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SRQ DAILY Oct 26, 2019

"As we talk about the development of creative enterprises today and the foreshadowing of a whole new economy based on creativity and innovation - the dawn of a Creative Age - we are acutely aware of a new overlay of creative clusters in communities."

- John M. Enger, director of the Creative Economy Initiative at San Diego State University

[Under The Hood]  Before We Knew Everything About Redistricting

Throughout the Sarasota County redistricting process, I tried to take county leaders at least on their own motives.

County Commissioner Nancy Detert told me in April she had genuine concern the county was exposed to a lawsuit if it failed to redistrict. With single-member districts, a failure to balance population meant anyone who loses a county commission race in 2020 can blame an unfair map. Redistricting could not wait for the U.S. Census. “It’s smarter to do it right now,” she told me.

The argument seemed questionable. Redistricting when no one expected it invites more lawsuits from political losers, not less. But I believed Detert bought her own argument.

That was before data came out that showed too low population differences to justify redistricting, so officials just sought out more data. That was before University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research calculated numbers that could justify redistricting, but advised against using them for that purpose.

It was also before consultant Kurt Spitzer produced, to be fair, an honest map that rebalanced districts while respecting minority communities. But Detert wanted something different than this or two alternates, and she asked for a fourth map to be produced out of an anonymous submission, one signed with a nom de plume of ‘Adam Smith’ after an historic free market economist. Detert said at a public meeting she had no idea who Smith was, that she’d never met him. A data-calibrated version will be reviewed at a special meeting Wednesday.

Of course, that exchange came before we learned ‘Adam Smith’ was actually Bob Wachter, a long-time political kingmaker in Sarasota County.

Waechter’s name caught me by surprise. The Republican leader has political enemies in town, but I’ve never had personal issues with him. I remember some compliments Waechter gave my early work at SRQ regarding Midnight Pass. Since then, we spoke a handful of time about state and local issues through the years. But after getting into legal trouble over a scandalous instance of election meddling and identity theft, Waechter wielded considerably less influence and there have honestly been fewer reasons to chat.

But did reach out to me early on this matter to present a case for redistricting. I included some of his data in a magazine article on the topic, but ultimately opined here against redistricting. That upset Waechter significantly, and he took issue with a particular part of a column I wrote:

“I would speculate that a reporter, editor, that writes an article on early redistricting and makes the case for potential voter disenfranchising based on changing district boundaries in early redistricting but fails to reference the exact same thing could, likely will, happen when redistricting is done following the decennial census is likely a hypocrite,” Waechter said. “I would say a reporter, editor, that is aware that redistricting took place every odd numbered year in Sarasota from 1977 through 1995, yet fails to mention it because it undercuts his premise is likely a hypocrite.”

No one likes to be called a hypocrite but I inferred as much about county commissioners already so that’s not unexpected. But I was surprised how dismissive he was of a particular point I raised that seems more important now.

Redistricting now means some voters expecting to vote in 2020 will end up waiting until 2022. The point Waechter misses (unintentionally?) is because commissioners can and likely will redistrict again in two years means many voters will get disenfranchised twice, punting from district to district eternally.

Worse, Waechter’s map virtually ensures it. He draws a map changing District 2 to a Democratic district and turning District 1 Republican. That helps Mike Moran in 2020 but hurts Christian Ziegler, an opponent of early redistricting, come 2022. Honestly, it would be insane for Ziegler not to push for redistricting in two years just to save his own skin. And since that’s when everyone normally does redistricting, it will probably happen.

Remember, remember avoiding lawsuits was Detert’s reason for early redistricting. Yet Waechter and Detert may just create a sizable class of voters/plaintiffs, and by focusing on Newtown there’s a civil rights angle to boot. To further pursue this path would be unwise and legally ruinous.

But that’s something we already knew.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ Media Group 

[Higher Education]  New Solutions for a New Age: Community
Dr. Larry Thompson, lthompso@ringling.edu

The Creative Age—one in which the way we work and live will be significantly impacted by automation and artificial intelligence—is coming fast.

As I alluded in last month’s article, success in that future will require us to reignite our inherent creativity. Why do I say reignite? I know we all are creative— just think back to when we were children. Most of us played by making up games, creating forts out of leaves, putting on plays and musicals, and just plain using our imaginations to entertain ourselves and each other for hours. As we grew older, we used those skills less and less often. Indeed, many of us were often taught not to use them. Unfortunately, that led to the atrophy of the right side of the brain where creative thinking primarily exists.

So, how do we redevelop those creative skills that were lost? Like with any muscle, the cure to atrophy is exercise. One way to exercise the right side of your brain is to engage in experiences that put us in environments that foster creative thinking. As John M. Enger, director of the Creative Economy Initiative at San Diego State University, notes in a HuffPost.com article, “As we talk about the development of creative enterprises today and the foreshadowing of a whole new economy based on creativity and innovation—the dawn of a Creative Age—we are acutely aware of a new overlay of creative clusters in communities.” The thing that makes these clusters work, according to Eger, is the community that is formed through engagement with collaborators, business partners, and innovators.
We see evidence of these creative clusters and their resulting communities already. In Miami, there is Art Basel and the Miami Design District. In San Diego, entrepreneur Pete Garcia is planning an arts district called IDEA (for Innovation, Design, Education, and Art). And here in Sarasota, on Dec. 14, the Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College will open its doors at the Ringling College Museum Campus.  

The newly completed Ringling College Museum Campus is anchored in what was the historic Sarasota High School building, now transformed by Ringling College via an adaptive reuse renovation. In addition to the Sarasota Art Museum, the Museum Campus is also home to Ringling College Continuing Studies, which includes the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College and the Studio and Digital Arts non-degree program.

Viewed as our community-serving campus, the Ringling College Museum Campus is intended to act as a creative cluster in this region. The experiences offered there, whether they be looking at contemporary art, making art in a non-credit Studio and Digital Art class, taking liberal arts classes, participating in educational programs or engaging in informal dialogues, will enable visitors not only to redevelop their creativity, but also to become part of a community involved in dialogue that stretches their thinking.

An article for Monograph, the online publication for Americans for the Art, asserts “the history of community cultural development is rich with linkages between the arts and place making, economic development and community building.” I have been saying for some time the fuel for the 21st century economy will be creativity, innovation, design thinking and new ways of working and playing. That article reinforces that belief. The Ringling College Museum Campus, pairing a world-class contemporary art museum with a robust continuing studies program, will undoubtedly help power Sarasota’s economic future. It will provide a mechanism to re-engage the atrophied right side of the brain by fostering creative and critical thinking and the creation and maintenance of a community dedicated to lifelong learning and exploration. It is so wonderfully appropriate that this building, which was such an integral part of Sarasota’s past, will now spark a thriving and vibrant creative community.

We want to take a moment to thank the thousands of people who had a hand in this project: that small group of creative thinkers who originally brought the idea for a contemporary art museum to our attention; all of the dedicated individuals who donated their talent, time and treasure, including those who sponsored and plan to attend the Dec. 7 opening gala, proceeds from which will help fund the Museum’s efforts; the students, teachers and donors that are part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College; and all of the Ringling College faculty and staff on the main campus who have pulled together to make this project a reality.
Thank you to each and every one of you, and welcome to the Ringling College Museum Campus—a new creative cluster in Sarasota to exercise the right side of your brain.

Dr. Larry R. Thompson is president of Ringling College of Art and Design 

Rendering courtesy of Ringling College: Sarasota Museum of Art Eastern Facade.

[Community]  Wide-ranging Support for Selby Gardens' Master Site Plan and Its Many Benefits
Jennifer Rominiecki

On Monday, we will be pleased to present Selby Gardens’ Master Site Plan to the Sarasota City Commissioners and share with them the tremendous public benefits that will result from the Plan’s implementation.


A few of the benefits that will be made possible by private funding are:

1. Increased Garden Space with more than 50,000 square feet of free public access including a 12-foot-wide multi-use recreational trail.

2.  Improved traffic conditions at the corner of U.S. 41 and Orange Avenue through signal modifications and turn lane additions (taken from Selby Gardens’ property).

3. Expanded workforce training opportunities to City of Sarasota residents through a partnership with Willis Smith Construction, CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, and the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange.  Preference will be given to employers who hire these trained individuals to work on Selby Gardens’ project.

4. Innovative environmental sustainability features that will make the City of Sarasota a demonstration site for the latest in green building technology. 

Throughout the past few years, the team at Selby Gardens strived to answer citizens’ questions and address any concerns. This community-minded approach earned the support of more than 6,000 petition signers, the recommendation of City Staff, and the recommendation of the Planning Board. After more than two years of planning and millions of dollars in changes to the Master Plan based on citizen feedback, Selby Gardens looks forward to presenting this transformational plan to the City Commission.   

Click Here to Learn More

[On Planning]  Consider The Greater Good With Selby Plan
Suzanne Atwell

When one thinks of Sarasota, names like Ringling, Palmer, Crosley, and yes, Selby come to mind. These great families are not just foot notes in local history books, their legacy and their commitment to Sarasota has evolved as we have evolved as community.

Juxtapose that demonstration of stewardship and change with the “I’ve got mine” messaging on signs up and down Orange Avenue declaring NO-NOT-NEVER-NO WAY.

As our City Commissioners weigh the pros and cons of Selby Gardens plans for the future, they would do well to honor the legacy of the core principles that defined our past while embracing the constantly changing landscape and needs of the future.

Beautiful as it is, Selby Gardens is much more than an asset to the City. It is literally a part of our identity and a valuable resource for the entire region, indeed to the state and the nation. As a world class attraction and center for research, education and environmental stewardship , Selby’s present location is a testament to its historical past, it’s legacy of success and it’s commitment to a sustainable, relevant future.

The plan the Selby Board and their leadership team have presented speaks to all those things. They are not asking for public funds nor for an expanded footprint, but simply for the blessing of the Commission for privately-funded improvement which will enhance the experience of visitors and promote its educational and research activities.

The concerns of affected neighbors are understandable but not considerate of the greater good of the community. Despite arguments to the contrary, Selby has reached out to many neighbors and the plan before the City Commissioners reflects constructive response to those concerns. If I lived in that neighborhood, I probably would be concerned. But that is not a strategy that allows for the evolution of a great public resource.

This is about all of Sarasota and well beyond. Many believe the role of the City Commission is simply to add up the e-mails, count the number of persons appearing at City Hall, and define that as the community consensus.

It is not. That’s math. That is not leadership.

Contentious issues rarely enjoy community consensus, the only consensus is between those who have expressed themselves. Elected officials are not delegates of any segment of the community. Rather, they are representatives responsible for acting in what they believe is the best interest of the community. That is very different from simply determining what the majority of those expressing an opinion seem to want. It requires listening of course, but it also requires exercising good judgment and respect for the Greater Good of the community as a whole.

The Selby Plan relies on a vertical parking strategy that frees up more real estate for gardens and less for muddy parking lots. The sustainable, solar-power driven energy system they propose is forward thinking, innovative, and aligned with the core value of environmental stewardship. And finally, we speak a great deal about preserving the character of our neighborhoods. The Selby Gardens Master Plan will not only do that, it will enhance it for generations.

Sarasota is a growing and increasingly sophisticated market, the leadership at Selby Gardens recognizes this and has presented us with an innovative, world class vision for the future.

The time has come for our Commissioners to make a choice.

Allow Selby to invest private money on a course that serves the greater good of the majority or succumb to a vocal but small group of neighborhood property owners.

I think we all know what Marie would have to say about that.

Suzanne Atwell is a former mayor of Sarasota. 

Rendering courtesy Selby Gardens.

[SCOOP]  "Never Fly Solo" Luncheon

Don’t miss Designing Women Boutique’s Luncheon Fundraiser featuring the author of  "Never Fly Solo," Waldo Waldman, a Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker, New York Times Bestselling Author, Executive Coach, and Decorated Combat Fighter Pilot who puts you right on the flight line and in the cockpit to experience how high-performance teams really function under pressure. Every motivational keynote and analogy is based on real-world jet fighter combat and training missions. Whether veteran, military personnel, corporate executive, grandparent, parent or child, expeNever Fly Solorience the transformational power of becoming a Wingman when you attend this event. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Sarasota Military Academy and the local Disabled American Veterans Chapter The luncheon will start at 11:30am at Michael's on East on October 25. 

Designing Women Boutique

[SCOOP]  Sarasota Country Music Festival

Head over to downtown Sarasota, November 1-3, for the Sarasota Country Music Festival. The inaugural downtown Sarasota Country Music Festival will feature live music, arts and crafts, special attractions & lots of family fun. Enjoy Southern BBQ and other great food and drinks while listening to local and national bands. The festival will deliver three days of everything from classic country to folk to bluegrass to Cajun, zydeco music and blues. Head downtown the first weekend of November for local craft beer, activities for kids, arts and crafts from local artisans, and fun for the whole family. 

Sarasota Country Music Festival

[SCOOP]  BeingWE: The Superwoman Badge

Women are natural-born leaders. Yet, many feel overwhelmed by attempting to juggle life’s demands and have it all—home, family, and career. How to balance work and home life? The Women’s Resource Center will explore these issues with BeingWE (Being Women Empowered), a guided conversation series for women by women, created by Keren Lifrak, an area-based entrepreneur and real estate professional. The series launches with three sessions: The Superwoman Badge, October 29th, Women Balancing Business & Life: Creating What’s Possible Against All Odds, December 3rd and Follow Your Bliss: How Our Brains Are Uniquely Wired to Take Action, January 23rd. Each session is 4:30-7:30 p.m., and all genders are welcome to participate.   

The Women’s Resource Center

[SCOOP]  Boo! at The Bazaar

On Saturday, October 26, enjoy a fun and kid-friendly Halloween bash at The Bazaar. Trick or treat throughout the Bazaar's local vendors, enjoy live music from Key West Dave, free kids books, crafts, and a spooky costume contest at 11am-noon with fabulous prizes. 

The Bazaar

[SCOOP]  State College of Florida's 19th Annual Scholarship Luncheon

The State College of Florida is delighted to host its 19th Annual Scholarship Luncheon on Wednesday, November 20th at Michael’s On East. This year’s Luncheon will share how the State College of Florida is educating First Responders so they are better educated, prepared, to serve our community. Individual tickets may be purchased on SCF Foundation’s website for $100. For more information, contact Nicole Harris at (941) 752-5262 or HarrisN1@scf.edu.  

State College of Florida

[SCOOP]  Impact 100 SRQ to Award Two $114,000 Grants in November

Impact 100 SRQ, a group of local women philanthropists committed to high impact strategic grant making, announced the five finalists that will compete for two $114,000 grants at the inaugural Impact 100 SRQ annual meeting and awards celebration on November 3 at Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club. More than 200 Impact 100 SRQ founding members, friends, corporate supporters, nonprofits and community leaders gathered recently to meet the five local non-profit finalists vying for $228,000 in grants for community-changing projects. After a stringent, organized and member driven review of all grant applications, founding members selected a finalist in each category.  The final vote to select the two high-impact grant recipients will take place at the annual meeting and grant award celebration. 

Impact 100 SRQ

[SCOOP]  Spooktacular at Selby Gardens

Spooktacular at Selby Gardens is a playful, family-friendly event on Sunday, October 27, from 10am-12pm. Spooky daytime fun will include traditional, wholesome Halloween happenings like trick-or-treating and pumpkin decorating, fun educational activities, as well as more frightening (but not too scary) options. Children are encouraged to come in costume and bring their own trick-or-treat bags to collect their goodies. Grilled foods will be available for purchase from the Michael’s on East grill.  

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

[KUDOS]  ASI Awards MASI Certificate to Cynthia Holliday

The Advertising Specialty Institute has awarded Cynthia Holliday of Children’s World Uniform Supply and Business World Promo Supply with a Master of Advertising Specialty Information (MASI) certification – the industry equivalent of a master’s degree. MASI holders are recognized as the true industry experts who’ve cultivated profitable and collaborative relationships with distributors, suppliers, and decorators. This designation is a testament to their contributions to the advertising specialty industry. To date, only about 2% of professionals in the industry are graduates of the Advertising Specialty Institute Certification Program and have received their certifications. Cynthia joins her husband, Tim Holliday, who has previously received his MASI certification. Tim is also with Children’s World Uniform Supply and Business World Promo Supply, making the business even more rare in that it has multiple people with certifications. 

Childrens World Uniform

[SCOOP]  Ear Research Foundation's 44th Fellow Graduates and 45th Begins

As Dr. Brian Kellermeyer, Ear Research Foundation’s 44th Fellow, completed his one-year fellowship with Ear Research Foundation to return to West Virginia University, Dr. Neil Nayak, Fellow number 45, was welcomed on board.Dr. Nayak is following in the shoes of many before him to complete a one-year, post-graduate program in partnership with Silverstein Institute. Dr. Nayak is a graduate from George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and received academic and clinical practice training from Jackson Memorial Hospital, University of Miami Medical Health Systems.  Along with his training, Dr. Nayak cares for Ear Research Foundation Community Care patients who qualify and are under-insured. 

Ear Research Foundation

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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