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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Jan. 2, 2004 14 years ago

Coffee Talk (Sara/Mana edition)

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This week's items: Wishes for 2004 from Bob Beck of Staffing Professionals, Cliff Walters of Blalock, Landers, Walter & Vogler P.A., Dale Ott of DOS Computer Center, Francis "Rip" duPont III of 1st National Bank & Trust and Mark Anderson of Cortez Heatin

Coffee Talk (Sara/Mana edition)

More wishes for 2004

Coffee Talk presents this week the second installment of "The Mythical Magic Wand" Last week, if you recall, we published some of our readers' responses to the following:

If you could wave a magic wand for Sarasota and Manatee counties in 2004, what would you do/change?

In the interim, we heard from a few more friends. Here are their wishes (some serious, some really, really wishingfor the impossible):

Bob Beck

Staffing Professionals

The two counties would really coordinate and move along the Intelligent Traffic Transportation System process. We can't continue to keep putting down asphalt to take car of traffic problems. It's unbelievable. In addition to synchronizing all of the traffic lights, we'd have the ability to use cameras in the event of a traffic snag or accident so you can respond a whole lot quicker.

Cliff Walters

Blalock, Landers, Walter & Vogler P.A.

My wish for Manatee and Sarasota is that this year we have enhanced recognition and support for our wonderful college institions, USF Sarasota/Manatee, Ringling School of Art and Design, New College, MCC and the funding for expansion of USF at Crosley. No. 2, and this is really wishing, I would wish for principled local political campaigns of qualified candidates. Third, I would wish for voter approval of the 1/2-cent sales tax to improve the quality of life in Manatee by acquiring environmentally sensitive land for parks, bicycling and trailways. Fourth, I'd hope for great opportunities for the former Tropicana executives who would recognize that we have it better here than in Chicago.

Dale Ott

DOS Computer Center

I have had some wonderful experiences from completing various local leadership programs and serving on several boards. However, one of the bad things about becoming informed and middle aged is knowing that the magic wand solution, once again, is not likely to be ratified in the 2004 budget.

Nonetheless, our region has some tremendous attributes that could each set us up for a real economic breakthrough (which would seem like a magic wand solution). When I consider the quality of life here and our aging population, I know there are many innovations that can enhance the quality of life of our seniors and future seniors (like me). Retirement today means having a great lifestyle and living life to its fullest, not going to the old folks' home. So what better test lab than right here for such innovations? So I want the magic wand to give us an economic growth breakthrough.

Francis "Rip" duPont III

1st National Bank & Trust

I would see that we weather the Tropicana move successfully, which I think we will. And I would make the economy grow and prosper in 2004 as it has in 2003. Tallahassee would look at the issue that John McKay has brought up about tax exemptions. We pay our full share in taxes and everyone else should, too.

Mark Anderson

Cortez Heating & Air Conditioning

My magic wand would put a moratorium on all new legislative changes to local laws. You would not be allowed to make any new laws, just eliminate some of the extra laws that we have on the books.

John Swart

Lakewood Ranch Realty

One of my wishes is to keep interest rates at 6%.

Dan Miller

Startup Florida

My magic wand would grant county-supplied, free WiFi throughout downtown Sarasota and the full economic redevelopment zone north of Fruitville Road. This would dramatically change the lives of people living and working within this area.

Lee DeLieto

Michael Saunders & Co.

My wish is for an aggressive developer with an eye toward testing the office market for larger regional users.

Kerry Kirschner

Argus Foundation

Nirvana in 2004 in Manatee and Sarasota counties would be as follows:

1. All political bodies in the two counties cooperate, in collective purchasing, duplication of services (i.e., consolidate building departments and codes, planning boards, etc.), resulting in an across-the-board tax reduction for all taxing authorities.

2. There would be lost in the lexicon of rezonings the word "stipulations," and everyone from environmentalists to developers would be able to rely on the "rules" to be enforced as written.

3. "Noise," such as music, frivolity and laughter, would be accepted behavior in all parts of Sarasota resulting in the loss of our moniker of "wrinkle town."

4. Pepsico will be haunted by the ghost of Tony Rossi, realize that it has been failures at selling OJ and will sell the company to an intelligent entrepreneur who will re-establish corporate headquarters in Bradenton.

5. The GCBR and The Argus Foundation will be the two most influential organizations in forming government policy, and the Sarasota-Manatee area will be considered America's most business-friendly community.

I would supply you with more realistic assessments for the New Year, but I am late for my appointment with my psychiatrist. I have been diagnosed as being schizophrenically optimistic, but I do enjoy my fantasies!

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