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Date of Issue: November 10, 2006

Holmes Beach voters elect Haas-Martens, Monetti

Holmes Beach voters today elected two commissioners - one incumbent and one newcomer to the board.

Voters re-elected Sandy Haas-Martens to a fifth term and elected political newcomer John A. Monetti for a two-year term to the seat being vacated by Roger Lutz.

The winners were selected from a field of five candidates that also included two former commissioners, Pat Geyer and Don Maloney, and second-time candidate Sheila Hurst. Hurst is an activist with Save Anna Maria Inc. Geyer, the owner of Duffy’s, served as mayor for several terms.

The vote, according to early and unofficial returns, is:

  • Haas-Martens, 31 percent.
  • Monetti, 26 percent.
  • Geyer, 20 percent.
  • Maloney, 15 percent.
  • Hurst, 8 percent.

Haas-Martens, a retired bank manager and officer, was born in a small town outside Toledo, Ohio. Her family moved to Manatee County in 1960, and she attended Manatee High School, graduating in 1964.

Haas-Martens started working on the Island in 1969 and, in addition to working in banking, she’s been involved with numerous community organizations, including serving as president of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce and as elected commissioner for the local fire district.

Campaigning for re-election, Haas-Martens emphasized her experience and her enthusiasm for the commission job.

"I try to be involved," Haas-Martens said in an interview with The Islander. "I like doing things, keeping busy."

She cited, as she campaigned, concerns for building density and height and tax and insurance issues.

Haas-Martens cast her election day ballot at about 7:20 a.m., becoming the 35th voter at St.  Bernard Catholic Church in Holmes Beach.

She planned to spend election night with friends at home.

Monetti has served as a member of the city planning board and won his first elected office Tuesday. He and his family moved to Anna Maria Island 11 years ago, primarily because they liked the reputation of Anna Maria Elementary School.

Monetti had taken a job as general manager of the Columbia Restaurant after years of moving around the country and working with chain restaurants.

Once he settled on the Island, he said he decided to get involved in the community. That led him to campaign for city commission.

Monetti consistently campaigned with the pledge, "Seeking, through a common sense approach, to maintain the unique beauty and balance of the city of Holmes Beach."

Holmes Beach also gets a new mayor this month. Rich Bohnenberger, who ran unopposed in the general election, is taking over the post. Carol Whitmore decided not to seek re-election and ran as a Republican for the partisan countywide seat on the board of county commissioners.

The newly elected office-holders will be sworn in on Nov. 20 at 9 a.m. at city hall. After the oath of office, the commission will hold an organizational meeting and appoint someone to fill Bohnenberger’s seat on the commission, the seat he vacated midway into a two-year term to run for the office of mayor.