Money to Burn and the Cost of the Homeless

November 7, 2016 // 0 Comments

Reprinted from SRQ Daily, Nov. 5, 2016 PBS – A report on the Homeless It was a year ago this week that PBS came to Sarasota to report on the state of homelessness in our community. Since then, not much has changed. Unless you ask someone who sleeps on the streets. Aside from tougher ordinances that have been implemented by Sarasota County, the one issue that sticks out among others is their fear that they […]

Deceptive Practices Of Amendment 1

October 10, 2016 // 0 Comments

Reprinted from the SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION   |   SATURDAY OCT 8, 2016 Over $21 million have been donated by the Florida utility companies to the PAC called Consumers for Smart Solar, which produced Amendment 1 on this year’s ballot. Take note that Amendment 1 is a well-disguised effort to choke the life out of rooftop solar. See for yourself:Campaign Finance Activity. Your mailbox is probably filling up with mailers from Consumers for Smart Solar […]

Silent Protests

September 11, 2016 // 0 Comments

Reprinted from the SRQ Daily 09/10/16 Silent Protests – Next month marks the 48th anniversary of the 1968 Olympics when two US Olympians received their medals wearing just socks and a single black glove. Their uniforms were adorned with beads and badges to bring awareness to the human rights movement. They hung their heads low and held their one-gloved fist high while the National Anthem was played. The athletes were booed as they left the field […]

Sarasota’s Shell Game

July 12, 2016 // 0 Comments

Originally published for SRQ Daily A photo was posted on social media this week that showed the bicycle racks out in front of the Selby Library. It was actually hard to see the racks themselves because they were being used to support trash bags filled with items instead of the bicycles that there were intended for. At first glance, it looked like the garbage collectors forgot to do their job. But if you actually studied the photo, […]

Weakening the Safeguards Protecting Our Schools

May 14, 2016 // 0 Comments

Originally published in SRQ Daily Our public school systems were set up with the idea every child deserved an education, no matter into what socio-economic status they fell. Then we realized that it’s not just about an education, but how our children are prepared for their future. We make that possible because we know that we all benefit from an educated society. I taught in both the public and the private sector and can honestly […]

A Day at the Races

April 30, 2016 // 0 Comments

If you are a political junkie like I am, then the biggest races to watch are not on the national stage but the local ones. Let’s jump right in. House District 72 The District 72 House race has given me a little bit of whiplash with incumbent Ray Pilon announcing that he is stepping away to run for the open District 28 Senate seat vacated by Senator Nancy Detert. We now have two newcomers: Edward […]

The Sixth Commissioner

February 14, 2016 // 0 Comments

Tom Barwin has been the city manager for over four years. And although our city charter requires an annual performance review, it appears that Mr. Barwin has had none. And under Mr. Barwin’s supervision is an employee who is working against the direction of the commission with what appears to be Mr. Barwin’s blessing. Maybe it’s because Barwin has no fear of a review that he feels that he can act on his own accord.

Paving Paradise

January 31, 2016 // 0 Comments

There is much upset this week over the county’s decision to allow Whole Foods Supermarket to purchase and pave over 4.5 acres of protected wetlands at University and Honore.  What isn’t widely known is that in exchange for that acreage, Whole Foods purchased 34.5 acres in Manatee in order to mitigate the environmental impact. This acreage is a beautiful piece of land made up of hammocks and wetlands along the Manatee River.  Although Whole Foods […]

Another Attempt To Weaken Access To Public Records

January 22, 2016 // 0 Comments

In what appears to be an effort to substantially weaken Florida’s public records law and make it more difficult for citizens to gain access to public records, Representative Greg Steube has introduced HB 1021 and Senator Rene Garcia has introduced SB 1220. These bills will amend Florida Statute §119.12 to make the award of attorney’s fees discretionary even when a judge has made a finding that a public agency has wrongfully withheld public records from inspection.

The Human Condition

January 15, 2016 // 0 Comments

On December 21, during the Longest Night, the Salvation Army honored our homeless citizens that died this past year. That list numbered 57 people—the largest number of deaths on record in a 12-month period. Reverend Dr. David Sutton held back the tears as he called out the names. Just two days before, Major Ethan Frizzell announced in the press that our chronic homeless numbers had dropped significantly. He also added that there were plenty of […]

When a Bench is Much More than a Bench

December 15, 2015 // 0 Comments

In August of 2011, the city of Sarasota removed the five park benches in Selby Five Points Park.  It was the beginning of a long effort to rid the city of the homeless who call our city their home.  The city also removed the two-foot perimeter wall around the park that allowed people to sit when the park benches were full.  Since then, the only real enjoyment received of the park is by the little […]

When Discrimination is Your Religion: Florida House Bill HB 401

November 15, 2015 // 0 Comments

It was January 2013 when an Oregon LGBT couple filed a complaint against an Oregon baker for refusing to allow them to purchase a cake for their wedding.  The case made national headlines fueled by the bakery’s own social media efforts.  When the bakery was notified of the complaint, owners quickly took to social media and posted the couple’s personal information and grievances.  Immediately, the LGBT couple was subjected to a litany of hate and […]

Pro-Birth Vs. Pro-Life

October 31, 2015 // 0 Comments

A young pregnant woman one week ago went into our local health department for care. Homeless and unemployed, her options were limited. One week later, she is now receiving regular prenatal care at the clinic and is enrolled in a housing program through Trinity Without Borders. Her baby now has a better chance of survival because of the care that we can offer her in our community. There are only two places people who cannot afford […]

It’s Not Just About Michael Barfield

October 10, 2015 // 0 Comments

Before my parents, Father Jim and Nikki Nilon, donated the Bidwell House and the Crocker Church to the City of Sarasota, they housed their homeless mission in the buildings on Florida Avenue – two blocks from the Salvation Army.  For over two decades, they have devoted their lives to helping the homeless in Sarasota. I mention this because it is in their honor that I continue to assist in whatever way I can to change the way […]

Homelessness, the Law, and Fla Guardianship

August 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

It can’t be louder than this Sarasota Tiger Bay held a panel this past Thursday featuring the Constitutional Offices of our county.  And what some might think would be a “yawner” when the purpose was for each of them to give us an update on their department (including myself,)  what we witnessed instead was a moment in time that I could not have planned for and I was glad that I didn’t miss. Of the […]

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