+ Longboat Key Club should modernize within existing code
Wow, what a deal to have the Longboat Key Club rewrite the code. Is the fox building the new hen house?
Let’s see, Loeb Partners gets to re-zone recreational land for development land, which is valued at millions of dollars. Now what do residents of Longboat benefit from: new condos, convention hall and hotel? More traffic? More congestion? Opening of a big can of worms for our town planners’ future considerations?
If I were a Planning and Zoning (Board member), I would tell them to “go pound sand” and stop wasting our time and tax money. Tell the Key Club to modernize within existing code that worked for 30 years. I’m surprised that Key Club members want this expansion; surely it will cost more in dues. The lack of a driving range on a golf course is ridiculous!
The town should stop letting the Key Club “bully” its way around our nice island. The expansion request, if approved, will only hurt our residential values.
They say they’re losing members. Well, maybe a look at why (golf course conditions, cost?) or perhaps opening it up to the public might be a solution.
Please stop the code change.
+ IPOC’s vision has become its way or nothing
We moved to Longboat Key as year-round residents in 2005.
After paying approximately $100,000 in property taxes, voting in four elections, attending and testifying in town meetings and making a pest of myself by letters to the newspapers, I learned from an Islandside Property Owners Coalition (IPOC) advertisement in the April 8 Longboat Observer that I may not be a true resident of Longboat Key. I was so shocked by this possibility that I caught the first available plane out of town to retreat and consider the situation. (In truth, this was a pre-scheduled trip.)
If we recall, there was a short and unproductive effort by one candidate in the 2008 national election to raise the question of who might be a “real American.” One would hope that this local effort to unilaterally define who belongs and who does not will lead a similarly short life. There is nothing productive that can come from such a divisive and hostile approach. And if we really want to explore an odd-man-out scenario, we could reflect upon IPOC’s backing and fundraising for unsuccessful commission candidates. As its advertising becomes more and more hysterical and its efforts to frighten Bay Isles residents fail to achieve traction, IPOC and its backers are in danger of isolating themselves unnecessarily from the very community they profess to love.
It was sad theater when those supporting the IPOC position staged a mass walkout at the April 6 Planning and Zoning meeting. Sad, because it demonstrated the end result of when there is no real attempt at dialogue or compromise. IPOC appears to have put nearly all its remaining eggs into lawyer (Michael) Furen’s basket, and as it has shaken the threat of litigation more often than a noisemaker at a 4-year-old’s birthday party, it looks like we are all heading down that unfortunate road.
But it does not have to be that way.
I attended one of the candidate forums at L’Ambiance, and I was struck by how deeply angry so many people were. With the caveat that we never know the hardships any person faces throughout life, this was a group that enjoys a lifestyle that 99.99999% of humans would love to have. And many were angry. Why?
Does their lifestyle truly face complete devastation from a period of construction and additional buildings? Or have they talked themselves into such a scenario via their closed communication loop to the extent that they cannot envision any positive result from the proposed development? In the end, has it become “everything our way or nothing?”
The ability to sue is certainly there, right or wrong. If that is the path chosen, it will cost IPOC members a lot of money and, in turn, cost the town (assuming the plan is approved) and its residents a like amount of money. This would serve to further divide and isolate.
Rather than continue to swim against what is evidently the tide, can’t IPOC take some satisfaction from the changes that have occurred, such as lowering the height of the golf-course condominiums, reducing the number of villa units and the continued operation of some of the tennis courts? Can it find a way to accept the will of the town and work with the club and town to further mitigate any potential disruptions? Can its members who have trashed the operation of the golf course work with management so that their visions are included in the redesign?
IPOC can continue to tirelessly wave the banner of “Keep Longboat, Longboat” against the winds of change. It can remain angry. It can sue. Its members can divide themselves from their neighbors.
Or, it can take a turn to making the best of what it views as a bad situation, and, perhaps in doing so, move things positively for all of Longboat.
+ Longboat Key’s sign frenzy is a significant matter
Whenever I express concern about the signage frenzy Longboat Key has been subjected to during the last year and-a-half, I’m often told I need to be concerned about more significant matters. However, I consider aesthetics to be a very important issue. Indifference to appearance diminishes community integrity, value and quality of life.
This is why I am disappointed by the jumbled, banal welter of signs found in front of the newly refurbished Longboat Key Public Tennis Center. Three, drab no-parking signs have been placed in close proximity to one another. There is also an eyesore extra pole with no sign attached and two dissimilar exit signs. Some of the signs are crooked, and one could easily be attached to an existing light pole. Furthermore, no attempt has been made to conceal the exposed conglomeration of water pipes at the entrance of the facility.
Instead of so many no-parking sings we now see on Longboat Key, why can’t bushes sometimes be planted instead? Why can’t more attractive, stylized signposts be employed? Sarasota, St. Armands and Longboat Key are now drowning in waves of sterile signage. Why are we so insouciantly bent on inflicting this aesthetic scarring on our community?
Rabbi Jonathan R. Katz
Temple Beth Israel
+ Americans, we need to wipe out our national debt
Our nation is facing bankruptcy. Unbridled federal spending has created a colossal and rapidly escalating national debt, currently more than $12.5 trillion. The Federal Reserve continues to print money to cover congressionally mandated expenses.
If we are to avoid a financial catastrophe for our children, we must rein in spending of our tax dollars. All of us must share the blame and accept the sacrifices that will be necessary to correct this situation. Our goal must be to eliminate annual deficit spending and to wipe out our national debt within the next 20 years.
These objectives can be met if we have the determination and the guts to accomplish the following:
1. All federal salaries in the executive and legislative bodies must be reduced by 5%, followed by a five-year freeze. Congress and The White House produced our fiscal crisis and should lead in its solution. All money saved must be returned to the Treasury to begin to reduce the national debt.
2. Every federal agency, including the Department of Defense, must immediately reduce its budget by 5%, either by cutting proposed services or by laying off personnel. Increased anticipated expenditures mandated by the new health-care legislation must be met by the Department of Health and Human Services without increasing salaried personnel.
3. We must follow the example of Canada and many European nations and introduce a new Federal Value Added Tax (VAT) of 5% on all goods and services, including food and gasoline. All monies collected must again go to pay down the national debt.
4. Congress must pass a law, which prohibits “earmarks” in pending legislation.
Can this nation muster the will to carry out these measures and wipe out our national debt? The answer is yes. If there is a massive groundswell of thousands of letters to individual representatives, Congress will be persuaded to act responsibly for the sake of our children.
A. Jefferson Penfield, M.D.