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Elling Eide’s lifelong dream takes shape. PAGE 3A
Couple’s glass collection features more than 250 works of art. INSIDE
OUR TOWN + Fallen heroes family recognized As part of the fourth Project Gratitude event, 20 wives and daughters of fallen U.S. military members will be invited to the Miss America pageant Saturday, Jan. 12, in Las Vegas. In honor of their loved ones, each woman will be pinned by former Miss Americas with a crown pin to symbolize their status as an honorary Miss America. Included in the honorees are Sarasota residents, Betsy Jackson and her daughter, Kiera, the wife and daughter of Chief Warrant Officer Kyle Jackson, who was killed in Mosul, Iraq. The Jacksons and other families will receive VIP treatment during their stay, before being recognized on Saturday.
+ Worldly words win big for writer After a nationwide search, Hilton Hotels and Resorts announced that Sarasota freelance writer Mary Ellen Mancini has been selected as one of 15 winners, who will travel the world and share their travel experience as a part of the new travel website, Hilton Mom Voyage. The search drew nearly 1,000 applicants.
+ Riverview grad says no to bullying Adam Mazo, a 1998 graduate of Riverview High School, is leading a national video campaign as part of the Boston-based Coexist documentary project. The mission of the project is to is to build social and emotional skills in young people to increase appreciation for difference and reduce tolerance for violence in all forms. American Public Television has selected Coexist for distribution to public television stations across the country.
Two area residents are heading up a successful MIA recovery group. PAGE 1B
by Roger Drouin | City Editor
Sure Shot Bernadette DiPino always keeps a protein bar in her bag. They have come in handy during her busy first week as Sarasota’s new chief. Bernadette DiPino fired six rounds. Six direct hits in the target’s heart — with four of the bullets hitting in the exact same place. The new Sarasota police chief’s meticulous aim wasn’t a surprise to training officer Jeff Dunn, who was with DiPino Tuesday afternoon at the shooting range. DiPino was getting accustomed to the police department’s standard issue .40 caliber Glock, which is slightly different than the type of handgun the Ocean City, Md., department used. “She’s a good shot,” Dunn said. Besides being a sure shot, DiPino has earned 18 commendations in Ocean City, where she worked for 25 years, including one for disarming a suicidal person and another for her work with the narcotics unit. But it’s the small details that really show what kind of police chief she will be in Sarasota. Everything she needs is in her briefcase. “It’s more of a jump-out bag,” DiPino said. The bag is more professional looking than the duffle bag she carried during her days as a patrol and SWAT officer. It contains the necessary basics: hand sanitizer, her work and personal cell phones, iPad (which DiPino will start using to tweet Sarasota police updates and safety tips) and ChapStick. There is also a Rosary. When DiPino, a devout Catholic, has a few minutes of quiet time before or after work, she prays.
And the most necessary of the contents are the protein bars — something chocolate or peanut butter. DiPino is particular to Kashi or Cliff bars. “It’s a heavy bag,” DiPino says.
SEE DIPINO / PAGE 2A
Photos by Rachel O’Hara
Sarasota’s new chief checks her accuracy at the gun range.
‘Trouble comes to me. It’s a DiPino trait.’ — Bernadette DiPino
WHAT’S IN DiPINO’S BAG? iPad — Hand sanitizer — she keeps one in her vehicle, too
to be prepared for the elements
which DiPino will use to tweet Sarasota police updates Protein bars — and safety tips for a quick lunch or snack
always in the bag
INDEX Briefs.................... 4A Classifieds..........13B
Cops Corner.......... 9A Crossword...........12B
Opinion................. 8A Real Estate...........8B
Sports.................15A Vol. 9, No. 10 | Three sections Weather..............12B YourObserver.com
THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2013
DIPINO / FROM PAGE 1A The protein bars have become her lunch on a few occasions so far on the beat in Sarasota. She has also had to grab a peanut-butter protein bar before she headed out to an evening neighborhood meeting. If there is one word to describe DiPino’s first few days, it is “busy.” One of the first Sarasota police chiefs in recent history to live in the city limits, DiPino is renting a house about halfway between the police department and Lido Beach. “I can get to work in two minutes and to the beach in two minutes,” said DiPino, who loves the beach, but hasn’t had time to visit Sarasota’s shore yet. It’s a good thing she is close to the police headquarters. DiPino tells her commanders to call her after hours when a big crime occurs or an officer is involved in a shooting — no matter what time of the night. DiPino said she wants to be on the scene so that she can available to the media and support her officers. That happened at 2 a.m. Jan. 2, when officers fired at a suspect who drove a stolen car into three marked police vehicles. After working two, long days, DiPino drove back to the station with Sea-Sea, her 2-year-old toy poodle. “I wanted to be out there,” she said.
New Year’s Eve
On her first day on the job, New Year’s Eve, DiPino was patrolling the downtown area with two other officers when a stabbing took place in the 1500 block of State Street. “A number of citizens told us there was a fight and stabbing, and that someone was hurt,” DiPino said. The suspect was arrested immediately, and a police captain rendered aid to the victim, a tow-truck driver, before he was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital. DiPino helped keep people away from the scene so evidence could be gathered, and a detective arrived within one minute, DiPino said. As the chief stood guard over the fishing knife used in the stab-
a police officer in Ocean City. DiPino’s daughter, Tabitha Hays, is currently a police officer in Maryland. “I couldn’t think of being in an office 9-to-5 without being able to be outside and with people,” DiPino said. “Being a chief, it does feel like you’re in the office a lot, but everyday is different.”
Photos by Rachel S. O’Hara
DiPino is getting accustomed to the police department’s standard issue .40 caliber Glock, which is slightly different than the type of handgun the Ocean City, Md., department used. bing, she saw the pineapple drop. “Trouble comes to me,” DiPino said. “It’s a DiPino trait. Same with my father and my grandfather.” DiPino tries to be as ready for it as she can.
Stubborn dream DiPino’s parents, Charles DiPino, a retired major from the Baltimore Police Department, and Mildred, helped her move into her new Sarasota home. Although her sister became a nurse and her brother went into the business world, Bernadette wanted to follow in the legacy of her father and grandfather, James DiPino, a retired police captain. But when she first told her dad she wanted to be a police officer, he said, “No, you’re not becoming a police officer. I want you to be a judge or a lawyer.” She persisted. When DiPino said she was going to the police academy, her father said she would never make it through. The young DiPino said, “What do you
DiPino said she will make it one of her first priorities to try to get a .223 caliber rifle, like the one above, in every patrol car. mean? I’m tough.” Her father joked that after he broke both her legs, the police academy wouldn’t let her in. “I understand now why he didn’t want me to,” DiPino said. “He didn’t want me to go through and see everything police officers see.” After she became an officer, her father became supportive. Both DiPino’s grandfather and her father saw her become
After the shooting range, DiPino planned to stop home to let out Sea-Sea. It was already turning out to be another long day, and she still had to go to a 6 p.m. neighborhood meeting in Newtown. When DiPino first got her toy poodle, her niece saw the dog and promptly suggested the name Cupcake. DiPino said she couldn’t name her dog Cupcake, because it didn’t sound tough enough. “Something like ‘Taser,’ or tougher than that,” DiPino said. She finally came up with Sea-Sea, which is short for Cupcake (CC), but also the name of a place that DiPino, a “beach person,” loves. DiPino enjoys her morning walks with Sea-Sea. She hopes to eventually find a gym and play tennis. But that will have to wait. Right now, she is focused on a smooth transition for the department and looking ahead to future goals. DiPino said she will make it one of her first priorities to try to get a .223 caliber rifle in every patrol car. Currently, the department owns only 80 of the rifles, and it will cost more money to outfit every police vehicle, but doing so is one way she can help make sure officers are prepared for what they encounter, the chief said. She also will be looking out for and mentoring officers whom she thinks will become leaders in the department. The chief is working on a strategic plan for the department, and she’ll be meeting with lieutenants and captains to discuss it. “I have some ideas, but I am just one person,” she said as she prepared to fire the Glock handgun. “I want their fingerprints on it, too.”
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THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2013
LOST IN TRANSLATION
by Alex Mahadevan | News Editor
Little Sarasota Bay
Elling Eide property
8000 S. Tamiami Trail
The 1953 senior class at Sarasota High School included at least four future college professors, including Eide. “He and I were in the same group: the nerds,” Ashby said. Eide rode a unicycle in the Sailor Circus and owned a five-legged cat, which Ashby recalled him bringing to show-and-tell in the seventh grade. “He was always unusual,” Ashby said. “He had a different way of thinking about things.” Eide was obsessed with the history of language and was several years ahead of his classmates in the study of Spanish, Ashby said. In particular, he was fascinated with the name for the Sarasota property his grandfather purchased in 1935, Indianola, which was inspired by Native American burial grounds on the land.
The Elling O. Eide Charitable Foundation is building a library to house its namesake’s tens of thousands Chinese books.
Eccentric and determined
Property owner Elling Eide battled with the county for nearly a decade as he sought to make his lifelong dream a reality.
rusted mailbox sits next to a dirt road. The mailbox and the dirt driveway framed by sabal palms and Spanish moss are the only evidence of the property that lies at the end of the road — a property filled with bobcats, gopher tortoises and one of the largest collections of Chinese literature in the world. That land was once the battleground of a fight between a scholar intent on preserving thousands of books and a Sarasota County Commission bent on slowing growth. In the ’80s, the late Elling Eide battled the county in court for nearly a decade to get 14 acres of his roughly 100-acre property west of U.S. 41 near Sarasota Square Mall zoned for commercial development. The former University of Illinois professor wanted to sign a long-term land-lease agreement with a developer to build and maintain a library for his collection of Chinese literature. Eide sued the county in 1986 and won $850,000, but he didn’t collect the award before the county won an appeal in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, which required Eide to pay $21,000. Today, Sarasota County wants to purchase 184 acres of environmentally sensitive land near targeted watersheds — including Eide’s property. The land would be eligible for funding from the Deepwater Horizon settlement and further the county’s effort to buy environmentally sensitive lands. After his Jan. 7, 2012, death, Sarasota County Natural Resources Manager Brooke Elias said staff was unable to contact the heir to what would be called the Elling O. Eide Charitable Foundation. Current Sarasota County commissioners think the foundation won’t be willing to sell. Harold Mitchell, Eide’s cousin and director of the trust, said the county is correct. “He had a lot of troubles with the county because he tended to be outspoken and opinionated,” said University of Florida associate professor Cynthia Chennault, who is on the charity’s board of directors. “Everything was always so dramatic with him,” said Florence Ashby, who, along with Eide, was voted most likely to succeed by the Sarasota High School class of 1953. Mitchell recalled when Eide used three billboards on his property to heckle county commissioners with a pun-twisted advertisement for the Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix. “He had a wicked sense of humor,” Mitchell said.
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Growing up in Sarasota, Eide won awards for national speech competitions and was active in the local theater community. But, his parents, who had been through the Great Depression, wanted Eide to pursue a career that would generate business even in bust times. Grace Eide, who was a lawyer in addition to a physician, pushed her son to study law at Harvard University. Around the same time Mao Zedong was planning to destroy pieces of Chinese history, Eide changed his major from law to the study of Chinese languages. He graduated from Harvard in 1957, summa cum laude. Eide joined the Marines shortly after and rose to the rank of lieutenant. While stationed in various posts around East Asia, Eide watched Chinese ex-patriots settle in Taiwan, where he would go on to study as a Harvard Junior Fellow. The refugees brought with them volumes of books, scrolls and art to avoid destruction under Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Eide began his preservation of Chinese history in the 1960s, when he started collecting literature. That period sparked the dream that dominated the rest of his life — a library that would attract Chinese
Elling Eide, left, goofs off with a fellow member of the Harvard Lampoon. scholars from around the world.
A dream realized
Chinese artists and calligraphers use a red stamp with characters representing their lives to sign their work. Characters meaning the words “book” and “house” comprised Eide’s stamp, which roughly translates to mean “library.” Though he only published one book, “On Li Po,” in 1971, Eide owned at least 60,000, and as many as 100,000, volumes of Chinese literature. The collection contains books from the size of a wallet to that of a drafting table, and in a rainbow of colors — mostly dark reds and greens, and black. His property, during the course of his life, became a mecca for Chinese scholars looking for particular volumes for research. Eide, a night owl, would bounce between the buildings on his property most nights looking for a particular volume or
scroll required for his or other professors’ research. His circle of colleagues sent him letters, newspaper clippings and risqué postcards almost daily. Xianho, a T’ang Dynasty historian, was one of many international sinologists (those who study Chinese culture) touched by Eide’s research and collection. “Now Professor Eide has abandoned me away. My sorrow! My sorrow,” Xianhao wrote in the pamphlet for Eide’s memorial service. “He was very magnanimous,” Chennault said. “If he thought someone had a serious interest in the field, he was very welcoming to them.” Books fill Mitchell’s current office, Eide’s childhood home, a guesthouse, a cabin and the upstairs bedroom of a maintenance facility on the property. His dream library would centralize the
SEE ELLING EIDE / PAGE 13A
He was always unusual. He had a different way of thinking about things. — Florence Ashby, Elling Eide’s classmate
THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2013
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+ City names new finance director John Lege III has accepted the position of finance director with the city of Sarasota. Lege, currently the finance director for the city of Ocala, will begin work Monday, Feb. 4. Lege has served in that position for Ocala since 2010. His experience includes 10 years in city and county government and 21 years with the U.S. Navy, based in Jacksonville, including serving as a division officer and department head. “I’m looking forward to John becoming part of our team,” City Manager Tom Barwin said in a press release Thursday. “Of the 50 persons recruited for the position, our five interview panels were unanimous in recommending him. He was referred to as ‘well qualified’ and a ‘perfect fit’ for the city of Sarasota.” Lege will replace Chris Lyons, who worked for the city of Sarasota for 25 years, including five years as finance director. This is the second department head position Barwin has filled since starting work as city manager Sept. 1. His first hire was Police Chief Bernadette DiPino.
+ Fugitive captured after 24 years on the run The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Apprehension Unit, working in conjunction with the U. S. Marshals Florida fugitive task force, has located a sex offender who has been on the run for 24 years. Richard Verboys, 60, was convicted in Sarasota County of Lewd and Lascivious Battery on a Child for sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl. In 1988 he was sentenced to probation and court-ordered mentalhealth counseling but fled the area a
Regular City Commission Meeting — 2:30 and 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, City Hall, Commission Chambers, 1565 First St., Sarasota.
short time later.
+ Commissioners approve P.F. Chang’s main sign Commissioners approved an adjustment that will allow the new P.F. Chang’s to put up three signs a few inches larger than allowed by in the Downtown Master Plan. Typically, signs on downtownzoned property are allowed are 30 inches tall. The restaurant requested its main sign to be 36 inches tall. The larger size was necessary so that passing drivers on U.S. 41 could tell the building was a P.F. Chang’s, said Joel Freedman, a planner who is representing the restaurant chain. “Because of the speeds on Mound and the setback, we believe it is a reasonable request, and a necessary one,” Freedman said to commissioners. Commissioner Terry Turner supported the change because the larger signs were comparable with some of the signs already along the U.S. 41 corridor, near Osprey Avenue. “The sign change will not impact the livability of the area,” Turner said. Mayor Suzanne Atwell supported the adjustment. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc. plans to open the doors to the new downtown Sarasota location in July, before the fall season.
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THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2013
a good bet
by Roger Drouin | City Editor
Entrepreneur eyes additional downtown land Jesse Biter recently purchased two buildings fronting 200 feet of Main Street, and he is already looking ahead to his next investment. If Jesse Biter were a gambling man, he’d bet big on downtown Sarasota. He has lived downtown for the past five years with his wife, Katie, and he just became a major landowner on Main Street. In December, Biter paid $4,075,000 for two buildings fronting 200 feet of mid-Main Street. The entrepreneur is already looking ahead to his next big investment downtown. As for his Main Street plans, Biter will meet with city planners to talk about the possibilities of constructing a project in the future. But, for time being, he wants to keep the two buildings’ current tenants in place. Biter is looking ahead to investment in other properties downtown and in the Rosemary District. The entrepreneur said residential units that working professionals can afford are needed downtown, and he is eyeing land on which he can build. “We are looking at a few (parcels) that fit my vision for what Sarasota should be,” Biter said. “There will be some purchases in 2013.” Downtown commercial realestate broker John Harshman said Biter’s recent purchase on Main Street, and his future investment plans, are a good bet, but they are not a gamble. “We saw a lot of that in the boom time — people gambling
on real estate,” said Harshman, president of Harshman & Co. Inc. Biter has shown he is a longterm investor and buying property right in the heart of downtown is an intelligent move as the country edges out of the recession, Harshman said. Specifically, the “microcosm” of Main Street west of Orange Avenue has seen renewed interest over the last two years. As one example of the business demand for this part of downtown, Harshman points to the relocation of Reasons Shoes, which moved to Lemon Avenue, just off Main Street, after a long stay on St. Armands. Harshman also points to the recent addition of retail such as Penzeys Spices, 1516 Main St., and Evelyn & Arthur, 1480 Main St., even as some businesses downtown closed, such as European Focus and Sarasota Hardware. Biter sees opportunity downtown, with restaurants, the bayfront and mom-and-pop shops. There are challenges, too, and one of those hurdles is getting storeowners to stay open later on Main Street. “I’ve heard a few argue that they can’t afford to,” Biter said. “I say they can’t afford not to. Downtown needs to be a place where people come eat and then stroll around at the shops after dinner.”
A future for Sarasota
Biter’s deal for the purchase of 1564 and 1560 Main St. closed Dec. 27. It is the third major downtown property investment in the last two years for Biter, an entrepreneur who sold his $16 million auto-sales software firm in 2010. Biter does not have specific current plans for the property at 1564 and 1560 Main St. — which currently houses eight storefronts for a total of 17,850 square feet of commercial space. He does not rule it out as the location for a mixed-use development, including some market-rate studio apartments or condo units. But, under the city’s current zoning regulations, that kind of residential component would be impossible on the narrow parcel of land. The property is 200 feet along Main Street and 175 feet wide, and any project needs to include space for parking. It might make more sense, Biter said, to build a project with market-rate residential units on another parcel downtown. That is why Biter said he is looking at several other parcels, some of which are currently on the market and some that are not listed for sale. Current density rules only allow for larger units throughout downtown, Biter said, often requiring developers to build more
Jesse Biter purchased the buildings at 1564 and 1560 Main Street for $4.07 million. expensive luxury condos that many of Sarasota’s professionals can’t afford. Without an increase in the number of 25 units allowed per acre, the smallest residential units at Biter’s just-purchased Main Street parcel would be about 8,000 square feet, Biter estimates. “Obviously that would not be affordable,” Biter said. Biter will be meeting with city planners soon, and the topic of density limits will likely come up in discussions. “One thing I am concerned about is the city’s density laws,” Biter said. “It forces a developer to build large units. (It) forces them to develop for only rich people who happen to be snow-
birds.” Biter said it’s important for Sarasota to have a strong yearround economy and a place for residents who work downtown to live. He said there can be a balance between higher-end condo projects and a “denser, friendlier, affordable downtown that caters to younger professionals and artists.” Although Biter moved to Sarasota 12 years ago, Katie Biter is a Sarasota native. The Biters have lived downtown since 2007, and they walk most places, including having dinner at Lan Restaurant, located in the building he just purchased at 1564 Main St. “I am trying to create a future for Sarasota,” Biter said.
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not all smiles
THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2013
by Roger Drouin | City Editor
Photos by Rachel S. O’Hara
The Anti-SRQ Walmart Direct Action Planning Committee tarred and feathered a WalMart smiley face prior to the meeting at City Hall.
Commissioners agree to hold Walmart appeal
The appeal against the proposed Ringling Boulevard Walmart becomes the fifth appeal in five years.
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City Commissioners voted 4-1 Monday to hold an appeal hearing challenging the Planning Board’s 3-2 approval of a Ringling Boulevard Walmart supercenter. The proposed Walmart became the fourth construction project in the city to face an appeal over the past five years. The City Commission denied all four of the previous appeals (see box). Those in support believe they have solid ground for the appeal of the construction of the proposed 97,000-square-foot Walmart. “When a plan doesn’t conform to the code, serious questions need to be addressed,” said Jerry Sparkman, a Sarasota architect who was named on the appeal. Susan Chapman was one of the two planning board votes against Wal-Mart’s site plan. “I thought the criteria was very clear that it did not fit the current zoning code,” said
Chapman. Chapman, who is also running for City Commission, said she read through the code before the Nov. 14 Planning Board meeting. The zoning classification for the Ringling Shopping Center, called Commercial Shopping Center Neighborhood (CSC-N), allows small-scale commercial projects and prohibits a larger “single use” commercial building, including department stores. This zoning classification is specifically intended for commercial property that borders residential areas. The CSC-N zoning also cautions that “great care must be used to fit a center into its surroundings.” Chapman felt that the proposed Walmart store, which would be open 24 hours, was not “compatible” with the neighborhood. Wal-Mart representatives and city plan-
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Appeals over the past five years Year
Description of the appeal
Developer of a Hyatt hotel appealed the decision of the city’s neighborhood and development services department to not allow construction of a 18-story building at 1400 and 1410 Main St. The building would have been an exception to the 10-story height limit of the downtown core zone district. Appeal filed Sept. 7, 2010. Outcome: Planning Board denied appeal
Developer of a Hyatt hotel appealed the decision of the planning board to not allow construction of an 18-story building at 1400 and 1410 Main St. (See appeal above.) Outcome: City Commission denied appeal
YOuR NeIgHbORHOOD FIsH HOuse There’s nothing quite like it!
A neighbor appealed the Planning Board’s decision to approve the Goodwill retail store on the northeast corner of Mecca Drive and Tamiami Trail. In December 2011, the commission unanimously voted against holding an appeal hearing. In November 2012, a Sarasota circuit judge ruled against another appeal filed in court. Outcome: City Commission voted against holding an appeal
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A group of six residents appealed the Planning Board’s Nov. 14 decision to approve a Walmart Supercenter on Ringling Boulevard. Commissioners voted Jan. 7 to hold an appeal hearing. A hearing date has not yet been set. Outcome: The City Commission will vote on the appeal
ping center near his home encourages a smaller type of store to be built there — not a Walmart. “It’s zoned for a neighborhood-sized store,” Dehus said. “Not a superstore. Not a 24-hour store.” Joe Paparatto, with the Occupy Sarasota group, led the demonstration Monday, and several residents joined in, sticking feathers on the smiley face. “We want to run Wal-Mart out of town, or at least out of downtown,” Paparatto said just before he doused the smiley face with molasses, which was used in place of actual tar.
Neighbors appealed to the City Commission to reverse the decision of the Planning Board to deny a minor conditional use and site plan for a two-story residential duplex at 1910 Laurel St., the “Twigg Residence.” Appeal heard Jan. 3, 2012. Outcome: City Commission denied appeal
ners contend that the project is allowed at the Ringling Boulevard location. “We followed procedure to the letter of the law,” Wal-Mart attorney Jim Porter, said, “And now we are here and there are shifting sands as to what the rules are.” Roger Dehus attended a protest before the City Commission meeting. The Anti-SRQ Walmart Direct Action Planning Committee tarred and feathered a Wal-Mart smiley face prior to the meeting at City Hall. Dehus recently moved to Alta Vista, and he loves being able to bike to Main Street. He thinks the zoning code for the shop-
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THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2013
Observer opinion | our view SARASOTA
“If we are to build a better world, we must remember that the guiding principle is this — a policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy.” Friedrich Hayek “Road to Serfdom,” 1944
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Buchanan’s biggest test It would not be fun standing in Congressman Vern Buchanan’s shoes. At least not for us. He represents Florida’s 16th congressional district, a compilation of five mostly Republican counties whose constituents make up the largest concentration of Social Security, Medicare and veterans benefits recipients of any midsize metro area in America. In other words, a lot of his constituents are on the taxpayer dole for portions of their incomes. And more than 33% of these constituents, as retirees, are living on their savings and dividends. On top of that, even though Buchanan’s district is primarily a Republican stronghold, a sizable portion of those Republicans, as we have learned, are “center Republicans,” moderates who readily accept an activist government in everyone’s lives. With such a constituency, Buchanan, after six years in office, has figured out that his longevity in Congress is tied to moderation. He can’t be associated with, say, a Ron Paul or a Louie Gohmert of Texas. They’re too far right (although for our taste they’ve been among the few who have had the courage to do what is right in Congress). So it really was no surprise when Buchanan voted to accept House Resolution 8, the fiscal cliff bill, that raised tax rates on 1% of Americans and didn’t cut one cent from federal spending. In fact, it codified increasing federal spending. It was a politically safe vote: Raise taxes only on 1% of Americans; make permanent the Bush income-tax cuts for everyone earning less than $400,000 to $450,000 a year. Only a few get hurt; nothing happens to entitlements. The only constituents Buchanan irked with his vote are the diehards who wanted Congress actually to reduce its spending. Nonetheless, we had to ask the congressman: Why that vote? Why not take a stand against Congress and Obama as usual? “Either way, you couldn’t win,” Buchanan told us. “I didn’t like it. It was either that bill or go over the cliff. Let us all drown or save 98% or 99%. I voted to save the 98%. “It was the least of two evils,” he said. “I thought going over the cliff was a worse option. I called a lot of people, and about 80% of the people said this was the way to go.” As Buchanan sees the situation, the fiscal cliff vote wasn’t the Rubicon. He called it “the small battle in the war.” “The debt ceiling is the war,” he said. And when that is confronted in another 60 days, Buchanan’s true beliefs and courage will be tested as these have never been tested before. So far, in our records, with all due respect, Buchanan has capitulated on two important fiscal tests. He voted in 2008 in favor of “TARP,” the first economic stimulus bill that bailed out badly managed banks at taxpayer expense; and he took the politically safe path on the recent fiscal cliff vote. Asked what he thinks Republican House
members will do on the next debt-ceiling vote, he told us: “My sense is we’re going to have to find a way to deal with the deficits. If there is not a substantial move in the right direction, it’s going to be nuclear.” Asked whether he would side with shutting down the federal government, or hold firm on not raising the debt ceiling if Obama and the Democrats don’t agree to substantive cuts in federal spending, Buchanan was smart and crafty enough not to make any commitments just yet. “I don’t think it’s going to be business as usual,” he said. That would be a shock to the world. In our lifetimes, none of us has ever seen Washington actually reduce its spending below what it spent in a previous year. But everyone in Congress knows that is what must occur. Congressman Buchanan, since his first election in 2006, has filed legislation calling for a federal balanced-budget amendment. He introduced another bill recently saying Congress will not receive a pay raise until it balances the budget. Let’s hope, for our grandchildren’s sake, he has the courage to call President Obama and the Senate’s bluff on the debt ceiling. Either Obama and the Senate cut federal spending in a serious, meaningful way, or the Republican House will not raise the nation’s borrowing limit, sending the federal government into default on its debt and shutting down the government. Those who are grandparents and greatgrandparents know the pain for the nation must come now or on the backs of our children and grandchildren. We created this mess. We should pay the price. To our readers: Give Buchanan the courage to win the war. Urge him to stand firm on the debt ceiling.
+ Say good-bye
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO Mike Duke should call Sarasota Mayor Suzanne Atwell and say: “Madame Mayor, after careful consideration, we have decided to take our investment capital, more than 100 new jobs and future tax revenue for the city of Sarasota elsewhere. In fact, we’ve decided to take all
THE CASTAWAY by Jorge Blanco
of that to Bradenton. “We have heard the message loud and clear, Madame Mayor. “And that message is small groups of Sarasotans, yourself and three of your City Commission colleagues apparently prefer neighborhood and economic deterioration to economic growth and jobs. That’s the message we’re hearing. “We wish you luck, Madame Mayor.” Of course, absolutely, it is no surprise that Atwell, Vice Mayor Willie Shaw and Commissioners Shannon Snyder and Terry Turner capitulated and undermined their city planning board this week. They voted to accept an appeal by neighborhood activists who oppose the proposed Walmart on Ringling Boulevard near the Alta Vista neighborhood. This in spite of the planning board’s public hearing, at which its members examined the evidence and codes and determined in a 3-2 democratic vote that Wal-Mart’s proposed store meets city zoning requirements. On top of that, city zoning staffers also recommended approval. When the Walmart opponents asked the City Commission to hear an appeal, commissioners faced a leadership and judgment decision: After examining the evidence and conclusions of fact of the planning board, they could either accept the planning board’s decision or rule, in effect, that the planning board erred. Apparently, the majority chose the latter. But on what basis, the code? Check out the code language for yourself: “It is further intended that the uses be used to provide a variety of goods and services in a unified development scheme and not single-purpose activities.” Walmart, or even a new super Publix, for that matter, will provide a variety of goods and services (i.e. food, household goods, pharmaceuticals, etc.) in a unified development scheme (i.e. a Walmart branded, unified shopping destination). And if opponents want to argue that a multi-merchandise store, regardless of it being a Walmart or Publix, is a single-use activity, they are reaching for air. That phrase — “single-purpose activities” — is typical zoning-code vagueness to begin with. Every retail center has a single purpose — to draw consumers to shop. So even if the Ringling Boulevard shopping center had multiple stores with multiple owners, it still would be for a single purpose activity. So you could flip the opponents’ argument on this point: Virtually every Walmart or Publix shopper has a different, multiplepurpose activity when he walks in the door — and that is to buy the goods and services that suit his own needs. All of this is so typical Sarasota. The city of “No.”
THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2013
by Nick Friedman | Community Editor
Institute for the Ages focuses on Sarasota’s older demographic
Positive Aging Pioneers Lecture What: The Institute for the Ages President and CEO Tom Esselman will provide the community with an update. When: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15 Where: New College’s Mildred Sainer Pavilion, 5313 Bay Shore Road Cost: $15, or $75 for entire six-lecture series. Free for New College students and faculty. Call: 487-4888
3:01 p.m. – 2100 block Orchid Street. Burglary of a Structure. A resident told police he was lured from his home while someone burglarized his home. A woman was observed on a surveillance video entering the home. She was wearing a hooded sweater that she pulled closed around her face as a disguise. A Canon DSLR camera, one bottle of Dolce & Gabbanna cologne, one bottle of Versace cologne, and assorted tattoo equipment were stolen from the home. The total value of the stolen items was $800.
PLAYING WITH FIREWORKS 5:25 p.m. – 100 block Signal Pointe Circle. Unclassified. A resident called police about subjects playing with fireworks in the back of the building in a small area.
Visit our website to see a map of this week’s incident locations.
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picion General. An off-duty officer called in a suspicious incident in the Whole Foods parking garage on First Street. Two males were using a shopping cart to break a window of a blue SUV parked in the garage. The two males took something out of the SUV and ran to a white, parked car on First Street, driven by a woman. The off-duty officer yelled for the suspects to stop, but they did not. Another officer pulled over the car. One of the suspects told the officer that he knew the owner of the car and that he broke the window because the car owner had locked his house keys in the car. The car owner collaborated the account, and said he did not want to press charges. No further action was taken.
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11:37 a.m. – 1600 block Blue Heron Drive. Patrol Request. A car owner reported that someone released the air from all four tires of his Acura SUV. The SUV was parked in the driveway overnight. There have been several recent burglaries in the neighborhood and the resident requested additional patrols of the neighborhood at night.
greater peace of mind. Throughout the 30day study, participants provide feedback as to whether they think the product enhances their lives and offer suggestions on how the product might be improved. According to Esselman, this solves a major problem in the development of products marketed toward the older population: a lack of adequate input from the older adults who will be using the products. “The older people in Sarasota are active, collaborative and willing to be engaged,” said Esselman. “They want to be involved and help influence new products and policies.” The institute will continue conducting studies in hopes of attracting startups and entrepreneurs who see a need for products and services to improve the lives of older adults.
LETTING SOME AIR OUT
2 p.m. – 280 block Louise Street. Burglary of a Structure. A neighbor observed a man and woman enter a home that had been vacant for months. The man and woman removed an oven and drove away with it in the back of their pickup truck. The man is known as a ”scrapper” in the neighborhood. Allegedly, the man enters vacant homes, steals whatever is inside, and scraps the metal. A picture was taken of the man’s truck as he left the scene. The vacant home is owned by Bank of America.
If You Go
Opened six months ago, the offshoot of SCOPE is ready to launch its inaugural study geared toward the aging population. As president and CEO of Institute for the Ages, Tom Esselman understands the value of Sarasota’s aging demographic. In fact, the city’s disproportionately older population is what drew him here in June. At his previous job, at Hallmark Cards, Esselman helped innovate the singing greeting cards, which proved to be popular among older customers. Esselman moved to Sarasota to conduct further research on older consumers, before being recruited by Institute for the Ages. A product of Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence, Institute for the Ages opened six months ago with the support of Sarasota County, local community foundations and residents. The institute aims to advance innovations in products, services and policies to improve lives among increasingly aging communities. “Sarasota’s aging demographic should be seen as an asset,” said Esselman. “Our demographic right now reflects what most communities will look like in 20-to-25 years. We have a chance to be a true global leader in how communities can embrace issues associated with older populations.” The institute is open and ready to put its mission into action. Its inaugural study seeks 30 volunteers, ages 75 and older who live alone and keep in touch with adult family members or friends on a regular basis. The study, funded by San Franciscobased company Lively seeks to test a product that will monitor the daily activities of older residents who live alone, to provide
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bserved on YourObserver.com Read DAILY news online from the EAST COUNTY Observer, Pelican press and Sarasota Observer
EAST COUNTY Observer
+ Ranch murder remains unsolved
+ Bullock hires deputy manager
A year after Lakewood Ranch resident Ina Gross was murdered in her home, authorities have still not made an arrest in the case. Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube, however, said he is confident Gross’ murderer will be brought to justice. Although much of the forensic evidence is in, detectives still are tracking down and sorting through bank records, computer and telephone evidence and other information. “We are still waiting on information that we’re trying to gather, not only on the person of interest, but on other people involved in the investigation. We’re not there yet.” Steube said he wishes the case had been closed before the one-year anniversary of Gross’ death, but detectives are working hard to build a case that cannot be disputed in court. “People have to realize, in a lot of cases, we believe we know who committed the crime,” Steube said, noting the sheriff’s office coordinates with the state attorney’s office to ensure a case solid before charges are brought forward and trigger time constraints for having a “speedy trial.” “We don’t want to make an arrest and present a case to the state attorney’s office that’s not good. (It needs to) have everything needed for successful prosecution. If that takes us time to do, then that’s what we’re going to do.”
Longboat Key Town Manager Dave Bullock has promoted Town Engineer Anne Ross to the newly appointed role of deputy town manager. Bullock told the Longboat Observer in December that he had pinpointed Ross as a possible town manager successor. Ross has recently been seen at Longboat Key Town Commission meetings taking notes and has been acting as a special consultant to a variety of topics from cellular communications to pensions. The promotion became official Tuesday, Jan. 1. Ross, will work 70% of her time in the town manager’s office and will continue working 30% of her time as the town engineer. Ross’ annual salary rose Jan. 1 from $88,587 to $97,000. She is on a probationary period for the position through April 30.
+ Property eyed for town center The Longboat Key Publix is attracting more than just grocery shoppers. Town Manager Dave Bullock confirmed he has held preliminary discussions with a Key property owners about acquiring two acres of land near the Publix site. “I’m keeping an eye on that property,” Bullock said. “The town has not made any formal offers but will maintain a dialogue with both property owners.” Meanwhile, some current and new businesses are making their way into the retail plaza that Publix built to the left of its new grocery store.
Pelican Press + Eide heir moves to preserve history Sarasota County could become the U.S. mecca for the study of Chinese history after the Elling O. Eide Charitable Foundation completes its benefactor’s lifelong dream. Harold Mitchell, Eide’s cousin and director of the foundation, said he expected the library housing the Courtesy photo deceased Chinese Elling Eide, left, jokes with another scholar’s volumes of Asian literature member of the Harvard Lampoon staff. would open next year. The 14,600-square-foot, threestory library will have living area for visiting scholars, conference rooms, and displays for Chinese artifacts.
+ Waechter resigns from boards Siesta Key Association board member Bob Waechter Jan. 6, announced his resignation from the Sarasota County Tourist Development Council and the Sarasota County Board of Zoning Appeals. In December, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, charged Waechter with a felony for alleged fraudulent campaign contributions under the name of County Commission candidate hopeful Lourdes Ramirez. Waechter resigned from the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority shortly after being elected chairman, but remains on the SKA board of directors.
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THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2013
ELLING EIDE / FROM 3A
A clear tub filled with Edison phonograph cylinders sits in one corner, and a framed poster of Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Greatest Show On Earth” is in another nook. Eight-foot-tall filing cabinets dominate Eide’s former office and are filled with files marked with his specific interests. One contains a newspaper clipping from 1984 and a barely legible note in Eide’s handwriting about “dog-hair spinning.” Eide kept a diary of every pet he owned since he was 4 years old. When Mitchell visited Eide in the summers, the pair would often eat at Mattison’s. Eide would greet Mitchell at the door in his boxer shorts with a cigarette in hand. He would throw on a Hawaiian shirt and an old pair of Dockers to go out to eat. “Almost every pair of pants had burn holes in them,” Mitch-
collection. Architect Guy Peterson drew up plans for the library before Eide’s death. “He was able to sell some of the land, and that allowed him to plan a real library under one roof,” Chennault said. “I’m sorry he didn’t live long enough to see it built.” The foundation and concrete skeleton of the three-story dream library is complete. Two buildings connect at a right angle. One will be the library, and the other will contain an exposition dedicated to the 1893 World’s Fair and living quarters for visiting researchers. The first door at the top of the staircase in the home in which Eide spent his final days leads to a room so cramped with his various collections it’s difficult to turn around.
Elling Eide’s parents floated his childhood home on a barge from Bradenton to its current location in mid-Sarasota County. ell recalled. The library, which will feature Peterson’s trademark modern architecture, including a spiral staircase from the fourth floor to the rooftop, from which a library visitor can almost see the Gulf of
Mexico, contrasts with the other structures on the property. The land around it will not be developed. Though the former editor of the Harvard Lampoon won’t be around to flex his witty word-
play with colleagues, Chinese scholars from around the world can enjoy the shade from trees Eide planted throughout his life, and a facility for which he fought most of his life. “I think it will be the ideal setting for cerebral work,” Mitchell said. In Eide’s home, the word “done” is scrawled on green Post-it notes affixed to bookshelves and on antiques to mark that the items have been appraised or archived. The budget of the library project has grown from original estimates, Mitchell said, but so have the number of green Post-it notes, which means the collection — and the library — is closer to an estimated fall 2014 debut. Asked what Eide would say about the library today, Mitchell said, “I think he would say that ‘it costs too damn much.’ But, I think he would have loved it.”
Big Homesites. Bigger Homes. Biggest Value.
A new model home by Neal Communities is Opening February 9th at River’s Reach, a gated community located near the headwaters of the Manatee River in Parrish. Ask about the variety of three- and four-bedroom floor plans that offer up to 3,117 square feet. Outside, nature abounds with nearly half of the acreage dedicated to open space or preserve areas, and a rural setting reminiscent of old Florida. Stop by any of our communities to learn more about how to Get Real…Get Neal.