+ Chapman leads recent fundraising reporting period
With less than six weeks left until the May 14 City Commission runoff election, the three candidates continue their fundraising campaigns.
Susan Chapman led the way during the most recent campaign-finance reporting period, from March 6 to March 22, with $2,425 in campaign contributions. Thus far, Chapman has collected a total of $17,815 in campaign donations.
Incumbent Suzanne Atwell collected $700 from March 6 to March 22. Thus far, Atwell has collected a total of $20,188.
Richard Dorfman collected $600 during the recent campaign-contribution period. Thus far, he has raised the highest total of campaign contributions, $40,656.
Candidates can collect a maximum of $200 from an individual donor.
+ Propsosed Hub Pub requires variance open
The city of Sarasota will host a community workshop April 16 to gather public input about a zoning change proposed to open a bar and nightclub at the Hub.
The Hub Pub would be located on the corner of Second Street and Goodrich Avenue and operate from 11 a.m. through 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays.
The city would also have to grant a variance for the bar to operate within 500 feet of a house of worship for the nighclub to begin operations.
+ Public invited to meet deputy chief candidates
Six candidates vying for the deputy chief position with the Sarasota Police Department will attend an informal meeting for the public Friday, April 5, at the police station.
Four candidates are from outside the department, while Det. Jack Carter and Capt. Paul Sutton are currently serving in internal positions. Sutton served as acting police chief for a month before Chief Bernadette DiPino was sworn in January.
The four external candidates include:
• Michael Maniago, chief of police, Torrington Police Department
• Steve Moyer, security and guest services director, University of Maryland Medical Center
• Lee Spector, assistant professor of criminal justice management, Union University and Institute
• Milton Wiener, internal affairs investigator, Palm Beach County Sheriff
+ Federal spending freeze touches tax dollars
The fiscal earnings of record year for tourism in Sarasota County will be slightly muted by a landmark budget debate in Congress.
The county must cover a roughly $92,000 budget shortfall for the 2013 fiscal year due to the automatic cuts in federal spending — or the sequestration. Nearly $40,000 will come from tourist development taxes, according to an email from Chief Financial Planning Director Steve Botelho to county commissioners.
The county must allocate $39,887 to replace federal subsidies on bonds out of the fund, which short-term rental properties fund through levies. Revenues from utility system funds will cover the remaining deficit.
+ Shy? No, ‘the best’
It’s not every day the internationally known Big Boss of one of the world’s most influential advocacy organizations comes to Sarasota and proclaims that its regional director here is “the best.”
It happened last week.
Before David Harris, executive director of the New York-based American Jewish Committee, addressed attendees March 28 at an AJC West Coast Florida luncheon at the Sarasota Yacht Club, he joked about the organization’s “shy, reclusive” regional director, Brian Lipton.
“We’re still trying to get him out of his shell,” Harris said, to the laughter of the audience.
Those who know Lipton, who is based in Sarasota, know he is anything but shy and reclusive, especially when he’s behind a microphone and in front of an audience.
Harris told his listeners that when AJC decided to open its regional office in the 1980s in Sarasota, covering Florida from Orlando to Tampa to Naples, it was a gamble.
“It has worked spectacularly well,” Harris said. And, “Brian’s the best.”
As further proof, Lipton is taking on additional responsibilities as AJC’s liaison to the AJC Adenauer Exchange Institute in Berlin.
For the past 33 years, AJC and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation have operated an exchange program that sends Jewish Americans to Germany for a week to engage German political and civic leaders in discussions regarding German-Israel relations, the threat of anti-Semitism and U.S.-Germany relations. German participants travel to New York, Washington and other cities for similar conversations.
Lipton will be in Berlin this month.
In June, Lipton will return to Berlin to participate in AJC’s Third Generation Initiative. He will take 10 Jewish grandchildren of Holocaust survivors to meet with 10 non-Jewish Germans in their late 20s and 30s whose grandparents were in the German Army in World War II.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity,” Lipton said. “I’m really excited to be able to continue AJC’s work, not only regionally, but on an international scope.”
Meetings & Agendas
• Sarasota County Commission Meeting — 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 9, R.L. Anderson Administration Building, 4000 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice
• Sarasota County Commission Meeting — 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 10, Administration Building, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
• Sarasota Tree Advisory Council meeting — 3 p.m. Thursday, April 11, Administration Building, A/B Conference Room,1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
Meetings Wrap Up
Sarasota City Commission
At the Sarasota City Commission meeting Monday, April 1 commissioners:
• Approved a status report on a Main Street improvement project and First Street Improvements.
• Approved a request to install blue LED lights on the John Ringling Causeway.
“I am very excited about it,” said Mayor Suzanne Atwell. “It is going to be gorgeous. I can’t wait to see it at night.”
Representatives at Evolucia, a local LED lighting manufacturer, said the company is willing to donate the lighting.
The next City Commission meeting will be held at 2:30 and 6 p.m. Monday, April 15, City Commission Chambers, 1565 First St., Sarasota.
The Siesta Key Village Association met Tuesday, April 2, for its monthly meeting at Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar.
• Topics included the Siesta Key beach improvement project; the forthcoming Siesta Fiesta and a workshop Village Association members are planning for the end of April to address code enforcement in the island’s commercial district.
• Village Association President Russell Matthes announced the return of island code-enforcement officer John Lally. Siesta will again have a full-time officer, along with overtime help from officer Kevin Burns.
• Sarasota County is pursuing reimbursement from a driver who crashed into a Village light pole — which is currently “missing in action,” said Mark Smith, Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce chairman Mark Smith,.
• An dumpster in the municipal parking lot that was overflowing by at least 4 feet was discovered April 2. Helene Hyland told Village Association members an investigation showed signs of restaurant trash, which is not allowed in the large green receptacle. The county is required to put a fence around the dumpster to comply with Siesta Key Overlay District regulations.
• Siesta Key Association Vice President Peter van Roekens gathered the names of volunteers to sell T-shirts at the 40th annual Siesta Fiesta. Volunteers will have roughly 288 shirts to sell for $15 each.