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Opinion
Sarasota Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 1 year ago

Letter to the Editor

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by: Michael Barfield

+ On Batwoman, Robin
Dear Editor:
I would like to respond to a recent editorial in which Andrea Mogensen and I are portrayed as Batwoman and Robin. I also wanted to say something about the Downtown Roundtable that Kerry Kirschner is a proponent of. I’ll start with the roundtable.  

Prior to reading an email from Mr. Kirschner to you that appeared on the city’s website, Andrea or I had never heard anything about the roundtable. We never made any public records request or claim relating to the roundtable. We’ve never claimed or taken any position that anything about the roundtable violated the Sunshine Law in any fashion because we knew nothing about it. I’ve never met Mr. Kirschner and do not know why he decided to pull me into the situation about the roundtable.

After the editorial, I did see an opinion letter from the city attorney in response to Sunshine Law concerns raised about the roundtable. It is noteworthy that the city attorney’s opinion explicitly pointed out that his advice about the roundtable was not based on any expansive views of the Sunshine Law or the recent lawsuit against two city commissioners. Rather, the opinion states that this has long been the law in Florida. 

As for the batmobiling (filing lawsuits on behalf of clients), that’s the business every licensed attorney engages in. Citizens for Sunshine has a real board, and those individuals are very much in favor of transparency by elected and appointed officials around Florida, not just here in Sarasota.

I don’t know of any law firm that’s in business to do anything but represent clients and make a profit. The interests of Andrea’s clients are to enforce transparency laws in this state. I don’t know of any attorney or law firm in town who does more pro bono work than Andrea. Additionally, the media never hears about cases that are resolved without filing lawsuits. There have been plenty of those cases.    

It would have been more productive if someone from your editorial board had reached out to ask us questions about these matters before publishing an editorial.

Michael Barfield
Sarasota 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Please email letters to Managing Editor Randi Donahue, rdonahue@yourobserver.com. Letters pertaining to local matters receive precedence. Letters may be edited for grammar and space.

 

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