Wednesday's letters: Orchestra did well to end Bay collaboration, love letter to Brady

The organization currently rents the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall for its Masterworks series and performs other concerts inside the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, near the Sarasota Bayfront.
The organization currently rents the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall for its Masterworks series and performs other concerts inside the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, near the Sarasota Bayfront.

Orchestra growth best achieved on its own

I am so grateful that the Sarasota Orchestra made the decision to build its own music center and end its collaboration with the Bay Conservancy on a joint effort to provide a new hall.

The orchestra has escaped becoming embroiled in the proposed Sarasota Performing Arts Center versus Van Wezel dilemma. This argument is plaguing the city commissioners and opponents/proponents as they prepare to commit tax dollars for a solution.

The orchestra's mission – to build a world-class acoustic concert hall, create adequate facilities for rehearsal, develop student educational opportunities and plan for future orchestra growth – can be achieved without this concern overhanging their choices.

Enough philanthropists and donors have embraced the music center vision to create a Sarasota miracle. Thanks to all.

Mark Hopson, Sarasota

How-to guide on navigating roundabouts

A plea to rental car companies: Please, please, start including a brochure on “How to Negotiate Roundabouts” with every rental car. It doesn’t have to be a graduate course, just the basics, like:

∎ Put your phone down.

∎ Use the lane markings going in to help you exit the roundabout in the direction you want to go.

∎ Really, put your phone down.

∎ No need to stop and look both ways before proceeding into the roundabout. (See next bullet.)

∎ Vehicles in the roundabout always have the right of way. They’ll be coming from your left. (Exception: See two bullets down.)

∎ Once you're in the roundabout, you have the right of way. Don’t stop and wave cars in. It slows the process.

∎ Don’t try to do a U-turn in a roundabout (I’ve actually seen this). Just go around and try again to exit.

∎ Don’t get in the inside lane and circle forever. (The Kingston Trio covered this in their “MTA” song in 1959.)

We locals aren’t the best drivers, but tourists encountering a roundabout for the first time, in an unfamiliar car, really need help.

Rick Webb, Sarasota

Coach Belichick deserves a lot of love

Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano’s love letter to Tom Brady lost me at “the stuffy confines of Bill Belichick-ville” (“Brady gave us the time of our lives,” Feb. 3).

Tom Brady was and is an athlete of immeasurable talent. Notwithstanding, it was head coach Bill Belichick who, during the sixth round, gave a golden opportunity to a 199th draft pick and set Brady on a path to greatness.

In addition, Belichick hired the coaching staff under whose direction and mentorship Brady flourished for 20 seasons with the New England Patriots.

And the Patriots organization granted Brady free agency when it could have imposed a franchise tag, paving the way for Tom to become a Buccaneer. It did this in recognition of the many years of greatness that Brady helped bring to the Patriots.

Finally, Romano would be wise to read Belichick’s glowing remarks about Brady from May 17, 2020. Brady could not have had a better sendoff from a coach who has forgotten more about football than Romano will ever know.

Linda Wallace, Venice

Governor can’t ignore systemic racism

In 2020, America’s largest financial firm, BlackRock, released its study of “how systemic racism manifests itself in everyday occurrences and affects advancement opportunities in the workplace” and “how racial inequity affects health care, business and society at large.”

Citigroup also published its own “Action for Racial Equity” identifying the effects of racism in pay, housing, education, health care and financial opportunity as critical challenges in “creating a fair and inclusive society.”

All U.S. military branches have programs addressing diversity, equity and inclusion to build and maintain an effective fighting force. Nonwhites make up more than 40% of our military.

And yet, without a shred of evidence, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared in April 2021 that systemic racism does not exist, and such talk is “horse manure.”

DeSantis signed his “horse manure” opinions into laws prohibiting schools from studying or discussing anything relating to the possibility of racial discrimination in government, the justice system or social structure.

Presentation of research, statistics, concepts or studies/actions such as those by BlackRock, Citigroup and the military is punishable as a felony with five years in prison.

DeSantis has made it a crime to challenge his unsubstantiated opinions. Prohibiting disagreeable information is a long-established tactic of racism and dictators.

Virgil Pope, Parrish

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Orchestra will grow best without Bay, Belichick deserves some love