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Recently I came across a letter printed by another local news source that struck a nerve…severe enough for me to start a conversation here! In a Community Forum held by City Commissioner Willie Shaw, Sarasota Police Department Chief of Police Mike Hollaway disclosed the current success rate and statistics that the SPD has achieved. All very impressive numbers and signs that change can and is being made towards the positive. It was added that Commissioner Shaw and a group of other Sarasota government officials would be embarking on a trip to High Point, North Carolina to become better educated to the tactics employed there to cleanse their streets of crime.
Why High Point, North Carolina? In terms of demographics, High Point is nearly a twin sister city to Sarasota. And that area had similar economic challenges and levels of subsequent criminal activity. However, that situation has changed and continues to improve as of this writing.
It would seem that a method, process or some combination of the two or more, has been implemented and it WORKS! So, if your goal is to also raise Sarasota to a higher standard and reduce the criminal element that exists here now…whaddaya do? Either fly in and house a consultant to evaluate your situation and create a similar strategy applicable to this city. Or, you visit that area and see firsthand, what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. You then return to Sarasota and begin compiling an effective process that will net the same or better results.
Strangely enough, there arose the voice of one citizen who felt as follows:
As usual, the viewpoint that matters the most, that of the individuals affected the most, isn’t the one that we have to bear. This squeaky wheel should simply go without his oil into the night! What’s even worse is that this letter even found its way into the public eye…why? Dear author, the 15 minutes that it took to read this message of yours, you OWE me those back! Had the author even taken the time to consider why High Point was chosen? To offer some clarity, compare the figures for High Point here and those for Sarasota here.
There will always be room for an open discussion amongst any of the residents of Sarasota that will serve to uplift and improve the quality of life here. If there are processes which you take issue with, bring them to the attention of those who’ve created the problem. Maybe the issue lies with the perception that the trip to High Point was the first suggestion? Maybe the author felt someone other than Commissioner Shaw should go?
And, in a direct contradiction of his own logic, the citizens and residents of Newtown cannot bring about the end of the drug activity as you suggest. If that were the case, then why put so much emphasis to empower the SPD? Who has the solution, the people or those who protect the people? Are any other trips on city business conducted out of the personal accounts of those who’ve taken them? It seems to me that a member of government, traveling on official business, would be doing so at the expense of their employer, ergo the City of Sarasota. I’m not really sure who the author feels should be responsible for the traveling expenses of our government officials on our behalf.
The author further insists that the leadership coming out of Newtown hasn’t been worth a damn. As is typical in any governed society, no one individual within that system can effect positive change through their own effort. Any black leader has been a part of a larger entity wherein their vote becomes the minority vote by default and sheer numbers. Much like the author, who feels he knows exactly what should be done, unless a majority of other officials stand in agreement, nothing would change. And who gets the blame?
And I may be mistaken but, I believe this was the same author of a letter to the Longboat Key Observer to have spoken against the construction of the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex – yet was all in favor of the Payne Park project (which has done nothing but lose money for the city! It’s actually for sale, any takers?)
Ciao for now…me