Sarasota News Leader

04/19/2013

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Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 OPINION Page 70 WALMART MAY NEVER BUILD THERE, BUT OTHER POSSIBILITIES EXIST FOR THE RINGLING SHOPPING CENTER SITE By Waldo Proffitt Contributing Writer COMMENTARY There is an Old side but not really excited about the issue and Saying: "All pol- not likely to remember it at the next election. itics is local." Like most Old Sayings, this one The commission voted not to allow the is not entirely true. It would be more accurate Walmart. to say that much politics is local. I would like to be able to say, "That's that." But But in a respectful gesture to Old Sayings, I it isn't. The Ringling center is a very valuable will begin my first submission to The Sarasota piece of property, well located, lending itself News Leader with a column about an episode to use by many kinds of profit-making enterin local politics — the dispute over the future prises, some of which might be acceptable to of the about-to-be-defunct Ringling Shopping the neighbors and some of which might not, Center. but many of which might be accomplished You may recall that Walmart wanted to put a with no need for commission approval of any new store in the old center and went before zoning changes. the Sarasota City Commission to seek final Sooner or later, something could be built that approval for its plan. Residents living close would be less attractive to the neighbors than to the proposed Walmart rose up in vehement a Walmart. and vocal protest. I can see one simple way to avert that outThis brought about a classic situation — very come: for the city or county to acquire the familiar to members of elected bodies at every property. That is not a bad idea in any case. level of government — where you find a rela- The same factors that make it attractive for tively small group of highly motivated people private users make it attractive for public use, (the neighbors) on one side and a large group plus the added consideration that it is adjaof people (most city residents) on the other cent to the county courthouse.

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