Published March 7, 2011

TWISler Breakdown: Vote Now! The End is Near!!!

OK, valiant brave soldiers of Sarasota. Tomorrow is our day of reckoning, the day when we take up the sword of democracy and go to battle for our leaders, ultimately choosing three of the five voices that will speak on our behalf in matters concerning our fair city and how we will spend our municipal slush fund. Frighteningly, many Sarasotans don’t realize the full extent of the outcome if tomorrow’s City Commission race results in the wrong people taking power. Indeed, our actions tomorrow could culminate in catastrophic consequences of biblical proportions that will echo through the ages for all eternity.

How do we know this? Well, your trusty TWISler just happened to get a sneak peak into the future. It’s such a random story, too. Late last week this hulking leather-clad bad-ass lookin’ guy walks into TWIS headquarters and claims to be some sorta post-apocalyptic cyborg assassin sent back in time by Sarasotans of the future to warn us about voting. At first we thought he was just some bat shit crazy biker asshole that had the wrong dates for Thunder by the Bay, but when he said his name was The Terminator, we knew he had to be the real deal. Anyway, all the guy kept saying is that we have to make sure every registered Sarasotan votes tomorrow, and that electing the right people is the only way to save Sarasota’s humanity.

We thought the dude was being a bit melodramatic, until he showed us a YouTube video of future Sarasota on his iPhone… and it ain’t pretty. Apparently, the results of this election will eventually lead to a string horrible antiquated ideas that soon turn into monumental wastes of money, followed by a scourge of complacency, eventually leading to our once beautiful Sarasota becoming a barren hellscape wasteland overrun with artificially intelligent machines intent on the eradication of all human life. Not gonna lie, it looked like a pretty shitty situation.

But since Mr. Terminator was so kind as to give us a head’s up on our hell fire sprinkled apocalyptic demise, we’ve been doing everything our feeble human brains can think of in order to get tomorrow’s vote adequately rocked. But as this is our last stand before our little march toward judgment day, we thought one last little boost of encouragement might be worth the effort.

So, in order to get our warrior legions all fired up and mentally prepared for the morn’s eternal death match, let us look back at some of the past decisions born of city commission leadership — truly mind-numbing accomplishments that still reverberate waves of confusion and disappointment to this day. We refer to them as the commission’s “Great Moments in Bad Ideas.”

The granddaddy of them all came with the city commission’s approval back in 2003 to spend $1.2 million to install a Salvation Army on the corner of 10th Street and Central Avenue. That was when our elected leaders thought it beneficial to place our city’s homeless haven just beyond the epicenter of downtown activity, and far from any facility that might assist in some kind of rehabilitation effort. Talk about location, location, location, right! If they need medical services they can find all the health nuts they need right down the street at Planned Parenthood or Rosemary Yoga Court. Hey, maybe all that stretching will keep them from hurting themselves in the first place.

And then there’s that great workforce center only a short cab ride away on 17th and Gillespie. It’s only twice as far as the stroll southward directly into the heart of downtown, so I can’t imagine why they would head to Main Street to panhandle rich tourists all day rather than make the journey north to invest in their future. I guess they don’t collect as much spare change at the job-training place. And if you haven’t noticed, the method are leaders have adopted to deal with our rapidly worsening scourge of homelessness seems to revolve around taking away their places to sit. This war on seating has led to the removal of almost every bench in downtown.

We obviously didn’t account for those clever suckers gaining the ability sit on the ground or stand for long periods of time. And now we seem to have more of them downtown than ever. If you don’t think the homeless problem affects you, mosey on down First Street from Lemon to Central around 8 a.m. and you might think you just awoke after a Night of the Living Dead. Then try going to the Starbucks next to Selby Library and getting a free refill. Sorry, Charlie. Better pony up for that new Treinta size cup, which hopefully doubles as a stool, because the homeless hog the chairs inside all day and you ain’t gonna find a bench anywhere in the vacinity.

I mean seriously, the only way we could make it easier for our homeless to get from their cot at Salvation Army to Five Points Park would be to install a zip line. On second thought, better make it a ski lift. Then they’ll at least have some benches to sit on. Hey, it might be fun to watch our homeless get aired out like laundry all day, and it could even help with the smell. Another idea could be to install a roundabout at Sixth and Central and hopefully the homeless will get caught in the circle and never be able to get out. It’d be like a Venus flytrap for bums. OK, best idea yet: we could make the Salvation Army the only polling location in the city. That’ll make sure nobody ever goes to that building again.

Honestly, any idea should fly since we’ve already been voted “The meanest city in the nation toward the homeless” by the National Coalition for the Homeless, even after we managed to find a nice piece of waterfront real estate for one lucky vet in 2005. That’s when some of our brilliant elected officials decided to add a little lawn ornament in the form of a 26-foot-tall statue of a saucy sailor playing tonsil hockey with a naughty nurse. This everlasting ode to PDA known as “Unconditional Surrender,” which has been the cause of immeasurable wastes of time and money, still towers above the busiest intersection in town as a constant reminder of our city’s retirement home image. And since a retired vet coughed up a half-mil to keep it there, we’re guaranteed to enjoy our gaudy monstrosity for years to come.

There are countless other “Great Moments in Bad Ideas” from the past, but we’re looking to add some brand new ones to the list very soon. One is beginning to take shape with the recently approved smooth move to spend a small fortune to install a handy-dandy citywide wayfinding system. Of course, they started working on the plan seven years ago, before Google made personal wayfinding systems standard on every cell phone. But who pays attention to technological advances that render antiquated systems obsolete? I’m sure all that signage will turn out to be such a great investment that people will forget all about the convenience of Google Maps on their handheld devices. Just in case, we should probably have a specific wayfinding system option just for the homeless, since they’re probably our only citizens without smart phones in their pockets.

The point we’re trying to drive home with these two yet-to-be-solved dilemmas, as well as the one were about to create, is that local elections matter more to our personal quality of life than any other votes we cast. The decisions our city commissioners make live with us well past their political sell-by dates, and once they’re made they’re very hard to correct.

Just so you know, we are currently in negotiations with The Terminator about having him take a few trips back to the past to talk some sense into some of our former commissioners. It’d be nice if he could “terminate” a few of our failed past projects before they ever become seeds of thought. Unfortunately, his time machine just took a shit, and I guess he’s waiting on Emmet Brown to install a new flux capacitor. It seems Ol’ Doc Brown ain’t build for speed. Go figure. That means we’ll just have to sleep in the bed we’ve made for now. But at least we have a chance to prevent further damage with our participation in tomorrow’s election. That is, if we’re willing to show up and fight for our future.

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