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Potent Politics: Commercialism and the riderless trolley

DAN DOWD
Contributing Columnist
dowd@lbknews.com

The commercial-minded Longboat Key Commission has now appointed a commissar of business and growth, which they choose to hide under the name of revitalization. At its head is ex-mayor George Spoll, a firm believer in the need for more failing restaurants and businesses on the key. Spoll joins his fellow travelers Dave Brenner, Jim Brown, Phill Younger and Lynn Larson in making an attempt to convert Longboat into a business-oriented community. Are they not aware that the citizens of the key don’t want increased traffic, hordes of tourists, McDonald’s and Wendy’s on the Gulf of Mexico Drive? Can’t they accept the fact that we are satisfied with our beautiful, quiet, perhaps even sleepy community? We like what we have…please allow us to keep it.

The other commissioner who has assumed that he is now the CEO of Longboat Key is David Brenner. Brenner has become the most vociferous of all the commissioners. He is in favor of making Longboat into a business hub. This despite the fact that residents of the key are happy with the situation as it now exists. We have everything that is needed already in place; we have a market, a hardware store, a pharmacy, a few restaurants, 47 holes of golf, numerous tennis courts, real estate agents, two local newspapers and a Kiwanis Club. If our residents need more, there is always Sarasota and Bradenton. We certainly don’t want more cars on our road than we had this season. The traffic has been horrible, with gridlocks on the southern end and pedestrians crossing on St. Armand’s.

Can’t these do-badders leave us alone? We are happy — don’t screw up what we have and enjoy.

• • •

I decided to take a ride on the Longboat Key trolley, starting at the Village. It turned out to be a trip worth remembering.

After a 45-minute wait I ascended the trolley at the Village. I was the only passenger on the vehicle. The driver was very communicative; telling me it would be nice to have someone with whom to talk while driving.

Our first stop on the riderless trolley was to allow passengers to visit “Isabel’s” restaurant, which of course is no longer in business. For that matter, Whitney Beach is a vast wasteland.

We then drove on to mid-key where. If passengers were on board, they could get off the trolley at “7-11.” Of course 7-11 no longer exists.

Continuing on as a single rider on the $540,000 fiasco, our next stop was the Avenue of the Flowers, where the Chinese Restaurant and El Federico’s was once housed. The Colony, which of course no longer exists, was next on our ride.

Finally, on the very southern end of the key, we arrived at the Longboat Key Club. Unfortunately that is an area reserved for members only. The final destination was St. Armand’s, where pedestrians gather to cross intersections that only serve to delay traffic.

Does the “revitalization committee” hope to correct the national economic downturn by selecting local corrections or venting advice to the commission? Does the “revitalization committee” hope to cure the ills of bad decisions by formulating new bad decisions? The 6-1 vote for permitting the spending of $540,000 on the riderless trolley is an example of a bad decision. We can only hope that the present commission exercises greater restraint in their actions.

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1 Response for “Potent Politics: Commercialism and the riderless trolley”

  1. Georgie McFarland says:

    Who is this masked man? Can he be the Lone Stranger?

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