Squadron Secretary Stan Zimmerman argued before the City Commission advocating for the Sailing Squadron to get involved in a children's sailing program at Island Park. I know this is an issue about which Stan feels strongly because when I told him that I disagreed with him, he flung a full cup of beer in my face.
While I support the idea of children being given the opportunity to learn to sail, I have two concerns with what Stan has been doing.
It is my understanding that the SSS board discussed the possibility of Squadron involvement at Island Park and decided that it was not in the best interests of the Squadron to try to expand its responsibilities to Island Park. This was told to me by Commodore Broadribb in a telephone conversation April 20.
I agree with this assessment and based on the Commodore's report of board consensus, it would appear that we are not going to proceed with that endeavor.
My second and most paramount concern is that Stan Zimmerman would be going in front of the City Commission and arguing for something that the board had already decided against. Included in this concern is the impression that Stan presents in front of a body upon whose good will we depend for our continued existence.
Stan certainly has the right to present his personal views wherever he likes.
As a Squadron member, I'm most concerned that he would represent the Squadron without specific directive, especially when what he is espousing is in apparent conflict with the wishes of the Squadron.
The following is a report on Stan's appearance before the City Commisssion on April 18.
Stan began his day at the Commission meeting by speaking during the "Citizen's Input". He used this time to present what he felt were reasons that Marina Jack's was not in compliance with the City lease which had been assigned to MJ by O'Leary's.
After subsequent items were dealt with on the agenda, the discussion and vote on approval of Marina Jacks to assume management of the entire mooring field operation came up.
The following is a direct quote from Stan Zimmerman's presentation to the Sarasota City Commission at Agenda Item VI.3 (Marina Jacks' operation at Island Park).
"The reason the Sailing Squadron expressed any interest at all is because this particular site is a much better place to teach children how to sail. My comments earlier today about the non-compliance with the lease at O'Leary's is directed to that point. We'd like to have a place to teach kids how to sail because it's a long way to go on a bicycle from Newtown to City Island in July and then back again. We'd like a place on the bayfront to teach children and that has been our only interest in this project. We are not here hungering to manage another mooring field. We're here hungering to help the citizens stay on the water. That's why I'm here."
In his summary, toward the end of the portion of his presention that contained the above quote, Stan noted that the only way to appeal if you have a problem with the management plan is to go to Circuit Court.
Then the Marina Jack group made their presentation to the Commission. References to Stan Zimmerman, the Sailing Squadron, and the children's sailing program at the site were interspersed throughout the MJ presentation and subsequent discussion with the commissioners. It was evident that both the Commission and the MJ group were under the impression that Stan was asking for the children's sailing program on the site on behalf of the Sailing Squadron.
After the Marina Jack group left the Commission table, Mayor Servian, noting that it was irregular, offered Stan Zimmerman an opportunity to present any final thoughts. Stan came back down and began, "I would like to recap for a moment the history of the issue because it's... to use a term that ... It's been wired."
Then he proceeded to voice his disdain for the manner in which the assignment of O'leary's lease was negotiated between the parties and approved by the City Commission.
He ended his final thoughts by stating to the Commissioners, "If you're feeling a little railroaded today... well... You have been."
Then he got up and left the table.
During Commission discussion before voting, Commissioner Palmer explored the possibility of ensuring Marina Jacks' co-operation with the Sailing Squadron to create a youth sailing prgram. It was clear that the Commissioners thought Stan's proposal was on behalf of the Sailing Squadron.