Saturday's letters: Preserve Lido Key, Trump and his rioters, back public schools, more

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Oppose rezoning for Lido Key high-rise

The Ronto Group has a proposal before the Sarasota Planning Board on April 14 to build a 70-unit high-rise where the iconic Gulf Beach Motel Resort and Coquina on the Beach hotel now stand on Ben Franklin Drive, on Lido Key.

To attend by Zoom, email planningboard@sarasotafl.gov by 5 p.m. on April 12.

The proposal is to rezone the property from the current height limitation of 95 feet to 135 feet, only 20 feet less than height of the Lido Beach Resort nearby.

Without a site plan, the Ronto Group also seeks an additional setback from Ben Franklin Drive, beyond existing limits, to advance closer to the Gulf shoreline. 

We are not opposed to the redevelopment of this property. We oppose the Ronto Group’s request for concessions beyond existing restrictions.

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The setback request raises serious questions about compliance with Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines for shoreline property and the obstruction of Gulf views from nearby buildings.

Unchallenged concessions to this developer can hardly be denied another. 

Before it becomes another high-rise Miami, Sarasota must draw a line in the sand to preserve its charm. 

Michael and Donna Polelle, Lido Key, Sarasota

Trump has left rioters high and dry

Many of those arrested for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 are now apologizing and begging for mercy. They say they were following President Donald Trump’s orders.

They all believed Trump when he said the election was stolen, but now they know better.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump told a crowd at one of his rallies to rough up a protester, and said if they were charged he would cover their legal fees.

Why isn’t he doing that for the hundreds who are charged with crimes committed in January? Aside from his ludicrous comments about them being good people, he has done nothing for them.

All he has done is continue to peddle the stolen election nonsense. And, worst of all, are the number of his followers who still believe his lie.

Len Roessler, Sarasota

The many sides of the Republican Party

There has been much discussion about what the Republican Party stands for.

What is often ignored in this conversation is that for years the party has been an amalgam of factions: foreign policy hawks, free marketers and Christian evangelicals.

The election of Barack Obama spurred the tea party movement that fed off the anger of many white voters and created an opening for Donald Trump.

Even though the GOP knew Trump was self-serving, with a history of failing to see anything beyond his personal interests, they were willing to put him in charge of our government, our international prestige, our economic might and our nuclear arsenal.

They stood by as candidate Trump demeaned a Gold Star family, mocked a disabled reporter, claimed climate change was a hoax, claimed Sen. John McCain was not a war hero and compared Ben Carson to a child molester.

Republicans approved a budget that proposed years of trillion-dollar deficits, condoned Trump’s trade wars, blessed Trump’s attacks on the FBI and accepted Trump’s payment of hush money to an adult film actress.

In 2020, a vast majority of the American people wanted to see this nation continue in tolerance and freedom and denounced a demagogue – they voted for a Democrat.

Jane Merriam, Punta Gorda

Public schools best way to educate students

Senate Bill 48, which is making its way through the state Senate, would drain funds from the public schools and establish a multiplicity of systems that would undermine our sense of community. This sense is essential for our form of government to survive.

The Florida Constitution, Article 9, Section 1: Public Education, states, “It is … a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for the education of all children residing within its borders.” (Emphasis added.)

The public school system is in the best position to implement this mandate. The infrastructure is there, but the resources are not.

We are dealing with dueling philosophies regarding education. Is it best delivered by a private system or a public one?

If we can agree on the goals – career readiness, active civic participation and leading a full life – a public system is the best way to reach the majority of students.

Do we wish to form multiple fiefs or come together in amity? I fear our friends in Tallahassee are misled.

I encourage you to urge them to vote “no” on SB 48.

Rhana Bazzini, Sarasota

Eye opener about wastewater release

Jesse Mendoza’s article on Piney Point was a real eye opener (“Wastewater from Piney Point released into Tampa Bay following leak,” March 30).

How can owner HRK Holdings get away with this?

Laura Ward, Sarasota