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FULL EXPOSURE

Community Center hosts chamber expo Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m

October 22-23, 2011 • Vol. 66 No. 52

An edition of the Sun

‘UNFRIENDLY’ BOARD Page 3A VERN INVESTIGATED Page 5A TIGER TAMER Page 1B

Nonpartisanship questioned By GREG GILES NEws Editor A Venice council candidate is claiming party politics have once again infected the city’s nonpartisan council elections. It’s been happening subtly for years. But recently local political parties have invited council candidates who belong to the party to appear at meetings, and even endorsed some and a few times paid for political mailings. While it hasn’t gotten to that point this year, Seat No. 1 candidate David Sherman

last week complained to City Clerk Lori Stelzer, alleging that two of his opponents, Don Anderson and John Patten, were staffing the Republican and Democrat party booths, respectively, during Sun Fiesta at Centennial Park. According to Anderson, the parties open their booths to any member, and Sherman could also have participated. Sherman took pictures of what he said are violations. “It’s a clear violation of the oath we took,” Sherman said, referring to a form signed by the candidates that recognizes the race as a nonpartisan

election. “It’s supposed to be a nonpartisan race. How quickly it becomes partisan.” Sherman paid to have a booth of his own. He’s even resorted to telling voters he’s an independent just to steer clear of any appearance he’s playing partisan politics. “I am not a party guy,” Sherman said. On the other hand, some of his opponents are. Patten has actively supported Democratic candidates in prior city council campaigns but has not made party affiliation an issue. Anderson said he did

nothing wrong. He even asked Sarasota County Elections Supervisor Kathy Dent, who happened to be at the Republican Party booth, if it was OK. Dent said he was not violating any county law, according to Anderson. “As for it violating the spirit of the law,” Anderson said with a shrug, “everyone else is doing it.” For the record, Sherman and Patten are Democrats. Anderson is a Republican, while Bud Lefebvre noted he’s independent on city qualifying forms.

This is the seventh in a series.

By AUDREY BLACKWELL staff writEr

SUN PHOTOS BY AUDREY BLACKWELL

Col. Steve Burns, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, arrives at Pirate’s Cove Wednesday to make sure the dozen or so homeless people living there in tents are packing up and leaving. the outhouses and outside showers within 10 days of receipt of the letter or face “legal proceedings and administrative fines being filed” against him. On Oct. 18, Raja signed an agreement giving the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office “free access to our property in Sarasota County in order to seek out and arrest those individuals who may be engaged in illegal activities.” The property was described as the vacant lot behind CVS at

Mine shuts down By GREG GILES NEws Editor A longtime Venice mining operation — and occasional source of complaints by residents of the Venetian Golf & River Club and Willow Chase — is going out of business at the end of the month. Venice Minerals and Mining Good morning, Gondolier subscriber LISA KENNEDY

has officially closed its doors and is mopping up operations off Knights Trail Road. The closure was anticipated. Its lease expires at the end of the month. Sarasota County purchased the land while mining operations were ongoing. Its intent

MINE | 11

FRONT SECTION LEGALS .......................................... 6A LET ’EM HAVE IT .......................... 8A LETTERS TO THE EDITOR ........... 9A LOTTERY........................................ 2A OBITUARIES.................................. 4A

OPINION........................................ 8A POLICE BEAT ..............................15A SPORTS ........................................12A WEATHER ...................................... 2A

Jacaranda Boulevard, approximately 8.2 acres. A call to Raja went unanswered, as did a call to the county’s code enforcement office. However, Larry Allen, in media relations at Sarasota County government, said “the sheriff’s office acted on a notification from the health department.” A little after 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sally, who like most of the residents

HOMELESS | 10

The homeless people at Pirates Cove had posted a sign warning trespassers.

By ED SCOTT

staff writEr

CRITICS | 10

A ballot question that county commissioners may approve for the 2012 Florida presidential preference primary election would ask voters if they want to amend the county charter to allow commissioners to serve three rather than two consecutive

terms, and whether term limits should be applicable only to terms commencing after Jan. 31, 2012, rather than after Sept. 1, 1998, according to Sarasota County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh. DeMarsh began looking into charter amendment ballot language after commissioners voted unanimously last week to ask him to do so. They were

concerned about uncertainty and the county being “in limbo” after an appellate court on Florida’s east coast ruled that term limits (three terms) are enforceable in Broward County. The Florida Supreme Court is expected to review that decision. Sarasota County voters

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A group has formed to challenge the direction it says Gulf Coast Community Foundation has taken, though some of its members are reluctant to have their participation made public. They have created a website, www.VeniceFloridaFoundation. com, and run newspaper ads under the heading “Save Our Foundation,” questioning whether funds have been mismanaged, costs are too high or grants have gone to groups outside its intended service area, from Osprey to Boca Grande. Nothing on the website or in the ads, though, identifies the people who are asking the questions. It’s an omission that should soon be rectified, at least in part, according to former Gondolier Publisher Bob Vedder, who has been designated to speak for the group. He said the group’s webmaster will be posting the names of members who are willing to go public, but that some have asked to remain anonymous out of concern about retribution against organizations they are affiliated with that might apply for grants. Some foundation critics have been instructed by boards they serve to mute their comments for the same reason. All the members, according to Vedder, have the same goal, however. “I think that the No. 1 concern is that the mission that was developed for the foundation with the funds from the sale of the hospital was the use of the money in these communities in a wise manner and that just isn’t happening,” he said. “If we adhere to those principles, we’ll have taken care of the major concern.”

County commission term limits drafted

WWW.VENICEGONDOLIER.COM

WEDNESDAY AND SATURDAY

By BOB MUDGE Editor

Email: ggiles@venicegondolier.com

Longtime homeless camp shut down About a dozen homeless people living at a makeshift community at the corner of South Tamiami Trail and Jacaranda Boulevard were told to leave Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. on 12 hours’ notice. The next day, two Sarasota County Sheriff’s officers extended the time frame for packing up their tents and belongings and leaving the premises. On Wednesday, Oct. 19, Col. Steve Burns said he believed “the property owner wants the encampments off the property,” which is undeveloped. According to Diane Shipley, information officer for the Sarasota County Health Department, an investigation was carried out at 2651 Jacaranda Blvd. Oct. 12 in response to a complaint from a law enforcement officer about outhouses and outside showers being used on the property. A health inspector found two outhouses and two outside showers in use, which created a sanitary nuisance and was a violation of Florida Statutes. The health department sent a letter to Jay M. Raja, M.D., Oct. 13 stating the violation and directing him to remove

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