Sarasota News Leader

06/27/2014

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The ghost of Everett Dirksen visited Sarasota County on Monday, June 23. The man once known as "the conscience of the U.S. Senate" spent his entire career in the minority party and a decade as Minority Leader. He still managed to achieve many legislative accomplishments, including passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 over a Democratic filibuster. Asked how he did all that, Dirksen once replied, "You just have to work smarter." So it was with the Sarasota City commis- sioners this week. They were scorned for months by their "elder statesmen" seniors on the County Commission for not rushing to judgment on the site of a proposed homeless shelter. Two of the five county commissioners were openly contemptuous of the city board. But when the dust settled after a four-hour meeting on Monday afternoon, a fundamental change had occurred. The county relinquished power over the outcome and, suddenly, positions were reversed. It was the County Commission that was fractured; the City Commission, united. More importantly, con- trol over the issue had shifted. WHEN IN DOUBT, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS On one point, all parties agree. Politicians and citizens, vagrants and merchants all Homelessness consultant Robert Marbut (far left on the right front row) and City Manager Tom Barwin (third from left on right front row) are among audience members at the meeting. All photos by Norman Schimmel REVERSAL OF POLARITY ANALYSIS: THE CITY COMMISSION ENDS UP IN CONTROL OF NEW PROSPECTS FOR A HOMELESS SHELTER SITE By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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