Sarasota News Leader

09/21/12

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Sarasota News Leader September 21, 2012 zation on vagrancy and discuss it on email," he said. "I'd like to read those." "This is a good illustration of why to use the city's email account," Fournier told the DID board. "The concern is, any communication between any two of you on official business has to held in the sunshine. This is not a [government in the] sunshine issue. It is a public records issue." Both Fournier and Nadalini urged the five-member board to use only the city email accounts for correspondence. Kaufman said he didn't receive any initial paperwork or guidance from the city about compliance with sunshine and public re- cords laws. "I didn't get any instructions," he said. "I advise you to use your city account and co-copy your personal account," she said. For emails to and from city accounts, it is easy for Nadalini to make copies for any person who requests them. Under the law, however, she cannot ask why the docu- ments are being requested. Barfield is involved with the Sarasota chap- ter of the American Civil Liberties Union and is protective of constitutional rights. Sarasota has a no-smoking ordinance in place for certain parks, including the Five Points Park downtown. "The state attorney general has ruled five different times cities cannot regulate out- door smoking," said Barfield. "In Sarasota, it's a $358 fine for smoking in public, smok- ing on a public sidewalk." Page 7 Later during the meeting, Sarasota Police Officer Randy Body gave the DID an update on the crackdown on vagrancy downtown. "We arrested 20 people and did a crimi- nal background check," he said. "Among them, they had 480 citations for non-violent crimes, and 162 citations for violent crime. They had 255 citations for drug- and alco- hol-related violations. That's just 20 peo- ple." The DID governing board is composed of downtown property owners, businessmen and developers. While the specter of a DID public records lawsuit looms, a suit over violation of public meetings requirements appears to be set- tled. An ad hoc committee appointed by Mayor Suzanne Atwell to explore a public art proj- ect met repeatedly without formal notice or minutes before urging the city to spend $50,000 on the project. The chairman of the Public Art Committee and the group Citizens for Sunshine sued the city over violations of the Government in the Sunshine Act. Fournier suggested the city settle immediately and pay $5,000 for the plaintiff's legal fees. City commissioners grudgingly accepted the settlement, but Commissioner Terry Turner suggested Fournier explore ways to abolish the Public Art Committee and also take the $5,000 from the city's public art fund. The other four commissioners agreed.

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