We know it is difficult to please everyone while making upgrades and changes.
It is, in fact, nearly impossible. Selby Gardens' communication has gone a long way to make us feel that they are going forward with this project with an eye to providing an even better Selby Gardens within an urban area while being respectful of our residential flavor and lifestyles.

We ask Selby Gardens to please continue keeping the surrounding neighborhoods “in the loop” as the inevitable problems that arise need to be addressed.

Glenn Saiger, Neil Kopinski and Lynn Murrell are officers for the Board of Lincoln Park, a Hudson Bayou community. 

[SCOOP]  Don’t Fry

The Friday before Memorial Day, May 24, is National Don’t Fry Day. The day is a reminder for people to protect their skin as we head into the season of outdoors. As warm weather approaches and millions of Americans prepare to enjoy the great outdoors, the risk for ultraviolet (UV) damage of the skin increases. To minimize the harmful effects of excessive and unprotected sun exposure, protection from intense UV radiation should be a life-long practice for everyone. 

American Cancer Society

[SCOOP]  Sarasota in Motion Kicks Off

Everyone who lives, works and plays in Sarasota is invited to get on board as the City embarks on Sarasota in Motion, its first citywide transportation master plan. Sarasota in Motion will serve as a playbook for how the City not only invests in transportation infrastructure, but also how it achieves the community’s long-term quality of life goals. City staff will host lunchtime and evening public visioning workshops on June 4 at the Bayfront Community Center and at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex. Those unable to attend are encouraged to complete the online survey, now open at sarasotainmotion.com. 

Meals On Wheels

[SCOOP]  Gauguin: Voyage to Paradise

Selby Gardens exhibition, Gauguin: Voyage to Paradise, brings the works of Paul Gauguin throughout the gardens and in the museum. Hand-crafted wooden tikis and edible plants that are staples of Polynesian cuisine are scattered throughout the Gardens. You will also find a window display featuring a Tahitian scene at The Museum of Botany & The Arts. The Selby Gardens horticulture team also used an abundance of Aroid plants from the Araceae family including Taro and Coconut Trees. You can explore the exhibition now through June 30. 

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

[SCOOP]  Children First and SCF Announce Early Childhood Education Partnership

Children First and State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) have announced the formalization of an Early Childhood Education Partnership. Students in the Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education will complete their final teaching internship in Children First Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms. These students will intern with teachers in early care environments serving children during the most critical period of child developmental -- birth through age five. The collaboration between Children First and SCF will be advantageous to students at both organizations. Utilizing high-caliber teaching interns will be important in maintaining a quality program. 

Children First

[SCOOP]  Florida Studio Theatre 11th Annual Sarasota Improv Festival

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) announced its lineup for the 11th Annual Sarasota Improv Festival, the premier festival of its kind in the Southeastern United States. The festival has become a destination event, drawing thousands of people from across the state of Florida and beyond. With 20 of the best comedy troupes traveling to Sarasota from all over the country, FST’s campus will by teeming with comedy and improvisational theater for two days—July 12 and 13. Festival passes are now on sale—Weekend passes are $75, Friday passes are $39, and Saturday passes are $59. 

Florida Studio Theatre

[SCOOP]  Newtown Farmers Market Grand Opening

The Newtown Farmers Market has moved to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park on the corner of Cocoanut Avenue and Dr Martin Luther King Way. In celebration of this move the Market will be having a Grand Opening and the entire community is invited to join in the fun on Saturday, May 18t from 10am-5pm. Every Friday and Saturday, from 10am to 5pm, the market offers fresh produce to local customers. As an additional service, the market delivers to customers within a mile of the park. Please call ahead, no later than Thursday, for delivery. The Market offers, upon request, cut fruits and vegetables as well. 

The Newtown Nation

[SCOOP]  Summer Movie Nights

The Atlanta Braves announce exciting events and upcoming movie lineup as part of their Spring calendar for CoolToday Park. Bring the whole family every 2nd and 4th Thursday all summer long for the fun and nostalgia of a classic drive-in movie theater experience in the comfort of a modern venue featuring comfortable seating, a variety of concessions offerings, state-of-the-art sound system, and unobstructed views of a  80’ x 40’high-definition video display. $5.00 per ticket, available at the CoolToday Ticket Office. 

Cool Today Park

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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