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Sun City Center CA candidates take on community questions

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SUN CITY CENTER – In less than two weeks, members of the Community Association here will elect three directors for three-year terms from among a field of five who project little disagreement on issues.

Distinguishing themselves primarily by differences in backgrounds, the group, including a sixth candidate who is a shoo-in, participated in a candidates’ forum last week, answering written questions produced by an audience of about 200 residents.

Fielding queries presented by moderator John Bowker were the field of five consisting of Ed Barnes, current CA president seeking a second term as director, Art Erickson, a newcomer to the community and its governing board , David Floyd, an appointed director fulfilling an unexpired term and now running for his first elected term, Ed Jacobs, 15-year resident active on many fronts but standing for election the first time, and Sam Sudman, also active in community organizations and running for election for the first time.

The sixth candidate, Bob Black, also a current director and board vice president, is looking toward serving the last year of an unexpired term and has no opposition. Consequently, he is likely to be elected with a single vote.

Perhaps the question that demonstrated the sharpest difference in perspectives among the candidates concerned potential opening to public access the south side of the community with a roadway linking South Pebble Beach Boulevard and U.S. 301.  The question specifically asked whether the north side of the community should vote or have a voice on such an issue.

Several candidates weighed in on the matter. Barnes asserted such a yes or no issue would have to be an entire membership vote and Floyd agreed, adding that the decision would “affect all of us.” Jacobs, on the other hand, said in his view it would be a south side decision alone and Erickson said he did not disagree with that outlook but emphasized if such an opening occurred it could constitute a “shortcut” for “drive-by criminals.”  Black pointed out that under hurricane conditions such an opening would be very useful as a means of exiting the community and suggested a gated entry designated for emergency purposes only.

On several subjects, the candidates clearly demonstrated their basic agreement. Communications – both between the CA board and residents as well as between the community and the world at large – produced considered response among them. Jacobs, a licensed Florida attorney, pinpointed a lack of communications between the community and its onsite governing board as a big problem. “We’re here to serve the residents of this community and that is the only reason. We’re not here to promote our own ideas unless they are beneficial to community.”  He also suggested that all CA board meetings be recorded, with copies made available in the CA office and library as well as published in print and on the community website.

Floyd , who has called for creation of a comprehensive communications plan, also noted that work on information flow within SCC is needed. The chemical and biological scientist pointed out that within months the community will observe its 50th anniversary and from that point looks ahead to a “long future.”  He also underscored the opportunity to work with Minto Communities, the new developer, and with ClubLink, new owner of the golf courses, in promoting the community outside SCC.

Asked for their views on the SCC relationship with Kings Point, Black and Floyd agreed on the advisability of maintaining a close cooperation between the two sets of neighborhoods, with Black noting that many Kings Pointers are active in SCC clubs. He said he believes more cross participation should be encouraged. And Barnes, who did not disagree, offered the view that the two different lifestyles of the two communities probably precludes any full merger of the two.     

Sudman, with a background in science, academics and business plus lengthy history managing non-profit entities, observed that SCC is “at a crossroads,” experiencing both changing demographics and changing conditions. He called for exploring opportunities to work with Minto and ClubLink on such matters as uses of the closed North Lake Golf Course and maintenance of medians along S.R. 674, also known as Sun City Center Boulevard.  A key question is, he said,”what can we do to make SCC more attractive?”

And Erickson, an electronics technician who describes himself as “analytical to a fault,” pointed out that at age 57 he offers a new perspective, part of the changing demographic in the community noted by Sudman.  He also sounded a note of caution, suggesting that many new residents come to SCC because of connections by blood or friendship to other, long term Sun City citizens, providing a certain” continuity” in the process. “Some people like the small town atmosphere,” he said, “be careful what you wish for. There are two sides to every issue. “

The election will be conducted Tuesday, November 30, and Wednesday, December 1.

Copyright 2010 Melody Jameson

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