Amendment 2 needed for workers

To the Editor:

The Florida restaurant and hospitality industry has had more than their fair share of devastation throughout this COVID crises, marked by declining sales and closed businesses.

Just think how difficult this has been for employees of these businesses. That is exactly why I support the Florida Amendment 2 — a plan to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026 — especially for non-tipped employees.

As a previous restaurant owner, I can tell you that, for as long as I can remember, non-tipped employees have been struggling to make a “living wage” just to pay the rent or buy groceries.

And now, in 2020, with housing and transportation costs skyrocketing in Sarasota County — not to mention the total absence of affordable housing — the current minimum wage of $8.46 an hour is hardly enough to support an individual, let alone a family.

Most other industries are already crossing the $15 an hour threshold.

Higher wages will translate into better employees and better service. Hospitality and restaurant companies will not have the high investment in hiring and training because employees will stay longer.

Finally, maybe more employees will share in the success of businesses in an industry without retirement pensions and paltry 401k plans. They might even have the opportunity to save for their own retirement.

Greg Novack


Greg Novak was the former owner of Sharkys on the Pier from 1987-2013

Moran hypocrite to criticize political donations

To the Editor:

Sarasota Commissioner (Mike) Moran has the audacity and hypocrisy to criticize his opponent for accepting political donations that are a fraction of the thousands of dollars he has received from special interest groups and corporations.

His deceptive political feint totally contradicts his true belief that it is OK to take multiple donations in dark money by using loop holes in the election laws.

If Commissioner Moran sincerely believes that political donations should be limited to $200 per individual he should then return all those hidden donations from special interest groups.

Matthew McHugh


Talking points are off on Amendment 2

To the Editor:

I find it amusing that (chambers of commerce) key talking point in your fight against Florida workers earning a living wage is the fact that this is being done via a constitutional amendment.

The current minimum wage in Florida is set by a constitutional amendment passed in 2004. Surprise, Surprise! Constitutional mandates in Florida are the only way for the general public to get what they need. It passed with 71.25% of the vote.

If that’s the best you can come up and along with history I am doubtful that your clubs position has a chance. Either way I look forward to reading about those big celebrations where you give each other those silly awards. There’s a reason why your clubs membership is less than 5% of the businesses in Sarasota County; you represent a tiny minority.

There is no data, no facts that support your position thus your moronic constitutional play and even that is not truly forthright.

My untrained employees start at $15 an hour (10 years ago they started at $13) and after 90 days of training they make $16 and I have not ever raised prices because I’m not greedy. After 35 years of owning businesses you know that your employee’s are the key difference between success and failure, they’re not expendable.

If your members can’t pay $10 an hour and $6.98 for tipped employees starting a year from now, their problem is far deeper than the economy. I am incredibly sympathetic to restaurant owners under their current pressures (and I know many will not survive) but a year from now paying their tipped workers and extra $1.44 is not the doomsday scenario you play it to be, that BS only plays to the cheap seats.

I look forward to the day when I don’t feel the need to tip 30 to 35% solely because I know how badly wait staff are paid and generally treated, everyone I knew back when worked in restaurants including me. Yes, I’m sure there are some good owners but they are the exception.

Paul Sloan


Not the right mayor for Venice

To the Editor:

Recently, there was an article in the Venice Gondolier about Venice Mayor Ronald Feinsod. He stated his dislike for President Trump and Gov. DeSantis, even resorted to calling them names.

He said those who support the president are not patriots, are deluded and have joined a cult.

This immature attitude is highly unprofessional for a person in his position. Even worse, he posted a picture of violent protesters along with his quote: “The times, they are a’changin’. Hopefully this will spread across our great nation and really make America the country we thought we were before 45.”

By this statement, he is condoning this action. If violent rioters came to our beautiful little city, he would not stop them. He would probably grab a sign and march with them.

We have seen the videos of terrified people being harassed and intimidated while they are dining. It recently happened in St. Petersburg. It can happen in Venice.

A mayor who places his personal agenda above the welfare of the citizens should not be in charge of Venice. He should respectfully resign for the good of the people.

Donna Williams


Bill Willson committed to Venice, community

To the Editor:

I am totally in support of Bill Willson for Venice City Council Seat 2. He has lived 70 years in Sarasota County and serving the Venice community for the last 27 years. He is committed to our city in all ways.

Environmentally he was instrumental in development of the Venetian Water Way trail and now working on the Venice Urban Forest which parallels the Trail.

He served multiple terms as the president of Venice Area Beautification Inc. He supports and understands the importance of a vibrant business community as the current president of Roberts Insurance, as previous president of Venice Main Street and over 12 years on the Chamber of Commerce Board.

His experience is unmatched: Having served on the Venice City Council and currently on the Planning Commission he has the knowledge to work for all Venice residents as a councilman insisting on planned and sustainable smart growth, keeping taxes under control and prudent financial planning.

Finally, as an Air Force Veteran he has served our country, for 27 years served the city we love, and for the future his passion, commitment and leadership talents are what we need.

Please join me in Voting for Bill Willson for Venice City Council Seat 2.

Kit McKeon, Venice.

As state ‘opens,’ time to protect one-another

To the Editor:

As a nurse and author of over 10 books, I had to write. As the state has “opened,” it is my duty to address several issues for the safety and protection of us all during this pandemic.

The virus solely lives to infect.

From a practical perspective, what this means is that life as we knew it may not be “back to normal” no matter how hard we try or want. I predict that we will be wearing masks and employing social distancing well into 2021.

In fact, even though there may be an effective vaccine released sometime in 2021, just like the flu (influenza) and pertussis (whooping cough) people will still get infected and sick. Vaccines may not convey 100% protection. Many of us exceed age 65 which conveys a heightened risk for severe COVID-illness.

The problem with COVID is we are still learning so much and “how” sick someone gets can be a different answer for everyone. Unlike the flu, it can impact any body system, not solely the lungs. It is also a disease that impacts blood clotting, cardiac, brain, renal (kidney) and more. This is the first time we have a new term for the patients who must live with the chronic sequelae of this disease –the “long haulers.”

Age is no protection. More than 549,000 children have been diagnosed with COVID (, and its impact is more serious than previously known. Wear a mask and protect each other — the best anti-viral therapy we have now.

Tina Marrelli


Pelosi’s plan to make Kamala president?

To the Editor:

Nancy Pelosi say’s that pursuing the 25th Amendment is not about Trump. Then who is it about?

Think about it; it is how they intend to get Biden out of office once he gets in. Declare him non-competent so that Kamala can move into the presidency.

Biden has gone off script for the radical left. He was against fracking and now he isn’t. When accused of being an arm of the radical left Democrats, he said “he is the Democrat Party,” when pushed about A.O.C.’s Green New Deal, he said his plan isn’t “her” Green New Deal, it is the Biden Green Deal.

They know that Biden is not going to be a full team member for their socialist agenda and therefore this is the contingency plan to get him out of the way and move the country to the very limits of radical left, which is socialism.

Think about it, why else would Nancy bring this to the table right now? So, remember when you cast your ballot, it isn’t 78-year-old Joe your voting for, it is Radical Left Kamala.

If you haven’t read their platform, then you’re just getting your misinformation from the media.

Patti Butzlaff



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