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Selby wants 2010 put behind Anna Maria

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

The biggest issue facing the city and residents is “is putting 2010 behind us and looking to the future,” not Pine Avenue parking, said Anna Maria mayoral candidate Mike Selby.

Selby made the comment in an e-mail to The Islander after declining an interview request.

“I think (an e-mail) gives all parties a more comprehensive picture anyway as I can give well thought out answers to all of your questions so the voters don’t get just a sound bite or a snippet of an answer,” he wrote.

Selby subsequently addressed the parking issue in another e-mail to the paper. He wrote that “some very ‘good’ people on both sides of the Pine Avenue issues said and did some things that I know they would like to take back. That includes me.”

Selby said he prefers not to dwell on any city division caused by the Pine Avenue parking issue. Instead, he would promote civil dialogue and “work hard” on the issue with other “well-intentioned people” to reach a parking compromise that is “best for Anna Maria.”

He has no prior political experience, Selby served two years as an alternate member of the code enforcement board, and was the chair of the Roser Memorial Community Church stewardship and finance committee in 2009. He was president of the Key Royale Club that same year.

The years Selby spent running his own successful business gave him “a lot of what I need to do the job and do it well,” he stated.

Selby said he supports the mixed-use, retail-office-residential district policy stated in the comprehensive plan. He believes, however, that some land-development regulations need to be consistent with the comp plan.

As mayor, Selby would be in charge of the city staff, but it would be “unfair” of him before election to discuss city staff performance.

But, if elected, he would evaluate the performance of each staff member and “make my findings known to the commission, then take whatever action is deemed appropriate,” he wrote.

Selby affirmed that the commission makes policy, while the mayor is the administrator. He would support enforcement of commission policy, “whether I like it or not. The mayor works for the commissioners.”

He acknowledged concern that he and his wife would spend summers in North Carolina.

Selby said several of his children and all his grandchildren live there, and he and his wife own a mountain home that is for sale.

He said he considered the time necessary to be mayor before deciding to seek the office and said he would be a “hands-on” mayor “as necessary to run the city.”

Biography:
Michael Selby
RESIDENCY: Anna Maria.
OCCUPATION: Retired.
OFFICE SOUGHT: Anna Maria mayor.
FAMILY: Wife Mary, three children, three grandchildren.
INTERESTS: Anna Maria, golf, pickleball.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Roser Memorial Community Church stewardship and finance committee, chairman 2009; Key Royale Golf Club president 2009.
CAMPAIGN MONETARY CONTRIBUTIONS (as of Sept. 15): $3,526.
QUOTE TO LIVE BY: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
CAMPAIGN MOTTO: “Preserve Anna Maria,” “Bridging the Gap.”

Question:
Selby seeks mayoral seat
An Islander Q&A with Michael Selby, who is running for mayor in Anna Maria in the Nov. 2 general election.

The Islander: Why did you decide to run for office in November?
Michael Selby: I felt that the citizens of Anna Maria deserve a choice in any election, not just this one.

The Islander: What are your qualifications for this office?
MS: I have no political background, but I believe that I have been blessed with a good amount of common sense. I ran my own company for over 20 years and dealt with city government for most of that time, so believe I have the knowledge it takes to be mayor.

The Islander: What are the three top goals/positions in your platform?
No. 1., preserve Anna Maria. No. 2, preserve Anna Maria. No. 3, preserve Anna Maria.

The Islander: What is your understanding of Florida’s Sunshine/Public Records laws?
MS: As an alternate member of the code enforcement board, I attended two of city attorney Jim Dye’s orientation classes and also read the handouts given to us. The intent is very clear.

The Islander: From time to time there is talk of consolidating local governments and/or local services. How do you feel about consolidation?
MS: Consolidation of services is certainly something I would look at for cost savings reasons, but no consideration for consolidation of governments will be given under my watch.

The Islander: Characterize the direction of the locality. Right track? Off track? Wrong track? Explain.
MS: I choose not to think of it as “right or wrong,” merely a difference in the vision for Anna Maria. We need a viable business district, but one that is consistent with the desires of the residents.

The Islander: Why should voters cast their ballot for you over your opponent?
MS: In keeping with my campaign motto and goals to “Preserve Anna Maria,” voters need to remember what attracted them to Anna Maria and decide if they want to keep it that way.

The Islander: What is the most significant issue facing the electorate at this time? How will you handle that issue?
MS: It seems that the development of Pine Avenue has been the main topic of discussion for over a year. We need to put the past to rest and figure out how the businesses and residents can co-exist. No one wants to see boarded up buildings on Pine Avenue and for anyone to suggest that the residents are “anti business” is disingenuous. I believe that the city has a comp plan and land-development regulations in place to protect all parties, but needs better enforcement and interpretation.

The Islander: Local governments are beginning a new fiscal year. What is your view of the local budget/tax situation? And how do you approach government finances?
MS: All levels of government — federal, state, county and local — should all be aware of the difficult economic times we are facing. From my perspective, increased taxes are not the answer. Governments need to look at controlling expenses and must look at ways to economize. We, as citizens, should not be looking to government as an answer to all of our problems.

The Islander: Is there a promise you want to make to voters?
MS: I know that I am getting repetitious with my message, but if I am elected I will do everything in my power to “preserve Anna Maria” and not let it go the way of most of the rest of Florida. I fell in love with Anna Maria the way it “was,” and I am not anxious to see it change any more than it already has.

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