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Editorial Letters – Week ending July 24, 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.

Tourism numbers increasing

To: City of Sarasota and Longboat Key Commissions

You will be delighted to know that even in the darkest days in April, Sarasota’s lodging occupancy and average daily rates were higher than Florida or that of the U.S. and that trend continues into July.

It is not a surprise that for the period of April-June 2020, 81% of all visitors to Sarasota County drove compared to 68% for the same period last year.  Our top 5 sources for visitors in this past quarter were Tampa Bay area, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta, Naples-Ft. Myers and Orlando.

There are two key ingredients for our tourism recovery.  The first is that visitors feel that Sarasota County is a safe place to visit.  The second is that we need to mount a major initiative to reach out to meeting planners, associations, corporations and sports groups with a strong message that they can hold their events in Sarasota County in a safe and effective manner when the time is right.  VSC is currently working on just such a plan.

Here are the Sarasota County tourism numbers for June 2020 compared to June 2019:

June 2019                        June 2020                            Difference

Visitors in paid lodging  99,300                              69,400                              -30.1%               

Visitor direct spend        $81,663,300                    $54,619,800                            -33.1%

Lodging occupancy         63.8%                               51%                                   -20.1%

Lodging Room Rate        $157.19                            $156.18                            -0.6%

Rooms sold                      211,500                            160,400                            -24.2%

Virginia J. Haley

President

Visit Sarasota County

 

Flooding at Lyons Lane

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Ed Zunz

We have a home located at Lyons Lane. Lyons Lane experiences extensive street flooding which at times can completely restrict access on and off the street, creating public safety issues among other problems.

I am extremely appreciative of the efforts the Town has already undertaken to study how best to mitigate this problem. As is the case with many projects, my understanding is that the most effective – and ultimately lowest-cost – long-term solution such as a seawall would perhaps be the most costly from a short-term, upfront funding perspective.

In that regard, I am writing to urge the Town to consider additional municipal debt financing as a funding source. As you probably know, interest rates are at record lows with the US 10-year Treasury rate around 0.6%. Municipal bond rates are also well under 1%; five-year new issues have lately been priced with yields in the 0.3% range. While issuing debt should always be considered prudently, today’s inordinately low rates make debt a much more attractive financing option.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and I hope you and your associates have been staying safe and well.

Catherine Smith

Longboat Key

 

City of Sarasota Public Input

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

I made this submission Saturday to be read into the record at Monday’s Sarasota City Commission meeting.  Trish:  would you please confirm it has been received on time and is in good order.  Thanks.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

City of Sarasota Public Input

To: Sarasota City Commission

As reflected in my July 16, 2020 letter to on behalf of the Town of Longboat Key, we respect the effort that has been put into the Sarasota in Motion Plan and understand the emphasis in that Plan on pedestrian, bicycle and other non-auto transportation for the City’s future. As the Plan is fleshed out and implemented, however, we strongly hope that the City recognizes and embraces its central role in the region and as the primary corridor for transit to and from Longboat Key and the other barrier islands, some of which are within your borders.

To that end, please incorporate as priorities in your Plan the City-to-island transportation needs we have discussed, including the following:

1. Preservation of the number, width and capacity of lanes on Fruitville Road, Tamiami Trail and other routes of critical ingress and egress and evacuation from the barrier islands.

2. Continued focus on seasonal traffic congestion from the islands to downtown, including measurement metrics, with the goal of decreasing traffic times. Specifically, we hope Maintenance of Traffic Plan for the proposed Gulfstream/41 roundabout delivers the promised improvement in flow during construction and that the final result accelerates transit through that intersection, as projected. Again, measurement metrics will be important to see if our goals are achieved.

3. Planning and implementation of alternative modes of transportation to the barrier islands in conjunction with Sarasota County, FDOT and the island communities, including water taxis, cable cars, improved mass transit, and alternate and counterflow lanes on the bridges. We remain committed to working with the City on these improvements.

4. Adoption of specific, recommended measures to remedy known bottlenecks by, for example, annually employing crossing guards at St. Armand’s Circle, in Season, removing obstructive parking slots and calming devices at St. Armand’s, constructing pedestrian overpasses at Route 41 and improving signalized traffic flow at Ken Thompson Parkway and elsewhere.

Many of these ideas have been on the table for years and are consistent with the work of the Barrier Islands Transit Study (BITS) and the work of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). We have been active with those groups and know the City has supported their work. We hope this continues and that, with cooperation by all parties, Sarasota County in Motion can become a reality.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Sarasota in Motion Transportation Master Plan

To: Longboat Key Commission

At the City of Sarasota Commission Meeting this afternoon the City staff presented the Sarasota in Motion Transportation Master Plan.  The letter from the Mayor and Commission was included in the record and Mayor Schneier submitted written comments that were also read into the record at the meeting.

After lengthy discussion, adoption of the plan failed by a vote of 2-3.  Some of the concerns raised were related to the plan not fully addressing the current traffic congestion issues.

A follow-up motion was made to accept the report, that passed 5-0. We will continue to follow-up with the City on the issues that were raised by the Town Commission and are consistent with the BITS study recommendations.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Sarasota Commission vote on Traffic Gridlock Scheme

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

I apologize for the late notice on this, but in case you are not aware, the Sarasota City Commission is voting tomorrow (Monday) afternoon, after 1:30, on City Staff’s latest scheme to embrace traffic congestion on City roads.

I hope that the Town will have a representative to speak about this Plan at the public hearing, by the video feed made available in Conference Room 112 at Sarasota City Hall, to urge that this very ill-advised Plan not be adopted.

Emails may also be sent to Sarasota City Commissioners at Commissioners@SarasotaFl.gov.

My critique of the so-called Transportation Master Plan is below, in an email I have widely distributed. Thank you very much for your considerations.

Dan Lobeck

Law Offices of Lobeck & Hanson, P.A.

 

Sarasota Commission vote on Traffic Gridlock Scheme

To: Dan Lobeck

Thanks, Dan. We have been discussing the Sarasota in Motion plan with the City for weeks in the hopes it would be modified to recognize that some people will continue to drive automobiles in the future and that the real problems of access to the barrier islands, especially during Season, are not addressed by their plan and will not disappear on their own.  I have written to the City Commission on this subject and have sent a message to be read into the record at today’s meeting.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Sarasota in Motion plan meeting

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Barwin

The Sarasota City Commission began its discussion of the Sarasota in Motion plan at about 2:45 and the meeting was extended twice past the 4:30 deadline to complete discussion. The presentation by staff was familiar. Our letter was the only one read.  Two Rosemary residents approved of the improvements proposed for Rosemary. Dan Lobeck lambasted the whole plan as ignoring cars completely.  That was it for public input.

Then Commission push back began. While Alpert asked a few non-controversial questions, Brody rejected the plan for its failure to address car traffic. Freeland-Eddie attacked the plan for not taking into account residents who don’t have the option to not drive.  “This is a plan for people who have options. Many of my constituents do not. They have to drive and this plan does nothing for them”. Shaw then praised the effort but criticized the suggestion that the plan must be adopted for the City to be eligible for federal funds. While not completely clear, I think he has some favored projects, including Boulevard of the Arts, which he thinks might be long delayed if the plan is adopted as written. Barwin and Brown took over plan defense from McGue and seemed to satisfy Shaw.

Ahearn generally was supportive but criticized the narrowing of 10th, 12th and 17th streets as top priorities.  She also said that if the plan is adopted, the City will need to adopt many ordinance changes to allow the work to be done.  She also asked our water taxi, etc. question and McGue confirmed it is in the works.  Brody pushed more on the question of a trolley plan on the bridges, since there isn’t enough room.  McGue said they are talking with FDOT to speed up re-lining the bridges to allow this with an operational trolley within a year.

Alpert moved to adopt the plan. Mayor seconded for discussion. Freeland, Brody and Shaw all “accepted” the plan as a good start but were reluctant to “adopt” because they wanted more attention to auto transit.  Alpert and Mayor pushed to adopt the plan because it is stated to be flexible and will allow the City to begin to seek funding. The vote:  3-2 against adoption. New motion to accept plan as a funding device and for future amendment: 5-0 in favor.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

City of Sarasota presentation

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Good presentation to the City Commission.  Constant vigilance is the staff and Manager in the City keep raising the dead.

Terry Gans

Longboat Key

 

City of Sarasota presentation

To: Terry Gans

Thanks, Terry. Very interesting debate with a thoughtful and positive outcome.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Stories about sewage leak

To: Longboat Key Turtle Watch Cyndi Season

Thanks for this. Of the many erroneous stories concerning our leak, this is the most ignorant, especially as many of the facts unknown at the time of the leak’s discovery have now been reported: 1. We reported the leak to DEP immediately on discovery, not Waterkeepers;  2. We immediately retained contractors to build a road to the leak site, locate the pipe and repair it, all within 30 hours of discovery;  3. There was no discharge into the Bay.  The leak was a hole of about 10” by 4” in an underground portion of the pipe located in a mangrove forest about 350 feet from the bay.  4. The initial estimate of 25.8 million gallons released (never 28 million) was an on-the-spot, worst case calculation that assumed all of Longboat Key’s 2 million gallons per day of effluent escaped for all of the 12-13 days that the Manatee County meters registered flow discrepancies.  Our environmental experts have been testing the surrounding area and our metallurgical experts have been testing the defective pipe to determine how much escaped, but we believe the total to be much less than original estimates and that even the amounts that were released were materially attenuated and filtered by the mangroves before any reached the Bay.  5. Our environmental experts in concert with EPA and at the direction have been testing waters in the area of the leak since its discovery and, per reports released to the public and the press, have found little or no water quality issues attributable to the leak.  6. Even though other sewage leaks have been documented around the Bay before and after ours, no community in the area that tests for beach water quality has reported any contamination requiring swimming advisories or closures.  7. With environmental responsibility in mind, Longboat Key conducted exhaustive technical testing of the forcemain 4 years ago and were told it was solid and secure and had another 20-25 years of useful life. Despite this report, we this year began the process of engineering, planning and budgeting for construction of a redundant pipe to be sure we were ahead of the curve.  There is more, but I think you get the picture.

Cyndi, unfortunately we live in a world now where facts don’t seem to matter.  I think you know how much we care about our environment on Longboat Key.  It’s why we are here.  We have taken every step we can think of to be safe; and in the face of the recent leak, we have done everything we have been asked and more, with full transparency and cooperation to the end that the damage be repaired, testing performed, mitigation undertaken and future protections accelerated.  I hope that you in the environmental community will help to defuse any animosity generated by exaggeration and misguided hatred. It does no one any good.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Milan Adrian letter

To: Milan Adrian

Thank you for your email.  Your comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

The email response was overwhelming from the Republican Club of Longboat Key members supporting my email Thanking Fire Chief Paul Dezzi, Police Chief Pete Cumming, Town Manager Tom Harmer and the Town Commissioners 7 – 0 unanimous vote mandating the wearing of face masks on Longboat Key.  As it demonstrated their concern for the health and safety of those on Longboat Key many RCLBK members also sent Thank You emails directly to the Town Commissioners and staff applauding their action.

Aren’t these numbers shocking enough to support the mandate to wear face masks on Longboat Key?

·  Sarasota County’s numbers rose by 31 cases since Sunday, for a total of 2,191 cases. Manatee County had 69 new cases, for a total of 3,785. Both counties set new records on July 4 for number of new cases in a single day. There was one new death reported in Manatee County.

·  Statewide, 16,045 people have been hospitalized during the pandemic, or 8% of all cases. In Sarasota County, 223 people, or 10%, have been hospitalized. In Manatee County, 285 people, 8%, have been hospitalized.

· The number of COVID-19 patients at Sarasota Memorial Hospital keeps climbing to new records. The hospital had a record 61 COVID-19 patients Friday, up from 56 patients on Thursday and 50 on Tuesday.

· Fire Chief Paul Dezzi reported:  We have seen our first four positive results along with symptoms of our firefighters here in Longboat Key and working through this is challenging.  My hope is these firefighters can come back to work and we do not have further employees test positive.

I for one abhor government intrusion into my personal life but when the health and safety of the community is at stake and some people have a cavalier attitude and lack consideration for the health and safety of their neighbors, friends, visitors, tourists, Town of Longboat Key Commissioners and employees. Then, and only then, do I believe government needs to take action.  Also, I believe we need to stop the spread of the coronavirus or we risk our economy being shut down again.

Not being a medical expert, I like the Fire Chief and Town Commissioners relied on the recommendations of the medical community:

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages people to wear cloth masks because doing so “may slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.” Masks help stop “respiratory droplets from traveling in the air and onto other people,” according to the CDC. The Florida Department of Health is also encouraging everyone to “cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others and out in public.”

“We talked to Dr. Cindy Prins, an epidemiologist and a medical professor at the University of Florida, who focuses on reducing infections, hospitalizations and deaths. She says as many as 80 percent of people who contract the virus have few symptoms or are asymptomatic, meaning that they can be spreading the disease without knowing they have it.

Masks, she says, not only reduce the risks of contracting the virus, they reduce the chance of infecting others. And, she adds, masks are not a hardship, at least compared to shutting down businesses, schools and other public places.”

Even Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s ICU Physician supports the wearing of face masks:

Sarasota Memorial Hospital ICU physician Kirk Voelker…

“You still should be wearing a mask, washing your hands, all the basics. Don’t let up. If you’re elderly, sick, have health problems, you should err on the side of sheltering in place,” Dr. Voelker says.

Milan, why not follow the approach… “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.”  Sounds like pretty sage advice to me.

Joe McElmeel

President

Republican Club of Longboat Key

 

Mandatory masks on Longboat Key

To: Longboat Key Commission

The average age of a citizen of Longboat Key is about 72 years. All of those people are intelligent and have been able to think for themselves for a very long time. However, all of you have decided that the people you have been elected to represent are too stupid and/or too ignorant to choose for themselves if wearing a mask will make any difference at all in the spread of Covid-19, thereby causing you to mandate the wearing of masks for everyone. If at risk people wear a mask to protect themselves, how can it possibly matter if others wear a mask?

Yes, I understand the number of cases is rising, but that is due to the number of people being tested. This virus will affect a tiny fraction of the population, yet your mandate inconveniences 100 percent of the population.

So my question for you today is when will you make driving a car illegal? After all, car accidents killed at least 116 people in Manatee and Sarasota counties in 2019, or maybe you can eliminate swimming since at least 44 people in Manatee/Sarasota Counties died last year from drowning. Or let’s go even further and require the citizens of Longboat Key to maintain an optimal body weight so they will not die from any ailment exacerbated by being overweight.

You have massively overreached your authority with no expertise in this field. Citizens can think for themselves. If a person feels compelled to wear a mask, no problem, let them wear a mask without fear of ridicule. However, forcing your citizens to wear a mask is completely wrong.

By the way, once you figure out that the mask requirement makes no difference at all in the spread of the virus, what is next, requiring your citizens to wear Haz-mat suits?

Terry Osiecki

Longboat Key

 

Face masks/coverings

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

I am aware that you will be discussing alterations to the City’s requirement for masks at tomorrow’s meeting.  I would like to share with you my observations as someone who lives within visual distance of two of Sarasota’s major hotels.

Tourists and large family groupings exit the hotels every day heading for downtown.  I have never seen any of these individuals wearing or carrying masks.  Obviously, visitors are not expected to keep up with the ever-changing requirements of their vacation city.

I would suggest (if legally possible) that the City direct hotels (and other types of visitor accommodations) to have signage and/or handouts at check-in describing the mask requirements for all visitors.  Hotels should also have a mask supply on hand to give to those visitors who don’t have their own. We want the hotels to prosper but not to import careless or oblivious disease spread.

Eileen Walsh Normile

Planning and Zoning Board

City of Sarasota

 

Coronavirus tests

To: Health Officer Chuck Henry and Dr. Fiorica

Appreciate the information being shared here, which highlights one of the difficulties navigating through the pandemic, i.e. inconsistent data sets.  As of Friday, July 17th, the FDOH positivity rate over the prior 14 days was  9.98 %.  Chuck’s numbers are 2% lower. While both numbers are higher than we would like to see the big problem is the delay in getting test results. We need to improve in this area, so my question is, where can we go to have same day test results? Can we utilize the CARES ACT funds now in the pipeline to secure these tests at least within the city, where our counts have been higher?

Secondly, while mask use continues to go up, we need to continue to have health ambassadors visiting businesses and venues to inform, sign and encourage mask use, etc.  Is the state or county planning on doing this or is it being deferred to local government. If it is the later, are we eligible to have those costs covered through the CARES ACT funds?

Since all expect we will be having to manage through this challenge throughout the fall and winter the faster we can implement the above suggestions, the more effective we will be at addressing the covid-19 public health threat, and restoring the local economy.

Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Coronavirus tests

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch, Dr. James Fiorica

Thank you Dr. Fiorica.  We are also watching the changes in the percentage of positive cases closely.  The percent of COVID-19 positive tests reported over the last 14 days is 7.82%.  It is also important to note that while the number of positive cases continues to be high, the amount of testing occurring is also very high. In fact there have been 57,633 COVID-19 tests reported in Sarasota County since our first cases in late February, 46% of those were reported in the last 14 days (26,763 with 2,094 of those positive).

The death number did move to 106 today on the DOH dashboard.  It is important to note that DOH numbers reflect what has been reported to DOH. Our hospitals have been very good at reporting timely but there is sometimes a lag in data reporting while death information is verified.

Chuck Henry

Health Officer

Sarasota Department of Health

 

Coronavirus

To: Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin

We are certainly living in troubled times. As a senior I am very careful to avoid situations that might pose a health risk. I monitor the numbers of new confirmed Coronavirus cases and deaths. As you know our new cases is spiking. I also noticed that deaths have stopped a couple weeks ago with 100. Are we doing a better job of treating patients or are we not letting the public know how many deaths we are really having. I use this information so I can make decisions on my activity in the community. Thank you for your response.

Ron Friedman

Sarasota

 

Coronavirus

To: Ron Friedman

I’ve been wondering the same thing. I will check with SMH and Health Department for their views on this question. Thanks for taking a moment to share your thoughts.   

Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Panhandling

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

I live in Bradenton but employed in your wonderful City of Sarasota.  I am wondering if anything can be done about the plague of constant panhandling each morning (during my driving commute) at the Southwest corner of MLK Jr. Way and 301.  There is a small park-like setting at that corner; with benches for seating.  If drivers such as myself catch that Eastbound red light, crossing 301, we are swarmed by panhandlers. Can anything be done about this issue? Thank you very much for your time.

Dave O’Brien

Bradenton

 

Panhandling

To: Dave O’Brien

Thanks for the email about panhandling. There are specific laws regarding this having to do with messaging, behavior, and Right-Of-Ways and I have copied the City Attorney, Police Chief, and City Manager to respond with more details and clarity. I look forward to the response. Thanks again, and stay safe!

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Masks

To: Sarasota City Commission

I again reiterate my gratitude for enacting the mask mandate, but am aghast how it is flaunted every single day! Yesterday I went to the Ringling Avenue post office to mail a package and only half the patrons wore a mask. One man had his hanging from his wrist as he waited 10 minutes for a supervisor.  None of the employees wore a mask but were shielded from patrons by plexiglass, except for the far-right counter where the supervisor (who did not have a mask on) and others interact with the public. Shouldn’t the post office refuse to service the unmasked?

Sigi Moriece

Sarasota

 

Masks

To: Sigi Moriece

Thank you for the email about mask-wearing enforcement. I have copied the City Manager and Deputy City Manager on this email.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Downtown Condo Association Canopy Tree Trimming

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

I write to kindly request City official guidance concerning downtown Sarasota condominium association responsibilities for tree canopy trimming.  As a resident owner at Alinari on North Tamiami, I am caught between the Rosemary Place Master Association (RPMA) and my own Alinari association.  Each maintains a different view as to who has primary responsibility for trimming the royal palms and how to do it properly.

For three plus years I have requested from both associations the much-needed canopy trimming of Alinari / RPMA west building façade royal palm trees.  I have attached two recent tree canopy pictures from my terrace.  While beautiful, there is owner agreement that the Alinari west palms require active pruning. Given the age of the property the trees are now unmistakably overplanted, overgrown and over neglected given the large number of trees in a small area.  The photos clearly show how intrusive the heavy, lengthy royal palm fronds have become, to the point of condo terrace interference.

In a June 2020 Alinari landscape committee meeting I scheduled onsite with Mr. Mark Miller (City of Sarasota arborist), the Alinari team learned from Mr. Miller the “Proper trimming of the canopy is to cut a frond at the tree trunk (not to cut the frond tip as currently being done)”.   Still, this guidance is being ignored by both associations. Thus, my email to the City of Sarasota is for your direction to please clarify exactly which association has principal responsibility for canopy trimming of the Alinari royal palms and how to do it properly. Please advise me of how best to proceed with addressing this pressing matter as we are well into hurricane season and high winds only worsen this problem.

John Keelin

Sarasota

 

Air handler noise

To: Sarasota City Commission

My wife and I are retired and recently, 24 June, bought and moved into a condo at South Pineapple in Sarasota. We had loved living in our here (full-time) until about 3 to 4 days ago when an air handling unit at an adjacent building started making continuous disturbing noise via the AHU (Air Handling Unit on the roof). The noise permeates our bedrooms, living room, Dining and of course, our Terrace deck, plus the pool deck of our building. We are unable to live and sleep with this noise and cannot enjoy what we believed was a wonderful area for the rest of our lives.

This noise disrupts what was our peaceful and quite environment. We have lived in many places, San Francisco, Los Angeles, midtown Manhattan, Paris, Miami to mention a few places.  After visiting Sarasota several times, going to see the Chicago Phil here, and per our research, we made the decision to make Sarasota our final and permanent home for the rest of our lives.  We had never experienced this type of continuous noise that is totally disrupting our lives.

The decibel level is unacceptable. The city needs to intervene ASAP to get the building owner to make immediate repairs to eliminate this noise. At this time, we do not know who to contact. So, please route our email to the appropriate department(s) to resolve this issue.

William & Jacqueline Stavi-Raines

Sarasota

 

Covid-19 mandatory mask rule

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

We are full time residents of St. Armand’s for just under 30 years and rarely miss walking on the (Circle) in the evening.

Before the mandatory mask rule went into effect, we guess that about 10% of the people were wearing them and now no more than 30% give or take.

We rarely if ever see a police officer on foot or anyone from code enforcement which is needed now more than ever.

Ever since Officer Franklin retired several years ago, police presence is almost non-existent on St Armand’s. We only hope that the City of Sarasota will make the necessary changes immediately in order to help mitigate this horrible disease.

Larry Shapiro

Sarasota

 

Covid-19 mandatory mask rule

To: Larry Shapiro

Thank you for your email about mask wearing on St Armands Circle. While we have created signage and education campaigns, some of the more tourist destinations continue to be harder to reach in getting the message out. We are looking to the business to help as well with messaging.

I have copied the City Manager and staff along with Diana Corrigan who continues to work with Circle businesses in these efforts.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Mandatory masks

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

I was shopping at the Publix at N Tamiami Trail about 7:20 this AM (7/23) and some large, loudmouth jerk moved into the checkout line behind me wearing a mask down on his chin and refusing to keep the social distance. I had seen him talking to an employee outside the store when I arrived, wearing his mask down on his chin and talking loudly. I asked him to step back and got a surly reply that led to a verbal altercation. I talked to the store manager and he said he cannot make a person wear his mask, and cannot keep him from entering the store and that the police will not enforce the ordnance.

What can a citizen do to protect him/herself under these conditions? I am 86 years old and would like to live a few years longer, without unnecessary risk. Please advise.

Murray Duffin

Sarasota

 

Mandatory masks

To: Murray Duffin

Thank you Murray Duffin for your email about mask-wearing at Publix. I have copied the City Manager, Deputy City Manager, City Attorney, and Police Chief on this email so they are made aware of the situation and can respond. Thank you for taking the time to let me know about this, so the situation may be addressed.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

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