Welcome to the Barwin & Buchanan Bayfront Circus starring Unconditional Surrender

Editor & Publisher

We do not need Unconditional Surrender on our Bayfront. We have a much better display in our community — the ever increasingly bizarre performance art of watching Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin in action.

Forget Dada, the Surrealists, forget everything you know. Empty your mind like a Zen Buddhist — Barwin is beyond form and reason — beyond all logic and expectations. And to think his performance only costs the community $200,000 per year — go home Koons and stay buried Warhol, Pollock and de Kooning. We have the true American Master.

Here is his latest work:

Just last Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan formally issued a statement that he was told in a private meeting with Tom Barwin that the statue Unconditional Surrender will remain, due to popular demand, on the Sarasota Bayfront. The story appeared on FOX news along with other news outlets.

Buchanan has advocated the statue remains and was happy to announce the news. The GOP congressman said in a statement: “Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin just told me the ‘Unconditional Surrender’ statue will remain at the Bayfront. That’s what the people of our community wanted overwhelmingly.”

Within hours all hell broke loose in City Hall. Barwin’s bosses, the five commissioners, immediately started emailing the Manager essentially the following: “What is this all about? That is a decision we are due to make and no decision has been made.”

A big “oops” or more likely “WTF” emanated from Barwin’s study.

Next, Barwin the juggler starts his dance across the waterfront with all sorts of explanations and initiatives.

Written with the opacity of a third-person narrative, we get this statement from City Hall: “City Manager Tom Barwin had an excellent conversation with the Congressman and shared his impressions that City officials and he are receiving similar public input about the relocation of Unconditional Surrender. Mr. Barwin mentioned what is likely to occur based on recent consistent feedback.”

This is embarrassing on so many levels.

Are we to believe Buchanan only hears what he wants and twisted Barwin’s words?

Is it a case of Barwin cozied up to Buchanan and said it but then did not expect Buchanan to put out a news release before he could try and shape the outcome to make true what he said?

Or, is Buchanan really growing in his high-pressure prowess and meets with Barwin and hoped by declaring that the statue will stay it would stay through sheer inertia of a media report?

The whole situation reeks of non-transparent conniving. We have these two in a room together and Barwin is alleging outcomes.

And isn’t it enough that the US representative weighed in with an official letter to the City two weeks ago urging that the sculpture stay?

It seems a sad use of power and authority for Buchanan to loom in the room with Barwin and then announce on his own that he was told personally by Barwin that the sculpture will stay. And now Barwin says that is not true. Is Buchanan trying to up his game into that of a semi-tropical Frank Underwood?

And Buchanan is obviously taking the easiest path ever politically: a mom and apple pie position in championing victory, a kiss, veterans and Americana over the artistic elite who see nothing more than horrifically kitschy Ronald McDonald monstrosity looming over the Bayfront.

Populism vs. aesthetics — which do you think will win in City Hall?

So what did Barwin do after he was caught yet again by his Commission with his proverbial policy pants down?

He issued his clarification undermining Buchanan and immediately sent out a survey as if he is in the business of caring what people want at this point. The survey only has to be comprehensive enough to cover his own asinine behavior. It is no doubt designed to reinforce the position he conveyed to Buchanan when he was alone in that room.

So what should happen next: What should the Commission do?

The important question the City Commission needs to ask itself is not whether the statue should go.

The real question is obvious: is it not time for Tom Barwin to go?

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3 Responses for “Welcome to the Barwin & Buchanan Bayfront Circus starring Unconditional Surrender”

  1. Pruett says:

    Remove this inappropriate piece of fiberglass garbage from our beautiful bayfront It is so out of place. “Artist “ have bern piling their garbage there blocking our wonderful view of nature for too long

  2. 2. Leon I. Hammer, M.D. says:

    As I have mentioned previously, I was there on V-J day. I was on my way to bomb Japan, on leave after returning from the ETO alive.

    I regard the statue as an artistic travesty.

    That day I wanted to kiss President Truman, though in retrospect I realized that my amorous impusles were not always well chosen.

    Leon I. Hammer, M.D.

  3. Arnall Cox says:

    Remove this monstrosity which we have had to look at for way too long.

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