Sarasota News Leader

08/09/2013 & 08/16/2013

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Page 34 of 113

Sarasota News Leader August 9 & 16, 2013 Page 35 Businessman Ron Soto came forward during the "Open to the Public" part of the DID meeting to suggest a bike rack might be the solution. "They wanted the bench taken out to keep the homeless away and replaced with a bike rack," he said of the Smokin' Joe's management. "Some of their patrons have DUIs, so [the customers] bike there. You paid for all kinds of new plants recently, and now the bike guys are going through the plants, tearing the hell out of the plants you just paid for." Soto operates the family optometry shop a half-block away. While the organization's rules forbid discussion during the open-to-the-public portion An apparently homeless man sleeps on a bench in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Stan Zimof the meeting, the issue did come up again merman during "Member Comments." Stancel noted a redesign of the bike parking area at the Palm Any merchant fears the consequences of such Avenue parking garage had resulted in a cou- confusion. But Souza stepped forward to say, ple of excess racks. "I congratulate you on your work on lower "This could be an administrative issue," he Main Street. All the complaints in the papers are null and void. It's going very well, and you said. have my congratulations." DID Vice Chairman William Pettey made a motion to authorize "up to $1,000 to install a On the minus side of the karmic ledger, during new bike rack" at Smokin' Joe's. The motion an end-of-meeting budget wrap-up, it was noted the financial reserves had not yet paid for passed unanimously. $8,300 in legal fees resulting from a public records lawsuit. The suit was filed after two DID A PLUS AND A MINUS members said publicly that they had erased Also during the Open to the Public session, from their personal computers emails that Tony Souza, chairman of the Downtown Saraconcerned DID business. DID Members Dr. sota Alliance, stepped forward to offer words Mark Kaufman and Pettey surrendered their of praise to the organization. At this moment, computers; some emails were found, and downtown is a mess. Construction crews are some were gone forever. digging and pouring and demolishing and rebuilding streets and sidewalks, all part of "Dr. Kaufman, I don't mind the DID paying for a DID-financed beautification scheme that that because it doesn't come out of our pockshould be completed next month. ets," said Pettey. %

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