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HB candidates raise funds, fuel election campaigns

By Kathy Prucnell, Islander Reporter

A trio of newcomers to politics running in the Nov. 6 city election races for two Holmes Beach commission seats and for mayor have been organizing with meetings, door-to-door visits and phone calls. Some candidates have been speaking out at city hall.

    And their campaign coffers are growing.

    And the trio of incumbents — Mayor Rich Bohnenberger and Commissioners John Monetti and Sandy Haas-Martens — were guests at a campaign event at the Beach Bistro last month, according to restaurant owner-host Sean Murphy. He is planning another fundraiser for the incumbents at the end of September, he said.

    Mayoral challenger Carmel Monti has been attending city meetings and doing research on problems in the Residential-2 zoning district.

    In addition to research and attendance at commission meetings, candidate Judy Holmes Titsworth has provided written input and met with the mayor and public works superintendent Joe Duennes, attempting to improve building department practices which, she says, have resulted in residential overdevelopment.

    Candidate Marvin Grossman has been attending meetings and contributing to the R-2 rental zone discussions in the community with videos and literature. He’s also been looking into ways to use Grassy Point, the 34-acre nature preserve, purchased in 2000, although not yet open to the public.

    Grossman is planning a Sept. 16 meeting of his supporters where he’ll be giving out signs, T-shirts, literature and more, asking people to wave signs and looking for permission to post signs on his supporters’ properties.

    All Holmes Beach commission and mayoral candidates have filed the required campaign treasurer’s report with Holmes Beach clerk Stacey Johnston.

    As of Aug. 9, Grossman reported a total of $1,907.50 in contributions, including a personal contribution of $250.

    Others contributing $100 or more to Grossman’s campaign are Ed Chiles of Anna Maria, Boyd Realty of Anna Maria, John Patterson of Sarasota, Ron Travis of Bradenton and Piero Rivolta of Sarasota.

    As of Sept. 5, Haas-Martens reported $1,600 in campaign contributions, including a $100 personal loan. Her campaign contributors of $100 or more are Jean Taylor of Lake Orion, Mich., and Helen Blaser, John Agnelli Construction, Frank Davis, Jo Davis, Peter Mattina, Warren Jarlath, Frank Leggio and Joseph Callaghan, all from Holmes Beach.

    As of Aug. 9, Monetti reported only a $300 loan from himself to his campaign.

    As of Aug. 9, Bohnenberger reported a $200 personal loan and $100 from former Commissioner Billie Martini of Holmes Beach.

    Monti reported $165 in contributions to Aug. 9, of which $120 was a personal loan.

    In the November 2011 city election, Johnston reported a 28 percent turnout, with 984 of 3,515 registered voters casting ballots.

        Voters then re-elected incumbents David Zaccagnino and Pat Morton and newcomer Jean Peelen. Commissioner Al Robinson and Andy Sheridan were unsuccessful in their 2011 bids for office.

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