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.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Like a page out of the Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority play book, and just in time for the Republican debates, the candidates were handed a gift from…well, Live Action. The anti-abortion group Live Action has been targeting Planned Parenthood with elaborate media hoaxes for over nine years now. The recent video “expose” reeks of the previous one; released in February 2011, right before the last Presidential Primaries. As if on cue, the Republican Candidates jumped […]
This past Wednesday, Chair of the Republican Party of Sarasota, Joe Gruters, sat down with Jacob Ogles, Senior Editor of SRQ Magazine, and myself on my radio show, The Nilon Report. It was on the show that he broke the news that Representative Ray Pilon had made the decision to run for his final term as District 72’s Representative instead of his intended race for the possibly vacated Senate seat by Nancy Detert. Which leads […]
Susan Chapman’s long awaited court trial has been postponed due to an over crowding of the court docket. It seems most likely to be scheduled for August, but October has also been mentioned. (Maybe that is why podcast listening numbers are going up on shows that we did with her and others involved in the court case.) Joe Gruters invite went out this week to attend his first official fundraiser. The host committee consists of […]
Florida is one of only three states with a lifetime ban on voting if you are convicted of a felony. Any felony. Not just rapists and murders, but people with felonies because they purchased cannabis, trespassed on posted commercial horticulture property, manufactured or delivered drug paraphernalia, sold used goods as new, failed to obtain workers’ compensation coverage, a tenant who removes property upon which lien has accrued with the value of more than $50, and […]
In case you were busy, here is what you might have missed in local politics last week: “The Grand Bargain” – Vice Mayor Suzanne Atwell Showing leadership, Vice Mayor Suzanne Atwell read a written statement that signaled to the new commission the issues that she feels are important. Asking the commission to re-examine the City elections, Vice Mayor Atwell addressed her concerns about the timing of the elections, noting the “disenfranchises our citizens” evidenced by a […]
In an effort that we haven’t seen before with the latest city commission races, we have to be wondering what is the difference. Who are the young faces on the campaign trail? All but one are products of Sarasota County Schools and all have come to an understanding that it is not enough to sit on the sidelines. Here are the young democrats who are making the difference. Kevin Griffith – Vice Chair of the […]