+ Homeless fed at vice mayor’s home
To protest what he called Vice Mayor Terry Turner’s “changes of position on the issue of feeding homeless,” downtown resident and radio show host Phil Grande chartered a bus, filled it with homeless people and catered a dinner for them Tuesday evening.
The dinner was held directly in front of Turner’s home in the tony Cherokee Park neighborhood.
Grande has been an opponent of the homeless feedings in Selby Five Points Park, because he wants to move them, instead, to other parts of town.
Turner had also been opposed but recently told Grande that he was rethinking that position.
“There has to be a balance with the needs of the greater community,” said Turner. “It might be too onerous to pass more restrictions (on the homeless).
“Turner flip-flopped,” said Thomas Biggs, senior producer of Grande’s radio show. “He said it’s OK to feed at certain locations. So, Phil said Turner’s street could be one of those certain locations.”
The vice mayor said he thought it was “appalling” that Grande took advantage of the disadvantaged to make a political point.
+ Citizens group demands another county audit
A citizens group is asking that an audit of the process of awarding spring-training contracts be redone.
Sarasota Citizens for Responsible Government believes the audit, conducted by Sarasota County Clerk of Courts Karen Rushing, did not go far enough in examining the relationship between the winning bidders of two baseball-related contracts and top county officials.
“There’s an obvious problem in procurement and a failure of checks-and-balances,” said the group’s leader, Cathy Antunes.
Antunes is critical of the audit that found no wrongdoing in the awarding of contracts to Barrett Sports Group, which was chosen to facilitate negotiations with the Boston Red Sox, and IFG, the company selected as an owner’s representative during talks with the Baltimore Orioles.
Some of her many criticisms of that process that awarded those contracts include:
- Allowing a county employee to stay on the committee that voted for the IFG contract, after it was discovered he had a personal relationship with its owner.
- Knowingly using language that came directly from IFG in the contract on which IFG itself was bidding.
- Allowing IFG to craft job requirements that none of the other bidders could match.
- In asking for another audit, Antunes said her goal is to hold county government, and its top officials, accountable for their actions.
“We’re hoping that this will make an impact,” she said. “There’s a cultural problem in county government.”
Meetings & Agendas
- Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection Board — 3:30 p.m. Thursday, July 14, City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota
- Independent Police Advisory Panel — 1 p.m. Friday, July 15, City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota
- City Budget Workshop — 8 a.m. Tuesday, July 19, City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota
- City Budget Workshop — 8 a.m. Wednesday, July 20, City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota