Tag Archives: 10-13-2010

Early voting begins Oct. 18

Early voting for the mid-term general elections begins Oct. 18 in Manatee County.

Early voting will take place from Monday, Oct. 18, through Sunday, Oct. 31, at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections, 600 301 Blvd. W., Suite 118, Bradenton.

The hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.

Voters must present both picture and signature identification.

The supervisor’s office also is taking applications for absentee ballots at www.votemanatee.com.

The general election takes place Nov. 2.

For more information about voting, call the supervisor’s office at 941-741-3823.

Candidate meet-and-greet coming up

The Islander will host Popcorn and Politics at the newspaper office Wednesday, Oct. 20, providing an opportunity for voters to meet candidates for office in Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and the Manatee County Board of Commissioners.

The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. at The Islander storefront in the Island Shopping Center, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

Voters are encouraged to attend, discuss issues and participate in straw polls in the three races that officially will be decided Nov. 2.

For more information about the Popcorn and Politics forum, call the newspaper at 941-778-7978.

Selby wants 2010 put behind Anna Maria

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.

Mattick seeks to calm Anna Maria

Anna Maria mayoral candidate Sandy Mattick is seeking the office because she believes she has the experience and knowledge to run the city effectively and bring a calming influence to city hall.

Her experience, knowledge and calm nature will help end the divisiveness in the city generated the past year, she said.

“The mayor’s position is an administrator and providing service to the people,” Mattick said. “The mayor sees that the city runs smoothly.

“I have no pre-set agenda. I do value a viable business district for Anna Maria and the rights of all people, but I will always put all the residents of Anna Maria first and protect everyone’s property rights.”

A city resident since 2004, Mattick has two daughters who attend Manatee High School.

She formerly owned two businesses in Anna Maria and worked in government positions for 16 years before moving to Bradenton in 2003.

Mattick currently serves on the planning and zoning board and was a member of the citizen’s recognition committee this year. She also volunteers at the Anna Maria Island Community Center.

Seeking an elected position was not difficult for Mattick. Her parents encouraged community involvement among their seven children and she believes service “makes a difference.”

As mayor, she pledged to ensure the city runs smoothly and the rules and regulations are followed.

“The commission sets policy, not the mayor,” she said.

“The mayor implements commission policy and can bring issues to the commission for discussion, but can’t change the policy or the city ordinances. The mayor’s job is to run the city.”

Interpretation of the comp plan during recent site-plan hearings is an example of how the city became divided over unclear policy.

“My goal would be to ensure commission policies are clear to everyone and put an end to all these lawsuits that are going to bankrupt the city.”

If elected, she would work with commissioners, property owners, residents and developers to halt the proliferation of “unnecessary litigation” against the city. The key is to solve the problem before anyone rushes to file a lawsuit.

She believes she has the background to be a good mayor. During her government service, she prepared major budgets that were audited twice a year by the U.S. General Accounting Office and that experience is helpful for a mayor preparing a budget.

Additionally, she attended most of the ad-hoc comp-plan committee meetings from 2004 to 2007, and many commission meetings since 2004 to observe how the city works and how and why the comp plan was put together in its present form.

She understands that some people will take exception to her mother — Jo Ann Mattick — being a commissioner if she’s elected mayor.

“It’s not been a problem as long as I’ve been on the P&Z board, where I have a vote that goes to the commission. We don’t agree on everything, and I often express a contrary opinion.”

Because the mayor does not vote on the commission, one-on-one meetings with a commissioner and the mayor are permitted under Florida’s Sunshine Law.

If a commissioner or member of the public has a concern, particularly about city staff and city operations, Mattick said she would want to know. But she sees no problems with the present city staff.

“I am very confident in the current city staff and they are all exceptional,” she said.

A full-time resident, Mattick said she would not have an issue attending all meetings and fulfilling all duties of the office.

Her experience as a former business owner in the city can help close the gap between the concerns of business owners and residents about Pine Avenue, she said.

“I believe I’m a good facilitator,” she said, and as mayor would get those with differing views on issues to meet in an informal setting to find some common positions or present new proposals.

“We all want the same thing: To live in a beautiful, peaceful Anna Maria. We just have to figure out how to get there.”

Does all this mean she believes the city is on the right track?

“It’s on the right track,” Mattick said, but parking remains a stumbling block.

Commissioners need to find a workable, compromise solution for Pine Avenue parking.

She is concerned that parking is such a campaign issue that some voters might forget there are other city problems, such as drainage, road resurfacing, preservation of natural resources, shoreline renourishment and preserving the city’s older homes and cottages.

Mattick wants to find residents with expertise who will volunteer their time to help the city in a number of areas.

She said she is committed to listening to differing opinions and seeking compromise on issues.

Everyone, including herself, “can’t be right all the time and we should not be insensitive to our opponents and their thoughts.” Listening and compromising will “make us a better, stronger community,” she said.

“If voters look at my record and commitment to compromise and calmness, they’ll have good reasons to vote for me,” she said.

“I will always put the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Anna Maria first, and protect their rights,” she pledged.

Biography:
Sandra A. Mattick
RESIDENCY: Anna Maria.
OCCUPATION: Self-employed.
OFFICE SOUGHT: Anna Maria Mayor
FAMILY: Two teenage daughters.
INTERESTS: Stamp collecting, needlepoint, reading.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Anna Maria Planning and Zoning Board, Citizens Recognition Committee, Anna Maria Island Community Center volunteer, solicited private donations for city holiday banners, helped acquire piece of World Trade Center for WMFR memorial, Manatee County Adopt A Family and Lawton Chiles Family/Sandbar Christmas and Easter celebration volunteer.
CAMPAIGN MONETARY CONTRIBUTIONS (as of Sept. 15): $300.
QUOTE TO LIVE BY: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
CAMPAIGN MOTTO: “Dedicated to “Community.”

Vosburgh hustles to Nov. 2

Janet Vosburgh is up and out while the harvest moon is still shining on the Gulf of Mexico.

With dawn every morning, Vosburgh is on the path at Coquina Beach. With her iPod Nano playing Il Divo and her New Balance athletic shoes laced tight, she walks the length of the path and circles back. Along the way, she says hello to Manatee County parks employees — most seem to know her name — and other walkers and joggers.

“I’m an exercise freak,” says the energetic Vosburgh, who is running for Ward 4 commissioner in Bradenton Beach Nov. 2. “And I talk to everybody. I’m very friendly.”

Earlier this year, Vosburgh was appointed to the commission when Bob Bartelt vacated the seat to serve as mayor following the abrupt resignation of Michael Pierce. So Vosburgh has some advantages of incumbency, including, as commission liaison, friendly relationships with Bridge Street merchants.

“People already know that I am a commissioner who responds immediately, who takes care of problems,” she says as she walks the path.

But Vosburgh is excited about running for office and facing an opponent, mooring committee member Michael Harrington.

“I’m glad that I have to campaign because now, if I get in, I’ll feel like I’m really legit,” she says. “I’m very glad that there is competition.”

In addition to serving on the commission, Vosburgh has an accommodations rental business on the Island. She’s busy, and when she was asked to step in as commissioner, she said she’d have to consider the job.

“I tend to be impulsive,” she says. “I get real excited. So my new philosophy is ‘I’ll sleep on it.’”

But Vosburgh didn’t have to sleep long. She accepted the appointment and almost immediately decided to run for the office.

“I’m a very informed voter,” she says. “And I’m very much into politics. I’m patriotic. I love this country. And I feel like because I am such an informed voter that I have to do my share.”

Vosburgh describes herself as a conservative. She grew up in a nice but poor family and, learning she had to “make things happen” for herself, built a business.

Vosburgh has ties to Milwaukee, where she worked for General Electric, and to Boston, where she also worked for GE.  And she lived for years in Utah, where she owned and operated a furniture and appliance store for 28 years, taught a business course at a community college and became involved in civic and political activities.

“I’m very good with money — because I never had any,” she says. “I ran a business on an absolute shoestring and made a great success of it.… I also have a lot of integrity, and I’m very honest.”
Vosburgh says her top priority is “to keep the taxes down” and she says she’s qualified for that work.

Another priority is providing Bradenton Beach businesses with the support needed to add jobs and strengthen the tax base.

“I’m very pro-business,” Vosburgh pledges.

As she reaches the southern end of the path, Vosburgh stops to say hello to a bicyclist and then to look at the sun coming up beyond the Cortez Bridge.

“I really and truly believe I live in paradise,” she says, which leads her to another priority — the conservative quest to make sure paradise remains paradise.

Biography:
Jan “Janet” Vosburgh
RESIDENCY: 111 12th St. S.
OCCUPATION: Owner and manager of a rental business.
OFFICE SOUGHT: 4th ward city commissioner
FAMILY: Family in Wisconsin, Florida, Utah; many friends.
INTERESTS: Remodeling, real estate, sports and exercise.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: 4th Ward commissioner, 2005 and 2010 city charter review committees, board of adjustments, past vice president chamber of commerce – Utah, Utah citizen of the year presented by the governor, Utah Economic Development Commission.
CAMPAIGN MONETARY CONTRIBUTIONS (as of Sept. 15): $1075, plus my own loan of $548.
QUOTES TO LIVE BY: “The more people you help along the way, the more successful you will be.” “Productive people are successful people.” “You have to make it happen.”
CAMPAIGN MOTTO:  “Taking Action, Getting Results.”

Questions:
Appointed commissioner seeks election
An Islander Q&A with Janet Vosburgh, candidate for city commissioner in Bradenton Beach’s Ward 4 in the Nov. 2 general election.

The Islander: Why did you decide to run for office in November?
Janet Vosburgh: I feel so blessed to live in Bradenton Beach on this island of Anna Maria. I feel it is my privilege and honor to serve this community.

The Islander: What are your qualifications for this office?
JV: I have an extensive business background. Additionally, I have excellent people and management skills. I enjoy problem solving — through listening, utilizing my organizational skills and implementing a plan to resolve.

The Islander: What are the three top goals/positions in your platform?
JV: Keep expenses and taxes under control and be fiscally responsible.
Protect property owner’s rights with as little intrusion from government as possible. Review current city ordinances to streamline the permit process.
Maintain the charm and uniqueness of Bradenton Beach.      Making improvements when necessary for the benefit of citizens and/or visitors.

The Islander: What is your understanding of Florida’s Sunshine/Public Records laws?
JV: Cannot discuss anything that needs to be voted on, with other elected officials.

The Islander: From time to time there is talk of consolidating local governments and/or local services. How do you feel about consolidation?
JV: Needs to be looked at and acted on following citizen’s recommendations.

The Islander: Characterize the direction of the locality. Right track? Off-track? Wrong track? Explain.
JV: The city is going in the right direction, we need to maintain and keep making improvements for  the best interests of citizens and/or visitors.

The Islander: Why should voters cast their ballot for you over your opponent?
JV: I believe my combination of public and business experience plus my vested interest as a private citizen of Bradenton Beach make me an ideal candidate for this position.

The Islander: What is the most significant issue facing the electorate at this time? How will you handle that issue?
JV: Global and local economy and housing foreclosures. My focus will be controlling expenses and keeping taxes down especially during this critical time.

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?
JV: Bradenton Beach did a commendable job keeping the budget at a minimum with consideration of the voters and citizens. I will approach the budget like it were my own.

The Islander: Is there a promise you want to make to voters?
JV: I will strive to maintain the charm and uniqueness of Bradenton Beach. Please know I welcome your comments and concerns and I will try my hardest to respond to your issues in a timely manner.

Harrington emphatic about interest

Michael Harrington’s candidate brochures contain multiple exclamation points.

That’s because the Bradenton Beach resident seeking his first elected office — that of Ward 4 city commissioner — is emphatic — “!!!” — about his interest in service and his qualifications for office.

Harrington, 73, lives in a quiet mobile home park near downtown Bradenton Beach where residents gather for coffee on Saturday mornings. He and his wife spend time on home improvements, “doing those kinds of things that keep you busy.” Nearby, there’s a family pontoon boat that the couple takes out on Sundays.

“We’re glad we made the move out here,” Harrington says. “We have a lot of friends in the park that we socialize with.”

From home, it’s a short walk to city hall, where Harrington has been headed quite often since qualifying to run for office in July. He attends most city commission meetings, as well as other board and committee meetings.

“Even being retired, I just find that I want to stay busy doing something,” Harrington says.

What he wants to do now is serve on the city commission, which is why he’s going door to door every day to talk with voters.

“I’m running because I feel I am more qualified than the person that was appointed,” Harrington says, referring to Janet Vosburgh, his opponent, who in June was tapped to fill the commission vacancy created by Bob Bartelt’s move from commissioner to mayor by appointment.

The nonpartisan Nov. 2 race is a genteel contest. “Jan’s a very nice woman,” Harrington says. “It’s a friendly race.”

Harrington is conversing with about 10-20 voters a day about taxes, the city budget, the mooring/anchorage field concept and downtown parking.

He’s also hearing from voters that they want their commission to protect “the great ambiance of Bradenton Beach.”

Harrington says that’s a top goal. “We’d be very disappointed, my wife and I, if they started allowing high rises and changed the area to a commercialized beach.”

Keeping the budget tight also is a goal, says Harrington, who, before retiring, managed property and amenities for multiple homeowner and condominium associations.

“I’d bring professionalism to the commission,” he says as he sips an iced tea recently at Rotten Ralph’s on the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

Harrington is running a low-budget campaign on his own money. He says he doesn’t mind asking for votes, but “if you take donations, you owe a favor. … I don’t want to get into that.”

Harrington moved to the area in 1984, after retiring from the sheriff’s department in Lansing, Mich., where he worked on patrol and in undercover narcotics.

He and his wife own a home in Sarasota, but they opted to rent it out so they can live on the Island.

When city hall issued a call for citizens to serve on committees about two years ago, Harrington responded. He is an initial member of the mooring/anchorage committee, which has been tasked with examining how best to operate the anchorage area south of the pier.

“It’s important work,” says Harrington, who hopes that next month he’ll be involved as a commission liaison to the committee rather than a committee member.

Biography:
RESIDENCY: 13 Church Ave., Bradenton Beach.
OCCUPATION: Retired, facilities management, law enforcement.
OFFICE SOUGHT: 4th ward city commissioner.
FAMILY: Wife of 47 years, four children, nine grandchildren.
INTERESTS: Fishing and community.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Member of the Bradenton Beach Mooring and Anchorage Committee, past president of Kiwanis, past Kiwanian of the year, past director of Pines Trailer Park Homeowners Association.
CAMPAIGN MONETARY CONTRIBUTIONS (as of Sept. 15): Personal contributions.
QUOTE TO LIVE BY: “Just be happy in whatever you do.”
CAMPAIGN MOTTO: “Your Dedicated Representative.”

Questions:
Harrington makes bid for commission seat
An Islander Q&A with Michael Harrington, candidate for city commissioner in Bradenton Beach’s Ward 4 in the Nov. 2 general election.

The Islander: Why did you decide to run for office in November?
Michael Harrington: I feel my experience will be an asset to the city.

The Islander: What are your qualifications for this office?
MH: Nine years as a facilities/community association manager.

The Islander: What are the three top goals/positions in your platform?
MH: Balanced budget, keeping the ambiance as is, and the parking problem.

The Islander: What is your understanding of Florida’s Sunshine/Public Records laws?
MH: I have been through the class and the full understanding would not fit on this page. I am aware of the details and will abide by them.

The Islander: From time to time there is talk of consolidating local governments and/or local services. How do you feel about consolidation?
MH: I do not agree with consolidating the governments or the police departments. I would have to have more information as to the advantage/disadvantage of consolidation other services.

The Islander: Characterize the direction of the locality. Right track? Off-track? Wrong track? Explain.
MH: We are on the right track. We have a good mayor, and he is taking us in the right direction.

The Islander: Why should voters cast their ballot for you?
MH: I have the experience for just this type of position and feel that experience is very important in dealing with the issues.

The Islander: What is the most significant issue facing the electorate at this time? How will you handle that issue?
MH: All of the issues are significant. We are dealing with a parking problem, keeping the ambiance requested by the residents and guests, making sure the budget is within a reality and balanced and keeping the waterways clean by regulating the anchorage field for the benefit of the live aboard boaters and well as the transients.

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?
MH: Bradenton Beach is just now in the budgeting process. I feel at this point that they are doing what is necessary for Bradenton Beach.

The Islander: Is there a promise you want to make to voters?
MH: Yes, I promise to listen to the residents and act accordingly. It is so important to listen to the people that have elected you.  They have elected you as their representative. You should always keep that in mind.

BB voters to decide charter questions

Bradenton Beach voters will face a series of proposed changes to the city charter on the Nov. 2 ballot.

A commission-appointed charter review committee recommended the changes to the document earlier this year and the commission OK’d the changes for voter consideration in August.

Passage of the ordinance allows the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections to place the proposals on the general election ballot, which also will contain a contest for Ward 4, where appointed

Commissioner Janet Vosburgh is running against Michael Harrington.

Each proposed amendment — there are eight — will be abbreviated on the ballot to contain a title, question and explanation.

The proposals, drafted from the committee recommendations by city attorney Ricinda Perry, include:

• Amending the duties of the mayor to require an annual state of the city report.

• Amending the provision on forfeiture of office.

The charter is silent on whether a legal proceeding should be initiated or concluded before a forfeiture of office hearing takes place. Voters will be asked whether to change the charter to allow for a forfeiture of office hearing notwithstanding any legal proceedings.

• Amending vacancy requirements.

The charter does not require that a nominee for a public office vacancy live in the ward where the vacancy occurred. Voters will be asked to change the charter to require a nominee for a vacancy to live in the ward where the vacancy occurred.

• Amending term-limits provision.

Voters will decide whether to amend the charter to state that no person may hold the same elected or appointed office for more than three full consecutive terns. The charter already limits people to three terms, but it is unclear whether that includes partial terms.

• Amending the provision on ordinances.

The charter requires the commission to adopt an ordinance to lease, acquire, dispose of or change the use of any city property.

Voters will decide whether to change that section to refer to “real” property.

• Amending the provision on a voter-initiated repeal of an ordinance.

Voters will decide whether to remove the current provision that a vote on a repeal must occur within 120 days of the filing of referendum papers, but retain the requirement to place the referendum on a general or special election ballot.

• Amending the provision on maximum building height.

The proposal is not meant to change the allowable height — 29 feet — but to clarify that the provision includes commercial as well as residential buildings.

• Authorizing the city to make technical changes to the charter.

The last ballot question related to the charter asks voters to authorize city officials to correct capitalization, spelling and other such errors in the document.

To pass, a charter amendment needs a “yes” from a majority of voters.

The amendments would become effective Jan. 1, 2011.

Peelen dreamed of political position

She’s been a civil rights attorney for the federal government, novelist, investigative consultant and even finalist to be on the TV show “Survivor.”

But Jean Peelen, 59, has never held an elected political position.

“I was never allowed because of my position with the federal government,” she said. “It had been a dream of mine to run and hold a position in the city I live in as another way of giving back.”
Peelen has lived on Anna Maria Island for 3 years – one in Bradenton Beach and more recently in Holmes Beach.

As a civil rights attorney, she specialized in the rights of children with disabilities.

She also became chief of staff of the International Broadcasting Bureau, which oversees all U.S. international broadcasting. She managed a $20 million budget.

About five months ago, Peelen founded the Anna Maria Island chapter of Dining for Women, a women’s giving circle in which women bring dishes for a pot-luck dinner and donate the amount of money they might have spent had they eaten at a restaurant. That money, along with money from the other 155 chapters around the country, is given to benefit causes for women and children.

Peelen said in her spare time, she is a foster mother for Underdog Rescue, caring for dogs until they can be adopted. She also is a member of the Manatee County Animal Services Advisory Board.

Peelen sees a few areas that could improve the quality of life for Holmes Beach residents. For one, she said the city is not having enough say in what goes on at the Manatee Public Beach, citing the county’s decision to award operations of the concessions and gift shop at the beach to United Park Services of Tampa.

“If I’m to find a fault at all about the Holmes Beach city commissioners coming up for election, it’s that they aren’t reaching out to Manatee County. They aren’t attending the meetings in Manatee County and getting to know the county commissioners and county administrator,” Peelen said.

Peelen also would like to see an improved business district on Marina Drive.

Finally, she said she also thinks the city should work more with Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach to get federal grants.

“Right now we have three cities working independently,” she said. “That makes no sense. We are 3 percent of Manatee County and represent 17 percent of income to Manatee County. We as an Island are supposed to be speaking with one voice on every issue we possibly can and I don’t see that happening now.”

Biography:
RESIDENCY: Holmes Beach
OCCUPATION: Retired, self-employed consultant, writer, model.
OFFICE SOUGHT: Holmes Beach City Commission seat.
FAMILY: Two daughters, seven grandchildren.
INTERESTS: Writing, reading, walking, volunteering.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: National spokesperson, “The Sister Study,” a National Institutes of Health study of the sisters of Women With Breast Cancer; founder, Anna Maria Island Chapter of Dining for Women; member, Manatee County Animal Services Advisory Board, foster mother for Underdog Rescue.
CAMPAIGN MONETARY CONTRIBUTIONS (as of Sept. 15): $1,000.
QUOTE TO LIVE BY: “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.” — George Bernard Shaw
CAMPAIGN MOTTO: “A New Voice for Holmes Beach.”

Questions:
Peelen takes on incumbents

Holmes Beach resident is running for a Holmes Beach city commission seat in the Nov. 2 election against two incumbents — Sandy Haas-Martens and John Monetti.
An Islander Q & A:

The Islander: Why did you decide to run for office in November?
Jean Peelen: This is the first time I am qualified to run. I wanted to run last year, but had not lived in Holmes Beach long enough. I have always wanted to hold an elective office in the community in which I live.

The Islander: What are your qualifications for this office?
JP: I served as a civil rights attorney for the federal government for many years, specializing in the rights of children with disabilities. I then became the chief of staff of the International Broadcasting Bureau, the bureau that oversees all United States international broadcasting, including the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Afghanistan, Radio Free Iraq, Radio Free Asia, and Radio and TV Marti to Cuba. As chief of staff, I managed a $20 milllion budget.

The Islander: What are the three top goals/positions in your platform?
JP: All decisions about our public beach should be made in and by Holmes Beach. The Holmes Beach business district should be beautiful and welcoming. The three island cities should work together on projects, like obtaining grants, that benefit our cities.

The Islander: What is your understanding of Florida’s Sunshine/Public Records laws?
JP: I understand that city officials may not meet together, whether on or off duty, and discuss public business. “Meet together” includes the concepts of telephone and e-mail.

The Islander: From time to time there is talk of consolidating local governments and/or local services. How do you feel about consolidation?
JP: I think it is a worthy and practically impossible goal. Rather than focus on consolidation, the focus needs to be on working together on projects that benefit all three cities without disturbing the structure of any of them.

The Islander: Characterize the direction of the locality. Right track? Off track? Wrong track? Explain.
JP: Holmes Beach is on the right track. Solid financial decisions, well executed. The improvement areas are working far more effectively with Manatee County to affect decisions about Holmes Beach, working more with local business owners to improve the business district and reaching out to the public to clearly explain the budget process and results.

The Islander: Why should voters cast their ballot for you over your opponent?
JP: My two incumbent opponents are fine people who have worked hard for this city. They both have been on the commission for quite a while. I, however, would bring new ideas, new energy and a new voice to the Holmes Beach City Commission.

The Islander: What is the most significant issue facing the electorate at this time? How will you handle that issue?
JP: At the moment the most significant issue is the fact that decisions, such as the Cafe on the Beach decision and the pier decision, get made without a lot of input or effect by Holmes Beach.
Neither of my two incumbent opponents attend regular Manatee County Commission meetings. They do not seek to know and influence the Manatee County commissioners on issues that directly affect Holmes Beach.
Anna Maria Island is 3 percent of Manatee County’s population, yet we support 17 percent of Manatee County’s budget. That economic fact should result in Holmes Beach having far more powerful say in county decisions.

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?
JP: The responsibility of this local government is to keep taxes as low as possible and to use our tax money wisely. I think Holmes Beach generally has done that. However, as our economy continues to suffer, and belts have to get tighter, and there is a danger of taxes rising, the current incumbents have not reached out to the community to explain and get input on the city’s financial situation. It is not enough to open a commission meeting or publish an abbreviated version of the budget in the newspapers. Those are legal requirements. The commission members need to actively attempt to reach the community through newsletters, e-mails, requests for input on the budget and on taxes, and public meetings in places less intimidating than the commission chambers.

The Islander: Is there a promise you want to make to voters?
JP: Yes. It will always be my job to protect the safety, well being and money of the citizens of Holmes Beach.

Monetti hopes to continue giving

Ten years ago, John Monetti came to Holmes Beach City Hall for the first time. He was following a value his parents had instilled in him — give back to the community.

Monetti said he wanted to volunteer and ended up helping the city with stormwater prevention planning. A year later, the city commission asked Monetti if he would volunteer for the planning commission. “I said, ‘OK,’” Monetti said. “If that’s what I can do for you.”

After four years as a planning commissioner, Monetti ran for elected office and won his first term as a city commissioner.

He has served on the commission for four years and Nov. 2 will be seeking another two-year term.

Monetti, 49, a Holmes Beach resident for 15 years and general manager at the Columbia Restaurant in Sarasota for 10 years, said he’ll continue to apply what he claims is one of his main assets — common sense.

His campaign slogan is, “To provide a common-sense approach to maintain the beauty and balance of our community.”

“That’s why I do this, because I think I can provide that,” Monetti said.

As far as common sense goes, Monetti said, “I try not to get too wrapped up in too many details of a particular issue. I try to look at the broader perspective, and then wrap it all together and say, ‘I think we’ve got to go in this direction.’”

Monetti, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in management, Monetti said he believes that for Holmes Beach to remain a vibrant community, it must retain a balance of residential and commercial units.

But, he said, evolution is inevitable.

“Everything evolves,” Monetti said. “There is change. But in my view, I’d rather it be more subtle than drastic. We have something very special on this Island. The biggest thing we have is our respect for density. A high-rise condo defines a community and we are not that. We are more laid back. We are the type of place where if I walk to the beach, I do it barefoot, and nobody looks at me funny. I like that.”

Monetti moved from Sarasota to Holmes Beach because he wanted his 3-year-old daughter to have a quality education. He said he heard great things about Anna Maria Elementary School.

Now entrenched in the community with his wife and children, Monetti said he will continue to give back, just as his parents taught him.

“Basically what I’m hearing is that people want me to continue to provide my common-sense approach to guiding the city, and that’s all it is,” Monetti said. “I don’t have a business on the Island, so it isn’t anything I could benefit from financially for my family, or anything like that. I just believe you should give back to your community.”

Biography:
RESIDENCY: Holmes Beach.
OCCUPATION: Restaurant general manager.
OFFICE SOUGHT: Holmes Beach City Commission seat.
FAMILY: Wife, four children.
INTERESTS: Golf, travel, reading, family.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Anna Maria Island Community Center, Moose, Key Royale Club.
CAMPAIGN MONETARY CONTRIBUTIONS (as of Sept. 15): $400.
QUOTE TO LIVE BY: “Keep it honest and simple.”
CAMPAIGN MOTTO: “A common sense approach to maintaining the beauty and balance of our community.”

Questions:
Monetti seeks two more years
An Islander Q & A with John Monetti, who is seeking re-election to the Holmes Beach City Commission Nov. 2.

The Islander: Why did you decide to run for office in November?
John Monetti: To continue to give back to my community.

The Islander: What are your qualifications for this office?
JM: Fiscal acumen, government experience, strong values.

The Islander: What are the three top goals/positions in your platform?
JM: Fiscal responsibility, residential/commercial balance, continued presence in greater community.

The Islander: What is your understanding of Florida’s Sunshine/Public Records laws?
JM: Well versed. I’ve been involved in government for about eight years. I have followed with interest as local issues have arisen.

The Islander: From time to time there is talk of consolidating local governments and/or local services. How do you feel about consolidation?
JM: I’m willing to consider as long as one municipality is not burdened with sole responsibility. No single municipality should force itself on others.

The Islander: Characterize the direction of the locality. Right track? Off track? Wrong track? Explain.
JM: Right track. I’ve consistently felt that while issues always arise, overall the challenge is to maintain our character.

The Islander: Why should voters cast their ballot for you over your opponent?
JM: A proven record of a common sense approach to providing direction for our community.

The Islander: What is the most significant issue facing the electorate at this time? How will you handle that issue?
JM: Budgeting over the next few years. Same balanced approach, which has led to our current successes in meeting recent challenges.

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?
JM: Challenging. Determine revenues then prioritize needs and wants of the community.

The Islander: Is there a promise you want to make to voters?
JM: Without self-interest, I will continue to base my decisions on what I feel is best for the overall community.