TWISler Breakdown: We Need a Braveheart

Published Jan. 18, 2011

TWISler Breakdown: We Need a Braveheart

It’s your good buddy TWISler back again this week to carefully dissect one of the most important, make that THE most important entity that currently exists in Sarasota County. That’s because the sole purpose of the Economic Development Corporation is figuring out how to grow and diversify Sarasota’s economy. Make no mistake, all the commissioners, committees, councils and corporations in this town combined do not wield as much power to make or break our city as the EDC. That’s why the job opening left by retiring EDC President Kathy Baylis is one of the most important, make that THE most important decision that will be made in Sarasota this year. The new president will basically be at the helm and set the course for the city’s unforeseeable future. If you’re wondering how such an entity was ever created. Basically the story goes like this:

Once upon a time (2004) in a land far, far away (Sarasota County), a group of very important folks got together and decided to create a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation (Economic Development Corporation) to bring new and different businesses to their land. Their first task was to create another group of very important folks (EDC Board of Directors) to be in charge of the corporation. These folks then created many other groups of folks (7 committees, a council, and a task force) to run the different parts of the corporation. Those folks then created other groups (4 “clusters”, now called “platforms”) filled with experts from different industries to think about how best to attract the businesses. The corporation was very important to all the people in the land, especially because their land had developed a reputation as an “anti-business” land, and without businesses the people of the land would have no jobs. At first, the folks in charge of the corporation didn’t have much money to attract new businesses. They didn’t even have enough to spend on their own experts’ ideas, which made some of the experts ask why they had been put into groups at all. The folks in charge of the corporation were very careful with how they spent money, until one day (2008) a Great Recession swept over the land, taking away many of the people’s jobs. Thankfully, the King of all the Lands (Federal Government) heard the people’s cries and gave each land a great deal of money to improve their lands and attract businesses (Economic Stimulus Package). This allowed the folks at the corporation to do a lot more things to attract the businesses. They soon (2009) came up with a plan (Five-year Economic Development Strategic Plan) to attract all different types of businesses that would bring all different sorts of jobs to the land. The goal was to replace all the jobs they had lost in the Great Recession (2006 level), and in order to do that they would have to create 3,000 jobs a year for five years. They followed the plan and worked very, very hard, and the people even helped out by voting to let the folks at the corporation give tax breaks to new businesses. The first year the corporation attracted almost two-dozen businesses to the land, promising to bring almost a thousand jobs over time. Even though the folks didn’t reach their goal, they were still very happy with all the new jobs they had created. — The End
Sarasota, come here. Sit down with me for a second. The TWISler and you need to have a little heart to heart. Listen, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I think you have a problem. I think you’re an addict. This is an intervention, because you are absolutely, completely, hopefully not helplessly addicted to forming groups. And it’s starting to show in your performance at work, and in your family life.

TWIS learned on the streets a long time ago that if you tell one person to bring you a dozen roses. You’ll probably get a dozen roses. If you tell a dozen people to bring you one rose. You probably won’t. And since groups seem to be the only thing you respond to these days, we’re inviting everyone to join our group to help you recover from your illness. It’s called the Itty Bitty Entity Committee (IBEC). This is an entity devoted to shrinking committees until they disappear all together.

This little scourge of yours is one reason the open EDC President position is such a B.F.D. You don’t hear about job openings too often these days, and this one just happens to be the one in charge of finding all the jobs for the rest of us. This means we need to find an employment spewing, position procreating machine that knows the game of job growth like Payton Manning knows pass routes. They need to be a natural born filler, job filler that is, who can cut through the political bullshit like John Belushi through a watermelon, and hammer down business deals like Gallagher through a… um, well, yeah, another watermelon I guess.

Anyway, we need to find a hero that will valiantly rescue our economic damsel in distress, carry her back to his commercially viable castle on the bay, and satisfy her financial needs until she hires in ecstasy. We need a fighter with passion, intelligence, bravery and solid organizational skills. We need a Braveheart. We need…………..William Wallace!

“But TWISler,” you say, “William Wallace is seven feet tall, kills men by the hundreds, and consumes politicians with fireballs from his eyes, and bolts of lightning from his arse.” Yeah, I know, I realize that. But we still need to find the guy.

With President William Wallace wielding the EDC longbow sword, we’ll have businesses riding in from every corner of the globe willing to stand with us in our demand for freedom from selfish politics and bureaucratic roadblocks.

And when community leaders say, “We must have committees or else we can’t add lots of impressive titles to our resume in the hopes of someday becoming a commissioner.”

William Wallace will say, “Men don’t follow titles, they follow courage. And if you would just lead them to freedom, they’d follow you. And so would I.”

And when business executives say, “We’re moving our company from Sarasota in order to take advantage of more generous incentives elsewhere.”

William Wallace will say, “Lower your flags and march straight back to Sarasota, stopping at every home you pass by to beg forgiveness for a hundred years of theft, rape, and murder. Do that and your men shall live. Do it not, and every one of you will die today.” Now, how badass would that be?!

And when the most cowardly of Sarasotans among us say, “Why should we spend time and effort fighting for a city that never seems to pay much attention to what we think?”

“Aye,” William Wallace will say, “fight and you may tire. Run, and you’ll save time… at least a little. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our leaders that they may take our time, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!!!…………. FROM BEAURACRATIC RED TAPE AND POLITICAL POSTURING!!!”

The Sarasotan army chants in unison: “ALBA GU BRÀTH! ALBA GU BRÀTH! ALBA GU BRÀTH!”

And when the hurricane winds blow and the turbulent seas rise and the Earth quakes and the end of days when we meet our maker and receive our final judgment for all eternity is upon us, William’s Irish friend Stephen will say, “God tells me he can get me out of this mess, but he’s pretty sure you’re fucked.”

So, heed these words I tell you! We need to find a William Wallace among us who will defend our women and children from the hideously oppressive act of council formation, and lead us into the divinity of financial freedom! (Or at least fiscal stability…)

And when we all gather upon the Ringling Causeway to look out over Sarasota Bay with honor and dignity, toward a sinking sun that we can now truly call our own, we will hear the voice of Mel Gibson echoing across the sky as the day slowly fades into darkness: “In the Year of our Lord 2011, patriots of Sarasota – starving and outnumbered – charged the fields of Fruitville. They fought like warrior poets; they fought like Sarasotans, and won their freedom.”

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