Nov. 5 races set in Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach

Two new political candidates will join two incumbents in the Nov. 5 election campaign for one of the three seats on the Anna Maria City Commission.

    An early look at the candidates:

    • Carol Carter: Carter lives on Willow Avenue and is a member of the city’s planning and zoning board. She was active in the 2009 recall campaign of then-Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus.

    Her employers are Feeding America and the Alzheimer’s Association, both based in Chicago.

    This is her first run for elected office in Anna Maria.

    • Michael Jaworski: Jaworski lives in the 800 block of North Shore Drive and is a part-time employee of the Anna Maria public works department. He has not previously sought political office.

    He is retired from the Ford Motor Co., and from Visteon Inc. of Kentucky. He also has income from real estate.

    • Doug Copeland: Copeland, who was appointed to the commission in June, is a former chair of the planning and zoning board and was a P&Z board member for nearly 20 years.

    He works as a self-employed woodworker and resides in the 700 block of North Bay Boulevard.

    Copeland has not previously campaigned for public office.

    • Dale Woodland: Woodland is seeking his sixth term as a commissioner. He lives in the 100 block of Hammock Road and lists his occupation as the owner/operator of a pool cleaning and supply company.

    He also has a retirement pension from L-3 Benefit Center in Texas.

    Woodland also has been a member of the planning and zoning board.

    Anna Maria commissioners are elected for two-year terms and are paid $400 per month. At the election, the city voters will choose three names from the four candidates. The top three vote-getters in Anna Maria will take the three available seats.

Bradenton Beach mayoral race:

    It’s been almost four years since Bradenton Beach voters have gone to the polls for a contested race, while Holmes Beach vacation rentals and duplex issues spawned back-to-back contests.

    Bradenton Beach Mayor John Shaughnessy termed out of his Ward 1 commission seat in 2009 after six years on the dais.

    He took two years off from politics before running for mayor in 2011, when the incumbent mayor chose not to run. Unopposed, Shaughnessy was automatically elected.

    He’s most proud of leading the city through a difficult economic period, working with Holmes Beach Mayor Carmel Monti to settle the lawsuit with Holmes Beach over the 27th Street-Sandpiper Resort quit claim deed and bringing a common sense approach to the mayor’s office.

    Bill Shearon served two terms as commissioner before making an unsuccessful mayoral run. He joined the planning and zoning board, where he served for several years until resigning in 2012 when commissioners and city staff summarily disregarded the board’s recommendation to deny a dune and parking lot project at the BeachHouse Restaurant.

    Shearon is one-third of a plaintiff group currently suing the city over that decision, claiming, among other issues that the area scheduled for improvements is renourished beach that should not be developed.

    Four members of the P&Z resigned over the dispute and Shearon said part of the reason he is running for mayor is because the current administration discourages public involvement.

    He calls for more financial accountability and personal responsibility from the dais.

BB commissioner race: Ward 3

    Commissioner Ric Gatehouse was appointed to the dais in early 2012 when former Ward 3 Commissioner Janie Robertson termed out of office and no one stepped up to run for her seat in the 2011 election.

    Gatehouse said he is most proud of correcting a prior administration’s mistake in giving away too much authority to third parties, improving the cell tower ordinance, he claims, in particular.

    He led the charge to have that ordinance amended. He said he’s is running for a second term because he has unfinished business. Gatehouse has been at the forefront of ensuring infrastructure projects are budgeted and completed. He recently presented a comprehensive parking plan designed to create more parking, generate revenue and alleviate congestion.

    Janie Robertson is running for the same Ward 3 commissioner seat she held for six years before terming out of office in 2011. She also faces the very person who replaced her on the dais.

    She has remained involved at city meetings, but grew frustrated with what she said was a lack of willingness to listen by the current administration.

    Robertson said commissioners mean well, but don’t have the kind of experience with local governing she brings to the table. She calls for more fiscal responsibility and said proper procedures need to be followed to keep the city out of trouble.

BB commissioner race: Ward 1

    Gay Breuler has cited personal reasons not to seek a second term in office as Ward 1 commissioner. She is recently married and is preparin to move out of the city and off island.

    John “Jack” Clarke is a newcomer to city politics and, as the only qualified candidate for Ward 1, is automatically elected.

    Clarke said he decided to run for office because it was time to give back to a city he calls “unpretentious and genuine.”

    A resident of 10 years, Clarke pledged to keep the city on a forward track while retaining its charm.

Holmes Beach: 3 incumbents, 2 newcomers


    David Zaccagnino has served as a city commissioner for eight years.

    He is a proponent of stemming overdevelopment of so-called party houses and big-box rentals. He is working with the newly formed congestion-parking committee and believes solutions are possible without hurting local business.

    Jean Peelen was voted into office during the 2011 election. She said she decided to run again to “finish what I started.”

    Peelen said there are too many important issues that have come up in her tenure as commissioner and doesn’t believe she could walk away from an unfinished job.

    Pat Morton is the longest-seated commissioner in Holmes Beach, having served on the dais for 10 years. He opposes overdevelopment in the city, and has most notably stood his ground during the Mainsail Lodge development process, voting to revoke the site plan and insisting the process start anew under current codes and limitations.

The challengers

    Carol Soustek says she will fight hard to enforce the city’s codes and help stop overdevelopment of Holmes Beach.

    She has a history of working with local environmental groups and pledges to continue to protect the city’s shoreline, mangroves and wildlife and enhance Grassy Point Nature Preserve.

    C. Melissa Williams operates a graphics and marketing business with her husband in Holmes Beach, SteamDesigns. She has been an active member of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce and the chamber’s 2009 Small Business of the Year award-winner. She has served as president of the Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island and also served other island nonprofits, including the Anna Maria Island Historical Society and Island Players.

    Williams said she is looking forward to leading the city into a “more balanced and brighter future.”


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