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…

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…

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…

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…

What You Missed Last Week In Politics

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…

The Young Faces of the Sarasota Democratic Party

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…

And The Winner is: The Sarasota Democratic Party

Tuesday, May 12, for the city of Sarasota, history was made.  The Sarasota City voters created a commission that is made up of a majority of women, two commissioners are African-American, and every commissioner – a Democrat. Taking a look at the election outcome in both District 2 and 3, the results are pretty tell-tale for the Democrats and Republicans in the race.  Respectively, the…

Former Mayor Kelly Kirschner Embraces Partisanship

A robo call went out the other day with a voice identifying himself as Kelly Kirschner …Democrat.  His robo call goes on acknowledging his support of the candidates, Normile and Zimmerman, both Republicans in the race for Sarasota City Commission seats.  In an ironic twist, Kirschner identifies himself with the same party that he has demanded to remain out of the city race. Since last November when…

The Year of the Woman

One thing that the City of Sarasota can be proud of is the amazing amount of female candidates that it yields every election.  There are now three women at the commission table. And if next month’s election goes a certain way, there will be four women at the commission table. Women are also in the majority on the Sarasota County School Board and have two…

Normile’s Robo Call Ask Outsiders To Stay Out.

Normile’s Robo Call Monday night, city voters received a robo call from a North Port phone number.  It was Candidate Eileen Normile telling voters that she did not condone the negative mailers that are being sent out to disparage her opponent, Liz Alpert. The pressure must have been mounting from the phone calls and emails that she received after the first mailer went out.  Irate…

Dark Money hitting hard again in Sarasota

With all of the hullabaloo that we have heard from the members of Council of City Neighborhoods Association (CCNA) about the Democratic Party staying out the city races, one has to wonder why they are so quiet on the mailers that are being sent to trash candidate Liz Alpert.  Well, that’s because the PAC that is sending out these mailers is supporting their candidate, Eileen…