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…

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…

What You Missed Last Week in Politics

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 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…

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…

Democrats are calling out one of their own

Emails and conversations have been meandering about the Sarasota City Elections that stemmed from an interview that I did with Sarasota Democrat Party Chair Christine Jennings and Treasurer and former Chair, Rita Ferrandino.  It is in those emails that fellow Democrats took to task the fact that the local party is not supporting another fellow Democrat, Commissioner Susan Chapman. The indignation comes with the rationale…

Nonpartisan Doesn’t Mean Non-Biased

I wrote about non-partisan elections last month and the value of political parties in the effort to help get a candidate elected.  Since then, members of Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations have made a point to come up to me to address this issue.  As if my opinion was a personal affront to their organization, they argued the merits of no party interference.  As they…

Nonpartisan Races Not What You Think

Nonpartisan races—what should unite us with its core intent—continue to divide us in ways that one would never have thought. Established to control partisanship amongst candidates, the rules dictate no political party shall be indicated on the ballot and no candidate should identify which party they are a member of. Yet in order to register as a voter, and therefore a candidate, one must declare…