Wednesday’s letters: Baranciks, Selby Gardens, education, more – Opinion – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Wednesday’s letters: Baranciks, Selby Gardens, education, more – Opinion – Sarasota Herald-Tribune


Remember Baranciks’ generosity, ‘sparkle’

I was fortunate to have met Margery and Charles Barancik, and was deeply touched by their genuine love of humanity and dedication to our community. Plus, they had a certain “sparkle of kindness” that spread to those around them.

The roots of Sarasota are firmly grounded in our nonprofit cultural, arts, educational and humanitarian organizations, stemming from visionaries and philanthropists like John Ringling.

The Baranciks, too, are legends in our own community. Their generosity, collaboration and leadership in the city of Sarasota have helped to make a number of projects a reality, like the Sarasota Housing Authority’s Lofts on Lemon. This attainable and workforce housing development will create 130 units for Sarasota’s “hometown heroes” (teachers, nurses, law enforcement, fire/EMS, etc.).

The ripple effect of this translates to people being able to live — and be invested — in the community where they work. This is but one example of the Baranciks’ deliberate positive impact, which will be felt for generations to come.

My heart goes out to the family of Margery and Charles Barancik and to all in our community who had the benefit of their friendship. In a time when so many people are turning inward, let’s take a moment to reflect on their generosity and be thankful they were a part of our world. Let their legend inspire us all to be just a little bit more kind, generous, patient, visionary, soft-spoken and civil. And, let us not forget the magic and warmth of their sparkle.

Jen Ahearn-Koch, mayor and commissioner-at-large, city of Sarasota

Selby Gardens should move to larger site

The Sarasota city commissioners gave Selby Gardens the message that its original master plan did not comply with the city’s comprehensive plan. And yet, Selby is trying to force a new master plan on the local neighborhoods and the city.

Selby is meeting with key city officials to resolve points of contention.

The city gives Selby enough favorable tax breaks and other concessions. Selby should move from its 15-acre site on the Bayfront to a larger location, perhaps in the county, with room to develop the new master plan, which includes a restaurant and a world-class center for orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads, epiphytes and tropical plants.

A larger property could handle the anticipated 1 million visitors a year.

Please leave the local neighborhoods alone. The traffic problems and patterns for the newly proposed 45-foot-high garage will be the same as the 70-foot garage. Do not try to force your new master plan on the city.

Michael Sullivan, Sarasota

Selby neighbors never satisfied

I sat through endless hours of community input before the Planning Board and the Sarasota City Commission. Neighbors of Selby Gardens, objecting to its desire to modify the comprehensive plan, were almost unanimous in saying, “No comp plan modification, no commercial restaurant, no tall garage — and we will be totally ‘on board.’”

Well, Selby has announced its intention to eliminate the commercial restaurant, lower the garage to currently permissible heights and not attempt to modify the comp plan.

The first words out of the neighbors’ mouths? “They lied to us.”

Selby has done exactly what you asked of them. It is time you showed some modicum of integrity and supported the gardens’ plan.

John Cloud, Sarasota

Evangelicals still pander to president

The evangelicals circled the wagons around President Donald Trump this weekend because one of their own dared to call him out for the poor excuse of a man that he is.

When Trump was running for office, an evangelical on NPR justified his support with the old “hate the sin, love the sinner.”

So, three years later, they still say the same thing because he panders to them on a couple of key issues. When will evangelicals wake up and realize they’ve sold their souls to a man whose ultimate goal seems to be to rule in hell?

I suspect Trump could get Satan voted out of office, with Russia’s help of course.

Tom McArdle, University Park

Spend less on prisons and more on education

Robert Pianta’s excellent column about how we’ve underspent on education for decades failed to identify the root cause and, therefore, its solution (“What public education needs is more money,” Dec. 22).

Since the Clinton-era “War on Crime,” prison budgets have gone up dramatically and, because state legislators have to balance state budgets, education budgets have gone proportionally down.

We have traded “three strikes and you’re out” and mandatory minimum sentencing for poorer performing K-12 schools and massive college student debt.

Gov. Ron DeSantis could secure his place in history and lead the nation if he were to fix education by fixing our draconian criminal justice system. It wouldn’t cost us a dime.

Lin Williams, Venice


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