Sarasota County GOP voters have an important decision on August 30th. While two other County Commission races are already decided because candidates are running unopposed, the District 1 race offers a choice between Frank DiCicco and the machine candidate.
Local races often don’t get the same voter focus as state or national elections. Local races certainly don’t get the same airtime or ink as those top of ballot races. Yet when it comes to your home’s value, daily commute, education and employment opportunities, along with the environment, those local races matter.
Bottom line: an entrenched political machine has been effective in undermining Sarasota’s quality of life for the last decade, with greater success in recent years. Those who fund and direct this “growth machine” effort are Pat Neal, Carlos Beruff, Rex Jensen and Randy Benderson. A review of local PACs and campaign ledgers reveal their investments in their growth machine candidates.
The business model the developer “growth machine” seeks to perpetuate: buy cheap (often rural) land and get it rezoned for residential or retail development. Get the County Commission to reduce or eliminate impact fees. Lobby the Commission to permit an endless supply of subdivisions or bedroom communities, without regard for actual housing demand, existing neighborhoods, the environment and blighted areas in need of redevelopment. These fellows build malls, strip malls or subdivisions. They want Commissioners who will keep rubber-stamping their projects.
By failing to embrace and enforce best development practices, like “walkability”, our County Commission’s servitude to the developer cabal makes us all collectively poorer. We are poorer due to the giveaways which accompany political cronyism. Commissioner/developer cronyism also sets us up for blight as well as boom and bust real estate cycles, because “growth machine” commissioners approve new housing with no regard for local supply and demand. Another problem with the “growth machine” business model: their style of development doesn’t generate enough tax revenue to pay for the services and infrastructure it requires. Not to mention the traffic.
Our County Commission has set their “growth machine” benefactors up for big benefits at our expense.
The new anointed “growth machine” candidate already shocked our community by working to approve 200 new homes sandwiched between two unlined landfills., paving the way for Carlos Beruff’s new project. It seems contaminated rural land is even cheaper for the developer. Would the machine commission candidate have his family live in one of those homes?
Frank DiCicco has worked for his community in Myakka. He advocates responsible growth, which will work for the community, not for the growth machine. DiCicco is standing up to the intimidation tactics of the “growth machine” cabal. You have a choice, Sarasota GOP voters. DiCicco is the antidote to the toxic brew of the “growth machine”.
The “growth machine” candidate’s wife, sits on the State College of Florida Board of Trustees.
Mrs. Moran went along with fellow SCF trustee Carlos Beruff’s move to eliminate tenure at State College of Florida, a policy which hobbles the school’s ability to recruit top faculty. Pat Neal’s wife, Charlene Neal, was also a member of the SCF board at the time, but she did not attend that meeting.
But Mrs. Moran went beyond eliminating tenure – she also voted against three year contracts for SCF faculty. Thankfully, her denial of three year contracts did not prevail.
Mrs. Moran was not alone in her vote against three year contracts. She was joined by Peter Logan, a fellow SCF trustee and president of U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff’s Medallion Homes. Logan recently made news when he was accused of stealing a campaign sign belonging to Corie Holmes, a Manatee County Commission candidate.
Interesting the local GOP PAC manager, soon to be school board member Eric Robinson also serves on the State College of Florida board of trustees.
In a community full of accomplished retirees, many of whom no doubt have had distinguished academic careers, how does it serve our community to have the SCF board full of Neal/Beruff surrogates?