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Longboat Key Letters – Week ending July 21, 2017

Longboat Key News encourages Letters to the Editor on timely issues. Please email to: letters@lbknews.com or mail to PO Box 8001, Longboat Key, FL 34228. We also print letters sent to Town Hall that address Longboat Key issues. We reserve the right to edit.

ManaSota League presentations

To: Gail Loeffler

Here is the draft language for the super priority. It should be in every policy committee book.

Draft Legislative Priority – Local Self Government

The Florida League of Cities will support legislative efforts to strengthen and protect the rights of Florida citizens to govern themselves under the municipal Home Rule powers conferred by the Florida Constitution.

The Florida constitution empowers citizens with the right of local self-government, or Home Rule. As the only form of voluntary government, Florida’s municipalities are the embodiment of this right. A city is created by its citizens to provide additional functions and services for the particular benefit of the community. Local citizens develop a charter to specify the form, functions and power of their city government. The incorporation and city charter are approved by voters in a local referendum.

Home Rule authorizes all governmental, corporate and proprietary powers necessary to conduct municipal government, perform municipal functions, and render municipal services. Home Rule is why no two cities are alike. City residents take pride in this diversity and responsibility. Strong Home Rule powers ensure that government stays close to the people it serves. Intrusion on Home Rule from the state or federal government undermines the constitutional right of citizens to govern themselves.

Amber Hughes

Florida League of Cities

 

Status of triple left for US 41 and Gulfstream 

To: Town Commission

Below is an email received this morning from the Sarasota City Manager stating clearly what appears to be the City position the triple north bound lane at Gulfstream and US 41.  I spoke with the Mayor yesterday who expressed interest in learning more about the ways to balance vehicles and pedestrians.  If the Manager speaks for the City Commission it would seem the matter is decided.

Dave Bullock

Town Manager, Longboat Key 

 

Status of triple left for US 41 and Gulfstream 

To: Town Manager Dave Bullock

This third lane notion on US 41 is a very, very bad idea. It would be a dangerous and hostile move for pedestrians and bicyclists safety in my opinion.

The City Commission has been very supportive of the slip lane on Northbound US 41 to Eastbound Fruitville, as they have been supportive of the median divider on US 41 for the entire distance between Fruitville and Gulfstream. I have seen no ideas, or funding, to enhance pedestrian safety in this area as the 250-room Westin Hotel and 150-unit Vue condominiums prepare to open.

My suggestion is to let the current improvements, which are underway be completed, all of which combined should make a noticeable improvement.

Adding a third lane will create one of the most hostile pedestrian zones in the region, and encourage higher speeds through downtown during non-peak seasons and non-peak hours. Let’s begin to balance this discussion with the needs for pedestrian enhancements and the long sought after connectivity within the city and the Bayfront districts.

The City Commission had taken this up previously and was not favorable to this idea of a permanent third lane.

I am assigning this to our new and very experienced planning director for additional review. It is time to balance this discussion with the very real need to improve pedestrian safety and get beyond this singular obsession with moving cars only, as fast as possible, with little concern for the implications to urbanized areas with high and growing volumes of pedestrian activity. With 24 months we will have 4,000 new residents living in this district and hopefully walking most places within the downtown on both sides of US 41.

Tom Barwin

City Manager, City of Sarasota

 

Status of triple left for US 41 and Gulfstream 

To: Town Manager Dave Bullock

Thanks for sharing. Tom, Alex and I are aware of this option and will discuss, however, our major concerns are about the pedestrians and their safety/consideration as well as the median configuration. By copy, I can have Alex meet with her to discuss.

Marlon Brown

City of Sarasota

 

Status of triple left for US 41 and Gulfstream

To: Florida Department of Transportation Sharon Harris

In reference to the email below from Keith Slater (I understand he is out on vacation this week) I had a discussion with the Mayor of Sarasota, (Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie) just now.  She would like to speak with someone from FDOT so she can better understand the type median that could be included if the triple left is installed at the US 41 and Gulfstream intersection all the way to Fruitville Road. I told her I would reach out to FDOT and try to have someone contact her. I have copied her on this email so you may have her contact information. I am also copying the Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown. Please contact me if you have any questions. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Dave Bullock

Town Manager, Longboat Key

 

Status of triple left for US 41 and Gulfstream 

To: Florida Department of Transportation Keith Slater

I understand the barrier island communities within the City of Sarasota have met recently with the Mayor and each City Commissioner individually to advocate for the third north bound lane.  Please contact the Mayor directly for the response. Contact information is listed below. Thank you for allowing the community time to try to get this worked out. The Town of Longboat Key is fully supportive of the triple left at Gulfstream and US 41.  We realize the City of Sarasota holds the key to this intersection and the significant seasonal congestion that results for area residents and visitors.

Dave Bullock

Town Manager, Longboat Key

 

Status of triple left for US 41 and Gulfstream

To: Town Manager David Bullock

It was a pleasure speaking with you this morning. At your earliest convenience, please provide a status of your efforts with getting City of Sarasota’s approval on triple lefts at the subject intersection.

Ryan “Keith” Slater, P.E.

District Traffic Operations Engineer

District One – Florida Department of Transportation

 

Status of triple left for US 41 and Gulfstream.

To: Town Manager Dave Bullock

Shouldn’t the City of Sarasota have taken these concerns into consideration when they approved the Westin and Vue. It should have been part of their require to design and pay for the necessary improvements.

Jim Brown

Commissioner, Longboat Key

 

Status of triple left for US 41 and Gulfstream

To: Town Manager Dave Bullock

I am disappointed by the aggressively hostile–to use his word–response from Mr. Barwin.

While giving the imminent improvements the time to be judged is good practice, having a closed mind to additional improvements that could potentially be shown to be necessary is not.

We can only hope that continued dialogue with City Commissioners might eventually produce a more collaborative viewpoint.

If the City of Sarasota were on the periphery of the regional traffic network, rather than at the center, the stated current views would be of no consequence.

Terry Gans

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Legal costs

To: Vice Mayor Ed Zunz

Please have the commission examine options for obtaining legal services for the town.

Presently taxpayers spend half million dollars annually for part time legal advice. As I outlined in a recent newspaper article, the town could have a highly qualified legal team for less than half of what the town is spending presently.

Having an on-staff lawyer and paralegal would have the added benefit of utilizing the legal staff for lobbying efforts on behalf of the community, saving even more money.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Legal costs

To: Gene Jaleski

I have discussed this with the town manager. There are still other factors that must be taken into account in considering such a change. If you would like to speak to the commission on this issue item 16 on Monday’s agenda should give you that opportunity.

Ed Zunz

Vice Mayor, Longboat Key

 

Which is better?

To: Vice Mayor Ed Zunz

Commissioner, given the town’s annual legal expenses of $550,000, I believe the town should hire an independent evaluation of retaining an expensive part time attorney, or hiring a full time attorney and staff. Asking the current law firm to assess their own worth is problematic. Persson and Cohen is a small, six member, firm with personal and condominium specialties, as well as small municipality clients. No great depth of either county of state law there.

A properly qualified full time town attorney will have extensive experience in lobbying at the county and state level. I believe we need to have a lobbyist who is intimately knowledgeable with our community’s needs, and can advise the town about pending issues, before things get out of hand.

My cost analysis shows a reduction in legal costs of 50% for a full time legal staff and office, over our present part time lawyer.

If the commission does not want the advantages of a full time legal stuff, the commission should then seek our a larger law firm with more clout and a better track record in advising the town. The resounding Key Club defeat suffered by the town, under the legal guidance of Perrson & Cohen, needlessly cost IPOC residents close to a million dollars. Persson & Cohen’s record on land use litigation on behalf of the town should be reason enough to now be looking at alternatives.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Thanks

To: Mayor Terry Gans

Hi, my wife and I, have just had 4 weeks’ vacation on Longboat Key.

The second time we have had holidays in this location. It was perfect.

We are visitors from England. We will return (we hope).

The beaches, the people, the sheer ambiance of the area, was as perfect as it could be.

The council should be congratulated on the effort that they put in to make it a No. 1 resort destination. My wife and I love it.

Would you also pass on my thanks to the Library opposite the USPS depot, they couldn’t do enough for me, when I needed some help. Well done to all.

Keith Balmer

Longboat Key 

 

Trash left in driveways and yards

To: JOFI Media

Please do not leave your publication in our neighborhood unless people indicate they wish to receive it.  Leaving them may attract burglaries or in the least make an unkempt appearance in our neighborhood.

I picked them up from several homes today and stopped at 4 but could have continued to collect them several days after drop off.

Thanks for your cooperation.  Hopefully the rules and codes of the Town of Longboat Key will help prevent the accumulation of unsolicited publications.

Lynn Larson

Longboat Key

 

Town Manager’s Contract

To: Town Commission

It is my understanding the Commission will be discussing and reviewing the employment contract for the new Town Manager. Although, we all hope the person will be wonderful, please allow a simple majority for firing or renegotiating the employment contract versus a super majority, just in case there are problems.  Also, please do not extend employment contract and benefits beyond the maximum potential term of your office. Thank you for your consideration and your service.

Susan McAnany

Longboat Key

 

Enforcement of law regarding furniture on beach and improper lighting

To: Commissioner Jack Daly

I am a Longboat key resident residing at Bayport Beach and Tennis Club who is aware of the law or ordnance passed last year regarding furniture and lighting affecting the turtles on the beach.  I was told that warnings would be issued last year so that the population could be educated and that enforcement would start this year.

I walk the beach very often year round and it is frustrating to see furniture, chairs, tables, storage chests, boats, tent frames, shading frames, large toys, coolers, and various soft goods such as pillows, blankets, and clothing on the public beach left overnight and through the early morning hours. The same stuff is left out weekly and it is obvious that the law is not being enforced. Likewise white lights are being left on in the evenings and early mornings.

My question to you and our other commissioners is, “Why isn’t this being enforced?” With all the time spent on hearings, meetings, discussions, and votes to find out that it isn’t being enforced and we have educated our public to believe it doesn’t matter, no one cares, so just keep on filling our public beaches with extensions of your homes and doing as you please because no one cares.

Well, I care and so do most of the people I meet on my walks and who whom I live.  Does the council tell the police to not enforce this provision or is no budget provided for the enforcement?  What is the reason for the lack of enforcement? We are in the seventh month of the year and the turtle season is in high gear and more nests are hatching daily and the turtles cannot get through all the stuff on the beach.  The reason it was passed was because it needed to be enforced and trying to spread the word wasn’t working. Now it needs to be firmly enforced. Thank you for getting this the attention it deserves.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Judith Berson

Longboat Key

 

Enforcement of law regarding furniture on beach and improper lighting

To: Commissioner Jack Daly

I am so impressed with your fast response and the phone call I received from Frank Rubino, Deputy Chief of LBK Police Department. We had an excellent conversation and I now understand all that is being done and the particulars of the ordinance. Frank also sent me an email detailing all of the efforts towards enforcement for 2017 turtle season which details how much is being done. Also a thank you to Dave Bullock for his quick response to contacting Frank Rubino.

I know LBK is paradise but I am so amazed and impressed with the quick response to my concerns. I sincerely thank you.

Judith Berson

Longboat Key

 

Enforcement of law regarding furniture on beach and improper lighting

To: Judith Berson

You are welcome. Be assured that enforcement is a top priority; and you should see progress with respect to your expressed concerns.

Jack Daly

Commissioner, Longboat Key

 

 

 

 

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