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Longboat Key Letters – Week ending April 27, 2018

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.

Veterans Administration Problems

To: Editor

The latest mess related to the nomination by Trump of his personal physician to head up the VA is just one more instance of our dysfunctional federal government regardless of who is in control.

As a Korean War veteran I have followed the travails of the VA more closely than most and the blame is clear but, as usual there is no accountability.

If you look at the last 10 years(2008-2018) the Obama Administration and now the Trump Administration have made some of the stupidest decisions I have ever reviewed in my lifetime and at the expense of veterans like this writer who gave some of the best years of our lives, risked our lives and sadly for many lost their lives in service to our country.

President Obama figured that the VA treated veterans so that it should be run by a General so he appointed General Shinseki who did not have a clue on how to manage the organization but was left there while veterans were dying for lack of care.

He was fired and replaced by a former CEO of Proctor and Gamble who had been terminated by P@G for mismanagement and knew nothing about running an organization like the VA.

President Obama now 0 for 2 went 0 for 3 by appointing David Shulkin whose judgement was so bad that he took a big boondoggle vacation to Europe with his wife at taxpayer expense which along with poor job performance led to his termination.

So instead of learning a lesson from the mistakes of his predecessor Donald Trump makes an even more absurd move by nominating the Chief White House Physician for the VA head job.

And in his spontaneous fashion Trump fails to vet him prior to announcement despite the fact that an Audit Report during the Obama Administration reported numerous problems with his management of the White House Group which were ignored by the Obama Administration.

And with our Federal Government proclivity for bloat there are 70 employees who staff the White House Medical Group. Stay tuned for the next chapter in this nightmare of incompetence which is no doubt on the way.

Bill Allen

Longboat Key

 

Bridge stuck in open position

To: Mayor George Spoll

Last Saturday night I left my house at 6:55 p.m. to travel to the Van Wezel for a concert at 8 p.m. I was driving south on Gulf of Mexico Drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic after leaving the Bay Isles Association South Gate. In the 50 minutes it took us to get to the bridge we found out the bridge was stuck in the open position. While in line we assumed it was an accident and would clear any minute. During that period of time there was no police presence explaining the problem and redirecting traffic. Consequently, we missed our concert at the Van Wezel. Yesterday, I drove to the police station on Longboat Key and was told the bridge is under the auspices of the Sarasota Police. What ever happened to reciprocal help from one police department to another during difficult circumstances? I am upset that neither police department accepted responsibility for this situation to re-direct traffic.

Sharon Schreiber

Longboat Key

 

Glowing sidewalk

To: Gene Jaleski, Town Manager Tom Harmer

I have emailed a sales executive at Philips about getting an estimate for a Smart Pole system installation on Longboat Key. The cost savings that I’ve seen for the lighting of communities with the combination of Philips adjustable LED lighting and wireless broadband could save Longboat Key citizens millions of dollars, and Combining Philips Lighting’s energy-Combining Philips Lighting’s energy-efficient and connected LED street lighting with American Tower’s shared infrastructure expertise will help speed up a city’s ability to deploy new technologies that improve public safety and civic services. Philips alliance with the largest provider of wireless infrastructure in the U. S. (American Tower) will support the growth of their street lighting business in this important market, and connected LED street lighting with American Tower’s shared infrastructure expertise will help speed up Longboat Key’s ability to deploy new technologies that improve public safety and civic services.

Bill Cook

Longboat Key

 

STARPATH | Nevana Designs by Hamish Scott

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

I believe this technology would greatly improve sidewalk safety and nighttime visibility, while reducing unwanted nighttime light pollution and reduce costs for future street lights. I also believe having a beautiful soft illumination of the sidewalk on GMD would add to the aesthetics of GMD.  Additionally, it would add to our image as an eco-friendly community.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Sarasota County- Grant Request Ringing/ACE Project

To: Town Commission

FYI- the Sarasota County Commission will hear our request for grant funding associated with the Ringling/Arts, Cultural, and Education Center Project at their April 25th meeting.  The County Administrator is recommending approval and indicates that it meets all of their criteria.  We will have attending the meeting in case there are questions regarding the application.  If the request is approved, the next step will be to bring an Interlocal Agreement back to both the Commissions for final approval.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Sarasota County Grant – Ringling ACE Project

To: Town Commission

FYI- the Sarasota County Commission approved our $400,000 grant request at their meeting earlier today. The next step will be to finalize an interlocal agreement that will go back to both Commissions for approval.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Sarasota County Grant- Ringling ACE Project

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

Good news and well done, Tom.

Jack Daly

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Barrier Island Traffic Study – Technical Working Group

To: Public Works Director Isaac Brownman

Based off of your feedback on the Doodle Poll, we are planning to hold the next technical working group (TWG) meeting on June 20th in the morning. I will send everyone a Hold-the-Date meeting invite. Also, attached is an updated draft recommendation list for your review based off of the input from last TWG meeting.

If you have any questions or comments on the draft recommendation list or the study in general, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Bessie Reina

Urban Manager

Florida Department of Transportation, District One

 

Barrier Island Traffic Study – Technical Working Group

To: FDOT Bessie Reina

Thank you for the attached list.  I had a few requests and a question:

· We appreciate the addition of the two Long-Term recommendations being the U.S. 41 Pedestrian bridge (elevated) crossing and the Bridge improvements, including the flexible 3rd lane to Cortez fixed bridge and other bridges.

· In the short-to-mid-term, we would like to see an analysis of the function of the Bridge Street Roundabout.  I have noticed that even when very little friction is occurring from the beaches and adjacent parking to Gulf Drive, the roundabout still does not help move northbound traffic efficiently.  I understand that there is a broader goal with the roundabout, but I think it merits a re-analysis to optimize all movements due to the impacts to northbound traffic.

· Concurrent with St. Armand’s garage and other parking improvements, we would request re-visiting the possible strategic elimination of certain parking spaces around St. Armand’s circle, particularly the entry to the Lido leg.  I understand it is not popular with the business association, but I believe it merits consideration from a study standpoint due to the impacts to the function of the circle exacerbated by certain areas of on-street.

· Would request some mention of optimizing cycle timing on the Hawk signal recommendations along the U.S. 41 corridor, including U.S. 41 @ Gulfstream, 1stStreet and Fruitville Road.  In the Technical Working Group meeting, I believe we talked about striking a balance between Hawk implementation and vehicle movement.  The cycle timing would ensure that the Hawk was not a constant “on-demand”, but there would be some amount of time delay before it would activate for the next set of pedestrians.

· For the above, it may also be worth mentioning an overall monitoring period for the Hawks and Roundabouts on U.S. 41 all in tandem to evaluate the operational efficiency and adequacy of the new systems as they relate to all modes, not just pedestrians and not just vehicles. As an aside, has an analysis been done by FDOT for all of these improvements in tandem?  I thought one had been done, but have not seen it (I had some information from Joshua regarding Gulfstream specifically…but not the whole corridor).

· The PDF is called recommendations and “ranking.”  I was wondering how the ranking is established on the document….are they in order of rank in each Zone and Category (short-mid-long) and if so, how was that determined?

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works

Longboat Key

 

BITS Recommendations

To: Commissioner Jack Daly

The first attachment is the BITS recommendations by Zone and Timeframe (short-mid-long) as a result of the 1st Technical Working Group meeting.  The changes to the list include:

Long-Term Additions:

  Pedestrian Bridge Crossing U.S. 41

  New bridges with flexible lane added

Everything else appears to be substantially similar.  In addition, I sent the second attachment to Bessie Reina, FDOT Project Manager for BITS, requesting additional considerations to the study recommendations.

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works

Town of Longboat Key

 

Redevelopment Workshop #2

To: Town Commission

FYI- at this afternoon’s Regular Commission Meeting I plan to bring up under Town Manager Comments dates for the next Redevelopment Workshop.  I have received feedback from Commissioners to have the next meeting as soon as practical.  I have meet with Allen to discuss potential dates for the workshop.  We have identified May 14th at 9 a.m. or alternatively May 23rd at 9 a.m. – both at Town Hall.  The Planning, Zoning, and Building Department prefers as much time as possible to put together the response and examples that were discussed, but will be prepared for either date.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

May 14, Special Workshop Meeting on Redevelopment Issues

To: Town Commission

I have been advised that there is a Code Enforcement Board meeting scheduled in Town Hall on Monday May 14th at 10 a.m. I apologize, I didn’t catch that conflict when I proposed the 9 a.m. start for the Redevelopment Workshop. To accommodate that meeting we would schedule the Town Commission Workshop Meeting to begin at 1 p.m.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Tourist Development Council

To: Commissioner Ken Schneier

Congratulations on being appointed to the Tourist Development Council.  I am the county liaison for the council and will be preparing the information you will need to familiarize yourself with this council.  Commissioner Hines is the Chair of this council.

First, I need the attached signed and returned to me. Second, your appointment as the Longboat Key Representative will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners on April 24, 2018.  It is just a formality and you need not be present.

Third, shortly after the appointment I will be in contact with you with an email address, password, instructions and other meeting information.

The next meeting is May 17, 2018 at 4 pm in the Administration Building, more details will follow. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. Looking forward to meeting you.

Anna C. Madden

Business Professional

Office of Financial Management

Sarasota County

 

5G lite poles

To: Public Works Director Isaac Brownman and Project Manager James Linkogle

Hi Isaac and James.  This topic is very important to everybody we talk to. I can’t personally accept your conclusion for the following reasons:

• Virtually everybody we talk to prefers the 15’ neighborhood friendly antique street lights – even if it means giving up improved cell phone service

• Almost all folks voted for undergrounding for the aesthetics –  not for the looping and improved reliability and communications.  Aesthetics is the number 1 criteria.  By far.  It should be the number 1 consideration in the neighborhoods.

• I have offered to conduct a town survey to substantiate this position.  It would be better to put this survey on the town web site.

• Why are there great looking street lights in the private developments (see 15’ antique lights in Harborside) – because of the aesthetics.  That is what people want.

• The experts say 5G will be rolled out in 2020 and are able to use 15’ antique poles.  Then why would we be installing back technology in 2019 when our street lights will be installed?  Will we replace these planned 25’ poles with 5G poles in 2020?

• People we talk to complain about cell service, yes.  But once we mention that to improve it (for a year only as well) it will take 25’ poles they immediately reverse, give up any cell improvement, and opt of the 15’ antique poles.

Could you please reassess your position and get input from the residents/voters who will foot this huge multi-million dollar bill.

Pete Rowan

Longboat Key

 

To: Pete Rowan

I want to apologize for leading you down a path that things could be changed at this stage of the project.  We are currently developing the RFP for advertising the design and construction of the project.  Everything we have been gearing towards to date for some time is and has been a 25-foot high downward lighting poles with fiber and small cell capability.  At this point, this is still the direction we are heading.  I have taken the information you and others have sent to our consultant Magellan to get their input, because I do not have all the answers/information.  We will get their feedback and follow-up.  Right now, our project is still based on a standard pole height and style.

Again, I apologize for not handling a little more directly on my end from a project and customer service standpoint.

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works

Longboat Key

  

Mobile phone coverage

To: Pete Rowan

I assume all the providers will support the 700 mhz sector. This is the old TV band that was originally  chosen because it penetrates buildings. I believe that a matrix of low poles on all residential streets will adequately canvass any neighborhood. With the introduction of 700 mhz, reception will double even if no new antennas are created on low or high poles. I feel we the people are the ones to tell the town what is required. Also even small cell deployment will not be able to handle increasing data demands. Only in home microcell technology will be readily expandable and extensible.

According to analyst firm Mobile Experts, carrier small cell deployments grew 140 percent in 2015, including both indoor and outdoor units; the growth rate “will be even bigger in 2016,” said Joe Madden, principal analyst for Mobile Experts. The firm expects enterprise small cell shipments to double in 2016 with a 270 percent spike in sales growth. It also estimates that enterprise small cell shipments will be worth $4 billion annually by 2020. Transparency Market Research, meanwhile, predicts the global femtocell market to be worth $4.7 billion by 2019, according to an RCR Wireless News report.

If ornamental poles are placed in a designed matrix in a neighborhood, reception should be fine for every household. The lights can be merely subdued mood lighting. The larger issue is Wi-Fi data to the home. The latest IEEE 802.11 AH protocol calls for wireless delivery of content to the home. The AH protocol is based on small cell antennas using mm frequencies and small 4” antennas in some window in a house connected to a wireless-to-the-home router to supply data throughout the home. Here the town can provide really inexpensive wifi that will have a capex payoff in under a year for all the extra pretty low neighborhood poles.

We need to be ahead of the curve for the internet of things. Using tired outdated vendor product technology will be a mistake. DAS is history. Only two carriers on an antenna is old technology. Equipment boxes at the pole is outdated technology.

The melding of indoor cell antennas with wireless-to-the-home wifi will soon be a reality. Let’s not settle for yesterday.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

5G lite poles

To: Pete Rowan

With apologies Pete when I had driven the side streets I must have not seen what lights may be there.  Are they set back from the road?  When I discussed the lights with Ed Zunz he seemed to confirm that along with that folks were adamant about not wanting any lights on the side streets.  So my impressions were the wrong impressions and for that I truly apologize.

Regarding a hood for the antique design, thats a tough one because of its curved shape which by the way I love.  I would consider that for Harbourside Drive.

Two things,  you are doing the right thing in looking at a desired light design now, it is not too soon.  Secondly, why dont you discuss a hood for the antique light with James Linkogle and get his thoughts.  But I’m guessing there isn’t much comatibility there.

Oh, there is no problem integrating small cells for the 5G build out.

Ed Krepela

Longboat Key

 

5G lite poles

To: Ed Krepela, Pete Rowan

Good conversation. Thanks Pete and Ed. Ed, I am not sure that I understand your statement, “Oh, there is no problem integrating small cells for the 5G build out.” Yesterday, I told Pete that I was concerned about wireless signals from short pole locations being blocked by the high houses, for example on Hornblower and Cutter Lanes in Country Club Shores. I said that I wouldn’t have to worry about our street, Gunwale Lane, yet because we have mostly one story houses between us and GMD (so far).

It sounds to me that you expect the 5G build out to come later than the wireless installation. I’ve wondered about that, but I don’t expect the LBK wireless to be built out before 2020, and by then I expect 5G to be the standard. Am I misreading the crystal ball?

Bill Cook

Longboat Key

 

To: Ed Krepela

Thanks for the email.  I live in the village and your quote is completely wrong (and insulting too).  And we do have street lights.  Lots of them. Not only on Broadway.  Ugly just like CCS.  Harborside areas have great looking street lights.

Regarding the picture I sent I would prefer some sort of shield to direct the light down and not into people’s homes.  Options didn’t seem to be available.  Might be too expensive too.

We have met with Isaac and James.  They seemed to be focused on illumination and cell reception, while everybody (100%) we talk to would give up improving connectivity service for aesthetics.

Isaac said the version (decorative style picture you have sent) is no longer viable for GMD.  Doesn’t meet some FDOT criteria he said.

Maybe I missed your meaning, but it seems the town WILL regulate side streets and neighborhoods.

Pete Rowan

Longboat Key

 

To: Pete Rowan

You will be happy to know that LBK will not be closely regulating side street and individual community/association upgrade lighting other than compatibility with the multi-service provider 5G buildout (fiber optic cabling) and within the scope of LBK island wide aesthetics.

Examples:  The Town has already met with the north end highly independent Village fathers who essentially said “We don’t want no stinkin’ street lights on any of our side streets” (there are none now) and so the only upgrade will be to existing light poles at each intersection of Broadway.  So if they want 5G service throughout the service providers will have erect small cell poles.

Queens Harbor within Bay Isles now have very pleasing to the eye simulated gas lamps which are 100 percent aesthetically pleasing but provide hardly any illumination for street traffic.  But I’m sure they will want to keep them.

So if CCS would wish to have 15’ poles with antique lighting compatible with the 5G build out I’m sure the Town will not see that as a problem as long as their illumination does not interfere with oncoming vehicular traffic.  Be aware hat the antique light in the illustration you sent is used primarily used for pedestrian illumination as shown and disperses light everywhere with very little ground level photometric footprint.

If you already have something in mind you may want to run it by James Linkogle our Town Project Engineer.

I am attaching a drawing of a decorative LED light that still may be considered for the GMD if CDM Smith can get it by the FDOT.

Ed Krepela

Longboat Key

 

Street lighting preference

To: Public Works Director Isaac Brownman

I’m a property owner in the Longbeach Village, 680 Broadway Street, and an advocate of the new neighbourhood lighting project. My location on Broadway, entrystreet into the neighbourhood, has presented a couple of challenges with respect to a peaceful existence. Research and discussions have been ongoing about parking and traffic calming. I’ll not burden this letter with thoughts on these matters but would like to express my desire to have street lights consistent throughout the village. Please do not install taller or brighter street lights on Broadway because of its historic access. This community desires a quiet coexistence and believes that installing “runway lights” into the neighbourhood will only lead to continuing issues with traffic speed and pedestrian safety. Thank you for your consideration.

Barry Rookes

Longboat Key

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