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On public transportation, Ramirez called for more frequent bus routes, which have improved access on Siesta Key, and better shelters for riders. It's "terrible" to see people standing in ditches waiting for a ride, she said. Maio agreed on the need for more, better shelters. Porter said Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) saves him and his wife hours of time driving their sons around town, and he praised the bus system for reducing car trips and lessening the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Despite that, no candidate said he or she had used SCAT since at least 2000. Porter called County Administrator Tom Harmer's decision to fire Ethics and Compliance Officer Steve Uebelacker "trou- bling." While he understands that people are hired and fired all the time, Porter said, "we don't want to have a county that has any ethical questions." Maio disagreed with the other candidates, who all supported the idea of an independent ethics commission. He said Sarasota Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller Karen Rushing has established a solid process for handling ethi- cal questions. Delivering their final pitches, Ramirez called herself a "fiscal conservative" comfortable with bridging the gap between neighborhood groups and developers, while Porter again emphasized his experience as a journalist, asking tough questions while covering "hun- dreds and hundreds of hours" of government meetings. Echoing his earlier point about civility, Maio said he'd bring the county "a giant dose of positive passion." Absentee ballots are in the mail. % Ray Porter/Contributed photo Search for text in stories by clicking the icon in the menubar and entering a search term. Search the current edition or all editions. QUICK TIP Search Only The Issue You Are Viewing Search All Issues Your search term here Sarasota News Leader July 25, 2014 Page 50

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