SARASOTA VOTERS - Kimberley Farley


Last night of our reporters was foiled in her original story assignment. Here’s what WMNF’s Kimberley Farley came up with instead.

I was originally assigned to do a story on Dennis Kucinich’s visit to Fogertyville Café in Bradenton last night, but he was hospitalized Sunday for gastroenteritis, also known as the stomach flu. His website reports it was probably brought on by food poisoning.

So being stuck without a story I decided to conduct a neighborhood stroll of Downtown Sarasota, which just happens to be my neighborhood, and get people’s thoughts on the Florida Democratic Primary and politics in general.

Now, normally the downtown area is filled with people discussing politics over a cup of coffee or a glass of beer, but this night was different. Nobody was out. Maybe it was because it’s Spring Break, or perhaps because of the cold front moving through. Temperatures below 60 will keep most people inside at night.

But through sheer will, I managed to find a few people willing to give their political opinions. They were all males, mostly of the 18-26 age range, and most are not registered to vote in the state of Florida.

The first stop on my neighborhood stroll was one of the local pizza places. I spoke with the owner Mickey Smith, who is, shall we say, older than the 18-26 age range. He’s also one of the few people I talked to registered to vote.

He told me he’s not voting in the Primary because Kerry pretty much has the nomination locked up. Curious as to whom he would have voted for in the primary, he said that he never would have voted for Dean (SB 1, OQ …just like George W. Bush). But he would vote for Sharpton because he likes the fact that he doesn’t sound rehearsed and has great answers.  

Wesley Baker Weston was my next victim. He works for Mickey and as an independent he’s not voting in the Primary either. But what if he were a registered Democrat? (SB 2, OQ …informed on the issues). He went on to say that if Florida held an open primary and Kerry did not have a lock on the nomination he would participate in the primary. (SB 5; OQ …have to see) 

Having finished my pizza I went to the coffee shop down the street which is usually full of intelligent conversation. No one except Chris Cook was sitting outside ready to answer a few questions from a determined reporter. He is not registered to vote and doesn’t think much of the Democratic candidates. (SB 3, OQ …isn’t much better)

The next stop on the tour was yet another coffee shop slash café. John Wagner is also among the young currently unregistered voters. But not being registered does not mean you cannot have an opinion. He supports Kerry but said he’s a little disappointed in himself for not looking closer at Edwards and Dean. (SB 4, OQ …big business)

Finishing the interview, I then wandered into the local neighborhood bar thinking beer plus people equal conversation, hopefully focusing on politics. But no, foiled again I went back to the where I’d just left looking for fresh blood, and found it in Ryan O’Donnell, who is also not registered to vote. He’s chosen to opt out of the voting system because he believes it is corrupted. (SB 6, OQ …funded organizations) He thinks a wake-up call is in order. (SB 7, OQ …taken out altogether)

For Wmnf News, I’m Kimberley Farley.

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