All three island cities have election races heating up

By Jennifer Glenfield

Islander Reporter

      In many small cities, politics takes the back stage. Not so in Holmes Beach, where players are stepping up to seek seats on the dais and in the mayor’s office.

The two-year terms held by Commissioners Judy Titsworth and Marvin Grossman are up in November. Both are seeking a second term.

And earlier this month, Holmes Beach resident Renee Ferguson announced her intention to seek a seat on the commission.

Another candidate for the commission is Andy Sheridan. He’s no political newcomer, having run twice for a commission seat in 2009 and 2011 and lost.

Sheridan said he plans on filing his qualifying papers this week. He said the first time around, he promised some citizens he would keep going to city meetings and speak out on issues and, he said, he’s done that.

He said he’s been attending city meetings regularly since 2007 or 2008, and he keeps current on the issues challenging the city.

He also said some residents have encouraged him to get back in the race for a commission seat.

Meanwhile, Bob Johnson, who this year has chaired the city charter commission, has announced he plans to run for mayor, a post currently held by Carmel Monti, who is not seeking re-election.

Johnson has been married to wife Denise for 31 years. He’s a graduate of West Point and was a career military officer. Before retiring in 2008, Johnson also worked in technology, including at Lockheed.

In Holmes Beach, he’s served on the island congestion committee, as well as chairing the charter review commission.

Johnson, who moved to Holmes Beach 20 years ago, said, “I believe I can make a tangible difference for our citizens.

“I am running to build on the accomplishments of the past two years and provide the steady, results-oriented, experienced and open-minded leadership necessary to insure that these accomplishments are fully consolidated into our city.

“Our businesses and citizens need results from a civic-minded leader, not expeditious political actions.”

Johnson’s candidacy means there will be a race for mayor. Commissioner David Zaccagnino jumped into the mayor’s race early on and has announced he will vacate his commission seat after the Nov. 4 election.

Zaccagnino submitted a resignation letter that will allow a new commission — postelection — to appoint a commissioner for the one-year remainder of his term, which ends in November 2015.

Titsworth previously hedged on seeking re-election, saying that if Zaccagnino had no opponent, she would resign the commission to run for mayor.

But Titsworth announced that won’t be necessary, with Johnson in the running.

She said of Johnson, “We are extremely lucky to have a man of his caliber to look out for the local businesses, the residents and the city that we all call home.”

Of her own candidacy, Titsworth said, “There are still many important issues facing the commission in our efforts to save the residential character and quality of life in the city and my vote on the commission is crucial.

“I am a third-generation member of the Holmes family, for which this city is named. I was born and raised here. I raised my family here, and my husband owns a business here in the city. I feel it would be a challenge to find anyone that has more respect and love for this city. I will continue to bring not only years of history and business experience, but also leadership, stewardship, pride and compassion.”

Qualifying for office in Holmes Beach closes at noon, Friday, June 20.

So the races are not yet set.

Candidate packets are available at city hall or at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, 600 301 Blvd. W., Suite 108, Bradenton.

Prospective candidates must fill out a statement of candidacy, declare the position for which they are running, collect signatures from at least 15 registered voters in the city and open a campaign account with an assigned treasurer.

Prospective candidates also must complete a candidate’s oath of office and verify residency. Holmes Beach candidates must have resided in the city for at least two years.

Candidates must also pay a qualifying fee, which is equal to 10 percent of the income of the office sought. Running for mayor comes with a $120 qualifying fee, and commissioners $64.

The city presently has 3,187 registered voters.

            Staff contributed to this story.


Anna Maria will have race
for mayor, commission

By Rick Catlin

Islander Reporter

      Two years after no one sought the mayor’s post in Anna Maria, there are at least two candidates seeking the office in November, along with three candidates for two commission seats.

Incumbent Mayor SueLynn, who became mayor in 2012 by appointment, is seeking a second consecutive term. She also served as mayor 2002-06.

SueLynn presented her initial qualifying papers to the SOE June 10.

She’ll face Dan Murphy, who submitted qualifying papers to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office earlier this month. Murphy is seeking his first-ever election to a political office.

Murphy said in a statement to The Islander that he’s running in the face of “eight major challenges which threaten to permanently alter the lifestyle we all have enjoyed as residents. I want to resolve these issues.

“I have the leadership, communication, technical and management skills to do so without adding undue upset, burden or further restricting our residents;  while at the same time, maximizing/optimizing the ordinances and resources we already have in place.”

There’s also a race for the two commission seats on the Nov. 4 ballot, with three candidates qualified or preparing to submit the necessary paperwork.

Political newcomer David Bouchard, a 12-year resident, will join incumbent Commissioners Nancy Yetter and Chuck Webb in the race.

Bouchard is the son-in-law of former Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick.

“I thought about running before,” Bouchard said. “But this time I decided to do it. I just want to bring a fresh approach to the commission as the city and island are changing.”

Webb will be seeking his fifth consecutive term as commissioner. Yetter is looking for a second term.

Election packets are available at city hall, 10005 Gulf Drive, or at the county election office, 600 301 Blvd., No. 108, Bradenton.

      For Anna Maria candidates, election fees and qualifying papers must be submitted to the SOE office, not city hall, city clerk Diane Percycoe said.

The deadline is noon June 20.

The qualifying fee to run for mayor is $96, while to seek a commission seat the fee is $48. Forms to waive the qualifying fee as a financial hardship also are available at the SOE office.

Anna Maria commissioners are paid $4,800 annually, while the mayor receives $9,600 in annual compensation.

As of May 31, the SOE reported 1,246 registered voters in Anna Maria.


Race is on for Bradenton Beach Ward 4 seat

By Merab-Michal Favorite

Islander Reporter

      The race is on for the Ward 4 commission seat in Bradenton Beach.

Tjet Martin, longtime partner of Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon, announced June 11 that she officially registered as a candidate with the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office in the Nov. 4 city election.

Commissioners in Bradenton Beach must reside in their ward, but are elected by a citywide vote.

Martin will run on the ballot with incumbent Commissioners Jan Vosburgh, of Ward 4, and Ed Straight of Ward 2.

The trio of candidates have appointed campaign treasurers and registered bank accounts for the election with the supervisor’s office.

Straight, thus far, is unopposed for the Ward 2 seat.

Both Vosburgh and Straight were unopposed in the 2012 election.

Residents have until noon Friday, June 20, to register for the municipal election.

Candidate packets are available at the city clerk’s office at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N., or at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, 600 301 Blvd. W., Bradenton.

Applicants are required to have established residency within the city for 90 days and be registered to vote in the ward for which they qualify.

The candidate must pay a qualifying fee equal to 1 percent of the annual salary for the office sought — $96 for mayor, $48 for commission seat — and obtain 10 petition signatures of voters residing in the city.

There are 767 registered voters in Bradenton Beach, although 176 of those voters are listed as “inactive,” meaning they have not participated in a recent election, according to the SEO website.

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