The Longboat Key Democratic Club Received An Appreciation Award At The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast
On January 21, 2019 the Longboat Key Democratic Club was recognized at the 40th annual awards breakfast honoring the Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Junior. The award was in recognition of our club's many years of dedication to the Newtown community in Sarasota. The award was presented by the Sarasota Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee.
THE LONGBOAT KEY DEMOCRATIC CLUB has a longstanding partnership with the Newtown Community. During this past election, many members of the Club canvassed in the area and began to develop personal friendships. When asked how we might strengthen our partnership, it was suggested that we organize a group to take a trolley ride and learn about the history of the area. Friendships continued to deepened with a much greater understanding and admiration of the way contributions of residents of Newtown have made Sarasota what it is today. See Board Member Becky van der Bogert's has written a description of the tour here.
Our leader, Vicki Oldham, began the tour by informing us about the Newtown Conservation Historic District project that involved the writing of a report about the history of the area. The first part of the tour took us through Overtown which was the first African American community in Sarasota. This area is now known as The Rosemary District. We learned that the community was developed because of the restrictions put on African Americans about visiting the stores in Sarasota and the “Sundown Laws” which kept anyone African American from most parts of Sarasota before sunrise or after sundown.
We then disembarked from the trolley to offer libation to the grave of Reverend Lewis Colson, the first free African American to settle in Sarasota in 1884. He and his wife were credited with establishing the first African American Church where he served as their minister. As we stood watching Vicki pour libation on his grave and hearing of his struggles and the obstacles he’d met, his courage and resilience were brought home to us. We were no longer hearing stories in a textbook, but we were truly experiencing Newtown coming alive.
Boarding the trolley again I could feel a palpable sadness and need to reflect on what we’d experienced. Just then one of our leaders, Troy, broke out in spiritual songs such as Jacob’s Ladder and Wade in the Water. Our sadness was lifted as we became a joyous community. We were experiencing something together that was bigger than ourselves.
We then passed the first African American hotel constructed in 1925 to house visiting musicians and African American travelers who weren’t allowed to stay in other Sarasota hotels. The hotel was appropriately named the Colson Hotel.
As we approached Newtown we heard about the migration from Overtown that has become prime real estate for developers. There are two opposing versions of why this migration happened. One is that it was a “gentrification” project precipitated by some who feared having the black community so close to the town and the other is that there were many opportunities in Newtown such as the ability to own homes and a vision of a better life. With the entrepreneurial spirit, many African American businesses were founded and thrived in Newtown.Read more
Philip Kotler Presented on the Weaknesses of U.S. Capitalism and Democracy at our December 13 Luncheon
To our surprise and delight we had a greater than expected attendance at our December 13 luncheon. Our speaker was Philip Kotler, PhD, who Board Member Robert Gary introduced as the Father of Modern Marketing. Dr. Kotler is the Professor Emeritus of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is the author of over 150 published articles and 60 books, including Democracy in Decline: Rebuilding its Future. Dr. Kotler shared his views on several problems facing our nation including the questions of whether capitalism in our democracy is working. He also shared his insights about the value proposition that the Democratic Party should adopt going into the 2020 elections.
The title of Dr. Kotler’s presentation was Great Inequality of Income is a Threat to Democracy. The main shortcomings of American capitalism, he says, are growing income and wealth inequality, low wages and high consumer debt, huge educational debt for graduates of colleges and professional schools, together with high executive pay, uncurbed growth of monopoly, oligopoly and financial capitalism. American Democracy is plagued by voter suppression, low voter literacy, and gerrymandering. Our two political parties are polarized and gridlocked. He pointed out that U. S. voter turnout is disappointingly low (55% in 2012) compared to other free countries and our voters and our voters are mostly uninformed.
Capitalism is corrupting our Democracy, he said. A U.S. politician seeking election must start with $1 million and attract many wealthy donors if he/she is to continue running. Kotler advocates shorter election campaigns financed by the government.
Rather than focusing on criticizing the current administration, Dr. Kotler made a strong argument that the Democratic Party should stay proactive, positive and work hard to improve our Democracy and our capitalism. The Common Good should be our value proposition going forward. The Common Good insists on excellent basic education and health coverage in our society, and expects businesses to have a societal purpose. The Common Good should be served by an active government and an active nonprofit sector.
The theme of The Common Good should drive the selection of the next Democratic candidate for President. Some of our major political stands going forward should be reducing the growing income and wealth gap, transitioning our health system to Medicare for All, allocating money to fix deteriorating infrastructure, revising gerrymandered districts, reducing education debt, improving gun control policy and reducing poverty and hunger.
Our Democracy can also be improved by fixing our government. We should have term limits, perhaps 24 years, for the House of Representatives, the Senate and The Supreme Court.
In short, Dr. Kotler says “Let’s Save Democracy and Make it Work for More People”.
Dr. Kotler’s presentation was followed by a lively question and answer period where we, among other things, explored the qualities for some of the potential 2020 candidates. The presentation was very well received and the discussion that followed was lively.
There are 1162 registered Democratic Sarasota County voters on Longboat Key. Eighty-three percent of these voted either with vote by mail, early voting or on election day. That is an outstanding performance. See more of the voting statistics below:
There were 515 in attendance at fundraising dinner hosted by the Democratic Club of Sarasota and Longboat Key Democratic Club. The event was held on Sunday evening, October 7 at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota.
Robert Gary, LBK Democratic Club Board member, introduced the featured speaker, Jill Wine-Banks, a prosecutor during the Watergate Scandal and a current legal analyst for MSNBC. As the Trump Administration chips away at the First Amendment and the core tenets of American democracy, Wine-Banks examined the abysmal state of a country divided by hatred, discrimination and “alternate facts”. She recounted exactly what happened at the Watergate burglaries, drawing parallels with current events. "Trumpgate", as she calls it, is worse than Watergate because it involves a foreign hostile power meddling in our elections. Wine-Banks made the point not to call it the Mueller investigation but to call it "Trumpgate".
We also heard remarks from Chris King candidate for Florida Lieutenant Governor and David Shapiro, who is running for House seat against Vern Buchanan. Liz Alpert, current Mayor of Sarasota, gave a welcoming speech. JoAnne DeVries, Chair of the Sarasota Democratic Party introduced the four field organizers of the Florida Democratic Party, and Kindra Munz, spoke about the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections.
Judge Marvin Morse has been a genuine and distinguished lifetime Democrat. He has served with honor and distinction as a member and President of the Longboat Key Democratic Club. He has retired from active service this year. We are proud and greatly appreciate his extraordinary participation and service to our Club. He has made a positive and significant difference. Here, in his own words, is his story.