Critical Times

"Democracy is not a spectator sport."


The Journal is an online blog that supports the work and mission of Critical Times. Critical Times is a quarterly newspaper distributed in Sarasota and Manatee counties for the purpose of fostering community dialogue and participation in the democratic process.

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Public meetings to be held on Legacy Trail Extension

Posted by on November 5, 2019 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (2)

Sarasota County will host two public meetings about the Legacy Trail extension, allowing the public to provide input about the design and amenities along the extension.

The project will extend the trail and enhance connectivity from North Port through Venice to downtown Sarasota. The Legacy Trail, which opened in 2008, is a safe, recreational trail for walking, bicycling, and running.

The meetings will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 13th, and Thursday, Nov. 14th, at Payne Park auditorium, located at 2100 E. Laurel St., Sarasota. The meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a brief presentation at 5:45 p.m.

Sarasota City Commission Candidate Forum

Posted by on February 20, 2017 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

This video was recorded at the Sarasota Democratic Club Forum on Saturday, February 11th.  Only 5 of the candidates participated in this event - Fredd Atkins, Hagen Brody, Patrick Gannon, Susan Chapman, and Jennifer Ahearn-Koch.   Other candidates running are Matt Sperling, Martin Hyde and Mikael Sandstrom.

How are Sarasota city officials elected?

Posted by on January 26, 2017 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (1)

City Elections will be held in March in Sarasota, North Port, and Longboat Key. City elections are non-partisan, so all voters regardless of party affiliation can vote in this local election.


​The first Sarasota City Commission election is scheduled for March 14th with a run-off election scheduled for May 9th. If none of the candidates gets a majority of the vote, the top three vote-getters advance to the runoff.


There are two at-large seats up for election. Commissioner Suzanne Atwell holds one seat and Susan Chapman, the other. Suzanne Atwell announced that she would not be running for re-election. Susan Chapman is running, alongside two other candidates, Jennifer Ahearn-Koch and Martin Hyde.


Here's how this election happens: There are a total of five City Commissioners in Sarasota, two are elected at-large, and three are elected from single-member districts. To be elected at-large means everyone in the whole city votes on the same pool of candidates and the top vote-getters become the city commissioners representing the entire city, not just their district. Such elected officials are then identified, for example, as Suzanne Atwell, City Commissioner, At-Large.


The districted commissioners represent the area in which they live. Sarasota is divided into three districts - so candidates run in the district where they live, not citywide. Such an elected official is then identified, for example, as Commissioner Liz Alpert, District Two.


The Mayor and Vice-Mayor are elected each year in April from among the commissioner's members. The City Commission appoints a City Manager, a City Auditor and Clerk and a City Attorney, who are known as "Charter Officials."


The Sarasota City Commission meets the first and third Mondays of each month at City Hall. The public is welcome.