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Date of Issue: September 23, 2009

Voters to decide mayoral race

Bradenton Beach voters will cast ballots in one race Nov. 3 — the mayoral contest between incumbent Michael Pierce and challenger William Shearon.

The two ran against each other in 2007 seeking to succeed John Chappie, who could not run again due to city-mandated term limits.

During the 2007 campaign, both Shearon and Pierce said if elected they would treat the mayoral post as a full-time job and that their commitment was to maintaining the city’s “old Florida” charm.

Pierce, of the 2300 block of Avenue B, is a former city commissioner from Ward 2 — he served a year — and a former chair of the city’s scenic highway group.

Pierce moved to Bradenton Beach more than 20 years ago from Lansing, Mich., where he worked for 36 years for General Motors.

“It takes a long time to get big projects done,” Pierce said, explaining his decision to seek re-election. “And when I start something I see it through.”

In a second term, he said he would focus on drainage improvements and clearing up problems with alleyways “without heavy-handed ways.”

“I enjoy doing it,” Pierce said of the mayoral job.

Shearon, of the 300 block of Gulf Drive South, is a former commissioner from Ward 4 — he served three years — and currently serves on the planning and zoning board.

After a career of building up his business in Chicago, Shearon moved to Bradenton Beach, where he built up the business of the Linger Longer Resort with his partner, Tjet Martin.

Shearon said his No. 1 priority, if elected, would be finances.

Referring to the commission decision to dip into reserves for the 2009-10 budget, Shearon said, “That’s been built up over a decade. Someone has to bite the bullet.”

Shearon also said he wanted to see the city use a better system for carrying out tasks and initiatives and update policies, procedures and equipment.

Voters in November will not decide any contests for a seat at the commission dais.

Incumbent Janie Robertson of Ward 3 faces no opposition.

And, in Ward 1, newcomer Gay Breuler is the only candidate to qualify for the seat being vacated by John Shaughnessy, who cannot run again due to a term limit.

Robertson, a resident of the 600 block of Gulf Drive North, will be serving a third term on the commission. She also faced no opposition in November 2007.

When she began her second term, Robertson said her focus would be on Bridge Street, the newly opened Historic Bridge Street Pier complex, the establishment of a mooring field south of the pier, the development of a water taxi system, the expansion of the “Trolley Up” campaign to increase ridership and protection of the dunes.

“I’m not done yet,” Robertson said of her decision to run again.

 She said she plans to follow her agenda, with a focus on the dunes and also balancing the budget for 2010-11.

“It’s going to be a very, very difficult thing to do,” said Robertson, who has urged city officials to start work on next year’s spending plan as early as February.

Breuler, who lives in the 2600 block of Gulf Drive North, works for the U.S. Census Bureau on surveys and previously worked as a life and retirement coach.

She moved to the Island two years ago, after three years living in Bradenton and many years of living “all over the place.”

Breuler said she knows Shaughnessy and, when she learned he could not run again, decided to become a candidate.

She said she wanted to make sure the Sandpiper community was represented since it makes up a large part of Ward 1.

Voting is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 3 at Bradenton Beach’s polling place, Tingley Memorial Library, 111 Second St. N.