Sarasota News Leader

03/28/2014

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Siesta Key to distribute fact sheets about our laws. Just as Sarasota Audubon has been working to inform people checking into properties on the island about how to treat Siesta's avian tourists, county staff can provide an easy-to-comprehend note urging people to use the crosswalks. After sufficient time has elapsed following those educational measures, if no improve- ment is visible, we believe the County Commission should talk with Sheriff Tom Knight about more serious steps. As harsh as it sounds, ticketing people for blithely refusing to use crosswalks is not nearly as disturbing as tallying a body count at the end of season each year. % COMMENTARY The current rush to judgment on the location of a shelter for transients in Sarasota County is beginning to look like another "ready-fire-aim" ploy by politicians to dodge a bullet. The haste might appear to the public like a burst of action on the part of the City and County commissions. But in reality, it will concentrate the county's homeless and vagrant population in the one area least able to cope. JUDGE BY FEET NOT FEELINGS The transient population in the United States is not homogeneous. It includes fractions from every ethnic, religious and social group. But it can be divided into two distinct fac- tions — those who want help and those who reject it. Every night, The Salvation Army facility on 10th Street in Sarasota provides shelter for RESPONSES TO HOMELESSNESS REFLECTING TOO MUCH HASTE, TOO LITTLE REFLECTION By Stan Zimmerman City Editor more than 300 people. Every one of them is fed and given a dry, warm, safe place to sleep. Certain norms have to be met: No violence, no drugs and no alcohol, for a minimum. For people who want to improve their lot, the organization offers multiple programs with incentives. But after breakfast is served, a certain frac- tion ignores the opportunities and walks out the door into the predawn darkness. These people vote with their feet — for a multitude of reasons — to reject help towards literacy, sobriety and job skills, along with a number of social services. Paul Sutton has been working with the home- less for decades in Sarasota. He is now on the board of The Salvation Army after a 30-year career as a city police officer. I asked him what percentage of the transients does not want help. His opinion is that the figure is about 50 percent. COMMENTARY OPINION Sarasota News Leader March 28, 2014 Page 88

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