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Letter to the Editor

The Observer needs new management

Longboat Key's mayor writes that a recent editorial would have made more sense as an April Fools' joke.

  • By
  • | 5:00 a.m. April 4, 2024
The planned Longboat Key Library has a potential expansion to a second floor.
The planned Longboat Key Library has a potential expansion to a second floor.
Courtesy image
  • Longboat Key
  • Opinion
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I’m sorry this has become personal. 

When I first read Matt Walsh’s full-page editorial chastising the town, and me in particular, for engaging in a conspiracy to develop a Sarasota County library and community center on Longboat Key (of all things!), I just assumed it was a part of the Observer's April Fools' edition.  

Sadly, not so.  

In an unfortunate déjà vu, like this paper’s small but critical role in scuttling the town’s 2019 plan to create an Arts, Cultural and Education Center in partnership with Ringling College of Art and Design, you think that you and you alone know what’s best for our town.

In my 12 years of volunteer service for the town, the last four (and next one) as mayor, I have taken every step and made every decision before me in what I believed to be the best interests of this community. I have had no agenda, no ax to grind and no benefit to gain. 

I was shocked and disheartened five years ago when the Ringling project was shot down by your efforts and those of two (out of seven) commissioners. But Town Manager Tom Harmer and I set to work immediately to formulate a new plan that would preserve the idea of a town community center together with a new partner willing to fund most of its construction and all of its operations.  

The result will be a Sarasota County Library and Community Center, the first on the Sarasota barrier islands, designed to meet the needs of our residents and guests.

As your editorial pointed out, this train is moving forward. You can get on board or step aside. Or, once again, you can try to frustrate the efforts of this community and its elected representatives to create the best town center we can.  

Better yet, maybe it’s time finally for you to turn over the editorial page of the otherwise excellent Observer to more responsible management.

— Ken Schneier, mayor of Longboat Key


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