New Sarasota Commissioners Prepare To Govern

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY NOV 5, 2020

A new, younger version of the Sarasota City Commission will take office on Friday at noon, following an election cycle that turned over two members of the five-person board. While Commissioner Liz Alpert won reelection to a second term representing District 2, Kyle Scott Battie will take over as the District 1 Commissioner and Erik Arroyo will fill the District 3 seat.

 What’s that mean for the policies and direction issued by Commissioners to administration? Battie said he won’t come into the new post and force radical change. After defeating Commissioner Willie Shaw, he wants to sit down and first evaluate the landscape. He rattled off various District 1 leaders who have priorities like street repairs and neighborhood improvements and will work to ensure those get addressed. But he does come anxious to scrutinize spending at the Newtown Community Redevelopment Agency.

 “I haven’t been in a position that may be privy to the goings on and inside information,” he said. But he feels voters made a bold move installing a new generation of leadership for the city, and he wants to live up to that. “We tried to be forward-thinking and to look at facts. Looking at Newtown in particular, 72% of Newtown, $22,000 a year is the average income for a family of four.” He wants to find ways to improve the economic well-being of constituents and look at ways to ease the burdens on the community, no surprise after hitting Shaw on rising water bills.

Arroyo felt his victory over Dan Clermont, after coming second in a first election in August, came because of voter outreach, especially to the 10% of residents in District 3 who are Hispanic. The Commissioner-elect will be the first Hispanic member of the body, and plans to bring needs of his entire community to City Hall. His first priority will be on improving relations between officials. “There’s an opportunity with this new Commission and new make0up to create a stronger bond between all of the Commissioners,” he said.  

He wants to conduct more publicly noticed meetings with fellow Commissioners to simply talk about general topics and how to move the city forward. He notes his election for an open seat, where incumbent Shelli Freeland Eddie opted not to run for reelection, came as he obtained endorsements from some groups in seeming opposition much of the time, like Control Growth Now and the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. “You can’t put me in a box,” he said. “I’m not the developer candidate and I'm not the anti-developer candidate. I will listen to both sides, and probably vote against someone’s interests at some point. But it will be a different dynamic on the City Commission.”

Alpert for her part welcomes the change delivered by voters, especially since they elected to keep her over former City Commissioner Terry Turner. She has existing priorities like transportation projects handled by the city and Metropolitan Planning Organization. But she’s excited to see younger officials with fresh perspectives. “They have to look at it from a different perspective,” she said. “Whatever we do is certainly going to affect them longer than me and people my age.”

She does hope the elections mean the city will be focused on retaining cultural institutions and helping them expand and grow. A top priority will be finding an orchestra home, she said. Her remarks also can’t help but remind of a vote against the Selby Gardens Master Plan proposal. She does hope the Commission can move forward with its current administration.

 

« View The Thursday Nov 5, 2020 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

Buchanan, Steube Vote Against Impeachment Again

Buchanan, Steube Vote Against Impeachment Again

Jacob Ogles | Jan 14, 2021

With Master Plan Approved, Selby Gardens Look To Bring It To Life

With Master Plan Approved, Selby Gardens Look To Bring It To Life

Jacob Ogles | Jan 7, 2021

Four GOP Leaders Cast Florida's Electoral College Votes

Four GOP Leaders Cast Florida's Electoral College Votes

Jacob Ogles | Dec 17, 2020

Where The Votes Are: All Age Groups Increase Turnout

Where The Votes Are: All Age Groups Increase Turnout

Jacob Ogles | Nov 20, 2020