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Sarasota City Commission District 2: Martin Hyde

Meet the candidate.

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  • | 10:00 a.m. July 15, 2020
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Name: Martin Hyde

Age: 54

Family: Four Sons all living here aged from 27 years old down to 12 years old.

Bio: Born and educated in the U.K. Professional soccer player from school (goalkeeper played for Brighton and Southampton). Worked for successful London-based technology rising from entry-level sales to CEO within 10 years. Company sold to a public company and moved the U.S. in 1999. Purchased a local business in 1999 that was based in the city for more than 27 years and still run it today as one of the oldest established and strongest companies in our field in Florida.


Why are you running for office?

I’m running for office because I’ve participated and spoken at every commission meeting for the past four years, often bringing up researched facts that the commission did not know. I’ve watched them being handled by staff and outcomes for votes on contentious issues be settled in favor of affinity groups over common interest of the majority of the citizenry.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities during your term?

If elected, I won’t be making the same tired promises that every city commissioner makes and fails to deliver on. I don't promise an end to homeless issues, but I do promise to deal firmly with vagrancy. I don't promise to create a city full of affordable housing, but I do promise to make a proposal to use city land with more density to create 500 affordable units in our city during my term. I don't promise to stop traffic, but I do promise to propose a serious look at a bypass from 41 to 301 taking north and south traffic that wants to go around the city away from the bayfront.

How do you think the city is being managed and governed? What would you recommend be done differently?


On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being excellent, how would you rate the performance of the city manager?

I rate the city manager as a minus 10 because nothing he does is positive, and much of what he does is hugely damaging to our city. His meddling with the police department is a good example. My first motion will be to remove Tom Barwin from his office.

What should be done to address the supply of workforce housing?

Per my earlier comment on workforce housing, I’d propose to use city land with zero impact fees, higher density, less parking obligation and municipal bonds to create long-term affordability to run our own portfolio of properties. I know how to do this for sure.

Do you support creating a special tax-increment financing district near the Bay Park to help finance the $200 million project? If not, how do you think the park renovation should be funded?

I don’t particularly like the idea of tax-increment funding for a small group because I think the benefit is both citywide and countywide, not to mention regionally. I think a referendum on a citywide or preferably countywide bond with a 30-year term would be fairer and allow the project to come out of the ground much quicker.

The Van Wezel Foundation is supporting the development of a new performing arts center at the Bay Park. What’s your view of that, and how do you think a center should be financed?

A new performing arts center needs to be financed by state, federal and local sources including philanthropy. I’d also favor starting this process sooner than later to ensure that as many of us as possible are still alive when it’s completed.

Bobby Jones Golf Club: Do you agree with the commission’s most recent decision to downsize to 27 holes of golf and a 130-acre park? If not, what would you propose differently?

Bobby Jones golf course is a black hole financially, and therefore putting more money into it is like burning taxpayers money. Keep the Donald Jones course. Put $2 million into renovating it one time, then lease it to a private company taking the risk from taxpayers to private enterprise. Put the rest of the land to better use a park, and potentially, I’d consider using some for affordable housing too.

Where do you stand on the roundabout at Gulfstream and U.S. 41?

The roundabout at Gulfstream and 41 is a certainty, so no point to suggest otherwise. I wouldn’t have voted for it because multilane roundabouts have been problematic in Florida.

The STOP group wanted the city to require public review hearings for large development projects in the city instead of administrative reviews by the city staff. What’s your position on that?

STOP was an unfortunate acronym, and for the most part they missed the point. But I’m not sure it’s unreasonable to require projects of larger scale to have a mandated level of public scrutiny as it’d likely keep developers on their toes. The code dictates ultimately what can and can’t be built. For the most part, I’m against changing code for a particular development, so it should make it easy for everyone knowing that what it says it what it means and not what they’d like it to say.

Many people have complained about all the condos and apartments being developed with little setbacks. If elected, will you initiate a change to the city’s zoning?

Setbacks are to do with code, but they’re also about property rights as the risk of requiring bigger setbacks are legal challenges from developers claiming a “taking” by government of their land. I, like most people, like wider sidewalks, but I’m not convinced it’s always going to be possible in downtown locations.

The transportation concerns of the city’s barrier islands don’t always mesh with those of downtown and other portions of the city. What’s the best way to align those competing concerns?

Transportation concerns from barrier islands largely focus on access and evacuation routes while downtown is more traffic flow and parking. They’re different issues with different solutions. The road diet at Fruitville is a stupid idea for evacuation as is paid parking as a way to manage traffic flow downtown. I’d say no to both.

What are your suggestions on a new home for the orchestra?

If the orchestra wants a new home, they have the same options as I do, which is to look based on need and affordability. I’m not in favor of using public park space to accommodate the orchestra. I’d love to see a new facility built within The Bay project with the stunning backdrop that’d create. The land is there for free if they’d consider that.

If proposed by a commissioner, would you vote in favor of putting a referendum on the ballot to create an elected mayor form of government? If not, why not?

I would absolutely vote to hold a referendum on a strong mayor at the earliest opportunity as we need a full time and elected leader in our city.