Saturday's letters: Bobby Jones golf preservation, shabby downtown, overthrow 'overblown'

·4 min read
Bobby Jones cuts the ribbon to open the Bobby Jones Municipal Course, in Sarasota, on Feb. 13, 1927.
Bobby Jones cuts the ribbon to open the Bobby Jones Municipal Course, in Sarasota, on Feb. 13, 1927.

City decision on Bobby Jones falls short

In 1925, we acquired a 290-acre parcel of land with city bonds of $150,000 for park purposes and a municipal golf course. Donald Ross, a renowned golf architect, was selected to design the 18-hole course, which opened in 1926.

In 1927, at a party in the Mira Mar Hotel, Sarasota’s leading citizens renamed the course Bobby Jones Golf Club. Jones dedicated the course and was given a Pierce-Arrow sedan in appreciation for putting Sarasota on the map. Nothing but the best.

Listed in the Florida Historic Golf Trail and open to the public every day for almost 100 years, Bobby Jones was abruptly closed without a reopen date or community input.

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On Jan. 10, the city commissioners voted to preserve and rebuild this property. A golf course management company was selected because it was “the cheapest.”

Construction plans for a reduced golf course were done with little guidance from expert golf course designers. It was suggested that the new restaurant/clubhouse should reduce the seating from 70 to 50 seats and have mostly outdoor dining because it will cost less to build.

It’s an embarrassment that our community leaders allowed this significant historic property to go into ruin. Even more embarrassing is to do the renovations “on the cheap,” rather than first rate as it deserves.

Carole Nikla, Sarasota

Downtown Sarasota growing shabby, soiled

While Sarasota-Bradenton is being recognized as a desirable destination, Sarasota’s downtown is undeserving of accolades. Our Main Street is rapidly sliding downhill, sorely lacking in cleanliness and reasonable aesthetic appeal.

Sidewalks are badly soiled with who-knows-what. The mulch around shrubs and trees is in need of refreshment. Cigarette butts and trash adorn the street parking.

Perhaps Sam Walton’s “Management by Walking Around” strategy would be an apt way for our leaders to visualize what could be done to improve upon the downtown experience.

Sheryl Stovall, downtown Sarasota resident

Frustrating, flawed parking system

The Sarasota parking system is deeply flawed. I recently received a citation despite having parked legally and used the electronic system – I have the electronic receipt.

I attempted unsuccessfully to follow the convoluted appeals process, including attempting to call a live person. I gave up and paid the fine rather than waste hours pursuing a fruitless endeavor. Other folks have had similar experiences.

The system is a disgrace.

Robert Baime, Longboat Key

Downplaying attempt to steal election

Florida has the dubious distinction of leading the pack in the number of federal cases against individuals involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection. There are 76 such cases against Florida residents, with Texas and Pennsylvania tying for second place with 63.

While some have asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to investigate the role of Florida groups in the attack, he has declined. Recently, the governor downplayed the assault, claiming it has been “overblown” by the media.

It’s hard to see how anyone could brush aside the horrific images we have all seen of Donald Trump supporters storming our Capitol screaming “Hang Mike Pence” as they constructed a gallows. The riot led to five deaths and hundreds of injuries, many quite serious.

This fall we will have the opportunity to choose another governor, hopefully one who will take seriously violent attacks on our democracy.

Jane Merriam, Punta Gorda

Neighbors threaten Israel, not vice versa

I respond yet again to a vicious letter that attacked Israel, “Israel continues to attack its neighbors.”

The letter Jan. 4 is another example of morality turned upside down. Instead of recognizing the dangers Israel faces from despotic neighbors bent on its destruction, the letter writer defended:

• Syria and its president, Bashar al-Assad, who is responsible for endless wars in that country that have led to hundreds of thousands of deaths.

• Iran, which has openly declared its intention to annihilate and destroy Israel.

I’m sorry to tell the letter writer, but occupied Palestinians are only “occupied” because of the intention by the Arab world in 1967 to throw the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea and end the state of Israel.

Without recognizing Israel and ending its declaration for terror and destruction, Palestinians will continue to be denied independence, for that will never come at the expense of the Jewish state.

And why have a significant percentage of the Arab population in Israel decided to stay there rather than leave Israel to secure being in a majority?

The answer is that there is nothing like democracy and the freedom that Israel provides all its citizens, unlike the conditions of tyranny favored by Israel’s brutal neighbors.

Rabbi Stuart Altshuler, Sarasota

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Move to preserve Bobby Jones falls short, downtown Sarasota shabby

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