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SRQ DAILY Oct 5, 2020

Monday Business Edition

Monday Business Edition

"It's crystal clear how the rules work."

- Mike Moran, Sarasota County Commissioner

[Politics]  Moran, Pienkos Tangle in Sarasota County District Race
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Sarasota County Commissioner Mike Moran was upset to learn Democratic opponent Mark Pienkos accepted donations above the $200 limit, but also startled that the Florida Democratic Party would try and donate $6,000 to a district campaign.

“I go to great lengths to stay out of other jurisdictions,” he said. “I make a big point constantly that I don’t get involved and state stuff and expect that they don’t get involved in my stuff. But it’s crystal clear how the rules work."

Pienkos, who said he understood political parties were excempt from a county charter cap, has gone ahead and returned money donated by the state party above that amount “in the spirit of transparency.” He’s done the same regarding donations from the county party, which had donated $1,500 for his campaign.

But Pienkos scoffs at the notion Moran has been the pinnacle of public service. The Democrat was drawn into the race over the decision by the county to redistrict a year before completion of the Census. In the process, two individuals who planned to run against the GOP incumbent were no longer eligible, and the district became markedly more Republican-friendly. PIenkos said the whole process was conducted in a “nefarious manner.”

“The gerrymandering decision disenfranchised 8,000 voters in Newtown,” he said. “That was my main reason to be in the race. But I’m concerned about the future of Sarasota County.”

He listed a series of decisions by Moran that he believes threaten the environment, including supporting a recycling plant near Celery Fields that ultimately was not approved by a majority of the commission. Pienkos said for his part, he wants to see greater preservation of character for rural areas like Old Myakka. “Keep the country country,” he said.

Moran defended the decision to redistrict, something done in response to a charter change moving to single-member districts. Even now, Moran said he sees voters turning in their ballots at county offices who feel confused why they can’t vote in the District 1 race, and didn’t realize the change meant every voter can only vote for one county commission candidate every four years. Regardless, he said commissioners had an obligation to redistrict to balance populations.

“I would agree it was politically motivated — by the Democratic Party bringing about single-member districts,” he said. “Once it was voted on, we did exactly what we were directed to do by the charter.”

As for growth, Moran said he’s always favored dense development at the city core, transitioning to rural densities.

As Moran makes the case he deserves another four years in office, he said county’s financial resiliency in the pandemic should be noted. He has pushed for the county to keep healthy reserves the last four years, and pressed hard for economic development to focus its energy on specific industries that diversify the economy to be more recession-proof. When the pandemic hit, the county maintained high bond ratings, and could direct resources to help businesses while other counties struggle fiscally.

But Pienkos said Moran has not been focused on communicating with his own constituents over the last four years. “I’m focused on what people are telling me are their priorities, on the environment, on overbuilding, on gerrymandering,” he said. “They want their commissioner to listen to them.”

Voters in Sarasota County District 1 vote on Nov. 3.



Photo: Mike Moran, Mark Pienkos

[New Hire]  Industry Leader Mark Hughes Joins RE/MAX Alliance Group

Mark Hughes has joined RE/MAX Alliance Group in the Venice office. He returns to RE/MAX and the area after leading two of the West Coast’s largest brokerages and taking a real estate startup to sale. Hughes is an accomplished real estate speaker, media talent, and former HGTV National Open House host. The Venice office is located at 1314 East Venice Avenue, Suite B. Hughes can be reached at 941-312-1708 or markhughes@remax.net. 

[Recognition]  Community Foundation of Sarasota County Receives Multiple State-Level Awards

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County was recognized as a recipient of a Golden Image Award and Judges’ Award by the Florida Public Relations Association during its first-ever virtual Golden Image Awards Gala. “Now more than ever, our community has found comfort and opportunity in all things digital, and this includes the timeless power of storytelling,” said Mischa Kirby, APR, Vice President of Strategy and Communications at the Community Foundation. “We are honored that our website is recognized as a trusted resource and connector, and we will continue to expand and improve this virtual space to share more voices and positive stories of impact.” 

Click here for more information.

[Partnership]  Sarasota Military Academy Partners with PODS to Move and Store Uniforms

Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) received over 700 cadet uniforms provided by the U.S. Army in Fort Benning, Ga., but needed a way to ship and store them. PODS Enterprises, LLC rose to the challenge and agreed to pick up, transport and store over $250,000 worth of uniforms at SMA High School until students were able to return to campus to start their school year. "The support from PODS for the Sarasota Military Academy has been overwhelming! We had an extremely valuable uniform initiative that was at a complete standstill because of a lack of options. PODS immediately stepped up and donated their services that made it possible for us to issue new uniforms to our Cadets,” said LTC (Ret.) Ben Weiss, Commandant. “Without the generous donation of time and resources from PODS this could not have happened. It is obvious that the leadership at PODS believe in giving back to the community and their efforts are greatly appreciated!"  

[New Hire]  Fishman & Associates Hires Brad Buettin as Purchasing Director

 Fishman & Associates recently hired Brad Buettin as Purchasing Director. Brad has significant experience managing all facets of global sourcing, supplier development, and cost reductions. Fishman & Associates provides food service design support to diverse clients nationwide including assisted living and retirement centers, healthcare facilities, hotels, hospitals, schools, restaurants, country clubs, churches, clubhouses, resorts and more. 

[New Grant]  Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center Awarded Community Impact Grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County

After the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center sought a seamless transition from one-to-one personal instruction to remote learning for individuals with vision loss. Funding in the amount of $9,839 was provided by the Harold E. and Ruth M. Niles Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County for technology improvements. “We are extremely grateful to the Harold E. and Ruth M. Niles Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, which provided this Community Impact Grant to the Lighthouse to upgrade our technology for remote learning,” said Lisa J. Howard, CEO. “This funding allows the Lighthouse to continue its vital services to those who need us most, especially while we navigate through this unprecedented time. For some of our clients, this was their first time going online.”  

Click here for more information.

[COVID-19]  Citywide Public Health Emergency Extended through October 9

The City of Sarasota has extended its declaration of a local citywide public health emergency through October 9 following a weekly review, as required by the City Charter, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Face coverings are strongly encouraged in all indoor and outdoor public spaces in the City limits, whenever proper social distancing cannot be maintained in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The face covering ordinance is in effect through October 28. 

Click here for more information.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Women of Note: A Celebration of Female Composers of the 19th and 20th Centuries , October 1 – October 12

As part of Florida Studio Theatre’s Suffragist Project, an artistic celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of women’s right to vote, this stellar all-female quartet which includes Artist Series Concerts co-founder Lee Dougherty Ross, performs pieces by Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Amy Beach and Marion Bauer. The concert was filmed in July 2020 at Church of the Palms in Sarasota. Women of Note is hosted by Marcy Miller, executive director of Artist Series, and features cameo appearances by Kate Alexander, Ariel Blue and Meg Gilbert. With Jenny Kim-Godfrey, soprano; Robyn Rocklein, mezzo soprano; Gail Berenson and Lee Dougherty Ross, piano.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Pumpkin Patch Express Train Ride , October 17 – October 25

October 17th & 18th and October 24th & 25th. Tickets for this popular event go on sale to the general public on August 12th at 10am, tickets will be available on the museum's website at www.frrm.org Early access for members are on sale now by calling the ticket office. The Ticket office is open Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Special Note for Covid 19; For 2020 the event will operate at 50% capacity. Due to the complicity of ticketing in reserved seat cars, window seats will only be sold. However, you may consolidate your group using unsold aisle seats within your seating area. Mask requirements will be based on Manatee County mask ordinance at the time of the event.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Online: New College New Topics, Challenge and Response: Facing Hard Choices in a Time of Economic Crisis With William Dudley , November 12

Thanks to the pandemic, the United States plunged from a record-breaking economic expansion to a severe recession. What choices do we need to make to reverse that trend and secure our economic future? William Dudley (’71-’74) is a senior research scholar at Princeton University’s Center for Economic Policy Studies. He served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2009 to 2018 and was also the vice chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee. In 2019, Dudley spoke about our nation’s record-breaking economic expansion. Shortly after, the pandemic cut that short. With breathtaking speed, the United States economy has plunged from its recent heights to the deepest recession in decades. The American economy is sick. What is Dudley’s prescription to bring the patient back to health? What choices must we make to jump-start a recovery? How long will it take to turn things around? Depending on our choices, Dudley will define the best-case and worst-case scenarios.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Young Concert Artists Presents Omer Quartet with Hanzhi Wang, Accordion , October 11, 3pm-6pm

From Young Concert Artists comes one of the most versatile string quartets in classical music today. The Omer Quartet is quickly gaining a reputation for “fearless renderings” (the New York Times) of the standard quartet repertoire as well as compelling performances of works by today’s composers. The ensemble burst onto the scene with top prizes at Borciani, Trondheim, and Bordeaux in Europe all in one year, having already captured the Fischoff National Competition Grand Prize. The quartet was awarded first prize in the 2017 Young Concert Artists (YCA) International Auditions and recently debuted at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. Joining the quartet from Young Concert Artists is accordion virtuoso Hanzhi Wang. Praised for her captivating stage presence and performances that are technically and musically masterful, this groundbreaking young musician is the only accordionist in 59 years to win a place on the YCA roster. 3pm Pre-Concert Wine Reception. Tickets are $42.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: OLLI: Turbulent Times and their Effect on the 2020 Election , October 21, 3pm-4:30pm

After 47 years of teaching, Susan MacManus retired as Distinguished Professor Emerita of the department of Government and International Affairs at the University of South Florida-Tampa. She is author and co-author of over a dozen books and a sought-after nationally-known political analyst and noted commentator on state and national television news.

In the past, seniors have been America’s most dependable voters and were coveted by political can-didates because they historically voted at the greatest rate in elections. Nevertheless, the country has been undergoing an upheaval that has hard-ened political views and is causing the electorate to make decisions based more on personality than on political competence. Will the 2020 election bring unprecedented younger voters to the polls based on political issues, a trust of the principles of democracy, and a desire to see America regain its prominence in the world?

Called the “most-quoted political analyst in Florida,” Susan MacManus returns to Einstein’s Circle to share her experienced insight with us. She will talk about voting history, changing de-mographics in Florida, and what the numbers are telling us about the outcome of this very conten-tious race.


[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: Out Of The Blue 2020 Fundraising Event , October 29, 6:30pm-8pm

Welcome to Out of the Blue 2020 – a unique Live Online Event and Costume Contest supporting the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Throughout the month of October, you will have the opportunity to enter a picture of your best “BLUE” costume. On October 29th from 6:30-8:00 pm, NAMI will host a Live Online Zoom event emceed by entertainer Jonathan Cortez and featuring local artists and talent all in support of NAMI. Our evening will wrap up by announcing the Costume Contest winners with a “Best in Blue” winner in each category. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to have fun creating a “Bluetiful” costume along with an enjoyable – and safe – evening of entertainment.

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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