Liz Alpert Files For Second Term on Sarasota Commission

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY DEC 12, 2019

As Sarasota City Commissioner Liz Alpert looked at four-year-old campaign flyers from her last campaign, she was reminded about a hot button issue of the day. The city struggled with chronic homelessness, and a point-in-time survey found Sarasota was home to 1,106 homeless individuals.

This year, that same survey found 303.

“I feel like I have followed through on a promise to do something about that,” she said. “Obviously I did not and the city did not do that alone.” But efforts from Homeless Outreach Teams to more recent homeless court redirection helped change the scope of a problem.

She also feels support for a Housing First model, over a shelter pushed by Sarasota County leaders at the time, has proven to be the better path forward.

Alpert last week filed for reelection to her District 2 seat, and hopes voters see results. Besides homelessness, she also takes pride in a plan for The Bay where City Commissioners delivered. “There have been other plans that just got shelves, but I feel very good about the face that this is now coming about,” she said.

There have been fights Alpert lost along the way too. Most recently, she was on the losing end of a vote to approve a master plan for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. She’s among leaders concerned cultural institutions seeking ways to survive and grow may consider leaving the city.

“We are a cultural center, and I want to keep it that way,” she said. “I don’t want to lose Selby Gardens or the Orchestra to another location. My goal is to do what I can to figure out how we keep them in the city.”

On controversial topics like administrative review, she’s taken arrows for not pushing more public hearings. Alpert said she’s open to changes to the process, but they must be early in application review, and she can’t support uncertain public hearings added after applicants invest thousands into a process.

Alpert faces former City Commissioner Terry Turner, advisory board member Terry Wells and activist Martin Hyde.

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