Editorial Letters – Week ending July 3, 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.


To: Editor

I am appalled at your Trumpian attack on the media blaming them for the pandemic spread and not the lack of leadership from the White House and the lies of the President.

The news isn’t fake- but you sure set the wrong example of responsible reporting!

You are the “inane and desperate” editor that will kill us all with your distortions of facts. It’s your damage that will cause good reporters and journalists from uncovering all the corruption and misdeeds of the current administration.

Take off your blinders and read the data from the sources and you will see how irresponsible and dangerous your reporting is to the truth.

If there is any good news that the death rates are lower, is not because people are drinking their Clorox, but the overwhelmed medical staffs are finding new ways to heal. Get out in the sunlight.

Carol Staitman



House Height

To: Editor

The “too high house” on Longboat Key should be modified to meet current height code or demolished, or a variance given for this individual case. The Builder and the Architect knew the rules and ignored them. They should pay the price rather than the rules be modified to accommodate their mistake. A few years ago we had a similar situation in Rhode Island where I used to live. However, rather than resulting from a willful disregard of the rules, it resulted from an incompetent surveyor such that the house was built partially on an adjacent park. The problem was discovered when a potential buyer had a new survey done and discovered that part of the house was on the Park. This case went to the RI Supreme Court who ruled that the house should either be demolished, or moved. Fortunately, the builder was able to get a variance from RI DEM allowing the house to be moved closer to wetlands than normally permitted. This avoided a wholesale changing of the rules as proposed for the Longboat Key situation that would affect everybody on the Key.

EG Durbin



Unconditional surrender, just get rid of it

To: Editor

Just get rid of it! It’s plug ugly! It looks like something out of Madame Tussaud’s wax museum or the invasion of the 50-foot woman. Just gross! It’s cheap and tacky looking. Doesn’t belong there or anywhere.

Adaline Zalkin



Remember what the statue stands for

To: Editor

Art is in the eye of the observer. It shows love and joy. Get real people, it’s part of history. Don’t destroy our memories. My father gave his life so you could live free! I respect our military for the job they did so you will not have to speak German or Japanese. Please remember what this statue stands for.

Kathleen Wilke



A bridge too far

To: Editor

Phill Younger's proposal for FDOT to build a bridge connecting Ken Thompson Parkway to the City of Sarasota at 10th Street is wacky. Mr. Younger wants to build a bridge starting from Ken Thompson Parkway that would land somewhere along the City boat ramp and then sail over the roundabout and continue along 10th Street and land somewhere at Orange and 10th or maybe plow through a neighborhood or two to connect to Route301/Washington Street – the Phill Younger Memorial Expressway. Phill must be channeling Robert Moses.

A little lesson for you sir. There are about 10,000 dwelling units planned for Aqua by the Bay and Preston Whiting's development at 75th Street and along Cortez Road (Peninsula). There have been proposals voiced by citizens to build a new bridge across Sarasota Bay to connect 53rd Avenue to Longboat Key so that traffic can access the beaches and Sarasota

destinations. I'm sure Longboat Key would welcome such a proposal as much as we would yours.

Larry Grossman



Riptide danger

To: Editor

Thank you for posting this article with life-saving actions listed. Hopefully it will save some lives!

William Sandberg

Takoma Park, MD


Statue Issue

To: Editor

I was alive at the end of WW II, and remember the JOY of VE and VJ days. My Father came home from Europe, and my friend’s father came home after three years of  her  family not seeing him!

Tearing down statues and emulating the Mau Tse Tung Cultural Revolution mainly shows lack of wisdom  and education, and a supposed right to “not be offended.”

A relative of Martin Luther King has suggested leaving all statues alone, but adding placques explaining the era and significance of the statue. I am not offended.

L. Ann Jordan



Keep the statue

To: Editor

Absolutely not! This does not depict the majority opinion of the residents of Sarasota county.

Why do we allow a few people that are definitely in the minority rule in their favor?

This goes along with the monuments & statues being destroyed or defaced.  This is being done with no discussion.

Visitors always want to drive by and see this statue! It is a reminder of the end of a war and the celebration of victory! Please keep this where thousands of people can see and enjoy!  This is a beautiful tourist attraction for Sarasota!

Teri Berkes



Keep Unconditional Surrender

To: Editor

Those few individuals that want the iconic Sailor Statute removed from the waterfront should get a life. When are we going to stop letting the tail wag the dog? Just because a few find it offensive and have no sense of humor or historical appreciation does not require that the silent majority and the city of Sarasota must oblige.

All art is in the eyes of the viewer. Personally, I like it. The Sarasota Politicians must have some backbone. Many politicians have no backbone and are terrified to say “no.” The Sailor Statute should be replaced after roundabout construction in a prominent place on the Bayfront. The majority want to keep it. The statute is a historical asset to be displayed on the waterfront. It is Art Entertainment at its best.

Paul B. Ahern



Wearing a mask

To: Editor

I wear a mask every time I go out. I only go to Dr. appointments and lab appointments due to some health issues. I might go to a store if I knew everyone would have a mask on. If it were mandatory I think more people would do it. There will always e those that say it is infringing on their rights, but if they had someone they love have to go on a ventilator or die they might feel different. I had a relative in hospital, on a ventilator and in rehab because of Covid-19 . It was 78 days for her. That is why we all need to wear a mask. Protect others!

Judy Azar

Longboat Key


Please adopt mask ordinance

To: Longboat Key Commission

I hope that at Thursday’s, July 2nd  Commissioner’s Meeting you will vote to enact a emergency ordinance Mandating  the Wearing of Face Masks in all indoor and outdoor public spaces, including businesses where social distancing is not practicable on Longboat Key to protect the health and safety of the residents of Longboat Key and its tourists and visitors.

The Florida Department of Health says the number of known cases of COVID-19 in the state rose by 6,093 since yesterday morning as the virus spreads and as more people are tested across the state. The total number of cases in Florida is now 152,434.

The number of deaths has reached 3,505, an increase of 58 since Monday’s update. Locally, Pinellas County noted 12 new deaths, Polk reported five, Hillsborough and Manatee each reported three, Pasco reported two, and Sarasota reported one.

With an average age of our residents being 72, our population is “At  high risk.”

Major cities in Florida have instituted face covering orders as well, including such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Hialeah, Miami Gardens, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Naples, Holmes Beach, Sarasota and the Florida Keys.

Why not Longboat Key?

“If it’s the right decision, we help reduce the spread of this terrible virus.  If it’s the wrong decision, it’s a relatively small inconvenience.”

This is not a political matter but rather a life safety issue. Let’s get ahead of the problem and err on the side of caution. Thank you for all you do.

Nancy McElmeel

Longboat Key


Wastewater pipe leak

To: Longboat Key Commission

How can this happen?

Who is supposed to watch over this?

Why did it take so long to publicly reveal?

Why was important information excluded from the release?

How are you going to fix this?

Who is going to pay for the fix?

Who is going to be fired on multiple charges in this case?

Between all the projects you guys think are important and don’t get resolved, and then all the projects you let become as colossal as this Is and move slowly, leaving devastating damage to the environment. Nobody seems to be accountable.

Politics as usual

When you meet tomorrow to vote on mandatory masks, be sure to remind all your commissioners how qualified you all are to propose and confirm this rule. Then grasp some positive position on how you failed with the sewer pipe allowing 28 million gallons get into Sarasota Bay. Make yourselves feel better “can’t fix stupid.”

Red Reynolds

Longboat Key


Height limits

To: Longboat Key Commission

Attached is the UL Marketing and Application Guide on Lightning Protection.  UL, as you may remember, is the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory that OSHA refers to for guidance.

I have highlighted the section on air terminals on p.16.  I fear your building inspections have missed this requirement on two houses in Country Club Shores.

I do not see bracing on air terminals exceeding 24 inches at 640 Halyard nor on the air terminal at 572 Gunwale.  The remaining air terminal that exceeds 24 inches is at 669 Halyard and is braced against the chimney so it probably meets guidelines.

I am attaching pictures. I am also attaching a picture of 668 Halyard to be included in the survey I made of all CCS houses with antennas or dishes.  It can’t be seen from the road but can by water.  It is an example of what bracing will look like.  It appears to be an air terminal that exceeds 24 inches but not the code height limit.  The Preventor you see on the chimney behind 668 Halyard is actually 669 Halyard.

If these air terminals do not meet guidelines in the state building code, I imagine the town would be liable for damages incurred if they came loose. I would hope that the fact that air terminals exceeding 24 inches need braces will make Planning and Zoning aware of the aesthetic impact of “tripods” on structures above height limits.

Lynn Cook

Longboat Key


Two important items

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

I thought the note below was a new aspect that somehow could make it into your covid plans for Thursday. Everybody appreciates your leadership at the last commission meeting.

Average age requirement for masks in our survey is 3.  But a small sample. We were surprised Sarasota was so high.  Maybe 5 is the correct age?

Pete Rowan

Longboat Key


Two important items

To: Pete Rowan

Thanks, Pete. Long day. The mail I have received re masks that expressed an opinion about age averaged at age 5-6, which is where I think we will come out.

Ken Schneier


Longboat Key


Two important items

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

As part of any ordinance I would also ask the Commission to make a strong recommendation to all Condo Associations with enclosed spaces that masks should be required in such areas.  I realize these spaces are private property and thus not under the jurisdiction of the Commission, however a statement from the Commission will make it easier for Association Boards to insist on such action.

Greg Van Howe

Longboat Key


Two Important Items

To: Keep Longboat Special (please feel free to forward this email to others)

Two important items follow.

1. Recent commission meeting on two proposed ordinances

2020-05 Lightning Rod exemption to Building Height

2020-07 Daylight Plane Angle Increase

2. Covid mask requirement on Longboat Key

1. The two proposed ordinances – Thank you all for emailing the commissioners your objections to these 2 proposed ordinances. The commissioners listened to residents and greatly revised the plans.

The results of the June 30 commission meeting is summarized as follows:

2020-05 Height Ordinance – The ordinance was sent back to the Planning and Zoning staff with these wording changes:

For residential R4 and R6 Zones:

From: Lightning rods can be 6 feet tall (over the 30’ height limit); and 16 feet tall with ‘special exception’ approval.

To: Lightning rods can be 1 foot tall; and up to 6 feet tall with ‘special exception’.

Property with larger lots, greater than R4 and R6, rods can be up to 6 feet over the 30’ height limit. No special exceptions.


From: Lightning rods can be up to 16 feet (over height limit).

To: Lightning rods can be up to 6 feet over height limit; no special exceptions, but can add more 6 foot rods as needed.

2020-07 Daylight Plane Ordinance

This proposed ordinance was tabled. There was absolutely no support by the commissioners for increasing the angle. It was noted by the commissioners, as well as by many of you, that increasing the angle was counter to the original intent of the initiative. Sure it made the code simpler but also increased the possible bulk of a home that would cast more shadow on a neighbor.

Thank you again Keep Longboat Special members for your support in keeping Longboat a special place. And thank you very much Mayor Ken Schneier, Vice Mayor Haycock, and Commissioners BJ Bishop, Jack Daly, Sherry Dominick, George Spoll, and Ed Zunz.

2. Covid mask requirement on Longboat Key

There will be an emergency commission meeting this Thursday addressing the covid increase in Florida. The vote was 7-0 to create an emergency ordinance to require the wearing of masks on Longboat key. The ordinance details are not yet available. We support the requirement for wearing a mask for all those over the age of TBD when:

a) Inside public places

b) Outside when social distancing is not possible.

Survey Question: What do you think the age should be for requiring a mask? Sarasota has an age requirement of 18. Anna Maria and Holmes Beach has an age requirement of 2. The four northern States that have halted Covid spread seem to include everyone able to do so.

Pete & Carla Rowan

Keep Longboat Special


Masks Mandatory please

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am a resident of Longboat Key for 25 years and am very concerned about Covid-19.

I shudder when I go to Publix, beach, and other places and see many tourists and others not wearing masks and partying in St. Armands as if it’s 2018. Please make masks mandatory for all including under 18! This must be enforced for the safety of all. Social distancing is attempted at Publix but is not kept as well.  Restaurants are trying hard but outside visitors spoil that as well.  The Longboat Key Club must enforce proper conduct as well as Dry Dock. Our health and reputation is at stake. Young people are reckless on our beautiful island paradise.

Fran Blum

Longboat Key


Thank you for mask ordinance

To: Longboat Key Commission

I was heartened by the Commission unanimously voting to schedule an emergency meeting to discuss and possibly take action regarding the escalating COVID-19 in our area.

The grasp of the seriousness of the current and potential future nation of this disease stands in contrast to the frivolous discussions and lack of action in other jurisdictions. Thank you all very much.

Terry Gans

Longboat Key


Coronavirus concerns for LBK condo residents

To: Longboat Key Commissioner BJ Bishop

Thank you in advance for reading this message. I hope I am catching you in time for your consideration prior to the meeting tomorrow.

My family moved here from Annapolis, MD five years ago to raise our now 9-year-old son and love Longboat Key more than we could have ever imagined. We love having Longboat Key as our full-time home. Congratulations to you as the new Longboat Key at-large commissioner.

I am writing you this email to let you know about my concerns as a Longboat Key condo resident.

– There is a lack of social distancing by residents and vacationers as well as staff. This occurs in stairways, on the beach, in the clubhouse and at the pool.

– There is a lack of signage to alert residents and non-residents of state and local laws pertaining to social distancing and quarantine. There is a lack of signage pertaining to the recent rise in coronavirus in the state, county and town.

– Vacationers from states with a mandatory quarantine are ignoring it and the condo association is turning a blind eye.

– Out of state owners are exiting planes then not social distancing from residents when they are saying their hellos.

– The condo association is not wiping down chairs each night as recommended by the Florida Department of Health.

I appreciate your attention to this matter as I am concerned about the condo etiquette as well as the possibility of keeping the numbers down in the community so that schools can open next fall or winter.

Elyse Turk

Longboat Key


Emergency adopted mask ordinance

To: Longboat Key Commissioner BJ Bishop

The following is included in the Emergency Ordinance:

B. Face Covering Required.

1.  Every person living, working, visiting, or doing business in the Town of Longboat Key shall wear a face covering in any indoor location, other than home or residence, subject to the exceptions in Section C below.  For the purposes of this paragraph, if a home or residence is located within a multi-family condominium or apartment complex, the “home or residence” exception does not extend to the common areas of the condominium or apartments, including but not limited to lobbies, elevators, mailrooms, and meeting rooms.

2.  Every person living, working, visiting, or doing business in the Town of Longboat Key shall wear a face covering in any public outdoor location, except when solely with or among members of their household, and subject to the exceptions in Section C below.

3.  All persons who own, manage, or are employed by any commercial business to which the public has or may obtain legally permissible access, whether publicly or privately owned, that is under a roof or is enclosed by two or more walls, doors or other means, shall post notice of the Town’s Face Covering requirements for the public and employees to wear in accordance with this Emergency Ordinance. Businesses shall advise employees and customers of the Town’s requirements.  Each commercial business owner or operator should establish rules for that business establishment that encourage social distancing, hand washing, and other protective measures for customers and employees based upon guidelines provided by the Centers of Disease Control and the State Department of Health, and where applicable, OSHA.

It may cover her concerns.

Trish Shinkle

Town Clerk

Longboat Key


Please add ‘No beach parking’ signs

To: Longboat Key Commission

Thank you for the beach parking restrictions you placed on Broadway up to Longboat South and on Poinsetta North of Broadway. Please can you place no beach parking signs along Broadway up to Lois?

Currently, Broadway is packed with beach going individuals and families unloading vehicles.

My husband and I have chosen to take this COVID situation quite seriously, especially since he has underlying medical issues from being a first responder during 9/11.

We should not be subject to droves of people littering our property with garbage, and using the front of our home as a staging area for their beach outing. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Patricia Lopez

Longboat Key


Please require masks

To: Longboat Key Commission and Town Manager Tom Harmer

I have been following the Covid-19 updates from the Department of Health and watching the numbers grow.  My family has been hunkered down since the beginning of April. We both have health issues that make us very wary of catching this virus.  I have been to Publix and spoken with management who refuse to issue mask guidelines to customers.  I know many, many people who live on Longboat Key and I know they have not left home for similar reasons. But now there are many tourists here who are not seemingly concerned.  That is terrifying us. We really need you all to step up to the plate for us.

This, simply, is what’s needed and I would hope as responsible elected officials, you will heed this message when voting. Please.


Mask should be mandated for everyone 5 yrs. and above

At all times outside

At all times in and outside any commercial establishment (Publix should have to comply), as well as churches and synagogues.

At all times in restaurants and outside eating patios.  Of course exception when eating.

Signs on doors should read ‘No masks, no service’ (signs should be everywhere…masks and wash hands and social distancing).

One of the many things we elected you to do: Keep your constituency safe! Both physically and emotionally. Thanks for your service and your attention.

Arlene and Paul Skversky

Longboat Key


Wastewater line break

To: Longboat Key Commission

As a follow-up to my one on one calls yesterday I wanted to provide a quick update on the Town’s response to the wastewater line break.  As you are aware it is the subaqueous wastewater line that extends under the Bay and onto the mainland and ultimately connects to the Manatee County Wastewater Treatment Plan.  As the Commission is aware, this is the only force main from the island connecting to Manatee County for treatment of the Town’s wastewater.

I was notified yesterday that the Public Works staff was investigating a potential break in the line and that they were taking immediate actions to evaluate the area around the pipe to see if they could identify a leak.  A short time later, in conjunction with Manatee County Utilities, they discovered the line break on the mainland across the Bay from the Town.  This is a major line failure of the 20” pipe with significant loss of effluent.

Our Public Works Director Isaac Brownman is coordinating the Town’s response and the spill has been reported to the FDEP.  The priority today is on accessing the leak area, determine the extent of the break, and taking the necessary repair actions.  It is in an area that is hard to access and the Town’s emergency contractor is cutting a path to the area and building a stabilized road so the heavy equipment can be brought in to the site.  In addition, the Town staff are working with an environmental consultant to evaluate the extent and impacts associated with the spill and to help identify any further actions that may be necessary.

An Alert Longboat Key message was sent out last night to the residents asking for them to conserve water/wastewater usage and additional information is being distributed today through our other communication methods.  See the notice that was sent out this morning:

Due to this emergency incident the Town is urging all commercial, resort, and residential properties to minimize water/wastewater usage to control the amount of wastewater moving through the subaqueous pipeline until the repair is completed – again, this could take several days.  This does not impact irrigation usage – it only relates to wastewater entering the pipeline.  The Town recognizes that during this pandemic, recommended CDC sanitation measures, handwashing, sanitizing surfaces, etc. absolutely prevail – please conserve water where possible beyond those protective measures.   

The status of the emergency will also be maintained on our website. If you receive any media requests, please forward them to the Town Manager’s Office. Isaac and I will serve as the primary points of contact.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key


Sewage infrastructure delay causes spill

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am beyond frustrated, to put it politely, that your town’s decision to delay upgrading critical sewage infrastructure has led to this completely predictable sewage spill.

Now every other Sarasota Bay user has to live with the fallout from your short-sighted policymaking. I hope that this serves as a wake-up call to get your house in order.

Sean Sellers

Longboat Key


Sea turtle nesting rules

To: Longboat Key Commission

Just to let you know, as a full time resident of Longboat Key, I am very disappointed in our neighbors to the north on our road. They continually pull their furniture to our space and do not remove it for turtle season.

So, I took it upon myself to drag their furniture to their address and put a Town of Longboat Key flyer re: sea turtles. Personally, they should not be in our area anyway; however, apparently RVA Management does not inform them to stay out of our space. I believe the rules and laws of the Town of Longboat Key are very inadequate to take care of full time residents, and simply cater to the visitors who pay our non-existent taxes, which is fine, but a little respect from short-term rental units would be greatly appreciated, unless the Town’s intent is to be rid of families and be a Miami rental situation.

Terri Driver

Longboat Key


Planning and Zoning board out of step

To: Longboat Key Commission

It is glaringly evident to me, given the unprecented blow-back from the general community, that the Planning and Zoning board is very much out of step with the community.

I am asking the commission to consider some sort of resident working group, not appointed by the commission, to protect our property owners from government boards that are disconnected from the greater community.

It might be more constructive to have no board at all, instead of inflicting our community with unpopular and damaging actions, such as perhaps illegally rezoning the Shore property, against the overwhelmingly vote of the residents, that has caused so much backlash from residents. How much time and effort are now required to counter misguided P&Z actions? Currently, it seems to me that the P&Z board is more trouble than it is worth.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key


Block off street parking on Broadway

To: Longboat Key Commission

Thank you for posting no parking on Pointsetta Street north of Broadway. As an emergency measure, please block off street-parking on Broadway Street from Gulf of Mexico Drive to Lois Street until the beach parking lot is again opened. Broadway is presently inundated with non-masked beach-goers from outside the Village neighborhood. Broadway residents are having to actively avoid these strangers along that strip of sidewalk. Please protect them. Please!

Carla Rowan

Longboat Key


Please keep daylight plane rules

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

Please just say no to proposed code changes 2020-05 and 2020-07. They are detrimental to R-4 neighborhoods. There are ways to protect from lightning without additional height exemptions.  Keep the daylight plane rules to avoid more shadows on neighboring homes. We have all worked very hard to live in neighborhoods that do not cave into the demands of one specific request. This will affect the quality and future of our neighborhood and values of our investments.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

Jack Brill

Longboat Key

Tags: , , , ,

Longboat Key News

Leave a Reply