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Posts Tagged ‘sarasota city commission’

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Sarasota residents came out in force on March 8th to elect three new city commissioners, and now that the dust has almost cleared—

Actually, that’s a bit of a fib. The dust hasn’t cleared. And not because the runoff vote in District 1 has yet to happen (it’s scheduled for May 10th), but because no dust was kicked up in the first place. Sarasota residents didn’t come out in force for the elections. In fact, they barely came at all.

The City of Sarasota has 32,019 registered voters. Of those, a mere 5693 cast a ballot. That’s an 18% turnout. No matter what scale of measurement you use, 18% is a failing mark. City commissioners make the decisions that most affect the daily lives of Sarasotans, and yet no candidate had as many as 1800 votes. Shannon Snyder won district 3, which includes Laurel Park, with 704. Only three precincts reached 30% voter turnout, while six were in single digits.

Here at Laurel Park Management, we’ve met so many passionate people, people who work hard to be good neighbors, good citizens. Who take pride in their neighborhood. Every time we walk outside we encounter one. So, why isn’t that passion translating into votes?

Any community, no matter the size, is only as great as its civic involvement. Sarasota is fortunate to have an extremely vocal and involved minority, but they remain just that: a minority. If the majority of residents don’t make their voices heard by at least choosing our representative leaders, how representative can our leaders be? And what right will we have to complain about the job they do (or don’t do)?

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Tomorrow is election day here in Sarasota, with three out five commission seats up for grabs. That means if you live in districts 1, 2, or 3 (that means everyone in the city of Sarasota) your vote counts!! In 2009, when two at-large commission seats were up for election, only 20% of registered voters—not total residents, only registered voters—came to the polls. In the end, the difference between being elected and not being elected was a mere 104 votes.

Your vote is critical for a number of reasons. With so few ballots cast, your vote really does count. More than that, though, and no matter how you vote, voting is a cornerstone of democratic society. The less we vote, the less democratic our society is. Also, while we might be electing officials to represent us, those officials do not constitute “the city” on their own. We, the residents, the citizens, are the city. Voting is a privilege, but it is also the responsibility of citizens. If we are the city, it is up to us to inform ourselves and exercise our authority as citizens.

Civic involvement is one of the qualities that makes Laurel Park a special place. You don’t have to live here long to know how passionate our residents feel about their neighborhood (us included!). When passion leads to action, anything is possible. So speak with your vote tomorrow and do your part to make Sarasota as good as it can be!

Okay, I’ll climb off the soapbox now. For all election-related information, visit sarasotavotes.com

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Found this article from the Pelican Press on Dan Giguere, who we mentioned in the last post, and the future of the Payne Park Skate Park. We at Laurel Park Management think that Payne Park as a whole and the Skate Park in particular have been extraordinary additions to downtown Sarasota. Skateboarding cuts across traditional boundaries of race and income and, if accepted and given a place, encourages our kids to do what we all hope they’ll do: play together, have fun, gain confidence. Times are tough all the way around, but wouldn’t sacrificing the Payne Park Skate Park be like stealing from our kids?

Here’s the article—

With future city funding of the skateboard facility in Payne Park up in the air, two local residents appeared at the city commission meeting on Sept. 7 to present a plan that could keep the park open.

Dan Giguere and Mike Walling told the commission they would operate the park as Sk8skool and save the city more than $16,000 a year.

A middle school teacher at Sarasota School of the Arts and Sciences, Giguere said he has seen hundreds of middle schoolers go through his program, so he knows how popular skateboarding is in Sarasota.

He added that he also knows what a positive impact skateboarding can have on a child’s life. “I’ve seen such a great improvement in the kids,” Giguere said. “We want what’s best for the youth.”

Having an after-school skateboarding program, Giguere said, can help keep students out of trouble. The park can be a safe place for them to go, he added.

Part of Sk8skool’s plan is to make membership affordable for interested skaters. Giguere suggested a sliding scale in costs for children to use the facility.

Further, the men talked of providing scholarships to low-income families out of proceeds from fundraising efforts along with allowing a child free membership at the skate park in return for 10 hours of community service.

They added that the park perhaps even could make money if were to host official skateboarding competitions.

“We can actually turn a profit if we turn it into a competitive recreational facility,” Giguere said. “[We can] also have concerts, professional demonstrations, lock-ins. … This also increases revenue and can make more kids want to skate.”

keep reading at pelicanpressonline.com

 

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The City of Sarasota will participate in the international energy conservation effort known as Earth Hour by darkening City Hall, 1565 First Street, and the old Federal Building, 111 S. Orange Ave., Sat., March 27, 2010 from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Decorative lights on the Ringling Bridge and Season of Sculpture along the bayfront also will be extinguished during Earth Hour. Residents are encouraged to participate as well.

The City Commission approved a resolution on March 15, 2010 supporting Earth Hour and encouraging residents and business owners to turn off non-essential lights during the designated one hour. With environmental sustainability as one of its top five priorities, the Commission is committed to combating climate change by reducing the City’s carbon footprint.

Launched in 2007 by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour is a global event which raises awareness about climate change issues. Organizers encourage the public to take actions to increase energy efficiency and decrease carbon emissions. One simple dramatic step is to turn off your lights.

It is estimated 80 million Americans in 318 cities participated in Earth Hour last year. Included in the list of landmarks which were darkened: the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Space Needle and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

Join the City of Sarasota and people around the globe as we turn out the lights for Earth Hour. For more information about the City of Sarasota’s involvement contact Environmental Specialist Alison Albee: 941-365-2200 ext. 6317. See the original release here.

To learn more about Earth Hour visit www.earthhour.org

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