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SRQ DAILY Jun 8, 2019

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"The the music of life includes many different kinds of 'odes to joy' - like the quacks of the ducks running toward children proffering breadcrumbs."

- Kelly Franklin, Protect Payne Park
 

[Under The Hood]  Respecting Voters Deserves Salute
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

The politics of Sheriffs are a funny thing in Florida. It’s one of the most high-profile and locally powerful positions one can hold through the mere achievement of winning an election. But the job itself holds such a specific set of duties it's not a job all politicians aspire to attain.

As Sarasota enters into its first election cycle in a dozen years with an open Sheriff’s race, we’ll surely see competing philosophies about law enforcement debated in the region. Upon announcing his retirement this week, Sheriff Tom Knight made clear he’d like Col. Kurt Hoffman, his chief deputy, to take over the role, and Hoffman has filed for the seat.

I’m fairly certain Hoffman won’t go unopposed the entire election cycle. There’s plenty of trained law enforcement officer who would love to get the type of promotion to the head of this agency that doesn’t require passing an officer’s exam.

Of note, Knight himself came from outside the Sheriff’s Office when he ran for Sheriff in 2008. At the time, he defeated Larry Dunklee, the second-in-command to retiring Sheriff Bill Balkwill; actually Dunklee came in a startling third place in the GOP primary that year. Knight went on to defeat another department veteran, Curtis Lavarello, in the general election. But Balkwill didn’t endorse a successor as Knight has done. 

Right now, Knight seems to leave with the love of most of his department and the community.  At a Tiger Bay meeting this week where Knight’s arrival became the talk of the room as much as the legislative update from gathered lawmakers, state Sen. Joe Gruters from stage called Knight “probably the best sheriff in the entire country.” It will be curious to see Knight’s next step in this community.

Will voters look internally to Hoffman as a natural choice? Will they elect for a new direction? While the winners in sheriff's election normally boast some experience holding a badge, you do not in fact need law enforcement certification to run or hold the office of sheriff. So truly, anything is possible.

Because of all this, you can definitely expect some pols interested in one of the top jobs in politics to run. But it’s also an office with serious responsibility, one that involves looking for missing kids and murderers, not just for extra dollars to fund a new performing arts hall. None of that should be read as dismissal of the incredible responsibility all public servants hold to the people. But this office can involve a lot of sleepless nights and some heartwrenching press conferences delivering bad news to the world.

In announcing his departure the way Knight has, more than a year before a primary or general election campaign, he did voters a great service and one that’s sadly going out of vogue. Knight will leave it to citizens who should become Sarasota County’s next sheriff, regardless of the preference he already made known.

Too often, sheriffs in this region retire early, letting a governor appoint a chosen heir to the throne, then letting a new sheriff run as an incumbent. That’s a big edge for fundraising, hob nobbing and attending neighborhood meetings in "community outreach efforts" where they obviously but unofficially campaign to keep the job.

Knight says he owes it to the voters to serve out his term. He trusts voters to make a choice, hoping they see value in continuity after a dozen years of his command but as concious as anyone citizens may look outside existing ranks.

For that alone, Knight deserves a salute.

Jacob Ogles is senior editor of SRQ Media Group. 

[On City]  The Music of Democracy
Kelly Franklin

The Sarasota Orchestra has been subsidized by the taxpayers of this City with a $1-a-year lease on prime real estate at the Bayfront for over 50 years. The Orchestra has spurned the idea of building their desired concert hall at that location, which is part of the City’s designated cultural center. Their reluctance to build there is has nothing to do with the timeline of build-out of The Bay, and everything to do (by the Orchestra’s CEO’s own admission) with reluctance of certain donors to fund large scale construction near the water. The Vue was recently built on the waterfront. The Ritz Carlton is on the waterfront. The new Quay is being developed on the waterfront. Honestly, if the architects employed by the Orchestra can’t figure out a way to create a climate-change hardened edifice on the Bayfront, then Sarasota, and the many barrier island residents who patronize the symphony, have far larger problems to worry about than where the new concert hall is located. 

Throughout this healthy public debate, the supporters of Preserve Payne Park have expressed nothing but appreciation for what the Orchestra contributes to our community. But appreciation does not mean that we should allow ourselves to be extorted into ignoring the wishes of earlier philanthropists, or writing off the public’s investment in finally making Payne Park the public outdoor recreation space that the Calvin and Martha Payne intended. As Commissioner Hagen Brody pointed out, this false choice was no choice at all for the elected representatives we entrust to serve as stewards of our public lands.

In an April 6 editorial in SRQ Daily, Mr. Paul Caragiulo mischaracterized the breadth and depth of citizen’s legitimate concerns about the idea of privatizing a significant portion of a public park, which tax payers have invested millions in creating. He objected to the fact that Sarasotans took issue with any private entity, no matter how embedded in the cultural fabric of this City, thinking it could commandeer public parkland and ignore the wishes of the generous donors who deeded that land to the citizenry for use as a “park, playground, and for no other purpose”.

Mr. Caragiulo feels entitled to encourage his preferred cultural entities to gobble up public lands.

Although I am a fan of Beethoven, the music of life includes many different kinds of “odes to joy”—like the quacks of the ducks running toward children proffering breadcrumbs. Perhaps ears that hear democracy in action as the noxious cacophony of a “petite political mob” cannot appreciate the beauty in those sounds. We are fortunate indeed that four of our City Commissioners did not allow the voices of the 2,800 Sarasotans who supported our efforts to keep our public park both public and a park to be drowned out by Mr. Caragiulo’s off-pitch insults.

Kelly Franklin is president of Preserve Payne Park. 



[SCOOP]  Evening of Yoga at the Sarasota Opera House Supports Veterans

On May 23, Operation Warrior Resolution (OWR), supported military service members with an evening of yoga  on the stage of the Sarasota Opera House. The fundraising event was led by Lululemon Ambassador, Ashley Stewart from the Yoga Shack. All proceeds from the gathering will support OWR’s mission of providing immediate and effective mental health care at no cost for all U.S. military veterans and family member, along with healing retreats which offers veterans a four-day experience holistically alleviating PTSD and chronic pain.  A local honor guard ceremonially opened the festivities. Afterwards, Brigadier General, Stan Minken, former professor of surgery of Johns Hopkins and Walter Reed and US Air Force veteran offered the attendees a brief history of military health care treatments, specifically Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD and the importance of a holistic lifestyle for any returning or struggling veteran.  

Operation Warrior Resolution

[SCOOP]  Goodwill launches 'Lutz Buddy Up' program

In response to a troubling upswing in suicides among veterans, Goodwill Manasota’s Veterans Task Force has taken on mental health as a critical area of focus. In May the organization launced The Lutz Buddy Up social club, through which military veterans can network, form bonds, and talk about their experiences. The Buddy Up program was founded in 2014 by Janine Lutz in honor of her son, Janos V. Lutz, a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marines who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, who she lost to suicide due to the detrimental effects of PTSD and over-prescribed medication. The club,which will be expanded to include first responders in the futur,  will meet once monthly and the next gathering will take place on Wednesday, June 12 at 6pm at the Veterans Services Program office (8490 Lockwood Ridge Rd., Sarasota) 

Goodwill's Veterans Services Program

[KUDOS]  Evolve's Summer Social Raises Money for Children's Guardian Fund's Birthday Gift Program

The recent Evolve “Saturday Night Fever” fundraising summer social had 180 guests dancing, lip syncing, boogieing and, most importantly, raising money for the Children’s Guardian Fund’s Birthday Gift Program.  This program provides state assigned child advocates from the Guardian ad Litem Program with the funds necessary to give $35 gift cards to children on their birthdays – children that have been abandoned, neglected or abused and placed in foster care. The event was conceived, planned and hosted by Evolve Business Consulting’s Jaime Marco, a local business owner who wanted to give back to her community. Between this event and the previous year’s “Havana Nights” event, Marco and her team have raised over $21,000 for the Children’s Guardian Fund and provided 600 more children with presents on their birthday. 

Evolve Business Consulting

[SCOOP]  June is PTSD Awareness Month (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

June is PTSD Awareness Month.  PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and is a condition that many veterans and non-veterans alike suffer. PTSD can occur when someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. The specific nature of the trauma can and does vary greatly.  It is estimated that 11-20% of Veterans who were active during the Global War on Terror and OIF/OEF are diagnosed with PTSD every year.The Operation Warrior Resolution team is dedicated to supporting these Veterans. For more information click the link below. 

Operation Warrior Resolution

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[TODAY]  Music Compound Summer Fest Celebration

Don't miss Music Compound's family-friendly annual Summer Fest celebration today, Saturday June 8th. 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the Child Protection Center. The fundraiser will be held from 11am-3pm at Music Compound’s downtown Sarasota studio, adjacent to The Bazaar at Apricot and Lime,which features local artists and specialty items.  $5 donation per person to attend.  Enjoy a bounce house, silent auction,beer samples, crafts and live music provided by Music Compound students and instructors. Vendors with items for purchase include Gigi's Food Truck, Kona Ice and Wicked Good Cupcakes. 

Music Compound Summer Fest

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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