With the results of the straw poll showing Lakewood Ranch residents really do not want to incorporate as a city at this time — at least those who voted in the poll — the issue is dead.
Really dead. The vote was not even close, going down 56.5% against to 43.5% in favor of incorporation.
Out of 11,961 ballots mailed, 4,154 were returned, a 34.7% reponse rate. Compared to an off-year election, that would be a good turnout. It is certainly enough to gauge support.
“As promised, we are putting out efforts ‘on the shelf’ at this time,” Keith Davey, a primary supporter of incorporation, wrote in an email announcing the poll results. But he also said, “Perhaps the question will come up again in the near future, and both the proponents and opponents will have benefited from what has transpired over the past few years.”
The “near future” part is somewhat concerning. The people have spoken. It is hard to see what elements could change so dramatically that would warrant pursuing incorporation again soon.
We encourage the incorporation group to keep its word and let the issue takes its course. Lakewood Ranch leaders and residents will know when it’s the right time to re-ignite the discussions.
A great benefit and pride that Lakewood Ranch residents can take from this debate is there is a strong civic-mindedness in the community. Both sides volunteered an enormous amount of time, energy and money to pursue what they believed to be best for the community.
And although the debate became intense and strained at times, it was not over the line or full of personal attacks. On balance, the two sides stuck to the issues.
And thanks to Rob Lane and his crew at Kerkering, Barberio & Co. for donating the considerable work of the straw poll. It was another act of civic-mindedness.
Lakewood Ranch will not become a city soon, but there is plenty to be proud of in the process of deciding that.
+ Unnecessary crime problem
John McCoy was arrested Aug. 22 and charged with theft for stealing bikes. He has 29 previous convictions for robbery, burglary, grand theft, felony petit theft, dealing stolen property and narcotics.
He has been arrested in Manatee, Sarasota and Pinellas counties.
Is there some good reason why this man is free? He is clearly unrepentant and does not perceive a deterrent even worthy of stopping him from stealing a bike.
There are complaints sometimes about spending so much money building jails. But we will spend the money one way or another. Police should be spending their time more effectively than re-arresting the same people time and again.
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It’s time for feasting on candy and family fun.
Merchants on Lakewood Ranch Main Street continue to mourn the surprising loss of fellow business owner Rebekah Hatmaker, co-owner of Serendipity Boutique.