TWISler Breakdown: Is there anybody out there?

Published May 31, 2011

TWISler Breakdown: Is there anybody out there?

We’ve been trying pretty hard over here in TWISville to get the attention of our elected leaders in the hopes of having the views of the creative class represented in the city’s actions. But for as much as we complain about not being heard, every now and again we’re ecstatic to see the folks in charge talking about, and more importantly, doing things that we’ve been calling for. It just makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

We laid down quite a few of our humble opinions in last week’s TWISler Breakdown, and we’ll be damned if we haven’t witnessed some favorable movement toward our beloved creative class agenda, which basically revolves around using innovative methods and embracing our artistic culture as a means to achieving greater economic prosperity. They may have missed the point on a few aspects, but any step in the right direction is a giant leap for Sarasota-kind.

After the city commission voted to remove all seating in Five Points Park, we pointed out that hosting live music, art and dance might help to attract a less vagrant populace to our little patch of grass in the heart of downtown. So you can understand our elation after spotting a headline in the Sarasota Observer reading “DID Tunes Into Park Addition”. Although the piece went on to describe how the Downtown Improvement District board members are seeking to install a computerized music system to pump out pre-recorded jams in the park rather than hire live musicians, at least it shows they’re catching the entertainment bug and actually concerned about park users’ sensory experience.

But it’s too bad they aren’t interested in hiring local artists to perform with the $3,000 they’re planning to spend on the system’s installation, seeing how it’s so hard to find decent gigs in these parts and even harder to find anything resembling our city’s cultural heritage when walking around downtown. Hey, I guess elevator music is better than nothing.

We were also overjoyed with a column headline in the Herald-Tribune stating, “A better plan for Sarasota’s homeless”, touching on the other major point we made last week. Apparently, the city is concocting a scheme with the Salvation Army that aims to give members of our homeless community something to do during the day rather than panhandle. The project will put teams to work on public projects like cleaning and painting in the afternoons in exchange for food and shelter, and even provide some job training and searching assitance. What a novel idea…

If inacted, the city will pay the Salvation Army $40,000 a year from Community Redevelopment Block Grant funds and will hopefully be rewarded with a few additional productive members of society and some pretty colored walls for their investments. We say money well spent.

Obviously, we don’t see eye to eye on everything. But it’s nice to know our leaders aren’t completely blind.

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