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SRQ DAILY Aug 10, 2019

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"Research shows individuals who volunteer and engage in community service projects are happier, healthier and more productive."

- Donal O'Shea, New College of Florida

[Under The Hood]  Explaining Sarasota Candidates' Early Arrival
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

It remains unclear what results come from a decision by Sarasota city voters to move elections in November of even-numbered years. The entry of two candidates into a city race, though, may reveal the first significant shift.

Erik Arroyo, a former state House contender, and Daniel Clermont, a first time candidate, already filed to run for a District 3 seat on the Sarasota City Commission. The election won’t take place until next August at the soonest.

It’s not unheard of for candidates to jump into city races that far away, but the norm in Sarasota has been for campaigns to be confined within a few months of a vote. The fact multiple candidates want in, even without knowing if incumbent Shelli Freeland Eddie will stand for re-election, shows at the least a shift in strategy.

What’s driving this? The most obvious differences in political terrain—and there are several—come as consequences to Change The Date.

One change may simply be the appetite for a race. Elections used to happen in March and May, meaning under normal circumstances Sarasota would already have held an election this year.

In past election cycles, as soon as the general election wrapped, Sarasotans could count on the gossip machine starting anew on who might run for city posts. Both Under the old rules, Arroyo and Clermont should have jumped in much sooner, along with a number of other candidates. The three district commissioners would typically have seen their terms end by now. One can imagine these “early” candidates feeling as if they sat on their hands for months.

The most practical reason to file early, though, remains the ability to raise funds. Nobody has published a first treasurer’s report to date, but both Arroyo and Clermont can legally accept contributions now.

Notably, the single greatest fear opponents of Change The Date voiced last year was that city commission candidates now must run for office at the same time President Trump and a TBD Democrat blast the airwaves with presidential campaign propaganda. For a city commission candidate, it could require more resources to break through thay noise and get their messaging heard.

Then there is the fact this election may be determined by a different electorate and won by a new messaging strategy never employed before. Advocates of Change the Date believe that’s a good thing. I recently spoke with Christine Robinson of the Argus Foundation, who said the intent was never to change who wins city elections but what voters candidates listened to along on the way. A broader electorate will participate in the 2020 city elections than ever turned out in springtime. Voters who never cast a ballot in a city election will be in polling precincts next November.

For candidates, that’s an opportunity but also a tremendous unknown. What will move these voters to fill out their ballot all the way to the bottom?

I’ve already noticed candidates promoting water quality issues, as opposed to some of the city minutia than can dominate discourse in Sarasota. Maybe in a year of sewage spills following a summer of red tide, that’s inevitable. Or maybe it’s candidates intuitively sensing they need to speak to voters outside of those with hard copies of the 2020 Downtown Master Plan sitting in a secretary drawer at home.

The best question may not be why some candidates entered their race so early. It may be time to ask anyone else who wants to run why exactly they are waiting.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ Media Group. 

[Higher Education]  A Common Challenge
Donal O'Shea, doshea@ncf.edu

Research shows individuals who volunteer and engage in community service projects are happier, healthier and more productive. At New College of Florida, we’ve found this is particularly true within our community and with our students. The benefits cut both ways. The community appreciates the energy, smarts and passion students bring to projects. Students involved in community service are more likely to do well in their classes and tend to stay in school. They meet community and business leaders where relationships can, and often do, lead to internships and careers. These off campus experiences also expose students to the diversity of thought, backgrounds and life experience that Sarasota and Manatee counties offer.

Some universities have all incoming students read the same book as a way of providing a shared experience they can discuss. We feel so strongly about the benefits of community service we’ve build it into the New College experience. We engage all incoming students in a Common Challenge instead of a Common Read. Students read scholarly literature about, and engage in, community service aimed at addressing a common theme.

Last year’s Challenge was food insecurity. This year’s Challenge is homelessness. In our area, on any given night, more than 1,000 residents are homeless. The issues are familiar to most of us: the homeless are more likely to suffer from lack of health care and lack of basic nutrition. Some have mental problems that make it hard to get work. Some are children and attending school is difficult. The social and financial costs are high. Despite the relative prosperity of our area, about 1.5 percent of our residents are homeless, a rate that is nearly identical to the statewide average.

Later this month, as our new students gather at New College for Orientation, the Office of Student Affairs has invited a local panel of experts—people who work every day on the front lines to address homelessness and poverty issues in Sarasota and Bradenton—to campus to discuss the problems facing the community and what can be done to help. In the days that follow, students will volunteer with several of these organizations, to experience the scope of the problem and make connections with the community. Additional volunteer opportunities, in which all students can participate, will be made available throughout the fall semester.

New College of Florida has a long history of involvement in the local community, and we are very proud of the profound difference some of our students have made over the last half-century. Many of our alumni are active in local nonprofits, working for philanthropic organizations and serving on boards. We are committed to continuing this tradition of being good neighbors with the Common Challenge. We applaud both the students’ and our alumni’s commitment to social and environmental justice, and the way that our marvelous extended community In Manatee and Sarasota welcomes them.

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

[SCOOP]  Apply for the Fall 2019 Gulf Coast Board Institute

Gulf Coast Community Foundation is now accepting applications for the Fall 2019 Gulf Coast Board Institute. The deadline to apply for this high-level governance training series for nonprofit board members is August 16. The online application is available at GulfCoastCF.org and up to 24 applicants will be accepted. The group will meet for four consecutive Fridays, from October 4 to 25, covering topics such as the fundamentals of nonprofit board governance, financial and legal oversight responsibilities, and how to create a highly functioning and engaged board. Training is led by professional, BoardSource-certified consultants who are part of Gulf Coast’s Invest in Incredible nonprofit capacity-building initiative. 

Gulf Coast Community Foundation

[SCOOP]  Benefit Planned for Young Fisherman Injured in Boating Accident




The public is invited to participate in the “Hook Em for Caleb” Fishing Tournament planned for Saturday, August 17, 2019. In March, 14-year-old Caleb Bennett suffered a major brain injury as a result of a boating accident and proceeds from the benefit will be given to his family to cover medical expenses as he continues to recover. The fishing tournament, held at the Bradenton Yacht Club, will begin with a shotgun start at 730am and the weigh-in will be held at 430pm. The event will feature a $500 prize for first place and $250 for second place for snook, trout and redfish with three in-shore divisions: Juniors, Adult Men and Adult Women. Tournament entry fees will be $125 for six people per boat for the junior teams division and $250 per 6-person team for adults. Teams will meet on August 16th for a mandatory “Captain's Meeting” to discuss rules and tournament information. Participants and sponsors can register for the event with cash, check or by visiting https://bit.ly/2LZjODi

Hook Em for Caleb

[SCOOP]  CoolToday Park Announces Additional Events for Summer

CoolToday Park, the Atlanta Braves Spring Training facility, is hosting a West Villages Coffee and Cars event on August 17th that will take place from 8am to 11am. The event was recently added to their summer calendar, along with a few other summer events. Come check out classic cars on display and share a cup of coffee with neighbors at this fun, social event for all ages. The event will be held in the red (main) parking lot, and the event is free to the public. 

CoolToday Park

[SCOOP]  Selby Gardens 39th Annual Juried Photographic Exhibition

Selby Gardens is now accepting submissions of your favorite photograph for the following five categories: Favorite Selby Gardens’ Scene, Plant Life at Selby Gardens, Selby Gardens’ Geometry, Selby Gardens’ Birds, Bugs and Critters and Selby Gardens Black and White. All submissions are due by mail by August 28, 2019, and hand delivered submissions will be accepted on August 28 or 29 from 11am to 6pm. Failure to comply with guidelines will result in disqualification from the competiton. Contact education@selby.org or (941)366-5731 ext.239 with questions.  

Selby Gardens

[SCOOP]  Goodwill Announces Honorees for Community Ambassador of the Year Awards Dinner

On Thursday, October 17 Goodwill Manasota will present the 9th Annual Community Ambassador of the Year Awards Dinner. The annual event shines a spotlight on those who contribute to the community and Goodwill’s success. This year’s honorees are veterans’ advocate Kevin Henault, philanthropist Charles L. Slater, and Goodwill community partner Turning Points, with the award being accepted by executive director Adell Erozer. 

Goodwill Manasota

[SCOOP]  Another Design-Build Project Under Construction on Longboat Key by Halflants + Pinchette

Construction started on the Cushman Residence, a bayfront residence on the east end of Old Compass Road on Longboat Key. This will be the firm’s 11th design-built residence. Halflants + Pichette developed the design for a trapezoidal site on Longboat Key taking full advantage of the shape of the site. The L-shape floor plan cradles an outdoor shaded room facing the long view across Sarasota Bay. Every room of the house is oriented around the bayfront porch which houses the raised pool and spa. The exterior room will be shaded by a roof terrace more than twenty feet above. A glass bridge running the length of the house and aligned with a linear skylight above will bring unexpected daylight to the entry sequence.   

Halflants + Pichette

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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