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"I wanted to stay away from any kind of exemption that would create a content bias," Pearce told the commissioners. NO COLLABORATION The City of Sarasota already has its own pan- handling ordinance in place. Although Sarasota County attorneys have met with city staff to see if the two governments could work together on a unified ordinance, those discussions have made little progress. The city's ordinance is stricter, regulating "attempted panhandling." "[City officials] believe attempted solicita- tion should be regulated," Pearce said. "We don't agree." Commissioner Joe Barbetta said he was shocked when the city attorney told the city commissioners to move ahead with their ordinance instead of adopting the coun- ty's version. "They think it's OK to go after attempted pan- handling. I think they are going to get sued," Barbetta said. Robinson argued for another attempt at collaboration. She feels the city staff should have been involved early on in the discussion of the county law and asked to help draft the county ordinance. "Sending [the ordinance] to them to review is different than asking them to participate in the process," Robinson said. "I don't feel like we are being a good partner with them." Commissioner Nora Patterson agreed with Robinson that a unified ordinance would be better, but Patterson added that it appears the city does not want that approach. "It's a whole heck of a lot easier to have one ordinance and not have to figure out where [the] city line starts and county ordinance starts. That's unfortunate," Patterson said. "I don't think there are hard feelings. They just disagree," she added. Patterson also noted that the County Commission had to be careful with its solic- itation ordinance. "This is a litigious county; we have been sued for things other counties have not." DeMarsh supported the sentiment: "There is a reason why your attorneys are conservative on this," he told the commissioners. "The city was challenged on this very thing." % For the best viewing experience on a computer click the icon in the menubar to zoom to fullscreen mode. QUICK TIP Sarasota News Leader March 7, 2014 Page 45

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