Letters to the Editor 02.18.10


+ Article refreshed me
Dear Editor:

I would like to thank City Editor Robin Roy for taking the time to write an article about his positive experience with the Sarasota Police Department.

All too often, people or reporters only take time to write and blast something they feel an officer or his agency has done wrong. On top of that, there are usually so many inaccuracies in the newspaper’s article, law enforcement doesn’t stand a chance to have anything positive on record. When that happens, every naysayer jumps on the bandwagon, and it takes on a life of its own.

I was feeling down with all the negative press lately and never seeing any retractions or positive articles in the newspaper. It was as if I personally was being accused of doing things that I would never have in my heart to do.

Then along came this article. You have no idea how it affected me. I loved this job and coming to work every day but was starting to dread the beginning of each shift. Every day citizens said horrible things to me or my fellow officers, falsely accusing us of things, saying, “You guys are already in trouble.”

The article refreshed me, made me feel like there was hope of finding people out there that will still point me out in uniform to their child and tell them if they are ever in trouble to find that uniform.

I can speak for law enforcement and say there are good officers out there. We care, we serve, we protect, and thank you for taking the time to notice.

Officer Becky Worthington
Sarasota Police Department

+ Palm Avenue stew
Dear Editor:

In light of the city of Sarasota’s intention to hold three public meetings to solicit the public’s input on the design of the proposed Palm Avenue parking garage, I offer the following tried-and-true recipe for an architectural debacle.

Debacle Stew

1 very large ill-conceived project
5 short-sighted city commissioners
1 compliant design/build team
1 Mediterranean revival façade
1 faux “modern” façade
1 faux urban streetscape façade
3 public design review/input meetings
This recipe works great for small cities struggling to find an identity during an economic downturn. A fan favorite of the architectural profession for years, this recipe will serve about 52,000 residents.

Cooking instructions
In a small city, mix together the ill-conceived project and five short-sighted commissioners. Bring to a boil, remove from the public’s eye and let simmer for several months, stirring occasionally.
Mix in the compliant design/build team, bring to a boil then simmer for several more months. Add the three-façade designs; simmer for a few weeks then toss in the public review meetings. Simmer for several more weeks then remove from heat, let cool.

The finished building will be able to stand vacant for several years before requiring several more years of planning to figure out what to do with it.
Bon appetit!

Robert Vecchione

+ Gaming the system
Dear Editor:
I am a county taxpayer, parent and 26-year public school teacher in Sarasota.

Sarasota schools are once again asking for you to give them tens of millions of your dollars.

Of course, advocates will use the tired old emotional plea of being “for the children,” or the even more disingenuous cry that “programs and teachers will have to be cut” if the referendum fails. And, heaven forbid, you question the need for additional dollars for the schools and open yourself to attack as being “selfish” and “greedy.” Before you decide you’re too busy to vote March 16, it might be prudent to understand the big picture behind the referendum, decide enough is enough and vote “NO.”

A majority of American union members now work for the government with the largest single block found among public school teachers. Public-sector unions have become a potent lobbying force, campaigning for higher taxes across America to fund more government spending so the government can hire more unionized workers and pay higher wages.

In Sarasota, (members of) the schools and teachers union understand they will benefit by sticking together and voting in mass numbers during low turn-out special elections set up for their benefit.

To further ensure compliance among the voting block of district employees, teacher salaries are tied to the referendum with a provision in the union contract that automatically mandates a cut in all district salaries by 6.6% if the referendum is not re-authorized. It is easy to see how all 5,224 school board employees, their families and friends will vote if self interest is a part of human nature. Even Superintendent Lori White said this is a “signal to all its employees there will be a mandated pay cut should the referendum fail.” In this case, “signal” means vote “yes.”

The referendum passed in 2006 by only 13,241 votes. The School Board is the largest employer in the county with more than 5,000 employees; and if we add in the spouses, friends and others who would benefit from the tax, it is easy to almost guarantee 10,000 “yes” votes. Add low voter turnout by the general public and it’s easy to swing an election.

Like an addict, the school board and teachers union are drunk on excessive spending and taxation.

Dean Kalahar, M.Ed.


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Currently 1 Response

  • 1.
  • A Letter to the Herald Tribune Editor this week said the School Board's claimed that school budgets have been cut dramatically, some $80 million over the past few years. However, the Board did not reveal that its action-packed expenses have actually increased some $4 million. This shows the board lacks integrity and transparency.

    I have been reviewing a high school Senior's scholarship application. The student is a"B" student in English. However, the application letter has incomplete sentences and punctuation and grammatical errors. I asked an English tutor and a Columbia University application reviewer to review the application. They said it met today's standards, and was about right and typical for a "B" English student though we might wish otherwise.

    Interestingly, the October 8, 2009 academic grade printout provided to the student by the County's Sarasota District states that on July 1, 2001, numerical scores needed for given letter grades were reduced about 5%. No explanation was given for why standards were lowered and grades were inflated. Here's the data provided:

    Prior to 7/1/01
    Grade Grade Equivalent Quality Points
    A 94-100 4.00
    B 85 - 93 3.00
    C 77 - 84 2.00
    D 70 - 76 1.00
    F 0 - 69 0.00

    After 7/1/01
    Grade Grade Equivalent Quality Points
    A 90-100 4.00
    B 80 - 89 3.00
    C 70 - 79 2.00
    D 60 - 69 1.00
    F 0 - 59 0.00

    FROM 1987- 88 THROUGH 1996 - 1997
    Grade Grade Equivalent Quality Points
    A 94-100 4.00 (SAME AS FOR PRIOR TO 7-1-2001)
    B 85 - 93 3.00 (SAME AS FOR PRIOR TO 7-1-2001)
    C 75 - 84 2.00
    D 65 - 74 1.00
    F 0 - 64 0.00

    Taking together, the
    - middling Senior writing skills,
    - gross budget/expense misrepresentation and failure to identify management issues, and
    - unexplained grade inflation that may in part show why "performance" has semingly improved,

    I am convinced
    - the supplemental school tax funds will be misused and not explained fairly to voters,
    - the charges of mismanagement and excessive union influence I read about are warranted,
    -Entitlement to the supplemental tax is unwarranted.

    Alex Morris
    2299 Vintage St.
    Sarasota FL 34240

  • Alex Morris
    Sat 6th Mar 2010
    at 1:35pm
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