Showing posts from June, 2008

"From the roots up": Notes on the 12th Annual Florida Neighborhoods Conference

"...we are living in the middle of a remarkable increase in our ability to share, to cooperate with one another, and to take collective action, all outside the framework of traditional institutions." Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.

The 12th Annual Florida Neighborhoods Conference brought some of Florida's most dynamic people together in Tallahassee this past week for three days of conversation, networking, exploration and celebration. Imagine the energy when you combine hundreds of grassroots activists, many of whom have been the catalysts for major change in their communities. They talked, schmoozed, toured, learned, argued, danced and partay-ed.

Sen. Bob Graham kicked things off with a hilarious account of how his career began somewhat inauspiciously when he got kicked out of his third pre-school. Along the way he said:

"We are past the point of top-down government. . .. We're now in an era where our solutions and our energy…

Rich Site

This useful chart of home sales in Sarasota County comes from this page.

There's a great deal more information there, much of it demographics and real estate-related, e.g. "Percentage of Sarasota county residents living and working in the county: 85.6%:

This data is linked to from the superb Fruitville 210 Community Alliance website. It's a site worth exploring.

Citizens Patrol Update


Let me introduce myself. My name is Ted Cover. I live at 4102 Parry Drive. I will be handling scheduling of the Citizens Patrols.

The next Citizens Patrol training session will be Tuesday, July 8 at 6:30 p.m. (immediately before the regular Community Group business meeting). The location is Sarasota Baptist Church, Room 100.

My home phone number is 379-0758. You can also contact me by E-mail at

The Citizens Patrol needs two volunteers for each of the following nights:
Sat. June 28 Fri. July 4 Sat. July 5 Fri. July 11 Sat. July 12 Sat. July 19 Fri. July 25 Sat. July 26
Patrol duration is two hours. Start time for the patrol is up to each team. Start time may be any time between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Please respond by email. I will get back to you confirming your patrol day and time. I have the magnetic signs for your vehicle, and the log book. I also have a Sheriff's Department cell phone should anyone not wish to use a personal cell phon…

New Resource for Lake Sarasota

We're building a Google Site for LSCG - check it out here, kick the tires, let us know what you think.

Lake Sarasota in the News

Hearty congratulations to the hardest working beautifiers in Lake Sarasota!

Homegrown beautification By Cathy Zollo Published Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at 4:30 a.m.
Last updated Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at 2:41 a.m.
Despite lacking a homeowners association — a handicap for any neighborhood effort — a small group of Lake Sarasota residents are working with the county to improve their area of town.INTERESTED? The Lake Sarasota Community Group meets the second Tuesday of each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Sarasota Baptist Church, 7091 Proctor Road, Room 100. For more information about the group, visit It started simply with picking up trash in the medians. Then they asked for help from code enforcement to gently persuade neighbors to cut their grass and clean up around their homes, though they first asked the neighbors directly."They said, look, we're really trying to fix the neighborhood; will you help?" said Debbie Marks, core service program coor…

Survey via Scope

Please take a moment to review and give your opinion on the following 4 Growth Scenarios for the Tampa Bay region (yes, Sarasota & Manatee County too!). These scenarios have been created from citizen planning sessions hosted by diverse regional partners as part of the "My One Bay" regional planning project. I encourage you to share with friends and colleagues. We can make a difference.Scenario GuideSurveyApril DonerSCOPE1226 N. Tamiami Trail, Suite 202Sarasota, FL 34236P. (941) 365-8751F. (941)

June 10th Meeting: A brief summary

A summary of last evening's General Meeting:

County liaison Debbie Marks informed the group that $5,546 remains from an original $10,000 grant from the county. The county would like the community to decide how to best use the funds before year's end. This will be an ongoing topic at future meetings -- if you have some thoughts, come to a meeting and let us hear from you.

Some brainstorming took place on how to get more people out to the meetings. Some thought more people might come if the meeting were earlier - 5:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m., for example. Or, to meet in cool months at the park rather than at the church. Others suggested various sorts of incentives -- raffles, guest speakers, hot-button issues. What do you think? Let us know, either in the comments below or at

Another lively round of discussion turned on how to handle complaints from residents about code enforcement issues more effectively. As foreclosed homes are snapped up by absentee owner…

A message from the elections supervisor


For immediate release Media contact: Tel 941.861.8606
SOE appeal to voters: Help us test the system!Sarasota, June 11, 2008 – Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent said today she will conduct a mock election next month to test the functionality of the county’s optical scan voting system that will be used in the fall elections and beyond. All Sarasota residents are encouraged to help test the upgraded system by voting at one of the three SOE offices in Sarasota, Venice, and North Port between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 8.“The main objective is to give voters a chance to vote a ballot on the upgraded system before the two major fall elections and to ensure the system is accurate and reliable,” Supervisor Dent said. “We will test components of the system leading up to and including ballot tabulation, and including tabulation of absentee ballots,” she added. Voters will be aske…

Community Group meets Tuesday, 7 pm

Tuesday's General Meeting of the LSCG will offer updates on the following:

The agreement formalized between the County and the Group regarding plantings in the Mauna Loa medians.

The results of today's 2 p.m. Traffic Advisory Committee meeting at which LSCG representatives will petition for additional traffic calming measures, in particular, stop signs, on Mauna Loa.

An update on Citizens Patrol - next training session July 8th.

Along with Yard of the Month, treasurer's report and any other new business as may occur.

Green Tips

Want to rid your mailbox of junk mail? Calculate your carbon footprint? SAve on AC? Use less paper? You'll find useful tips on this and more here:
www.alliancetosave energy.orgwww.nrc-recycle.orgwww.forestethics.orgwww.conservation
Thanks to Laura, who puts together the LSCG newsletter among many other things, for the links. The newsletter will be coming out soon.

TBARTA Board Seeks Input from Sarasota


Students in Government

Hello Everyone,If you know of any youth in your neighborhoods who would be interested in a summer program with STAR (students taking an active role in government) please forward this on. They must be in 9th, 10th, or 11th grade.Thank you so much.The STAR Leadership Training provides high school students with a unique opportunity to contribute to our community as decision makers. STAR members will have the chance to take a leadership role in things that matter in Sarasota County and have their voice be heard. STAR is a 60 hour leadership training that focuses on teambuilding, communication, civic engagement and leadership skills that will empower youth to use their voice as they serve their community. At the completion of the training, youth may be eligible to serve as active, voting members of governmental advisory boards (city and county) or as a member of a non-profit board of directors.Through the training, youth get the opportunity to…. §Challenge themselves- learn something …

Traffic Calming Meeting coming up

Lake Sarasota's petition for additional traffic calming measures is on the agenda for the Traffic Advisory Council meeting for June.

The meeting begins at 2 p.m. on Monday, June 9th at the County Administration building, 1660 Ringling Blvd. The Lake Sarasota request for additional stop signs on Mauna Loa is fourth on the agenda. The County has placed two signs on Mauna Loa to notify residents of the meeting.

Taxable values fall 17 percent

SARASOTA COUNTY — More than $10 billion bled from the county’s tax base last year, a decline that translates into a tax cut for many, but more layoffs and a $40 million budget shortfall for the county.The biggest drop came in North Port, where more than $2 billion was shed from the city’s tax base. That amounts to one third of the taxable value of all homes in the county’s second-largest city.Venice’s tax base contracted by 18 percent, Sarasota’s by 13 percent and Longboat Key’s by 10 percent.Part of the drop stemmed from voters approving Amendment 1 on Jan. 29, doubling the homestead exemption to $50,000. Most of the county’s 17 percent decline in taxable values came from a reduction in property assessments because of the slowdown in the real estate market.See also:

Florida's Save Our Homes tax benefit loses lusterHow could Save Our Homes, designed to lower taxes, permit a tax increase at a time of falling home values?

3% Financing for Lago/Jarvis Water Lines

Paperwork from the County indicates that Lake Sarasota residents have the option of choosing 3% financing to cover the "water capacity fee."

If you do the math, that 3% figure may seem misleading. Essentially, it's 240 payments of $15.09 over 20 years. If one paid 0% interest, the payments would be $11.33. Over 20 years, the total paid is $3621.60. If paid in full up front, the total is $2720. So the cost of financing the bill in actual dollars is 33% more.

Was this a misprint in the describing documents? No, it's the result as figured with the compound interest calculator used by the county utility. And according to the utility, it's accurate, the math is right.

The point? Always do the math for yourself, so you know what's what. "3%" sounds pretty low - and financing might still be the way to go. But it seems wise to know how much it's costing in actual George Washingtons.