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Editorial Letters – Week ending May 8, 2020

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 Longboat Key Town Hall that address Longboat Key issues as well as Sarasota City Hall that address Sarasota issues. We reserve the right to edit.

The Swedish Experiment

To: Editor

Sweden’s government chose “Herd Immunity” over shutting down their economy and instituting draconian measures to protect their citizens. Businesses, bars, restaurants and lower level grade schools remained open. It was recognized that it is not government’s place to tell a man he can no longer support his family or to tell a business they can no longer operate. Sweden recognized it was the individual’s right to decide the amount of risk each was willing to take. Consistent with its libertarian approach, it did not mandate or command. It recommended social distancing and suggested to their “At Risk” population, they voluntarily self quarantine. Sweden respected their citizens right to self-determination.

Sweden recognized that shutting down the economy would have profound negative effects. Their economists, as did our own Stephen Moore, part of the Presidents Task Force on the Economy, predicted the possibility of another “Great Depression”. Attendant to a depression come the ravages of depression come food lines, massive unemployment and a loss of life magnitudes greater than the lives lost in Sweden to date.

Sweden was mocked, scorned and accused of playing Russian roulette with its citizens, especially by groups such as the World Health Organization and the public health departments world wide, like our own CDC and NIH. Globalist left wing organizations vilified Sweden’s approach because they saw in this epidemic, the opportunity for more government control, not less, as Sweden had done.

As of this date here are the results: The infection and mortality rates are higher than their immediate neighbors, Denmark and Norway but magnitudes lower than other European countries such as Italy, Spain, and France on a per capita basis. Sweden’s curve has flattened and is descending. This raises the very interesting with enormous ramifications. If Sweden has bent their curve without shutting down their economy and issuing extreme mandates, did the bending of our curve in the US have less to do with our lock down and social distancing and more to do with the virus running its natural course as the Swedish experiment suggests? Would our curve have flattened and descended without our intervention?  This question and Sweden’s experience must be discussed in our country.

Estimates are 20% of Sweden’s population are now immune and shortly the majority of its population will be immune. This is huge. Because of this immunity, Sweden will not be faced with an overwhelmed health care system in the much advertised second wave of virus materializes because their population will effectively be immune. There may be pockets of infection left but these will be easily managed. Sons and daughters will not be afraid of infecting their elderly parents. Children will not be looked at as silent carriers. People will hug and shake hands one again. They will not have to endure the ramifications of a damaged economy. They will not have to deal with the loss of their constitutional rights as is threatened in the U.S. Swedish companies will not have to deal with reopening and the oxymoron of trying to make a profit while social distancing. They will not be faced with a bankrupt federal reserve because their people remained employed and their businesses remained open. They will not be faced with a financial collapse as some countries are now faced with. They will not be faced with a possible worldwide depression.

My question to you, dear citizen, is why? Why were we not given a choice? Why did we not even have a debate about possible alternatives to the shut down? Why is our government, leaders, and media not even discussing Sweden, except in a passing and dismissive fashion? Why are we still supporting social distancing? Why are we still listening to failed public health officials in the CDC and NIH who could not even get a simple Covid-19 test out to our people without screwing it up? This resulted in the loss of one month’s preparation time in this time sensitive battle, Why are we still listening to the same pubic health  administrators that induced so much fear and panic into our population unnecessarily. That panic leading to an enormously risky policy that the Swedish experiment has proven to be unnecessary.

Last question, dear citizen, why are we not out in the streets with our torches and pitchforks challenging their commands, edicts, executive orders and police state tactics?

Joseph Bailer

Longboat Key

 

Reclaiming our sand

To: Editor

Glad to see/hear that the Lido Key’s sand will be reclaimed for the Lido’s beaches. Just putting back the sand that Mother Nature pushed into Big Pass, making the Lido beaches better while clearing the shallow areas in the pass that could bottom out the boats drafts don’t do so.

Don Chute

Sarasota

 

Alert Longboat Key

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

As part of the transition to the new emergency notification system “Alert Longboat Key” the Town will be initiating a couple of test calls today to help notify our previous registrants in CodeRed of the new system and to confirm that their data has transferred over.  This will also test the new system including verifying the initial database information and those residents that has now registered under “Alert Longboat.”

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

US 41 at 14th Street Roundabout in Sarasota is now open

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

On the U.S. 41/Fruitville coordination call today, they also discussed U.S. 41 at 10th and 14th.  The construction representatives asked to get the word out that anyone driving that area please be very careful as crews will be working very close to the edges of the roadway over the coming weeks.

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works

Town of Longboat Key

 

Open the beach access

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

Please open the parking spaces to allow beach access. Those of us on the bay side have been patiently waiting for the beach access rule to change, as they have across the state. We are not a Covid-19 hot spot, and at our age, which you highlight, we have enough common sense to stick by the distancing rules. The beach parking access spaces on the island are few and far between, so massive crowds are not a threat. Chances of outsiders flooding the island are limited. And think about it. Treating us like children is an insult.

Dr. Noralyn Marshall

Longboat Key

 

Open the beach access

To: Dr. Noralyn Marshall

I understand your frustration, but Longboat Key has actually been ahead of the curve by keeping all beaches open for all uses by our residents while neighboring city and county beaches were shut down.  Parking lots at our access points have been closed, however, to discourage neighbors from the islands to our north or south from overwhelming our shorelines, not to keep LBK residents out. As Sarasota and Manatee County beaches begin to re-open, albeit with limitations on permitted uses and parking, we felt it was wise to continue to restrict our access parking a little while longer to counter potential overflow from those areas.

We understand it is inconvenient to get to the beach from the east side of GMD without a car and hope to be able to safely re-open those lots soon.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Open the beach access

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Thank you for the response. I am sure that those of us on the bay side would have appreciated a more creative approach. Glad to hear this will end soon.

Noralyn Marshall

Longboat Key

 

Cell towers

To: Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Director Isaac Brownman

Isaac, does the town presently have any contracts or letters of intent from Verizon that they will co-locate on town poles and that the proposed poles fulfill Verizon’s technical requirements?

Has Verizon told the town that Verizon will not repurpose existing 4G facilities on the island to provide 5G service to our small, low density, highly seasonal community?

This article says that carriers can use existing cell tower locations in low density areas, rather than spend the money to deploy many closely  spaced smaller antennas needed for high demand service areas.

“Towers Be Replaced?

The answer to this question, at least for now, remains “no.” It seems most traditional cell phone towers will remain active for the foreseeable future.

Some carriers will upgrade existing cell towers for use with 5G signals, effectively integrating current infrastructure into the new system. These existing towers could especially help transmit signals through rural locations where very few objects stand in the way.

However, it’s important to note that existing cell towers may also continue transmitting 4G signals to areas without 5G service. Though companies expect 5G to increase coverage overall, 5G won’t launch everywhere immediately.”

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Items requested at May 1 Finance Committee Meeting

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Attached are items that were requested at the May 1 Finance Committee meeting.

Current pension asset status as of March 31, 2020 (Flash report from Advisors and draft financials prepared by Pension Resources) Interest paid on debt during FY2019.

Below are some comments from David Wheeler, the Town Pension Investment Advisor, with regards to the March Flash Report:

“Economy went from doing well (record low unemployment, good GDP growth, inflation within target range, wage growth above 3%, sentiment good)  in mid to late February to a major recession in 30 days due to the closing of major swatches of the economy due to Covid-19.  Fortunately, there has also been unprecedented fiscal and monetary response.  Markets have recovered a good portion of the fastest 34% decline in history from the current bottom set 3/23.  The Longboat Key portfolio has recovered over 1.9 million of the decline experienced in the first quarter.

As I indicated, the federal response has been substantial and we believe that will continue for a while.  That could soften the impact that the closures have had on the economy and possible lead to a U shaped recovery in the second half.

Fortunately, we have been carving out dividend and interest income generated from the portfolio and have placing that in the deposit/disbursement account to handle retiree payments.  That cash flow, along with the contributions from the city and employees, has meant that we have not had to liquidate any assets to make retiree payments.  We do not expect to have to liquidate any equity assets at these reduce values to fund distributions.

We believe that once the lock downs end, demand will return over the next twelve months as the economy regains its feet helped by the fiscal and monetary measures that have been put into place.

David A. Wheeler, CFP, CIMA, Senior Vice President

Senior Portfolio Manager

Graystone Consulting Tampa”

Susan L Smith

Finance Director, CGFO

Town of Longboat Key, Florida

Direct (941) 316-6882

 

Items requested at May 1 Finance Committee Meeting

To: Longboat Key Finance Director Susan Smith

Sue, Could you please send the most recent full actuarial valuation/report to me?  Thanks

Sherry Dominick

Commissioner, Longboat Key

 

Covid closings

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

Have received responses from our Board members, and the majority would like to hold the meeting of May 14. While it was mentioned using Zoom, we thought it more convenient for you to simply use the telephone conference method as we have done a few times for past meetings.

The main topic on the agenda will be for members to share what their city is doing to mitigate COVID-19 locally and in conjunction with their county and other resources.  This should be helpful to all, including Florida League of Cities, who has requested information about whether efforts about re-opening are being addressed on a regional basis with each other and nearby areas.

The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. on May 14.  I will be sending out the call-in information in the next few days with the agenda.

Please mark (or re-mark) your calendar for May 14 and look for an email with the agenda and call-in info. Thank you, and if you have questions or comments, please let me know.

Gail Loeffler

Administrative Coordinator

ManaSota League of Cities, Inc.

 

Colony Beach & Tennis Club Association Termination developments

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

The purpose of this email is to provide the Town Commission with a very brief update on the status of the Colony litigation. This morning I was advised by legal counsel for one of the parties in the termination proceeding that a new settlement agreement was reached between the Andy Adams/Breakpointe Parties, Chuck Whittall/Unicorp, and Colony Association. I understand that the new settlement agreement is confidential so I do not have any details about the terms of the new settlement. However, my understanding is that this new settlement relates to the judicial termination litigation (which was scheduled for trial this month) and the litigation over the parties dispute regarding the COVID-19 impact on a prior settlement agreement. I will continue to keep the Town Commission advised of any further information I receive this regard.

Maggie D. Mooney

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

Colony Beach & Tennis Club Association Termination – Recent developments

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

The purpose of this email is to provide a brief update on the Colony.  Since last week, I have learned that the two new competing cases filed by Unicorp and Mr. Adams (relating to a confidential settlement agreement between the parties) have been assigned to Judge Hunter Carroll (the same judge currently presiding over the pending termination proceedings involving the parties). A hearing was held yesterday before Judge Carroll and the new cases were discussed. Judge Carroll has indicated a desire to expedite the proceedings and trials in those new cases. Further, it is my understanding that the settlement agreement at issue between the parties remains confidential. I do not have a copy of it.

With respect to the pending termination and partition proceedings (that the above settlement agreement sought to resolve), those proceedings are currently scheduled for an evidentiary hearing/trial in May. Mr. Adams’ counsel is advocating for the hearing/trial to proceed in May as previously scheduled using virtual technology (i.e., zoom).  It is my understanding that Judge Carroll indicated a willingness to conduct the trial using virtual technology.  However, it is also my understanding that the Association and Unicorp are not pleased about the prospect of conducting a virtual trial and will likely be filing and pursuing requests for continuances seeking to delay the trial date.   

As the Town is not a party to any of these proceedings, I will keep the Commission appraised of any significant developments that I become aware. If any Commissioners have questions about the status of these matters and my understanding of the pending proceedings, please feel free to contact me directly.

Maggie Mooney

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

Colony Beach & Tennis Club Association Termination developments

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

Late yesterday, I was advised of some recent developments in the ongoing Colony termination proceeding. There were 2 competing Complaints filed yesterday: (1) by the Breakpointe/Andy Adams, and (1) by the Unicorp entities. Based upon the allegations in the competing Complaints (copies of which are attached for your information purposes), in February 2020, the parties reached a confidential settlement agreement that contemplated a closing on the settlement sums on March 31, 2020. As part of that settlement agreement, Unicorp deposited certain funds in escrow. Due to the pandemic, the Unicorp entities sought to extend the closing date without forfeiting the deposit and a dispute ensued between the parties relating to whether Unicorp was in breach of the settlement agreement and whether that breach requires a forfeiture of the escrowed deposit.    

The two (2) competing Complaints filed by Breakpointe and Unicorp without the confidential settlement documents are attached.  I do not have access to the confidential settlement documents.  Generally, the parties are arguing whether there has been a breach of the settlement agreement (contract), whether specific performance is available, whether the escrowed deposit funds should be forfeited to Breakpointe and whether the pandemic as a matter of law warrants a tolling/extension of the closing date.

There was a court hearing/docket sounding before  Judge Carroll this morning (at 9:00 a.m.) to discuss case deadlines and upcoming events.  Accordingly, the filing of the competing Complaints yesterday was presumably done to bring this dispute before Judge Carroll today.

I do not have any further information at this time other than what I am sharing.  However, as I become aware of any significant developments, I will provide an update to you. Please call me if you have any questions or concerns associated with this update.

Maggie D. Mooney

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

Colony Beach & Tennis Club Association Termination – Trial Date Change

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

I recently received an inquiry relating to the status of the trial in the Colony Association termination proceeding. Since the Town is not a party to this litigation, I reached out to the Colony Association’s legal counsel (Jeff Warren) and he advised that due to the COVID-19 event, Judge Carroll entered an order continuing the non-jury trial that was previously scheduled to commence on April 6, 2020.  The new start date for the trial is May 11, 2020. A copy of the Order Continuing the Trial is attached for information purposes. If you have any questions about this update, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Maggie Mooney

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

Lido Beach

To: Sarasota City Commission

I am certain you do not want to hear from one more person regarding Lido Beach and its ongoing, absolutely meritless closure.

I live downtown and, what I witnessed on Main Street last night was wonderful!  Crowds of people outside El Melvin and Selva.  Packed  sidewalk tables, loud conversation, live music.  Great to see people supporting the local restaurants.  If any of those table were 6 feet apart it was from center to center! You allow this and tell me I cannot go to Lido Beach? The most un-crowded beach in the area!

A far more stable environment than several tables at El Melvin. People at Lido nearly always practice social distancing there. They rarely even speak to you.

Lido is the only beach in this area that remains closed. What is it you are protecting me from?  All the people who go to all the other beaches in the area and then walk around my neighborhood or hang out on Main Street?  Or, are you being so careful so as to not upset any of the hysterical and vocal people in ArmaLido who frequent Next Door and scream for the beach to remain closed so they do not die?  Are these monied taxpayers more important than I am?  Do these people even live here year ‘round?

Many people have their private beaches, their pools and life has not been altered for them.  Others of us rely on the public beach and the public pool and we, too, pay taxes.  There is no rational thought that justifies Lido Beach being closed.

Have any of you been to Island Park?  It is quite crowded on a nice afternoon.  People are walking, cycling, sun bathing, picnicking, sitting in chairs and lying on the grass.  Lido is no more crowded than that and there is less space in the park. Are they all wearing masks? No. Are they all social distancing? No, but many are. We deserve to be able to go to Lido and visit by CDC guidelines. Don’t let the crowds on Main Street continue and continue to hold the beach hostage, perhaps out your own fear.

I have to say that I don’t expect a reply from any of you.  I have never received so much as an auto acknowledgement to anything I have ever sent.  I have even had Liz Alpert walk right past me – one of your commissioners —  and not so much as acknowledge my presence.  Pretty disturbing.

Kim Morrison

Sarasota

 

Lido Beach

To: Kim Morrison

If I walked past you without acknowledging you, I do apologize. Next time you see me, please say hello so that I am sure to see you. That being said, I did vote to open Lido Beach since the rest of the beaches are open.

Liz Alpert

Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Walking on Lido Beach with No Consequences

To: Sarasota City Commission, Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin

I do think you all are doing as well as can be expected under these trying times. Thank you.

Concerning Lido Beach:

The last time I was there several weeks ago I was asked by an officer on a runabout to please leave the beach. I did so and have not been back. I am concerned (as in my last email) that people are still walking on the beach. I understand that warnings have been given out, which amounts to not even a slap on the wrist.

Since the beach will be closed at least until May 18 will citations now be given out or will these people continue to walk on the beach without consequences? Would someone please give me the courtesy of an answer? Thank you.

Priscilla J. Liscombe

Sarasota

 

Walking on Lido Beach with No Consequences

To: Scylla Liscombe

Police Officers are authorized to enforce the Governor’s orders, but also use their discretion on a case-by-case basis. They obviously have many priorities to attend to.

Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Safety Concerns for Phase 1

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

As most people in Florida, I was looking forward to having some of our options available to us once again, such as dining out, going to the beach, etc.

While walking in downtown Sarasota, to get a feel of not only the excitement of reopening, but to observe the safety precautions put into effect at various eateries. Much to my dismay, there was a notable disparity in safety measures taken. For example: Not all restaurants practiced safety distancing with tables or people standing up shoulder to shoulder, away from a bar area, one place did not even have their employees wear masks. I did see one eatery supply sanitizers, masks for employees and practicing social distancing. I would like to think there were more practicing safety precautions than not.

There needs to be a safety standard(s) practiced by all businesses for the well being of everyone or this virus will increase quickly and be more difficult to control.  There will be more deaths if this is not addressed.

My question to you Mayor Ahearn-Koch is; will there be safety ambassadors for lack of a better term, to make sure businesses are doing the right thing to combat this virus and keep their employees and customers safe? Your attention and consideration given to this matter is greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

Michele Mannino

Sarasota

 

Safety Concerns for Phase 1

To: Michele Maninno

Thank for reaching out to me with your concerns and I share your concerns. I have had conversations with the City Attorney and City Manager and we are looking for clarity on this as well. The City staff are working on guidelines to implement though and we should see those very soon. Per requiring masks… I will let the City Attorney respond on our ability to require them. The City Manager reported last night that we will also be trying to work with our restaurants and businesses to help them procure masks, gloves, and other items. And, the City Commission approved a grant program to small businesses allowing them to use some of the money to purchase PPEs. I request the City Manager and/or City Attorney respond in kind to add clarity as well. Thank you again for your email and stay safe.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Face shield donation

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

Above is a link to a company my cousin in Colorado knows that retooled itself to make face shields.  My cousin is buying and donating face shields to her local fire and police. I would like to donate these in a similar way, if the City can use them. They cost $4.95 per face mask and I am willing to buy and donate at least 200.

They are designed to fit all head sizes, fit over an N95 mask and goggles…one-piece unit. They are reusable and able to withstand cleaning. Watch the video on the website.

Let me know if this would be of use. Of course I would want my local Fire station on St Armand’s to be a recipient! And…I will see if I can get others.

Carolyn Michel

Sarasota

 

Face shield donation

To: Carolyn Michel

Thank you Carolyn! Great to talk to you earlier! This is very generous of you!

I have copied the City Manager, Police Chief, Emergency Operations Manager on this email and I am sure they will respond.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Face shield donation

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch and Carolyn Michel

Thank you for your generous offer.  I am confidant we will need 100 for a variety of upcoming uses.  Although I am not sure of currently available PPE’s we would love to add these to the inventory of local first responders, clinics and Covid -19 testing centers. By all means we welcome the donation. On behalf of the City of Sarasota thank you very much.

Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Face shield donation

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch, City Manager Tom Barwin

Great, would you like more than 100? I am willing to donate up to 1,000 of them if you can use them. Do not want any to go to waste. So how many would you like up to 1,000? Do not order more than you might need please. And I assume it is easiest for me to have them shipped to my house.

Carolyn Michel

Sarasota

 

Face shield donation

To: Carolyn Michel

I have spoken with the city’s Emergency Operations Manager, Todd Kerkering, and he has assured me that the any additional shields beyond what the city itself can initially use, that can be acquired through a local donation of up to 1,000, will be made available to be shared with the areas public health emergency network partners, including first responders, hospitals, clinics, public health centers and testing centers. Mr. Todd Kerkering will make arrangements to collect them upon delivery. Thank you very much Carolyn.

Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Face shield donation

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch, City Manager Tom Barwin

The face shields are shipping today! There are 1,040 of them in about 8 very big boxes. I am going to remove 40 masks for me to distribute…and give the City 1,000 face shields. There will be 8 huge boxes…so as soon as they arrive I will alert you so that you guys can pick them up and put them in a secure place so folks do not pilfer them and I can get them out of my garage. They are being shipped today so should arrive in 2 or 3 days.

Carolyn Michel

Sarasota

 

Face shield donation

To: Carolyn Michel

Wow. Great. Thanks for the heads up. I will copy our emergency manager Todd Kerkering on this, and he will make arrangements for pick up when they arrive. I have copied the some key people on this within our city ops. Thanks again.

Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Face shield donation

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

This is a wonderful story that I would love to share with the community.

As the Mayor and initial point of contact, would you like to reach out to Ms. Michel and invite her to be part of a news release with you?   

Jan Thornburg

Sernior Communications Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Covid-19 data and State Retail-Restaurant Guidelines

To: Florida Department of Health Chuck Henry

While tracking data related to the spread of COVID-19 has been critical throughout this pandemic, it remains as important as ever as we begin to implement Phase I, II and III of the National Strategy to reopen the economy. We would also like to know more about state efforts related to contact tracing.

Aware how busy you are, I recently requested via Sarasota County EOC Manager Ed McCrane that the Covid-19 daily EOC Flash reports and heat maps be reorganized in a more meaningful way. Although I was assured it would be discussed I have seen no changes. With the most direct link to the Covid-related data, perhaps the Health Department could better facilitate this.

Here are my requests/suggestions:

First, chart new confirmed Covid-19 cases per day, per zip code, and keep the charts for the most recent 14 days to assist us lay people and the very interested public, with trend monitoring.  The heat map data is helpful in terms of attempting to explain the possible number of active cases each day per zip code, but it does not show day to day change unless the reader goes over each heat map every day placing one next to the other.   Busy policy makers and busy elected officials should not have to go through this daily task, let alone 14 days’ worth of pie charts and then merge various zip codes.   Therefore supplementing the current heat map or flash report, with daily new cases per zip code could be much more helpful in terms of putting the situation into perspective and monitoring the trends, and perhaps understanding the ramifications of a variety of actions that are and will occur as we move through the Phases.

Because the volume of testing is going to go up for the short term this will likely impact the new cases per day data. It therefore can and perhaps should be noted by zip code if possible, how many tests were given by zip code, and the per cent that were positive.    Monitoring the per cent of positive cases is noted to help guide the gating or phasing so this information must begin to reported in understandable formats. If not available by zip code at least in a solid 14 day chart by county that is easily understandable. For cities like Sarasota this would really help provide a more immediate and near real time picture of what the situation is and aid us all in managing through the evolution of the pandemic.    

A third data set might also be helpful related to deaths. How many are in nursing or elder care facilities within the county or by zip code. Than how many deaths were not in elder care facilities and in which zip codes did they occur. I do not believe this would violate any HIPPA laws/rules but again provide helpful information.

I am also writing to seek guidance on implementing the Governor’s order on social distancing on outdoor dining. Since the governor has restricted inside dining to 25% of capacity we are understandably getting more requests to permit outdoor dining. Has the State Health Department or CDC provided guidance or graphics related to the placement of tables beyond simply six feet apart. Obviously if tables are exactly 6 feet apart from edge to edge, and chairs are placed between tables, patrons will be much closer than six feet.  There is a similar issue related to proximity to walkways. So any guidance, graphics and or information on state or county enforcement plans is also appreciated as I expect many calls on this.   If pro-active guidance or enforcement is not going to be forthcoming, that should be messaged to the public IMO.

If there are other data sets you have access to that you can share to help us monitor the local situation and confirm the reduction in Covid -19 cases, risks, trends and threats of a resurgence we would appreciate having access to it.

We do hope the information on daily hospital bed occupancy in both ICU and all beds within the county continues to be provided because it has been one of the most helpful measures for us to be aware of and we hope it continues to be provided throughout the public health emergency.

We appreciate all you are doing and please do not hesitate to contact my office is we can assist your ongoing efforts to thwart this pandemic.

Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Motorcycle traffic on the big bridge

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

I’m being a squeaky wheel again. I sold my house (that I loved) because my whole block on Lido was turning into AirBnBs, including 6 of those giant party houses practically on top of me. I didn’t want to live there with the noise and traffic that those houses were going to bring.

And there were very few neighbors left…mostly renters.

So I bit the bullet and moved downtown to Bay Plaza. I have a lovely condo on the 14th floor overlooking the marina and the big bridge. But I went from the frying pan into the fire in terms of noise.

I was relieved to see Timothy Fanning’s article in the Herald Tribune about the speeding issues in town. I was prepared for city noises, but I was in no way prepared for what I am experiencing now. Almost every night motorcycles drag race across the big bridge. They usually sit at the traffic light on 41 at the Bayfront, just past the Sailor, and rev their engines, so it sounds like something out of Easy Rider. When the light changes they hit the accelerators and race onto the bridge. Traffic has been very light these past two months, but if there are cars on the bridge, the bikes cut in and around cars as they pick up speed. They are going very fast, and they are making a ridiculous amount noise (some nights it sounds as if I’m living next to the Indianapolis Speedway, as they accelerate and then speed across the bridge. It looks to me as if 60mph is on the slow side. Frequently they seem to going 80 to 90 mph on the bridge. I have counted as many as thirteen bikes at any one time. Usually there are three to six. Sometimes they turn at Bird Key Park and race back over the bridge,  head south past the marina, turn at Ringling Blvd. and come back for another run on the bridge.

Six of them went by a little while ago at 12:30 a.m. They came off the bridge and turned on 41 speeding at full throttle north on the trail.

There are noise ordinances in this town. And speed limits too. Neither of them are being obeyed, These bikes are noisy, and they potentially present a dangerous situation to cars on the road. They often have radios on jammed at some high decibel (so their music can be heard over the noise of the bikes I suppose), but I can discern the lyrics all the way up to the 14th floor. That is loud.

They are a traffic hazard, somebody is bound to be killed or injured if it keeps up. They are clearly breaking the noise ordinances. They are certainly disturbing my peace. Any suggestions of what to do or who talk to would be welcome.

Thanks for “listening” Jen. I hope you and your family are staying safe and weathering this community and economic storm without too much stress.

Carole Kleinberg

Sarasota

 

Motorcycle traffic on the big bridge

To: Carole Kleinberg

Hope you are well. Thanks for the email about motorcycle speeding (racing) and noise downtown and on the Ringling Bridge.

I have copied the City Manager, Police Chief, City Attorney, and City Staff on this email so they are aware of the situation and may respond.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Selva Grill Owner weighing in on Street closure on Main Street

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

I know you are debating whether to close Main St in downtown. I support closing the street to traffic and using the extra space for Dining. Similar the famous Lincoln Ave in Miami. Restaurants cannot survive at 25 percent occupancy or even 50 percent. And after being closed for a month, we need economic relief now. The argument that the elderly will have to walk one or two blocks (news coverage from Patrick’s owner) is a moot point as the essence of downtown is the walkability and eclectic charm of local business and eateries (Farmer’s Market). The quantity of parking spaces lost by implementing this, pales in comparison to the amount available in the Palm Ave and State Street garages which are now free.  Lakewood Ranch has already passed this resolution and is in effect this week. Let’s show the area that Sarasota continues to lead the way. Not elsewhere. Thank you for relaying this to the committee on our behalf. We need you now more than ever!

Jeremy Osment

Managing Partner

Selva Grill

 

Selva Grill Owner weighing in on Street closure on Main Street

To: Jeremy Osment

Thank you for the email with your thoughts about temporarily, potentially closing parts of Main Street. I appreciate you taking the time to reach out to me.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Issues with sewer cleaning

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

Good morning, I feel a need to file a complaint about the lack of notification on the sewer clean out process that is ongoing around the 12th Street area. This morning, I was using the rest room when all of a sudden I heard a gurgle and two seconds later sewer water started spewing out of the toilet while I was still sitting on it. It literally sent the water 3 feet in the air flooding all  of our restrooms with sewage water.  It covered the walls, toilet and sink and leaked out into the hallway. I understand that this type of work has to be done but the lack of any notice is unacceptable. When we went out to speak to the gentleman performing the work, we basically got an “oh well, they sent a letter” .  He even mentioned that he had to turn up the pressure because it hadn’t been done in so long. This is a horrible way to accomplish this needed function (Not sure why it couldn’t have been done at night, especially if they were going to have to “turn up the pressure”) and the lack of any concern by the city or the company doing the work to ensure that everyone concerned received some kind of notification. Rest assured, if I develop any ailments that can be attributed to this awful display of how our city works, you will be hearing from me again.    

Larry Turrell

Sarasota

 

Issues with sewer cleaning

To: Larry Turrell

Thank you for emailing me – I have copied the City Manager and Staff to respond immediately and copy me please.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Issues with sewer cleaning

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch, City Manager Tom Barwin

Our folks reached out to Mr. Turrell directly to see if there is anything we can do.  With the exception of Mr. Turrell’s concerns with prior notice and frustration communicating with the contract crew (English second language) performing the work , it is my understanding Mr. Turrell is satisfied with our response.  It also is my understanding prior notice was provided to all affected property owners.

We now are working with our contractor to make sure, in the future, incidents like this do not occur.  We also are emphasizing the need to have someone on the crew that can readily communicate with the public.

Bill Riebe

Sarasota

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