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There never seems to be enough opportunity to discuss Sarasota's problem with homeless- ness. City commissioners literally ran out of time on Monday, May 19, taking testimony and asking questions until they had exhausted their afternoon ses- sion and dinner hour. S o m e t h i n g s i m i l a r happened on April 1, when a joint meet- ing of the City and County commissions was "hijacked" for three hours by pub- l i c t e s t i m o n y a n d commissioner discussions about vagrancy and homelessness. As far as nuances on the subject, there are many, but the essence of the issue is sim- ple: Should the city and county guarantee shelter to sequester the area's homeless? The decision appears to be "Yes." However, t h e t o p t w o s i t e s selected by Robert Marbut — the con- sultant to the city and county — have drawn The City Commission took a lot of time to focus on homelessness issues Monday. Photo by Norman Schimmel SO MANY QUESTIONS ANALYSIS: AS THE DEBATE CONTINUES OVER A COME-AS-YOU-ARE SHELTER, COMMUNITY LEADERS DIG MORE DEEPLY INTO THE PROS AND CONS My data points are, how many people in jail are homeless? What is the emergency room data or EMS transport data? And I use visual data on the streets. These are three data points I talk about everywhere I go. What elected officials are concerned about is the visual homeless. Robert Marbut Consultant on Homelessness By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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