link to video of this forum 
CONA meetings

— monthly meeting —

Monday, December 11, 2017 at 7 p.m.


    ​   On Monday, December 11, 2017 please join CONA for our annual holiday party that will follow a very brief business meeting. 
  The party is a potluck affair, so please bring your favorite dish to share with other civic-minded neighbors

neighbors helping neighborhoods since 1961

at a glance*

January 9, 2017
opportunistic crimes
Cherie McKeon
Kathy Kelley Ohlrich

February 132017
— candidate forum —
Sarasota municipal primary
at-large candidates

March 132017
solar co-op project
how your neighborhood
group can join
and participate
​John Lambie
Stephen Suau
April 10, 2017
—  cona town hall  —
surplus lands and community
treasures - crucial decisions
Adrien Lucas, Rob White,
Tom Matrullo, Carlos Correa
see  video and summary
focus on the Celery Fields
May 8, 2017
sea level rise
our community and
historic preservation
concerns  - see video
Lorrie Muldowney
David Shafer
Jack Merriam
Tim Rumage

June 12, 2017
-  Celery Fields  -
assessment of June 1
planning board meeting
and -- next steps
Adrien Lucas, Tom Matrullo
July, 2017
— vacation 
August, 2017
—  vacation  
participate in BoCC August 23
meeting on Celery Fields

September 11, 2017
what's bugging you ?
prioritize issues for dialogue
with  local officials
cancelled, hurricane

October 9, 2017
all about elections
Ron Turner,
supervisor of elections
November 6, 2017
—  fundraiser  
56th anniversary party
Gerry Swormstedt
update on CONA scholars
recognition of
Celery Fields leaders
Adrien Lucas and Tom Matrullo
and Fresh Start Initiative
 Michael's Wine Cellar, Sarasota

November 13, 2017
 - Siesta Promenade -
Pine Shores
Neighborhood Alliance report
Sura Kochman

December 11, 2017
short business meeting
followed by our
potluck holiday party
bring a favorite dish
to share with eight

January 2018
— tba —

our programs are
subject  to change,
please check here
each month

September 10, 2012 - CONA — Foreclosure Mess 101
April Charney and Matt Weidner - attorneys leading the defense
full program

video archive

Ballot Amendments
October 8, 2012 
CONA meeting    
visit YouTube for these 

two videos  
(Part 1  click here)
(Part 2  click here)​

Foreclosure Mess 101

September 10, 2012 
CONA meeting 

visit the bottom of our Home page
for links to both the
 video and the article
 (click here)​

meeting locations and information 

  CONA monthly meetings are free and open to the public as well as the members of the more than seventy associations the organization represents and our individual members. 
  Regular monthly meetings are on second Mondays of the month at the Sarasota Garden Club, 1131 Boulevard of the Arts in Sarasota, which is at the intersection of Tamiami Trail, south of the Municipal Auditorium. Parking and the entrance are reached from Van Wezel Way. 

  A social gathering at 6:30 precedes these regular monthly meetings that begin at 7:00.
  We do not schedule regular monthly meetings in July or August unless there are pressing issues of immediate concern. 
  Special meetings may be held on different dates, at other times, or at other locations, please check announcements and notices carefully. 

  Special fund-raising events may be reserved to contributors who respond to advertisements of the event to members and the public.
February 24, 2015 - CONA — primary candidate forum 
Sarasota municipal primary election for districts 2 and 3 city commission seats
Part 1    Part 2    Part 3    Part 4 
video links to two 2015 candidate forums   
Sarasota municipal commission races
district two and district three

May 12, 2015 election
    If you missed our candidate forums for this election, Pete Theisen created these videotapes of them. Those who participated in both forums are the only candidates for the May election. The primary campaign forum was solely a CONA event, but the runoff campaign forum was a collaboration with our guest, the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations - CCNA. 
   The content of each forum is quite different, as an effort was made to avoid repetition of questions, so reviewing both is advised before voting.  
runoff race forum  —  Monday, April 13, 2015
entire runoff forum in one link
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

primary race forum  —  Tuesday, February 24, 2015
entire primary forum in one link
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

—  rewarding feedback ​ —

   On February 24, 2015 the meeting hall was filled with “super voters” and we had to pull out two extra rows of chairs from storage to accommodate the overflow crowd eager to hear the CONA forum. Compliments made to us immediately afterward justify the efforts made by those involved in pulling the forum together, here are a few, 
“I now feel that I know all of the real issues in this race.”
“I never miss the CONA forum for a race because it is so informative.”
“Another great CONA forum!” 
“It’s always a red flag when a candidate fails to show up for a CONA forum.” 
“Answers to CONA questions always show if the candidates know their stuff.”
"I was extremely impressed with the probing questions—fine job."
“I am always amazed about how CONA can cover so much ground at their forum.”

   Although we had prepared for more guests for the second forum on April 13 the meeting hall still was filled with a more than capacity crowd. Again, we had to bring out more chairs for those standing. Immediate feedback was equally as rewarding as following the first forum. 

meeting video archive
February 2015 through 2016, Pete Theisen was the official CONA videographer, we are grateful for his contributions to keeping our members and the public informed; 
in 2017 some video was created by others, posting became delayed and follows as possible - on an individual basis - we hope to resume monthly meeting posting soon.

each meeting is posted individually and follows automatically from that link
if divided into parts, unique links to each part may be provided also
April 13, 2015 CONA — runoff candidate forum
Sarasota municipal runoff election for districts 2 and 3 city commission seats
Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5
June 8, 2015 CONA — Turning watershed management into beneficial use 
John Ryan - seeking community-based leadership in watershed management Stephen Suau - beneficial uses of storm water
Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5
September 14, 2015 - CONA — 2015 SCOPE Community Report Card Road Show
John McCarthy - very interesting data about the community 
​​Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4          also see resources
October 12, 2015 - CONA — Criminalization of mental health 
Larry Eger - a dialogue with our public defender 
Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   
November 9, 2015 - CONA — Making neighborhood water features beautiful, natural, and healthy 
Russ Hoffman, Nathan Hoffman - experts on neighborhood ponds and lakes
Part 1   Part 2   Part 3          also see resources

January 11, 2016 - CONA — Understanding the MPO process 
Jim Bennett - past chair, Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization 
Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4          also see government information
October 8, 2012 - CONA — amendments on the election ballot
Terry Turner, Randall Reid, Frank Alcott, Cathy Antunes, Bill Zoller - panel members
Part 1   Part 2

for materials related to a specific meeting topic
after the meeting, go to our resources page and look for the meeting title and date—as more information on the topic becomes available—those links will be updated
( you can help—send suggestions )
February 8, 2016 - CONA — Historic preservation adds value to your home and community  
Lorrie Muldowney - past manager, Historical Resources of Sarasota County
Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4          also see resources
March 14, 2016 - CONA — Compatible development outcome after fifteen years of wrangling on the bayou
James Bridges of Jebco Ventures and his planner, Joel Freedman, join neighbors Jennifer Ahearn-Koch, Kafi Benz, Don Farr, Yvonne Lacey, and Pola Sommers
Part 1    Part 2    Part 3          also see resources
February 9, 2015  - CONA — How Sarasota could become a hub for organic food production - an economic development initiative
Stephen Suau
no video available          but see resources
January 12, 2015  - CONA — Nora Patterson discusses her political career to date; Kafi Benz - member wish lists for CONA to tackle
Nora Patterson
Kafi Benz
​no video available 
Neighbors helping neighborhoods since 1961 
ask a question
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join CONA
make a payment
leave a message
at our contact us page 
April 11, 2016 - CONA - candidate forum - State House of Representatives
moderator, Dan Lobeck
district 72 candidates 
  Sara Kathleen Blackwell, Edward Elliot James III, Alexandra Cynthia Miller
district 73 candidates 
  James T. Golden, Joe Gruters, Steve Vernon  
Part 1    Part 2    Part 3
May 9, 2016 - CONA - candidate forum - State Senator for District 23
moderator, Dan Lobeck
  Frank Cirillo, Doug Holder, Rick Levine, Nora Patterson, Ray Pilon, Greg Steube
Part 1   Part 2   Part 3
June 13, 2016 - CONA - candidate forum - County Commissioners 
  District 1 - Fredd Atkins, Frank DiCicco, Mike Moran 
  District 3 - Nancy Detert
  District 5 - Charles Hines 
Part 1    Part 2    Part 3    Part 4    Part 5 
September 12, 2016 - CONA - ballot proposals - state amendments, county charter review board 
Lourdes Ramirez, chair, League of Women Voters speakers bureau 
Gerry Swormstedt, chair, Manatee-Sarasota Sierra Club  
Part 1    Part 2     Part 3  
October 10, 2016 - CONA - candidate forum - county commission D-1 and comprehensive plan update analysis
comp plan update analysis, Dan Lobeck, president, Control Growth Now 
 District 1 - Fredd Atkins, Mike Moran - moderator, William Zoller
Part 1   Part 2    Part 3 
 in archive
October 15, 2016 - A council of neighborhoods can be a major resource
CONA—Sarasota County Council of Neighborhoods Associations workshop
Twentieth Annual Florida Neighborhoods Conference  
Venice, Florida - October 13, 14, 15, 2016  -  submitted for CAM CE 1 hr credit 
Kafi Benz, Ann Kaplan, Lourdes Ramirez, 
Lorrie Muldowney, Mary Butler, Melanie Goddard 
Part 1    Part 2 

contact us
about the
invitation and
payment options using
check or Paypal
April 10, 2017 - CONA town hall - surplus lands 
and community treasures -- crucial decisions
( with focus on the Celery Fields area )
Adrien Lucas, Rob White, Tom Matrullo, Carlos Correa
video  -  courtesy of David G. Johnson of Grow the Dream
summary  -  courtesy of Citizens for Sarasota County