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…

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…

Weakening the Safeguards Protecting Our Schools

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…

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…

Paving Paradise

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…

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…

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…

Can Pilon Hold Onto District 72?

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…

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…

Senator Nancy Detert – the Gatekeeper

Almost a year ago, a rumor started to take root that Florida Senator Nancy Detert would vacate her seat two years before she was termed out because of her interest in running for the Sarasota County Commission seat that will be vacated by County Commissioner Christine Robinson in 2016.  While Senator Detert has neither denied nor confirmed the rumor, the rumor has started a firestorm of…