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We feel terribly sorry for DavisShaw. In a let- ter she sent the News Leader last week (see it below in this section), she points to text in the Big Pass Piano music video released earlier this month, which protests the proposal to dredge Big Sarasota Pass for sand to renourish Lido Beach. "No decision has been made at this time," DavisShaw stresses about the dredging plan, adding," If the data in the final analysis shows that the proposed Lido Beach project would put Siesta Key beaches, homes or businesses at risk, neither the City of Sarasota staff nor the Army Corps of Engineers staff would sup- port moving forward with it." DavisShaw has an excellent reputation in this community, which makes it all the more painful that she has to contend with criticism that rightfully should be directed at the COE. In fact, we continue to rue the treatment she received when two representatives of the federal agency joined her in a presentation about the Lido project during a public meet- ing hosted last December by the Siesta Key Association (SKA). DavisShaw was berated by people in the audience, who were angry and fearful about the very idea of dredging Big Pass, which has remained untouched over the centuries. What DavisShaw wants — and what the vast majority of opponents of the project have agreed is needed — is sufficient renourish- ment of Lido Key so structures do not start tumbling into the Gulf of Mexico. But whereas DavisShaw has spoken of caution, the COE representatives have been cavalier about how the project might affect Siesta Key. Anyone who sat in the audience for the S a r a s o t a C o u n t y C o a s t a l A d v i s o r y Committee (CAC) meeting on Sept. 18, 2013 and listened to Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Milan Mora talk about the whole scenario saw smugness and heard assurances that brought to mind the line from that old joke: "We're the government and we're here to help you." It was enough to make any Siesta resident want to run from the room, screaming in terror. Perhaps Mora thought the volunteers who serve on the CAC would be an "Amen chorus" for him. After all, he was the man from the government, there to keep Lido from falling into the sea. During remarks to representatives of the news media almost exactly a month later — just hours before he was to present the same PowerPoint slides to a joint meeting of the City and County commissions that he had shown the Coastal Advisory Committee — his assertions were still that assured. Both the dredging of Big Pass and the installation of the groins on South Lido Key are necessary to W h a t h a s p r o m p t e d o n e organization after another on Siesta Key to protest facets of the Army Corps of Engineers plan as Mora has outlined them has been the sheer uncertainty of their impacts on Siesta Key. OPINION Sarasota News Leader April 25, 2014 Page 79

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