Saturday, March 15, 2014

Up the Hill Backwards, It'll be Alright.

While I agree with Ms. Hamilton's deep concern's about the Sarasota homeless population and her obvious empathy for this at risk population, it still Isn't Time. Ms. Hamilton authored this lengthy op-ed and at the very last sentence ties it back to her It's Time Sarasota Mayor Initiative.  Christ almighty, our species will twist any subject and wring the hell out if to point it back to what we have latched on as "The" answer for everything. So here I am doing my species thing, insisting, it still isn't time until that piece of crap initiative is rewritten.

She continues to pummel the point that our City Commission will only grapple with arriving to an answer or not as to where to place the homeless.  She thinks a mayor in one fell swoop will come in and save the day, save the homeless and save you and me.

Let's be clear, Diana Hamilton and Linda Holland both appear as scorned losers who couldn't win a seat on the commission  and now these two are insisting that a Mayor for SRQ is the ONLY thing that will solve problems for our town.

Puh'leeze. I'm going to write, these two women seem nothing more than mere spokes'puppets for some of the actual gentlemen who are really pushing the It's Time Sarasota mayor initiative.  

If our town is going to have a mayor, let's rewrite the It's Time Sarasota initiative.  Even just the line in the initiative that the position for Mayor is Non-Partisan is mendacious, we all know damn well that this is politics. Politics for Big Development not politics for the average citizen. This supposed mayor will not be non-partisan, that's just bullshit.  If Ms. Hamiliton and Ms. Holland want SRQ to have a mayor, let's at the very least let those candidates declare their party affiliation.  I don't care for either party but I sure as shit do not want one of Jesse Biter's Tea Party Hublicans calling the shots.  



SRQ Daily: 3/15 Saturday

[What Beats?]  The Hill
Diana Hamilton
Throughout our city, hundreds of people are living without homes. Some are veterans, some are families, some are addicts or down on their luck and some are just plain ol’ no-accounts. With no closet for their clothes, no place to bathe, cook a meal or safely sleep, they carry what they can and survive by living in camps, on the street, in cars or the occasional luxury night at the Salvation Army. There are many, woman and men alike, who manage to go to work every day and still cannot find homes for reasons we all know about—lack of affordable housing, credit or legal unworthiness, etc. Bottom line, in our majority heart of City hearts, we wish they would all just go somewhere else, please.

This week I happened upon a public access email thread that made my own heart knot right up.

One highly ranked site for somewhere else, please, a.k.a. Dr. Marbuts “come-as-you-are shelter,” has become ensnarled in a word tangle between Sarasota County staffers directed by a 5-0 vote to get it done and City of Sarasota staff cautiously navigating a 3-2 policy divide dogged by efforts of two City Commissioners determined that it not get done. When communications got testy, perhaps implying he was being purposeful obstructive, our point person with the County and Dr. Marbut, Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown, reached out to his boss and the Commission for help.

That’s where I picked up the thread.

The site in question, 1330 Osprey, known by Public Works people as the Hill, borders on relatively co-equal uses; industrial, office and human services. The site is large enough for the shelter, and—big plus—we own it. There are undeniable difficult factors inherent in the site. Humongous city service vehicles and a building housing chemicals, parts and supplies live on the Hill, along with a Department of Environmental Protection-required deep injection well.

While I have to believe it will all work out, I know, depending on who is pulling the thread, the Hill could realistically be a tough climb. And having to retreat to the Commission now for direction or possible redirection could sit us back aways. Everyday we spend slogging though yet another meeting, the results of slow going become more visible and troublesome for us all, especially those without homes. But slog on we must until something changes.

Our present reality of people living for whatever reason without homes in Sarasota is an excellent example of the type of challenge larger, grown-up cities like St. Petersburg vote to elect executive leadership to solve. And though one could argue that Sarasota is not today growing in population, we must surely recognize we are growing in terms of the similar types of larger City challenges of homelessness, lack of affordable housing and higher paying jobs.

Government by committee makes even popular public policy goals difficult to achieve and can cause tempestuous issues like placement of the shelter to easily slide sideways. Sarasota’s future success depends on our ability to face that future, change our ways and elect a leader to make the executive choices required to resolve our grown-up challenges. It’s Time Sarasota.

SRQ Daily Columnist Diana Hamilton, after living 35 years in Sarasota, labels herself a pragmatic optimist with radical humorist tendencies and a new found resistance to ice cream 

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