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…

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…

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…

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…

Pro-Birth Vs. Pro-Life

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…

It’s Not Just About Michael Barfield

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…

Fla Guardianship

Homelessness, the Law, and Fla Guardianship

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…

Never Let A Scandal Go To Waste

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…