+ Don’t punish all for actions of a few
I love how everyone keeps pointing out the few things that have happened in relation to the millions of visitors to the beach. The accident with Mrs. Chen and the “alleged” drunk driver was a tragedy and I’m not playing that down any. But the driver of that vehicle could have just as easily gone to a bar on Siesta and ended up doing the same thing regardless if he did, in fact, drink at the beach or at a bar in the Village.
The St. Patrick’s Day happening with two people out of how many? Probably thousands of visitors to the beach that day. Again, whether at the beach or in the Village, the same thing easily could have happened.
If people still want to get drunk and still foolishly decides to drive their vehicle, they will do it regardless of where they consume the alcohol. If two people decide to go to the beach or bar and end up getting in a fight (which will sometimes happen), it doesn’t matter where it started, it will happen. Someone could go to the bars in the Village and drive the same path the driver in the Mrs. Chen happening did and end up doing the same exact thing again.
It is not a beach alcohol ban that is needed, nor will it fix anything; 2.4 million beach visitors and a few mishaps show that it doesn’t matter where the beverages were consumed it could have happened anyway and there’s all this stink and shouting to ban alcohol at the beach?
It’s not going to change anything because there will still be irresponsible people driving intoxicated and people will just go to the bars first and wind up at the beach later if that’s what they want to do.
Sit back and look at the facts, and you’ll see how small of a problem it really is (again, not downplaying Mrs. Chen ... but that still could have happened if the guy came from the Village bars, too) ... 2.4 million visitors to the beach and 0.3% or less problems from alcohol ... there are far many more that responsibly enjoy a beverage on the beach and shouldn’t be punished for the actions of the few irresponsible people.
+ Banning alcohol will not prevent drinking
Banning alcohol at Siesta Beach? Sorry, Mr. Thomson, that’s not going to happen. Tourists in huge droves never returning to Sarasota because of drunk punks everywhere on the beach? Really? You really think that they don’t have DUIs, foul-mouthed people and fights at Clearwater Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Key West, on and on and on ... Reality 101 ... Lots of people will drink at the beach regardless of whether it’s legal. They will find a way to conceal it. Coolie cup, liter of Coke with rum already poured in it, etc. Brawls at Siesta are not the norm. Over the course of 12 months, Siesta Key averaged only 15% of the total DUIs in Sarasota County each month. Whenever you have a drinking holiday (St. Pat’s, Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve) falling on a Saturday, that is a recipe for a busy day for law enforcement no matter which beach town you are in. The situation is not as dramatic/an epidemic/ the way you think it is.
+ ‘Ban the Booze’ My View was great
I very much liked your My View article on “ Banning the Booze “ on the beaches in Sarasota County. Being a writer, you can write articles every few weeks to keep the pressure on the elected officials and on the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and officers. It’s hard to believe the excesses that both sides have made.
Neither side wants to do anything about it, hoping that it will go away.
We are snowbirds for four-and-a-half months a year for the past six years.
+ Music critique was wonderfully perceptive
*This letter was originally sent to June LeBell, Observer music critic.
I loved your wise review of the Thomas Hampson concert. I am a string player and grew up in a musical family of string players. So, I play chamber music mostly and have not had a great interest in vocal music. There was some scorn toward singers in my family because so many of them did not have musical training or solfège, which you need to play a violin. When I went to music school, I had to sing with a singer to keep him on pitch and help him keep his place.
So, I was not thrilled at the prospect of this concert; however, because I am a subscriber, I went. I have rarely enjoyed a concert as much as I did this one. I am a student of American literature and poetry, which I teach at the Academy. When I saw the research he had done on the early songs and the poems set to music, I was enthralled. And, to my ear, his voice was excellent, and I could hear every word and understand it.
I came home walking on air and told all my students about the concert.
I do remember how many people left at intermission and I could not understand why. I thought that perhaps it was too intellectual for some people. Your observation was right on, the Van Wezel is not the place for such a concert. I remembered my childhood in Boston. No one would have considered using Symphony Hall for such a concert. We had Jordan Hall and other locations for such concerts. Why don’t we do that in Sarasota? Do you know why?
Again, I want to thank you for your wonderfully perceptive review of this most excellent concert. (I loved the Joplin rags also; halfway through his playing, Mr. Jones shot a sly smile at the audience as we sat there with our mouths open.) Wonderful!