January 28, 2013
Posted By: Raymmar Tirado
I recently attended a fundraiser for Richard Dorfman at Jessie Biter's downtown condo. I didn't know anything about Richard Dorfman before the event. I attended as Jessie's guest and really just thought it would be a great opportunity to meet some movers and shakers, spread the word about my company and take advantage of an open bar.
I did end up doing all those things but I also got a chance to hear Richard Dorfman speak about his vision for the city and I have to admit I got a little excited listening to him articulate his positions. I figured there had to be more to this guy and I wanted to know for myself that he wasn't some smooth talking politician looking for his 15 minutes in the spotlight. I reached out to him and asked if he would be willing to sit down for a short interview. He did, so here I am writing it up, hoping people will read it and at the very leat find out more about him as well as the other candidates in the March 12th election for City Commissioner.
As he tells it, his background has nothing to do with why he wants to get in to politics but it has given him the skill set to be a good commissioner. He was born in New York and grew up in Northern New Jersey. He attended American University in Washington DC where he played Soccer and Rugby while studying business and communications.
After college he moved back to Manhattan and through a series of events became the Director of Broadcasting for the NBA. After that Richard went to work for IMG in international television, basically agenting the PGA, NFL and the US Open (to name a few) all around the world. In 1989 Richard moved to London for what was supposed to be a two week assignment that turned in to a 23 year stent overseas. His experience is vast and includes working on or around most of the major international sporting events, working with Nelson Mandela and even includes establishing a F1-style racing circuit (A1 Grand Prix) with a Sheik in Dubai.
I could write an entire article just on his career before ending up in Sarasota but you can ask him about all that when you catch him on the street. For now all you need to know is that he has a heck of a past, has experienced the world and because of that will bring a unique vantage point to his duties should be be elected for Sarasota City Commission.
Richard Dorfman first came to and fell in love with Sarasota in 1977. He was on a vacation and told me that after that trip,"Sarasota was always on my radar". Having done a lot of business in Tampa he would come to Sarasota regularly from London between 2003-2005. He bought some property here in 2006 and started spending more and more time in Sarasota until finally retiring here (if you can call what he is doing retirement) in March of 2009.
"You know, it compares very favorably. The vibe in Sarasota is like nothing I've experienced anywhere and I find it to be a very European style city. Its just got this wonderful, positive, unpretentious, cool sort of vibe."
This caused me to pause and question his thought process because I think there are a number of people that would whole heartedly disagree with the last part of that statement. I actually asked him to explain the statement further but you will have tolisten to the entire audio recording to find out where that conversation took us.
Turns out Richard ran for the same position two years ago and never really stopped campaigning. He missed the runoff by 16 votes after having thrown the campaign together in about 8 weeks. He was a complete unknown, a newbie to politics and ended up "getting very close against people who were 30 year residents here."
He was completely burnt out after his career traveling the world. He even calculated that one year he never spent more than 4 nights in the same bed. "I was Shot!" But after a year in Sarasota he woke up one day refreshed and even to this day he wakes up smiling, happy to be living in paradise.
He always had an interest in politics so he started getting involved locally. The more he dug in the more he realized there was this tiny group of people controlling the city.
"They had no world experience, no business experience and they were treating the city like it was a glorified PTA meeting".
He was surprised to see the city succeeding in spite of itself but thought it could be doing so much more so he decided that he wasn't just going to talk about it, he was going to be about it. That's when he decided to throw his hat in the ring and run for public office.
"In order to get anything done you have to build a consensus with the commissioners. There are a few commissioners on the commission right now that I have very good relationships with and I think are on the same page and I think we can probably come up with consensus to get things done. That being said, you need to lead, you can be collegial up to a point but there also becomes a point where, if what you believe in is so strong, you have to put your neck out there and bang on the table. You know, you have to fight to get things done... you have to be like a dog with a bone and you have to step up with an agenda, with direction, with conviction and get it done."
Listen to the entire interview to hear Richard as he talks more about negotiating and the small group of people controlling the city and how they maintain their strangle hold on the city. Want to know more?... Read the full interview at BYP3.com here.
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Article courtesy of CR8INC and BYP3.
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