Published Jan. 11, 2011

TWISler’s Super Tuesday Special Election Breakdown

It’s that time of year again, when we all start getting not-so-overly excited about the people vying to run our city. March 8 will be the City Commission District Elections, which means three of the five City Commission seats are up for grabs. The qualifying period to run ended last Friday, leaving us with nine sultry politicos that will undoubtedly be attempting to charm our pants off over the next two months. Not all too familiar with how Sarasota’s city government works?

Basically, the story goes like this:

Once upon a time (1913) in land far, far away (City of Sarasota) some folks got together and decided to incorporate a municipality called City of Sarasota. When it came time to think of how they would make laws and keep order, they reckoned that a “council-manager” form of government, as opposed to a silly “mayor-council” form, just might be the smart way to go. Then, many years later, Wikipedia described the “council-manager” form of government like this:

Council–manager government is much like a publicly-traded corporation. In a corporation, the board of directors appoints a CEO, makes major decisions and wields representative power on behalf of shareholders. In council–manager government, the elected council appoints a city manager, makes major decisions, and wields representative power on behalf of the citizens. This system of government is used in 48.9% of American cities with populations of 2,500 or more.

Well, for their “council-manager” form of government, the folks in the City of Sarasota thought it best to have five commissioners: three elected from certain areas of the city (Districts 1, 2 and 3) and two more that all the folks in the city get to elect (At-Large). The folks in the City of Sarasota made laws and kept order with their five commissioners for many, many years. Over time, it came to be that the folks only paid the commissioners an annual salary of $25,418.78, which isn’t really all that much pay. That meant that only the most well-established, independently wealthy folks could afford to run for the commissioner job, unless they got another job, or kept the job they had, and therefore viewed the commissioner job as a part time job. This eventually led to an inherent conflict of interest where folks were able to get elected and then vote on legislation that is directly favorable to the folks at their other job. (“I work in real estate, but my part-time job is voting on zoning laws.”) And it’s still like that today. — The End

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to TWISler’s first City Commission Candidate Dating Game! We have three lovely bachelorettes representing the City of Sarasota, which nine local contestants will desperately be trying to swoon in the form of classic political pandering. Let’s meet our little lovebirds, shall we:

Bachelorette #1

Our first bachelorette is a sassy broad with luscious long legs stretching from Main Street all the way up to 47th east of the Trail and out to the old train tracks. Keeping it chic with her modern Rosemary District style while still turning heads with a traditional Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, we have four first-time candidates yearning for her loving touch — it’s District Number One!

First Contestant: Richard Dorfman

Age: 59
Occupation: Sports agent
Education: Bachelor’s, business and communications
Years in Sarasota: 5
Address: 800 N. Tamiami Trail 1101, Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 320-5937

Our first contestant in the hunt for District One’s affection is a debonair gentleman with a jetsetter’s lifestyle. An international sports agent and avid art collector, Richard Dorfman is like our very own personal Dos Equis spokesman: “The Most Interesting Man in the City of Sarasota.” He was Director of Broadcasting for the N.B.A., represented the N.F.L., Indy 500, PGA Tour, FIFA, Wimbledon, Rugby World Cup and Al Grand Prix World Cup of Motorsport, was a regular contributor to CNN and CNBC, and has an art collection of over 150 significant (expensive) pieces. A smart jock with a sensitive side?! Be still my beating heart!

Second Contestant: Linda Holland

Age: 65
Occupation: Real Estate/Property Management
Education: Some college
Years in Sarasota: 30
Address: 617 Gillespie Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 365-1807

This contestant has an attractive resume that screams, “Look at me! I have experience!” Founder of the Gillespie Park Neighborhood Association, Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations, Sarasota Court Watch and Greater Downtown Sarasota Action Team (GPNA, CCNA, SCW and GDSAT respectively), Holland has shown that she is really quite fond of neighborhoods. However, as chair of the City of Sarasota Nuisance Abatement Board, she shows her apparent lack of fondness for nuisances. Aside from long walks on the beach and candlelit dinners, Holland also enjoys sitting on the Sarasota County Parks Advisory and Recreation Council, Sarasota County Civic League, North Trail Redevelopment Partnership, Downtown Alliance, and the Redevelopment Advisory and Planning boards. So, if you’re fond of boards, councils, leagues, partnerships, alliances, associations, watches and action teams — Linda Holland is your gal!

Third Contestant: Willie Charles Shaw

Age: 63
Occupation: Retired U.S. Postal Service, Minister
Education: Berean Bible College
Years in Sarasota: 63
Address: 1234 17th Street, Sarasota, FL 34234
Phone: (941) 204-5023

Ol’ Willie Shaw knows about two things for sure — deliverin’ mail and preachin’ gospel. He’s spent his entire 63 years right here in Sarasota. A former postal worker, the guy can probably name every street in the city by memory. These days he goes by Reverend Willie Shaw, and delivers the services at Mount Tabor Missionary Baptist Church out on Tallevast Road. No website, no Facebook, no political experience to speak of — but he’s still got a better chance of courting Little Miss District One than our first two contestants. That’s because District One has never snuggled up with a white contestant since she’s been around (as the result of a lawsuit settlement in the ‘80s) and there’s no reason to believe her tastes have changed. Indeed, Dorfman and Holland’s knowledge of everyday life in Newtown probably doesn’t even compete with Willie Shaw’s.

Forth Contestant: Frederick D. Williams

Age: 88
Occupation: Attorney, retired
Education: Bachelor’s from City College of New York, Juris Doctor from New York Law School
Years in Sarasota: 8
Address: 930 N. Tamiami Trail #321, Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-6505

At a spry 88 years old, Freddie D. definitely has a solid portfolio of “life experience” credentials in his campaign arsenal. Although 80 of those years were spent outside of Sarasota, this retired lawyer has managed to dive into our city’s complex pool of councils and boards with agile swiftness. He was Deputy of the Polls, a member of Precinct Captain’s Advisory Council and Keep Sarasota County Beautiful, and was volunteer education liaison for Sarasota County School Board. He also served three terms as “Town Counselor” back in Windham, Maine. (“Windham, you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and dog gone it, people like you.”) His campaign slogan is, “One city, one people. No more Black Newtown, White Downtown.” I think Bachelorette #1 may have found her Denzel!

Bachelorette #2

The two candidates with eyes for our next bachelorette just happen to be the former mayor and a popular downtown restaurateur, working it with that sexy St. Armands circle right between her beautiful pair of Keys, feelin’ up the bayfront right down to Siesta’s tip, just to see how it feels — say hellooooooooo to District Number Two!

First Contestant: Paul Caragiulo

Age: 35
Occupation: Restaurateur
Education: Attended Monmouth College, studied opera for three years in Italy.
Years in Sarasota: 21 years
Address: 2120 Orchid Street, Sarasota, FL 34239
Phone: (941) 400-5078

This bachelor is one of the five Caragiulo brothers who own downtown eateries Owen’s Fish Camp and the oddly named Caragiulo’s. The youngest candidate in the running by a decade (and by a quarter century if you take out District 3 candidate Shannon Snyder), this strapping young buck beat out six other contestants to compete in last year’s three-way run-off election for the two open At-Large City Commission seats. Tragically, he ended up getting knocked off by Suzanne Atwell, even after beating her in the first round. But when the goin’ gets tough, the tough get goin’. Lil’ Paulie has been bulking up on homemade Italian pasta dishes and is re-entering the city commission ring for another round of policy talkin’ smack down. District 2 is to Caragiulo as Adrian was to Rocky. Upon winning Caragiulo promises to climb the ropes and shout DISTRICT 2!!! DISTRICT 2!!!

Second Contestant: Richard Clapp (Current Suitor)

Age: 67
Occupation: Business/manufacturing, retired
Education: Bachelor’s, engineering; Masters, interdisciplinary science; Ph.D, Physical Chemistry
Years in Sarasota: 10 years
Address: 426 S. Shore Dr., Sarasota, FL 34234
Phone: (941) 359-8097

With a name like Dick Clapp, it has to be good. And the current District 2 incumbent and former mayor is no exception. From going on CNN to compete for Google’s fiber wire to hopping in a Mote Marine tank infested with sharks, Clapp has been one helluva good sport dealing with all the shit we get him into — a Grade-A trooper all the way. That’s why this Shakespearian duel for the hand of Miss District Number Two is going to be an inner battle for us here at the HuB camp. Both contestants have professed their undying love and we have fallen head over heals for each of them. Alas, they don’t call us heartbreakers and matchmakers for nothin’. One of ’ems gotta go!

Bachelorette #3

From Main Street to Hyde Park and all the way out to McIntosh Road, our third bachelorette is known for getting all around town. And we’re sure to see some sparks fly as these three feisty candidates fight to earn her love. You call her the “Flirt of Fruitville” — please welcome District Number Three!

First Contestant: Diana Hamilton

Age: 59
Occupation: Garden Design
Education: Attended University of Tennessee
Years in Sarasota: 33
Address: P.O. Box 1371, Sarasota, FL 34230
Phone: (941) 685-8682

Our first contestant has been a vocal advocate for many Sarasota causes over the years — made all the more vocal by the fact that she never stops talking. The up side to that is Princess Diana is never afraid to speak her mind, or heart, or gut, or feet for that matter. In fact, this chick ain’t afraid to speak nothing, and when she talks it’s with a passion that makes you wonder, “Who the hell is that passionate about parking?” But, along with passion comes positivity and motivation — two traits Hamilton also has unnatural reserves of to drawn on during the campaign. Hamilton’s goal is to make sure District Three gets enough attention, without started to feel smothered.

Second Contestant: Shannon Snyder

Age: 45
Occupation: Retired Deputy Sheriff, Sarasota County
Education: Attended Manatee Community College
Years in Sarasota: 45
Address: 1985 South Jefferson Ave., Sarasota, FL 34239
Phone: (941) 356-3850

Big bad contestant number two is a burly former deputy sheriff for Sarasota County who served 25 years at the Sheriff’s Department. Now, we all know ladies love a man in uniform. But how does Deputy Snyder plan to wrangle the wild, animalistic urges of this foxy vixen known as District Three? Will he show his authority with a strategically placed nightstick and some handcuff teasing? Or will he sooth her lustful aches with the promise of budgetary accountability and business development? The methods of this cunning man of the law have yet to be seen. But one thing’s for certain — there could be a new sheriff in town come March 9, and he’ll be saddling up on the city commission steed.

Third Contestant: Pete Theisen

Age: 65
Occupation: Retired former acupuncturist, among other occupations
Education: Bachelor’s in Social Work
Years in Sarasota: 30
Address: 2155 Wood Street, No. B4, Sarasota, FL 34237
Phone: (941) 365-9439

Our third contestant was one of the six beaten by Lil’ Paulie in last year’s City Commission election, and good ol’ Mr. Magoo impersonator Pete Theisen is back again this year to ride his little engine that could right into victory lane. Retired-former-acupuncturist-turned-commissioner-wannabe Theisen is a thick-lensed fellow that enjoys wearing black suspenders and writing blogs about how black people complain too much and that we’re all drinking toilet water. And with blog titles like “Toilet Water in your Tap” and “Toilet Water at the Beach,” what lady wouldn’t be turned on? You may remember Theisen as the “anti-growth” candidate who was running on the train platform. Not like, where the train pulls up, but like, thinking Sarasota could benefit from an elevated railway that would cost more than the city’s entire transportation budget for the next two years. He would also throw in a fleet of people movers to get our citizenry from their front doors to the train station, where our new rail line could deliver them directly to their desk at work. But he may be on to something: District Number Three’s biggest turn-off is traffic.

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