In our February 2004 issue, author N.M. Kelby's search for a liberal enclave in Sarasota led her to an group called Forum 2004.
Some of their major concerns are a seeming over-eagerness by government officials to resort to war, ignore established international protocol, increase the federal budget deficit and erode civil rights and environmental protection laws. This not-for-profit group claims no partisanship and is in fact, comprised of members with registered political affiliations that run the gamut.
Some of the standouts include honorary chair Paul Duke. Duke has written for The Wall Street Journal, Saturday Evening Post, New Republic, Washington Post and New York Times. For 20 years, he moderated PBS's Washington Week in Review, and, according to Forum 2004's Web site, has interviewed "virtually every important political leader of our time." He was recently inducted into the Washington Journalism Hall of Fame.
Another board member, Bob Atwell, served as president of the American Council on Education from 1984-1996. His 37-year career in education includes stints as vice chancellor for administration of the University of Wisconsin, Madison and president of Pitzer College in Claremont, California. The group's Web site says Atwell holds 17 honorary degrees and chairs the State Policy Forum of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.
Executive director Louise Kennedy is an independent arts consultant who is currently involved with Friends of the Selby Public Library and the Sarasota County Arts Council, where she served as a grants panelist from 2002 to 2004.
Caren Lobo is vice president and founder of Lobo Media Group, Inc and co-owns, with her husband, Richard, Sarasota News & Books. She has been instrumental in the creation of the Sarasota Reading Festival and is a trustee of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
Other directors listed on Forum 2004's Web site include Jim Bausch, Irene Bandy-Hedden, Wendy Grassi, Len Gumley, Marilyn Harwell, Roy McBean, Molly McCartney, Jim McCartney, Jeanne Nunn, Steve Schlossberg, Florence Tate, and Bernard C. Watson, Ph.D.
If you're interested in learning more about the group and how you can join, visit their Web site: www.Forum2004America.org.