Taking investigative journalism to a new plateau, Pelican Press writer Rick Barry uncovered, documented and brazenly reported on a little known organization that has existed in our midst for four or five years. Code-named (well, actually just named) ENZYME, Rick was no doubt hoping for some dastardly entity comparable to SMERSH or SPECTRE, some underground organization plotting some nefarious action that will bring Sarasota to its knees; like installing roundabouts on I-75, opening a new pass along the Manatee-Sarasota County line on Longboat Key or draining the Myakka to create a mid-county recreational trail.
What he found can barely be considered an organization. There are no dues, no bylaws, no minutes, no actions, no initiatives. As one member put it: " We don't really do anything." This puts the ENZYME 'cabal' on a level with any other group that gets together informally. I told him it was like a book club without a book.
Here's what Rick quoted me as saying about the group:
Miller more or less confirmed these assessments: "It's just a group of people who care deeply about the area. Each month, Debra will give us a homework assignment, and each group of two or three will look into a subject and make a presentation to educate the others.
"We talked about how Englewood and Longboat Key are split between two counties, and how that affects those towns; how North Port's physical layout affects its development, that sort of thing.
"It's named 'Enzyme' because they are natural catalysts. And we hope by getting together and learning ... and getting to know one another, we might have a positive effect on the community. But it's all very relaxed, informal ... and not really very secret at all."
Click on the highlighted text to read Rick's article.