I’m hallucinating again. I blame the bath salts. Last month, I heard all the cool kids and zombies were taking them so I took a trip to Bath & Body Works to smoke anything that appeared soapy white. Perhaps that’s why I’m having visions. I mean, this June 20 letter from the Outdoor Event Office regarding “Special Events” can’t be real. The Sarasota City Commission is considering an additional fee for events in the downtown core? This must be a hoax. I was at the June 6 ”Zoning Enclaves and Special Events” meeting where it was decided that no changes would be made regarding rules or fees. At least, I think I was. But who can tell? The drugs might be playing tricks. They make me do crazy things, like eat the words of the Commission even though I suspect some might be rotten.
Those darn drugs. I need to say no. They just … well, they make me believe we all should be friends, and that as a whole, the City Commission is working to better the downtown core, refusing to fall in the tricky hands of the Downtown Sarasota Alliance. For a minute, I believed it to be true, then along comes this letter talking about parking fees, and I’m searching for my next hit.
I’m tweaking, baby. I’m tweaking.
But then again, I guess the city has to raise funds somehow. After the bloated boo-boo of installing parking meters … all I can say is, Brother, can you spare a dime? A quarter? $5.50 per parking space for a special event?
Actually, could you make holding events so expensive (particularly where parking is abundant) that no one can afford to host one at Five Points Park or Gulfstream Boulevard? Wouldn’t that satisfy the DSA and condo owners? Isn’t that what Vice-Mayor Terry Turner wanted in the first place: for special events to be relocated due to noise complaints? I can’t remember; he was awfully quiet at the June 6 meeting.
Now, it might be the paranoia setting in, but I wonder if these fees could be a roundabout way to transition events to Whole Foods on North Lemon Street like Vice-Mayor Turner initially suggested. No! I can’t think like that. I have to look at this proposal for what it is: a way for the city to capitalize on special events bringing in revenue. I mean, the Commission wants these events, understanding the economic impact of revered social gatherings like Thunder By The Bay. So why limit them or penalize event holders based on past faulty financial decisions the Commission has made?
Who knows? Perhaps the Commission (or DSA) doesn’t want Thunder literally by the bay because of noise concerns and the damage to “potted plants.” If I remember correctly, the plants seemed to be a pressing concern of the DSA’s before Municipal Auditorium Manager Debbie Perez informed the Association that no plants had actually ever been harmed at the Buchanan building. At one nameless event, somebody had thrown a coat over the particular plant pot in question, or so the horrific story goes.
But what’s a story, anyway? It’s all rumor, all raining toads!
So what if the fine City Commission wants to financially bully its citizens into deciding which spaces would better suit special events? Who wants a concert in Five Points, anyway? Can’t we make the people happy by cramming motorcycles and musicians into a pool pocket on North Lemon Avenue? That’s where the Joyful Noise Music Festival was held. But could it hold the thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts in town for Thunder? If not, maybe we could compromise: make Thunder quieter, more intimate. Who cares if the location causes a dent in the proceeds benefitting Suncoast Charities for Children? Budget cuts heal.
Let it go.
Tucked in small spaces, we could unite as a city, rub arms … become friends. No longer shall we need drugs to believe what the Commission has to say.
If you have questions or concerns about proposed parking fees on special events please contact Mark Lyons, Parking Manager at email@example.com. The public can attend the series of budget workshops, beginning July 17th at City Hall where Mr. Lyons’ parking proposal will be made. However, the public can NOT speak at these meetings. The public can email the City Commissioners individually regarding the vote on the proposed parking fees here.