Sarasota News Leader

10/11/2013

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OPINION GOVERNING BY ANGRY MOB EDITORIAL Recently, we applauded Sarasota Vice Mayor Willie Shaw and Commissioners Susan Chapman and Suzanne Atwell for adding the revisiting of Florida's Stand Your Ground law to the city's list of legislative priorities. There are occasions when such a simple majority can provide positive leadership for the city's residents. However, the City Commission in general — and this majority in particular — has demonstrated a dismaying propensity to kowtow to every angry mob that shows up in the commission's chambers. For example, only a few years ago the City Commission undertook a study of downtown parking and concluded that charging for street parking would increase turnover and provide more spaces for shoppers who needed a spot for only a short while. The board even spent more than $1 million to install sophisticated electronic parking meters for those who wished to park on downtown streets. There was outrage, of course … mostly from downtown business owners and employees who no longer could economically park in front of their establishments. They formed the core of an angry mob that stormed City Hall to demand the removal of the parking meters. At some of those appearances, the members of the angry mob even wore paper sacks over their heads, ostensibly to call metaphorically for "bagging" the meters … not, one imagines, to preserve their anonymity.

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