Nilon: Change the date to boost turnout

Reprinted from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune In a year of striking differences and arguments on social media, we have an amazing movement occurring in the city of Sarasota that was built on bipartisanship called “Change the Date Sarasota.” Just so you know, Change the Date Sarasota is comprised of a coalition that includes the Sarasota NAACP, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, the Sarasota Chapter of…

Castle In The Sky Or Just Another Missed Opportunity?

Update:  Arbor Village will proceed as planned and provide low-income housing to the City of Sarasota residents. A 3-2 vote to allow it to go forward on Monday night at City Hall (Brody, Alpert, and Ahern-Koch in support). The chamber was standing room only with the testimony lasting4.5 hours.  A mostly Hispanic group of neighbors attended the meeting, having concerns created by the flyer handed…

The Valentine’s Day Massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School

Valentine’s Day, 2018 The headlines read: “PARKLAND, Fla. — A former student went on a shooting rampage at a Florida high school Wednesday, leaving 17 dead while panicked students barricaded themselves inside classrooms and frantic parents raced to the scene. ” – USA Today We ask ourselves how we could have prevented the mass murder that was committed by a Nikolas Cruz, the accused killer…

As a Journalist, My Confidence is in the FBI

All Leads come with a Bias For every lead that I was given as a journalist, it came from someone who was motivated to get the information out into the sunlight. That informant usually benefitted from the exposure of the story.  Sometimes, I would receive stacks of documents in unmarked envelopes left at my door with no identification and no one to verify its source. …

Historic Political Decision on the Way

Our political future is now in the hands of nine Supreme Court Justices. What was a watershed moment for Wisconsin could now be a watershed moment for the nation. We hold our breath. If the ruling favors the voters and not the politicians who draw the district lines, Florida’s Fair Districts will finally have the weight behind it that it needs to redefine Florida to look like its voters and not some politician’s dream.

The Bias of a Judge

Reprinted from the SRQ Daily  Alexander Hamilton wrote: “The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body.” – Federalist Papers #78…

Money to Burn and the Cost of the Homeless

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…

Deceptive Practices Of Amendment 1

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…

Silent Protest, 1968 Olympics

Silent Protests

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…

Sarasota’s Shell Game

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…

A Day at the Races

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…

Florida Sunshine Coalition

Another Attempt To Weaken Access To Public Records

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

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…

When a Bench is Much More than a Bench

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…

When Discrimination is Your Religion: Florida House Bill HB 401

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…