Sarasota News Leader

10/19/2012

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LETTING IT ALL OUT The Sarasota County commissioners were not all smiles during their joint meeting Oct. 16 with the Venice City Council. Photo by Norman Schimmel GROUP THERAPY SESSION BREAKS OUT AT JOINT COUNTY COMMISSION-VENICE COUNCIL MEETING By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor "Good talk, good talk." You could almost hear those words muttered after Tuesday's joint meeting between the Sarasota County Com- mission and the Venice City Council, during which commissioners aired personal griev- ances and expressed hurt feelings. Agenda item 2B may have been labeled as just a "Discussion on intergovernmental relations relating to mutual cooperation, improved communications, protocols, and relationship building," but the moment quickly turned personal. County Commission Chairwoman Christine Robinson introduced the topic while appearing to fight back tears. "I'm frustrated, would be the best word to say. There are frequently times that things are said at council meetings that are not said to my face," she said. "I want to stop some of the rhetoric that is happening." Commissioner Joe Barbetta blasted the City Council, and particularly Mayor John Holic, for calling the county a "benevolent dictator- ship" during an Oct. 9 meeting. "I was appalled at what I heard," Barbetta said, "and I would hope you would be man enough, woman enough, to say it to our faces, but to call us a benevolent dictatorship is out of line. … Don't go making these crazy comments."

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