|

Editorial Letters – Week ending September 4, 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.

Hurricane Preparedness

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Tom, the last hurricane that affected the island taught a large portion of the village that there may be ways to restore power faster than relying on FPL crews to finally arrive, after attending to outages in much higher density neighborhoods.

Many houses in the village went without power for days simply because a circuit breaker had triggered on a nearby pole. In many instances, all that was required to restore power was a long pole to reset the circuit breaker.

Might it be beneficial for the town to retain a private licensed line electrician to quickly respond after a storm to reset tripped circuit breakers wherever possible?

I know not all outages can be resolved by resetting a circuit breaker. But it could improve after storm conditions all over the island to a great degree.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Hurricane Preparedness

To: Gene Jaleski

Gene, thanks for the email.

Safe and timely power restoration is a significant priority after a major storm event.  I am not aware of instances where FPL would permit a private electrician to reset circuit breakers on their system.  They have to careful to make sure there are not other line or transformer problems in the area before they try to restore power.  I copied Chief Dezzi, the Town’s Emergency Manager so he is aware of your input and can weigh in as well.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Hurricane Preparedness

To: Gene Jaleski

FPL is our provider and they are aware of power outages during a storm.  They have a grid system whereby they arrange for repairs to be done; some simple and others not so simple.  FPL does have other power companies assigned to them during disasters and monitor or oversee their work.  When the “First-on” crews come onto the island, we arrange to have an FPL representative with the team, deepening on the damage.  They assess the needs and arrange for repair. Our goal, as a team and organization is to get power restored as quickly as possible. Thank you and I will look further into this with FPL during our meetings.

Paul Dezzi

Fire Chief

Longboat Key

 

FDOT Work along GMD: Update

To: Longboat Key Commission

Commissioners,  FYI.  See note below. We have been made aware of an FDOT project were they are doing maintenance work along GMD.  They are currently working on the south end of the island.  Part of the work includes addressing the shoulder drop off at the edge of payment to provide a safer environment for vehicles and bicycles.  The work is island wide on GMD as needed and is scheduled to occur between now and September 11th.  Their contactor’s work may have temporary impacts to the roadway and they should have employees on site to handle the maintenance of traffic (MOT).

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager, Town of Longboat Key

 

FDOT Work along GMD: Update

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

It has come to our attention that FDOT has started maintenance work along the Gulf of Mexico Drive (SR 789) right-of-way.  The scope and details from FDOT are summarized below:

Work Scope:  The work that is being performed by the FDOT contractor is to help ensure safety to the traveling public both on bicycles and in vehicles.  The work is primarily to address pavement drop-offs.  The FDOT contractor, Rogar, will continue to make drop off repairs throughout needed areas as in their work document. Manicured lawns will not be disturbed.

Work Schedule: Work Started last week and is anticipated to be completed by 9/11 (weather permitting).

MOT: The contractor is not anticipating needing lane closures as there should be enough room in most areas to work from outside of the roadway. If they have to get out for any reason into the roadway (possibly with sod deliveries, ETC.) the closure will be for short periods of time and handled with a stop and go paddle.

Limits: The contractor will be working within the limits of right-of-way just North of the New Pass Bridge to just South of the Longboat Pass Bridge addressing the drop offs.  The contractor will be reworking these areas to not only eliminate the dangerous drop offs, but they will also be correcting the slope between the outside edge of the roadway to the front of the sidewalk to create a smooth transition.

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works, Longboat Key

 

SCAT Bus routes

To: Longboat Key Commission

As the Commission is aware, about two years ago Sarasota County’s notified the Town that they were evaluating SCAT Bus Route #18.  We have had off and on discussions with the County on the status of the route as they were evaluating their overall system and hiring outside consultants to assist them.  The service has also been impacted during the COVID 19 emergency.  During the pandemic the route was initially suspended, restarted, and then suspended again.

The County has been working with a transit consultant to evaluate their current routes and to come up with creative ways to offer service to especially low performing parts of their system.  They consider Route 18 to be an underperforming route.  Since this discussion first started we have continued to advocate to both Manatee County and Sarasota County for a unified approach to public transit on the island.  We continue to request both counties work together for a common solution.  We understand that Sarasota County is looking to replace Route 18 with a Mobility on Demand concept.  It is still not clear how that service would work and we continue to ask both counties to look at the island as one service area.  Their consultant is finalizing recommendations to the County.  We have asked for a meeting with County SCAT staff to discuss their future plans and consultant recommendations.  We will update the Commission as more information becomes available.

In addition, SCAT has scheduled a public virtual meeting for September 1st at 5:30pm.  This is a general update meeting on the public transit system and proposed changes and is not specific to Longboat Key.  They are also advertising a public survey that is available for individuals to fill out.  Additional information regarding the survey and the public meeting can be found on the Sarasota County website at https://www.scgov.net/government/scat-bus-service/scat-bus-service

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager, Town of Longboat Key

 

Recommended Updates to Ch. 93 Vessels, Waterways & Water Activity

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

The staff is working on an update to Chapter 93 of the code regarding Vessels, Waterways, and Water Activity.  The changes are limited in scope, especially due to some of the jurisdictional issues, and primary arise from enforcement challenges the Town has had in the past with permanently anchored boats that have been used as residences.  See attached summary.  We are looking to schedule this for consideration at your October regular meeting.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager, Town of Longboat Key

 

Recommended Updates to Ch. 93 Vessels, Waterways & Water Activity

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

As discussed, attached, please find a brief memo summarizing a number of recommended clarifications and updates to Chapter 93 Vessels, Waterways & Water Activity.  The recommended changes are limited in scope & primarily arise from enforcement challenges the Town has had in the past with permanently anchored boats that have been used as residences.  Staff recommends bringing this to the Commission for their consideration.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

 

New publication re: masks

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

This is a new, well written addition to the literature supporting mask use during this pandemic. Some of the information reviewed is not easy to find. Thanks for all you do.

M. Gordillo

Longboat Key

 

New publication re: masks

To: M. Gordillo

Thank you for sharing this!

I just read through it, very useful information. I have copied other elected officials in our area to share as they see fit, along with the City Manager so he can share it as well.

I do appreciate this – and all you are doing! Stay healthy and safe!

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

New publication re: masks

To: Longboat Key Commissioner BJ Bishop

Of course! Hope you are well! Shall we resurrect our monthly coffee conversations? I am ok with a cup of coffee and Zoom… how about you? Not as fun as being on the Circle but we can do this for now. Let me know and I’ll ask Diane to please try to schedule it. Stay safe!

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Important New publication re: masks

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

Would love that. Afternoons usually easier.

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Public records request

To: Longboat Key Commission

Commissioners,  FYI.  We have had a public records request for the staff report on the privately initiated text amendment – Lighting Protection.  A copy of the report is attached.  The agenda is still under development and will be finalized and published on Wednesday, September 9th.

If an individual commissioner has any questions regarding the ordinance, feel free to let me know during our regular one on one briefings and I can help make sure the staff is prepared to address those questions at the hearing.

As you may receive input from residents in advance of the meeting, especially with the early release of the draft report, I would offer a friendly reminder of the Town Attorney’s previous correspondence and advice on issuing a position paper in advance of the public hearing.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Parking issues at restaurant

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Chiles must have many people directly involved with construction on the C2 zoned property, which prohibits it being used as a parking lot, since the cars are so varied. No one is ever visible, the cars remain parked for hours, the gate is left open, which might be illegal at a posted construction site.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Distribution of backpacks, supplies

To: Suncoast Partnership Chris Johnson

I would like to discuss with you early next week what gaps in the homeless response network now in place in the COC in Manatee and Sarasota County’s service area, that could be filled by Streets of Paradise, especially the portable-movable trailer and laundry.   Our representative to the COD Board, Vice Mayor Freeland Eddie has suggested they (SOP)  be invited to a COC board to have a discussion related to gaps in the system, assets/volunteers which could be better used/coordinated, and of course the potentiality of using portable showering to build trusting relationships to help facilitate challenging cases move to programs and housing.

In a related matter if SOP discontinues assisting the COC with furnishing housing units for the homeless being housed as indicated in a recent news story and phone call to my office, do we have other agencies who can do so or what will be the COC’s options.

We are also looking into those homeless who have been trespassed or banned from current showering facilities to look into case work intervention to reopen those doors if at all possible. With your experience at the SA you may have some insight into this and what new ideas/options which may be necessary to invent to work on the most difficult cases.

Also, if there are any job vacancies the COC or any of our partners are trying to fill I am aware of a volunteer or two in the network who may be interested. I hope to call you on Monday to further discuss these matters. Thanks.   

Tom Barwin

City Manager, City of Sarasota

 

Supporting our neighbors

To: Sarasota City Commission, Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin

I was disturbed to read about the City’s code finagling to prohibit the operations of Streets of Paradise. https://www.facebook.com/Streetsofparadiseinc/posts/2572552976391204

Given the inadequate amount of or ineffective policies of the City to provide support to homeless Sarasotans, it seems especially cruel to halt the operations of this nonprofit during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

I encourage you, if not to quickly grant an operating permit to Streets of Paradise based on this new interpretation of municipal code, then I encourage you to at least pursue new efforts in creating more affordable housing both near the downtown core as well as elsewhere within the city limits where it is needed. Instead of just halting homeless relief efforts, it would be great to see a counterproposal that addresses the rising homelessness in Sarasota.

The fact that a Sarasotan is without a home does not change the fact that they are our neighbor and fellow citizen. They deserve dignity like you and me.

Proverbs 14:31 -“He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”

Proverbs 31:8-9 – “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

I look forward to seeing how you address this injustice. Thank you, and I wish you all good health and safety.

Alex Koutelias

Sarasota

 

Supporting our neighbors

To: Alex Koutelias

We are in receipt of your note and thank you for taking a moment to write us. This is an important issue and challenge and one the city has been engaged with for several years now with increasing success. In your email you expressed that we have halted all homeless relief efforts. This is far from the actual reality. Do you live in the City of Sarasota? If not, may I ask in general where do you live?  FYI, in the neighborhood referenced in the discussion, together, the Resurrection House and Salvation Army shelter offers showers I believe every day of the week, literally within one block of the location where street trailer showering was proposed. Also, the coordinated approach we have been working on over the past 4 years in partnership with all agencies willing to work together has resulted in several hundred homeless being housed. Our city has invested millions in affordable housing over the past decade with several more million in the pipeline.

I have copied our homeless coordinator Kevin Stiff who can provide you any additional information you would like on the extend of the city’s efforts to respond to chronic homelessness including case worker information and homeless outreach team efforts, which are investments already embedded in city budgets. Of course, more housing, more counseling, more case workers and especially more mental health and substance addiction services are needed, especially for the uninsured, following decades of cuts by the federal and state governments.   I am very hopeful that many areas can and will be identified where a portable shower where city water and sanitary lines are not available can be utilized. Services must be available beyond one small area which already provides the bulk of services and all must be conducted with adherence to codes and safety standards.    

For the record we deeply appreciate and have worked well with the organization referenced in the article you have forwarded as well as many others. We welcome any help you can be moving forward as well. Thanks for caring and sharing your thoughts.

Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Supporting our neighbors

To: Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin

Thank you for responding so quickly, Mr. Barwin. I’m happy to hear about other plans that are to be taken. I am life-long resident of Sarasota, born and raised, but I live just outside the city limits in Southgate. Nevertheless, I follow issues in the city because every job I have ever had has been in the city and I attended middle school, high school, and college within the city as well. I spend most of my free time in the city as well. Given this, I frequently see many individuals without homes there. I am aware of some of the efforts the city has taken (such as partnering with the Salvation Army and Streets of Paradise) as well as having reviewed the city’s budget and seeing allocations for homeless relief efforts. Several hundred housed is quite a laudable achievement!

I truly look forward to hearing more about what the city has planned for addressing the growing issue of homelessness in the city limits. I admire Streets of Paradise, and I know they were doing good work. However, if there can be guaranteed relief for homeless individuals, then that is the most important thing.

Also, if it is worth sending an email to the County Commissioners or a County department, I’m happy to write to them and express my concerns about our fellow Sarasotans. I recognize that the City often has to address things not addressed by the County (as well as not addressed by the state and federal governments as you mention… I fully recognize this as an issue that has fallen through the cracks of divided powers and jurisdictions). Please just suggest to me who to contact at the County level, and I will write to that person or office. At the end of the day, it does not matter what level of government or organization helps our Sarasotans in need, so long as those Sarasotans in need get the help that they need.

Again, thank you for responding so quickly. On a personal note, I really appreciate your weekly updates on SNN about city affairs. I especially enjoyed your segment on the closing of mental institutions during the 80s and 90s by various states’ governments and how no new solution was proposed to fill the societal role of those mental institutions, leading to a lapse in responsibility that has negatively impacted our communities on a multitude of levels. I think (but may be mistaken) that your weekly segments started becoming weekly only because of the pandemic, but I appreciate the frequent check-ins with the public through SNN. I hope they continue beyond the pandemic. Thank you (and all of you on this email) for your service to our city.

Alex Koutelias

Sarasota

 

Supporting our neighbors

To: Alex Koutelias

Thanks for your follow up note. Anyone you can help or try to influence to direct more resources into mental health and substance abuse, casework, and most importantly low cost housing to assist with the homeless crisis is time well spent, this includes policy makers and budget makers at all levels of government. We will continue to work with Streets of Paradise in terms of helping our city and our two-county homeless response network fill the gaps and maximize the benefits from every individual, agency and institution that volunteers and/or helps fund this very, very difficult and complex challenge.

And of course, your ideas are always welcomed as well. Take care and best wishes for a good weekend. And if you don’t mind I’ll let the good folks at SNN know you’re watching. They are all very nice and caring people too.

Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Regarding officer 1772

To: Sarasota City Commission

One can’t ignore the changing world in front of us. Please help do something about pulling people over for being black. If this does not seem like a case of racism to you, I highly suggest research into dog whistles and double speak.

Francis Alibro

 

Regarding officer 1772

To: Francis Alibro

If you are willing to speak further on this matter I will have our civilian Police Complaint Committee administrator reach out to you.  I have copied her on this matter. Thank you.

Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

EEOC related lawsuits

To: Sarasota City Clerk Shayla Griggs

Further to the Vespia records I’d like a list of EEOC or employment related lawsuits received by the city during Mr. Barwin’s tenure which for convenient sake let’s call from the start of 2012 until today. No desperate rush as I’d like it to be complete and as ever don’t assume that I don’t know the answers for the most part already.

Martin Hyde

Sarasota

 

EOC related lawsuits

Martin Hyde

To: Martin Hyde

As requested, here is a list of all EEOC claims filed since January 1, 2012.  There are a total of twelve (12) claims.   Before an employee can file suit for an alleged violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the claim is investigated by the EEOC.   Per Title VII, an employer may not discriminate with regard to any term, privilege or condition of employment on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability.  All of the claims listed were either settled or dismissed without litigation.

In addition to the claims listed there have also been three employees who hired legal counsel and raised the possibility of a claim, but did not file.  These were Sandra Coleman in 2013 (IT, under Auditor/Clerk); Jan Thornburg in 2013 (Auditor/Clerk) and Stuart Erskine in 2015 (IT, under Auditor/Clerk).

During this time frame, there have been three (3) additional lawsuits I would classify as “employment related.”   In 2014, Kevin Stiff, Richard Schweiterman, Steve Campion, Christopher Devaney and Carolyn Stiff sued the City challenging the ordinance that retroactively eliminated certain survivor benefits under the police pension plan. (2014-CA 005969 NC);  In 2016, Anthony Frangioni sued the City to confirm and enforce an arbitration award issued at the conclusion of his appeal of disciplinary action taken against him.  (2016 CA 004531 NC);   In 2019, Kimberle Vespia filed a lawsuit against the City under the “Whistleblower’s Act” (Sections 112.3187 to 112.31895).  (Case 2019 CA 001743 NC).  (The “Whistleblower” lawsuit was settled and dismissed simultaneously with the settlement and dismissal of the Vespia EEOC claim as more fully described in the attachment.) I have copied the City Commissioners on this response so that they will also have this information.

Robert M. Fournier

City Attorney

City of Sarasota

 

Streets of Paradise Showers

To: Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin

What about looking into granting a short-term temporary permit for Streets of Paradise giving a short time frame to find another location where there is a need for their services and where these showers could be permitted? And perhaps we could assist them in identifying such a location even if it is in the County. Let me know what you think.

Liz Alpert

Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Streets of Paradise Showers

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Liz Alpert

We are looking into all options.  I believe we will also be getting some input from the Rosemary Neighborhood where most of the services, and this additional service is proposed.    Thanks.

Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Streets of Paradise Showers

To: Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin

Thank you. I know all of you will do what’s best.

Liz Alpert

Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Streets of Paradise Showers

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Liz Alpert

I called earlier today as an FYI just to advise our first homicide of the year occurred this afternoon.  Preliminary report is that a homeless stabbed another homeless person at the 7-11 property on Lime north or Ringling.   

Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Streets of Paradise Showers

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Liz Alpert

Exactly. If the 4 cases filed in 2012, as you noted, 2 were filed before I started, one 4 days after I started and the other 64 days after I started with the allegation I believe probably predating my arrival.  As we know facts aren’t important to a serial. bully.  Thanks for taking a few minutes to review the actual data.   

Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Streets of Paradise Showers

To: Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin

I have reviewed the 15 complaints and here’s what I found:

Out of 15 claims, 5 were under the City Auditor and Clerk that was terminated.

Out of the remaining 10, 4 had no merit.

Out of the remaining 6, 2 were at the SPD.

Out of the remaining 4: 2 were before Mr. Barwin was hired in 2012.

Out of the remaining 2: One was settled and claimant received a change in job description a raise, and a one-time bonus;

And the most recent one is pending. We do not know if the EEOC will find merit in this claim.

So my statement that these are isolated cases and that we do not have a toxic workplace was correct.

Liz Alpert

Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Please no surprises

To: Virginia Hoffman

There is nothing new pertaining to the list of potential uses to the ILW zone district that was referenced in my previous email on 11/13/19 and there is no one from the City’s Planning staff going door-to-door.

Please see attached Agendas, Minutes, and Sign-in sheets from the three Limelight District meetings – Sept 26, 2019, June 13, 2019, April 24, 2019.

Nancy Kelly

Neighborhood Planner

Planning Department

City of Sarasota

 

Please no surprises

To: Sarasota City Neighborhood Planner Nancy Kelly

There are planning officials going door to door asking about uses in my ILW district because according to this person the planning department is making changes.

I have been asking for information on the changes on uses being added to the ILW Zone district since October of 2019.

These requests are by the Limelight board, I have asked them for copies of their minutes and they have not replied. I have been asking you and Mr. Cover for information and you have not provided me with the information I requested. I’ve been paying taxes on my property for 36 years, someone flies in for one year and city officials roll out the red carpet for them.

Yet I cannot get a simple answer to a simple question. Do I have to do a public records request to get this information? This is ridiculous.

Virginia Hoffman

Sarasota

 

Please no surprises

To: Sarasota City Planning Director Steve Cover

Please keep me informed of all and any developments on zoning changes or any land development changes in the ILW district surrounding Lime Avenue/Park East neighborhood.

I was never informed at the “Lime Light” emergence.

This group is very self-focused and has only been operating for a little over a year.

There are plenty of businesses that have occupied this district and the Park East neighborhood for decades. I’ve owned my warehouse since 1984 on Sixth St. We deserve a say as well.

There are some simple things that could be done to make grand improvements to this area. If any changes are proposed I wish to be included and I know my neighbor at Midco Petroleum does as well. His name is Don Fee.

Virginia Hoffman

Sarasota

 

Please no surprises

To: Virginia Hoffman

The Planning Department has not finalized the list of proposed additional uses to the existing ILW (Industrial, Light and Warehousing) zoning district.  Also, we are working on the proposed map of the Limelight District which will not include the residential area of Park East.  As promised, we will keep you informed of each step in this process. Lastly, the Limelight District is not currently on the City’s association list because we have not received their Minutes or Sign-in Sheet from the last meeting on September 26, 2019.     

Nancy Kelly

Neighborhood Planner

Planning Department

City of Sarasota

 

Please no surprises

To: Sarasota City Planning Director Steve Cover

You did not answer my previous email. I still need you or someone on your team to fill me in about what is being planned for the Lime Avenue ILW district. I was hoping to find out more at the last “Limelight” meeting. I asked questions but others interrupted you and talked over you I could not hear you.

My concern is this over-lay district plan might evolve into something that is incompatible

with how I use my property then it will be a lot of trouble to correct.

I sent an email asking Kim Lovinggood-Alexander for the minutes of the board meetings

and some info on what they are planning but she has not replied.

Please kindly provide the following information and answers.

#1) Has a request for overlay district been applied for? If so, please send me a copy of the application.

#2) My only input was to expand the ILW car takers’ live/work option in the future overlay. This would be to allow double occupation so landlords can allow tenants to live/work in the rentals. Has this or is this being included in the overlay plan?

#3) Please send me a copy of the wish list submitted by the “Limelight” group on their

wishes for the overlay request.

#4) If the “Limelight” group has submitted minutes to their meetings please provide me

with copies. It is my understanding they are required to do so in order to have the business district become confirmed by the city.

#5) I would like a copy of the proposed district map that is being proposed. I tried to find the

map you had on the city web site but could not find it.

I have copied Donald Fee who owns & runs Midco petroleum, his family has run this business

since the 70s. They are good neighbors and we work together for safety and other issues that

affect our properties. I would appreciate a timely response to my email. Thank you for your kind attention.

Virginia Hoffman

Sarasota

 

Please no surprises

To: Sarasota City Neighborhood Planner Nancy Kelly

Several times I asked for the details and change the Planning Department will be working on

and consistently I have been told nothing is happening.

Now this recent article in the Observer

“Officials are working with businesses on a proposal to permit more commercial activity on industrial-zoned property.“

https://www.yourobserver.com/article/sarasota-limelight-district-park-east-zoning-changes

“staff is working on a series of proposed regulatory changes”

“Cover said his department plans to present its proposed changes to stakeholders in the community one last time before making a presentation to the City Commission.”

I am extremely upset about this, because what is happening now is what I did not want to happen. I have owned property in the ILW District since 1984 and I think that quailifies me as a stake holder. I have been kept out of the loop and have to read in the news media to find out what happening in my own district.

As a simple courtesy, I want to be kept informed. I asked for the changes several times and you and Mr. Cover (who has ignored me) have not been forth coming.

This is my official public records request to provide me with the proposal that is in

progress. I Have been asking for this information for an entire year.

Several times I have requested that live/work in the Park East ILW be included in this plan, only to be ignored and passed over. This truly is not acceptable.

Virginia Hoffman

Sarasota

 

US 41 at Gulfstream Fact Sheets

To: Sarasota Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown

I am working on the fact sheets for Gulfstream. Below are some key items I’m including. Please let me know if there is anything else you think the Mayor and others will think is helpful.

Life cycle cost analysis showing Roundabout as best option

Individual project costs for roundabout and for the drainage project

Design / Production Schedule

Construction Phase Schedule

Update on Temporary Ped Bridge

Jeff Mednick, MBA

Project Manager

Patel, Greene & Associates, PLLC (PGA)

Consultant Support of FDOT District One

 

US 41 at Gulfstream Fact Sheets

To: Sarasota City Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown

Right, we can add:

“…a roundabout at Gulfstream Avenue would provide a 29% reduction in overall intersection delay during the February peak hour and a 41% reduction in overall intersection delay during the March peak hour.”

Dan Ohrenstein

Assistant City Engineer

City of Sarasota Public Works Department

 

US 41 at Gulfstream Fact Sheets

To: Sarasota Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown

In addition to Jeff’s list:

-In the 1st one, I don’t want to get into a discussion about trying to justify choosing the Roundabout option again.  We’re past that.  It would be good info to have as back-up, but not on fact sheets or in a presentation.

-As stated, a life cycle cost analysis would be good.

-A fact sheet and graphic on how much the storm water drainage will improve would be great!

-I’d like to see a fact sheet on safety, and how this proposal will result in fewer accidents and fatalities.  The stats I saw previously were quite impressive.

-I’d like to see a graphic on how many above-ground utilities will be removed or placed underground.

-I’d like to see a fact sheet showing (graphically) how much easier it will be for pedestrians to cross the intersection.

-I’d like to see nice conceptual rendering(s) showing how spectacular this will look when completed. Some before-after comparisons could be an effective approach.

Steve Cover

Planning Director

City of Sarasota

 

US 41 at Gulfstream Fact Sheets

To: Sarasota Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown

Thanks. I would include a detailed breakdown of costs and which entity is paying what, for what, and include grant money as well. I would include info (bullet points) about the general idea of the SERIES of roundabouts’ purpose to : SLOW down traffic speed while increasing the flow and decreasing fatalities. Include general info on the rules like priority given to traffic in the roundabout, and speed limits in between being 30 or 35mph. I would include biking information and connectivity along with information about the Hawk signals for drivers i.e., difference between solid red and flashing red.

I agree with many of the suggestions. I will respectfully disagree, however, with Mr. Cover’s first point “In the 1st one, I don’t want to get into a discussion about trying to justify choosing the Roundabout option again.  We’re past that.  It would be good info to have as back-up, but not on fact sheets or in a presentation.”

– This roundabout, as a choice over other options, has been debated at length and should be forefront of the discussion. FDOT and the City should be “justifying” this choice because it was a choice and it was made based on “reliable, current data” (including recently updated growth rates, population, and traffic volumes) and weighing data from other options. This was not an easy conversation and while I don’t want to relive it, I also don’t think we should bury the difficult path that got us townhome we are today. This community, and region, is not “past that”. If we don’t acknowledge the discussion and questions then we are not doing our job. We must provide answers to these questions. We must face these challenging discussions. The taxpayers of the area deserve to know why their dollars are being spent and the justification for this. Thanks for putting this together in advance.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Draft Minutes

To: Sarasota City Commission

Please provide to either me or Ms. Veda, any substantive or non-substantive corrections to the draft minutes of the July 20, 2020, and the August 17, 2020, Regular Sarasota City Commission Meetings,  and the July 28, 2020, Special Sarasota Commission Meeting, prior to the scheduled September 08, 2020, Regular Sarasota City Commission Meeting.  Please be advised that should the Mayor and/or Commissioner(s) submit comments/corrections/suggestions they will be reviewed via the recorded video and closed-caption text, and the Commission will be advised as to how the draft minutes should be approved, if no further comments/corrections/suggestions are received.

Jamese Johnson

Commission Reporter

The Office of the City Auditor and Clerk

City of Sarasota

 

Relocating Unconditional Surrender

To: Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin

Can someone give me an estimate of what it would cost to relocate the Unconditional Surrender statue to a new location which includes created a new permanent base?

Liz Alpert

Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Noise on Main Street

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

I moved to Main St in Beginning of February 2020 I bought a Condo in 1350 Main Street on the 8th floor.

I have not slept any Friday or Saturday nights till 1:00 a.m. in the morning. I am 67 years old with hypertension and diabetes and most of the time I stay home because of the pandemic

The Mexican restaurant El Melvin plays loud music with Congo drums till midnight

We brought Sarasota police and they told us that the mayor is allowing them to play loud music until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights

I measured 110 dB from my Condo on the eighth floor

In addition there’s a young crowd that drinks at the bar with no social distancing or masks that will help spreading the virus.

I am ready to move out of the place since no one seems to care

I know there was a lady on the sixth floor that sold her condo last month due to the noise

I thought that Sarasota noise ordinance was 75 dB till 10 o’clock at night

I know that during this pandemic restaurant are hurting if they just played music with no Congo drums or closed the door or moving their stage to the inside not at the door or stop the music at 10 a.m. everybody will be happy. Please help.

Alex Iskander

Sarasota

 

Noise on Main Street

To: Alex Iskander

Thanks for your email about noise on Main Street from the restaurant across the street AND the no mask-wearing situation.

I have copied the Police Chief, City Manager and Deputy City Manager on this email.

I wanted to let you know that the noise ordinance is not something that “the mayor” allows or does not allow (“they {the police} told us that the mayor is allowing them to play loud music until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights”). The ordinance is a law created by the entire City Commission or at least a 3-2 vote, not one elected official and it definitely is not in my hands. In fact, the City Commission just had a second reading of an increase to the fines for a violation of the ordinance which failed on second reading by 2-3 vote with myself having voted in support.

I am confident the Police Chief will make sure the officers know the correct information in the future. I would, however, like to see that police report which I hope includes the decibel reading.

I am confident the City Manager will also respond to your email.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor, City of Sarasota

 

14th Street parking

To: Sarasota City Engineer Alexandrea Davis-Shaw

Hi Alex, I’ve been waiting to write due to the emergency of the virus but I feel like the parking issue on 14th Street has been forgotten. The North side parking was supposed to be temporary due to the roundabout. We can no longer park in the lot across the street so my customers need to be able to park in the street.

The north side parking facing west is chaotic due to the way traffic comes out of the roundabout by way of the south exit going east. Traffic leaving the circle going east, down 14th Street have to make a 360 degree turn to park on the northside facing west. To do this, one has to drive into the neighbors’ driveways, and turnaround. This causes confusion, frustration and continues to dampen our customers enthusiasm for visiting The Reserve.

If parking was open on both sides like it used to be the problem would be solved.

We have lived through three years of the roundabout construction, please help us put this to bed.

Hope you are staying safe.

Jessica Simmons

The Reserve, Sarasota

 

14th Street parking

To: Jessica Simmons

I will get input on safety concerns and if it can be accommodated, then we’ll need support from the folks on the street.  Are others in favor of this do you know?  Let me check on this and I’ll get back to you.

Alexandrea Davis-Shaw

City Engineer, City of Sarasota

 

14th Street parking

To: Sarasota City Engineer Alexandrea Davis-Shaw

Thank you, I’m not sure if there is favor or not except for Sue Byron. She wants no parking on the south side so she can get out of her driveway; We only agreed and suggested the change in the meetings because we were assured it was temporary. I even raised my hands a couple of times as this was going in reiterating the importance of this as a temporary solution; No petition or study was conducted since it was a quick, short term fix. If a study had been conducted they would see that parking on the North side forces trucks going west to 41 and Sarah bay to dodge parked cars. Had the parkeing been on the south side the trucks could have gone freely down the road. Sue is not in favor of this. Sorry to repeat myself, but this was a random conversation in the roundabout meetings that now seems to be turning permanent after 3 years. Thank you for looking into this and thank you for your support.

Jessica Simmons

The Reserve

Sarasota

 

14th Street parking

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

Thank you for your participation and coordination of the 14th street round about meeting today 9/2/2020.

As a follow up to the call I am forwarding my parking concerns and email exchange I had with Alex. As you know I am hoping to either have 14th st striped parking or moved to the south side so those wanting to come to the Reserve, driving from downtown, do not have to do a  360 degree turn to park on the north side; Alternating parking would also work as well.

I am also writing concerning the water pressure at The Reserve. I would have written earlier but it took this long for plumbers to research the issue, and for the city to confirm. Bottom line, is the new meter installed has caused significant loss in water pressure affecting The Reserve’s coffee filters, shower heads, dishwasher, laundry machines, sinks, hoses etc., too. We had 3/4 inch and I understand 1/2 inch or a governor was installed. Could you please help facilitate a meeting with Brice so we could come up with a solution for greater water pressure to the historic, grandfathered, property. Thank you for all of your help.

Jessica Simmons and Kim Cressell

The Reserve

Sarasota

 

Upcoming story on a history of the city’s EEOC complaints

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Liz Alpert

Tomorrow we are publishing a story that details five years-worth of EEOC complaints. Among our findings:

Records show the city of Sarasota has paid over $220,000 to settle five separate discrimination complaints.

Last year, the city reached the largest settlement recorded in the last decade when it agreed to pay $130,000 to Kimberle Vespia, a veteran Sarasota police officer who said the department retaliated against her for filing a complaint alleging that a supervisor sexually harassed another female officer.

Since Tom Barwin took the helm as city manager in 2012, records show there have been 12 discrimination claims filed against the city. All of the claims were either settled or dismissed without litigation.

In addition to those claims, there have also been three employees who hired legal counsel and raised the possibility of a claim but did not file. One of those cases involved city spokeswoman Jan Thornburg in 2013.

Do you have a response or reaction to these settlements?

At a special meeting at City Hall last month, there was a failed attempt to craft a policy that would help streamline how and what information is shared with elected leadership.

The push for transparency came after several commissioners complained that they did not learn of the discrimination allegations until they were either reported on by the media or directly revealed by former staff members dissatisfied with the way administrators handled the claims.

Do you have a reaction to these findings? In light of these findings, do you still believe such a policy change is not necessary?

Tim Fanning

Staff Reporter

Herald-Tribune Media Group

 

Upcoming story ona history of the city’s EEOC complaints

To: Sarasota Herald-Tribune Reporter Tim Fanning

Of course, any time someone raises a complaint of discrimination it is troubling and should be fully investigated. But as you write your story, you should consider the following analysis.

Out of the 15 complaints that have been filed, two were filed before Mr. Barwin started his employment on September 1, and one was filed three days after he started on the job, and the one that was filed two months after he started involved allegations well before his arrival, so none of those complaints can be or should be attributed to his time as the City Manager.

That leaves 11 complaints. Of those 11 complaints, five were under the City Auditor and Clerk which the City Manager has no authority over. $50,000.00 of the costs the City had to incur were due to the City Auditor and Clerk who was terminated by the Commission. Also, as a result of the complaints against the Clerk, the IT and public information offices were taken from the control of the City Auditor and Clerk and placed under the management of the City Manager. Since that time, no complaints have been filed in those departments.

Of the six remaining complaints, two had no merit and were dismissed.

Of the remaining four complaints, in eight years, two were at the SPD. One was settled without a lawsuit for $25,000.00. The other resulted in damages of $130,810 which was paid by the City’s insurance. The insurance company decided it would be less costly to settle rather than litigate the complaint. The City was required to pay $28,500. So between these two claims, the cost to the City was $53,500.00.

Of the remaining two, one was settled by a re-title of the job description, a wage increase, and a one-time bonus of $1500.00.

The last remaining claim is still pending, so we do not know if this claim has merit or not.

It would seem to me that a good policy would be that if a complaint is filed the City Commission should be informally made aware of the complaint and be updated on its progress.

The number of complaints is relatively small for an organization with almost 800 employees. So, I believe my statement that these are relatively isolated incidents and that the City of Sarasota is not a toxic workplace still stands. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Liz Alpert

City Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Captain/ Chef Doug

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

First of all, congratulations on your Mayor-ship! Great accomplishment, Wow!

Well, I’m still a fishing charter boat captain, trying to keep it together during these trying times.

I haven’t been able so secure any funding through PPP or SBA or the recent Sarasota Small Business Grant, which was, for some reason, declined. I’m getting business counseling from SBDC at USF Muma College of Business, a gentleman named Bradley Mix. He suggested that I contact you to see if you can be of assistance. I know your busy, and I’m only a small business, two small boats, this is how I feed my family and make a living.

Douglas Ricciardi

Sarasota

 

Captain/ Chef Doug

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

Thanks for making us aware of this situation. Our economic development office, who you have coped, will look into the local assistance programs we are aware and share the information with Mr. Ricciardi.

Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Captain/ Chef Doug

To: Douglas Ricciardi

Thanks for your email and for taking the time to reach out to me about your fishing charter business and loans/grants. I have copied the City Manager and Staff on this email so they are able to reach out to you per your City grant application. I have also copied Representative Margaret Good on this email as her office and staff have been very helpful in aiding locals with State funding. I would also suggest reaching out to the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce as well. I have copied Heather at the chamber on this email as well.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

Tags: , , , ,

Longboat Key News

Leave a Reply