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Real Issues, Real Solutions

 I want to promise concrete things to the voters and get them done while in office. I want to focus on what is important to the taxpayers of Sarasota County.  The government needs to be addressing the needs of the people who already live here and stop pretending to be creating an economy building houses for people who do not even live here yet.

    A recent survey revealed many things that concern our citizens. It is the duty of government to address these concerns.

 You can view the 2017 Citizen Opinion Survey here https://www.scgov.net/Home/ShowDocument?id=23434

 

Watch Alexandra Talking about Issues with The Scoop

Population Growth and New Development

Sarasota is growing on an outdated development model. Our current comprehensive plan is based on old information and creates many of our development problems. Development is a mathematical equation. Ignore the math and you get the mess we have today. There is a huge body of information on building resilient cities and we can bring this innovation to Sarasota County.  We need a renewed vision for Sarasota.

It is shocking that we are still building the same types of communities we built in the 90s.  We need forward thinking developers and others to help create a Sarasota for the 21st century. Innovation and technology should drive this to create new ways to live, work and play.

Babcock Ranch is an amazing example of how to use innovation and 21st century ideas to build community.


Traffic Congestion

Traffic is a symptom of poorly managed development and studies show that traffic negatively impacts the economy.

We all know when it is season by the constant sounds of ambulance and fire engines.  Over 3000 people are killed every year in Florida auto accidents, and we do not need to add to those statistics.  We must find better ways to move people around our county and stop increasing density in already congested areas. 

The original 2050 Comprehensive Plan saw a future of compact, walkable 'live, work, play' development to avoid urban sprawl and the traffic issues we experience today. The situation will only get worse as the 2050 Comprehensive Plan was recently amended to instruct staff to eliminate traffic capacity studies.


Reasonably Priced Housing

There is a housing gap for entry level new homes in the $150,000 - $200,000 price range. We have failed in the past to secure new industry because of this. When the average income has hovered around $52,000 for the past decade, why are we building homes most people can't afford?

We advocate 'live, work, play' as part of the branding for Sarasota but many people can not enjoy this because the lack of affordable housing forces people to live and spend their earnings elsewhere.

We must look at the cost of construction and the current models that are driving the lack of reasonably priced homes.

Zoning changes would accommodate innovative investment opportunities for quality prefabricated communities as well as allow people to have guest cottages on their properties which have traditionally served as rentals for young people. 

 


The Environment: Create an Economy with our Environmental and Rural Resources

In order to protect the environment you must first understand the environment. My background in the hard sciences and the environmental systems of Southwest Florida will allow me to create policy that truly protects these valuable resources. You can't make policy on things you don't understand and that is part of the reason our environment is in danger. 

Once you destroy a natural system you can't go back and already we have compromised the integrity of our ecology through bad policy and practice. 

East County has an abundance of resources that have more economic value being preserved than bulldozed and covered with cookie cutter urban subdivisions. Urban people do not make good rural neighbors anyway and we must respect the rural landscape and lifestyle of the people who have chosen that way of life.

Rural doesn’t have to mean no services and no amenities. We can build rural villages and communities in our east county that will provide increased quality of life and new economic engines for our county. Birding one of the fastest growing forms of ecotourism accounting for over $41.6 billion in revenue. Every habitat we destroy damages part of our economy.

Agriculture is the second largest economic engine in this state and to ignore the positive impact developing local Ag could have on our economy is foolish. With all the trendy restaurants coming into town, we have the economic ability to support local food system development.

Our bay, waterways and beaches are essential to our economy and having a commissioner who knows what is and isn't climate change, will help us make logical, informed decisions about how to protect these resources and ourselves.

 


Better Jobs and a Prosperous Economy

Many politician say that 'we must diversify our economy!' I say we must support the economy we already have first and help local businesses thrive. 

Many people can not find suitable mid career jobs and must work in other places and/or create our own business opportunities. Luckily we have many talented entrepreneurial people who do this successfully but we must understand why so many businesses are failing.  A drive down Bee Ridge Road and Tamiami Trail is filled with For Lease signs. Blighted strip malls dot our daily drive.

Expanding light industry and the land available for this type of development will attract exactly the small business employers we need to secure our local economy.

When I talk with business owners it is the same thing, we can't find a qualified, dedicated work force and even when we do, we can't afford to pay them what they need to earn to be able to buy a home and live in Sarasota County. 

We need to understand the driving forces behind this and initiate policies that relieve burdens on employers and help people grow their businesses with a reliable skilled workforce.

I am an advocate for apprenticeships for our youth. We should increase opportunities for young people to work and gain marketable skills. Every student should learn a trade. Most of the jobs we did as kids; paper route, lawn mowing, bagging groceries, etc are now done by adults. We need to create new jobs for youth to enhance the work ethic of our society. 

Employers also say that the opioid crises and addiction issues in general plague their workforce. As a society we must address these social issues that are impacting our economy. 

I also hear that many social programs implemented in the past years have created a situation where people just don't feel like they have to work. One business owner told me how people will come to her for a job only to stay long enough to return to unemployment and other benefits. We need to discourage these programs and encourage job sector growth in areas that provide better stability and a sense of pride for working class families.

 

 


Respect for our Senior Population

Despite the fact we have a vital, healthy and engaged senior population that contributes so much to our economy, Sarasota County has the oldest population in the USA. For that reason we have a unique set of challenges ranging from aging in place, the burden of increasing property taxes on seniors with fixed incomes, the high price of Assisted Living Facilities that the 'sandwich generation" must bear, and even the danger of increased traffic for our seniors. 

Policy must consider our aging population by presenting solutions to issues unique to them.

 

 


Building City/County Partnerships

For quite a while there have been a number of situations where the county and the cities have failed to work cooperatively. I will foster a better cooperation with the municipalities. 

Instead of continuing the battle over sand between Siesta Key and Lido, we should to be talking about the real problems with Big Pass, and New Pass, navigation safety. The county should be at the table to solve the challenges in Sarasota Bay.

The county should be at the table with the City of NorthPort to assist in the overall vision of the warm mineral springs development. This rare ecological and archeological gem is an economic goldmine for both if done thoughtfully.

The county definitely needs to address how their development decisions are creating a coyote problem in Venice and find solutions. 

Bigger safety issues like storm evacuation, increased flooding, first responder readiness and school safety can only be addressed in a cooperative environment.

 


Opportunities for Millennials

We can not continue to export our young talent. Creative Capital is essential for innovation and entrepreneurship. 

East University Blvd and North Trail provide the perfect opportunity for urban high-density development that is millennial centered. This County/City approach to entry level housing and urban apartments also supports our premier universities, Ringling School of Art and New College of Florida as they continue to expand.

Many Millennials are part of the workforce so this type of develop fills that need with a variety of living options Millennials prefer. Keeping our young people is essential to our economic prosperity.


Flooding

This is the issue we are not talking enough about. Developing swampland has its challenges but over developing swampland has severe consequences.

It is the governments duty to protect our property rights but as more and more development is approved, existing homes are threatened by improperly managed storm water. District 2 has the most flooding problems because it was greatly affected by the haphazard building boom of 2005, but the entire county is increasingly more vulnerable to flooding.

There is no excuse for government's failure to protect our property rights. 



Campaign contribution checks can be mailed to
Alexandra Coe Campaign 1171 Sarasota Center Blvd, Sarasota, Fl 34240

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Political Advertisement paid for and approved by Alexandra Coe, Republican, for Sarasota County Commission, District 2

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