October 26 • A sixth county newspaper, the Venice Gondolier Sun, has weighed in, and like its sister publications, the Englewood Sun Herald and North Port Sun, it is endorsing Jono Miller. Those papers join the Pelican Press and Sarasota Herald Tribune in endorsing Miller. The Sarasota Observer found Miller to be the "most ready and most qualified", but went on to endorse John Mullarkey. Text of the Gondolier appears below.
Jono Miller for Sarasota County Commission
Ashort time ago, we gently jabbed the candidates for the District 1 seat on the Sarasota County Commission for what we saw to be their shortcomings on South County issues.
The editorial came after a South County homeowners’ forum, when some in the audience told us they were underimpressed by North County candidates’ answers.
The following day we got a call from one candidate, Jono Miller, objecting. He had a firm grasp of southern issues, he said, and sent us a long, detailed column to prove it.
We were impressed. First, Miller obviously did know his stuff. Second, he really cared that we knew it. (After his column ran, Republican candidate Carolyn Mason submitted one that we printed Friday.)
We are recommending Miller for the commission seat because of his command of the issues affecting all of Sarasota County, including those specific to the southern portion, as well as his common sense, his thoughtful approach to questions and his ability to articulate positions.
Miller, a Democrat, is facing Mason and independent John Mullarkey in the race for the North County seat being vacated by Commissioner Paul Mercier.
Mullarkey has business experience, but none in elective office.
Mason is an excellent candidate who has served on the Sarasota City Commission, including a rotating stint as mayor. She works for Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army. She has a strong background and a good understanding of county politics and issues.
Miller has been involved with county environmental preservation for three decades. He has been director of the environmental studies program at New College in Sarasota until going on leave when he officially launched his campaign. Miller conducted an environmental assessment of the Myakka State Forest many years ago when the state bought the property, so he is familiar with the area.
“I feel like I have a relationship with North Port,” he said.
Asked for an analysis of the reasons for lingering bad blood between North Port and the county, Miller thought it could be traced to General Development Corp.’s original design of the sprawling community and the threat its growth may pose to the city of Sarasota.
“It’s not the fault of residents and the city of North Port that they were dealt a dirty hand,” he told us. He felt that fresh faces on the city and county commissions could help forge a new, positive relationship.
Miller also said it was likely that a new jail would need to be built in the county, and that North Port could be a good place for it, especially since it might become a major employer.
While this would be his first elective office, Miller has had extensive service on a variety of county boards. He’s been on on the board of the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Program, chair of the oversight committee on voting systems, and the county Parks Advisory and Recreation Council.
Miller has a good grasp of details on a variety of subjects. More than that, though, we were impressed with his thoughtful approach and what seemed to be a natural drift toward balance on the issues. He will be a positive addition.
We recommend Jono Miller for the District 1 seat on the Sarasota County Commission.