Local groups such as Volunteer Manatee and the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau joined Nov. 6 in a statewide campaign showcasing the Sunshine State’s shoreline.
Participants in the Great Visit Florida Beach Walk were assigned to walk a mile of beach between sunrise and 11 a.m. Nov. 6, taking photographs along the way to upload to a Visit Florida website.
Local participants checked in for the assignments in the walk early Nov. 6 at The Islander in Holmes Beach.
The walk on 825 miles of beach in 34 counties involved service groups, children’s organizations, schools and universities and a number of businesses.
“It’s a very eclectic group of volunteers,” said Wendy Spencer of Volunteer Florida, which worked with VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism marketing organization, to create the Beach Walk
Visit Florida marketing chief Will Seccombe said the purpose of the walk was twofold — Floridians get to show off their favorite spot on the shore, as well as prove to potential vacationers that the beaches are clean.
“By sharing thousands of photos of every one of Florida’s 825 miles of beaches, we will put to rest any lingering concerns from this summer’s oil spill,” Seccombe said.
To see the Great Visit Florida Beach Walk photographs, go to www.visitflorida.com/beachwalk.
Site visitors can vote on their favorite photographs and register to win a Mazda Miata convertible and $5,000.
Voters in the Nov. 2 election seemed eager to avoid midterm madness at Anna Maria Island polls, casting ballots early and absentee in strong numbers.
The trend also was witnessed at the statewide level, with the state Division of Elections reporting that nearly 2.3 million voters cast ballots before the polls opened at 7 a.m. last Tuesday.
In Anna Maria, where there are 1,331 registered voters, 935 votes were cast in the mayoral race, including 265 by absentee and 32 in early voting. Overall, turnout was at 73 percent, according to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office.
In Bradenton Beach, polling took place at Tingley Memorial Library. There are 923 registered voters in the city — 455 of them cast ballots in the commission race, including 347 at Tingley, 78 by absentee and 30 in early voting.
In Holmes Beach, there are two precincts — Precinct 92, with polling at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, and Precinct 93, with polling at St. Bernard Catholic Church.
In Precinct 92, where there are 1,611 registered voters, the overall turnout was 62 percent. There were 696 people who voted at the church, 248 who voted absentee and 62 who voted early.
In Precinct 93, where there are 1,707 registered voters, turnout was 58 percent. There were 675 who voted at St. Bernard, 261 who voted absentee and 55 who voted early at the supervisor’s office.
While early and absentee balloting was heavy, election judges still found lines when they opened polling places on Election Day.
“It’s been pretty busy,” said election judge Larry Leffew, stationed outside St. Bernard in Holmes Beach. “There was a line at the start of people waiting to get in and then, from there, a constant stream.”
One voter in the stream, Carla Kuizon, said she has never missed an election: “Not even when I was overseas.”
She added, “I always vote. I was taught that. And I’ve taught that.”
Island voters cast ballots in local, state and federal races — from fire district to U.S. senator, from city commission to governor.
In the races at the top of the ballot, the Island votes were in line with the rest of the state.
For U.S. Senate, Republican Marco Rubio won with 49 percent of the vote, followed by Independent Charlie Crist with 29 percent and Democrat Kendrick Meek with 20 percent.
On the Island, Rubio polled as high as 54 percent in Holmes Beach Precinct 92 and as low as 47 percent in Bradenton Beach. Meek, meanwhile, barely reached over 10 percent on the Island, but Crist’s numbers were much higher than the state percentage — 37 percent in Anna Maria, 36 percent in Holmes Beach and 38 percent in Bradenton Beach.
For the U.S. House, incumbent Vern Buchanan again won his district, defeating James Golden 69 percent to 31 percent.
On the Island, Buchanan polled the highest in Holmes Beach’s Precinct 92, 70 percent, and the lowest in Bradenton Beach, 65 percent.
For governor, Republican Rick Scott defeated Democrat Alex Sink 49 percent to 48 percent statewide.
On the Island, Scott did slighter better than the statewide stat, polling more than 50 percent.
In the Legislature, the Island’s new representative will be Republican Jim Boyd, who defeated Independent Dave Miner overall with 62 percent of the vote.
On the Island, Boyd polled 61 percent in Anna Maria, 58 percent in Bradenton Beach and 62 percent in Holmes Beach.
In the race for an at-large seat on the Manatee County Commission, incumbent Republican Carol Whitmore won easily, with close to 70 percent of the vote countywide and polling above 70 percent on the Island.
In one of three West Manatee Fire District commission races, voters elected a challenger over an incumbent — Scott Ricci defeated Mike Mulyck. Incumbents Larry Tyler and John Rigney won their races against Michael Carlton and Monther Kobrosly respectively.
In Island city races, Mike Selby defeated Sandy Mattick for mayor in Anna Maria, incumbents Sandy Haas-Martens and John Monetti kept their seats on the Holmes Beach City Commission against a challenge from Jean Peelen, and incumbent Janet Vosburgh defeated Michael Harrington for the Bradenton Beach Ward 4 commission seat.
Precinct, early and absentee ballots were certified last week at the supervisor’s office in Bradenton. Provisional ballots were scheduled to be reviewed Nov. 12. However, there were no provisional ballots from the Island precincts.
Anna Maria Mayor
Sandy Mattick: 45.56 percent
Michael Selby: 54.43 percent
Bradenton Beach Ward 4 Commission
Michael Harrington: 40 percent
Janet Vosburgh: 60 percent
Holmes Beach City Commission (vote for 2)
Sandy Haas-Martens: 40.69 percent
John Monetti: 38.08 percent
Jean Peelen: 21.22 percent
Manatee County Commission, District 6
Carol Whitmore: 68.85 percent
Sundae Lynn Knight: 31.14 percent
Manatee County Commission, District 4
Robin DiSabatino: 60.52 percent
Roger C. Galle: 39.47 percent
Manatee County School Board, District 3
Julie B. Aranibar: 55.89 percent
Jane Pfeilsticker: 44.10 percent
Florida House District 68
Jim Boyd: 62 percent
David Miner: 37.97 percent
West Manatee Fire Rescue District, Seat 2
Michael Mulyck: 40.79 percent
Scott Ricci: 59.20 percent
West Manatee Fire Rescue District, Seat 3
Michael P. Carleton: 43.33 percent
Larry Tyler: 56.66 percent
West Manatee Fire Rescue District, Seat 4
Monther Kobrosly: 29.53 percent
John Rigney: 70.46 percent
Source: Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office
Political newcomer Mike Selby was elected mayor of Anna Maria over opponent Sandy Mattick 509-426 on Nov. 2.
The results were certified by the city’s canvassing board at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office. Selby, along with unchallenged commissioners Chuck Webb and Jo Ann Mattick, was scheduled to be sworn into office at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 9.
A reported non-presidential year election record of 73.3 percent of the city’s 1,331 registered voters cast ballots on Election Day. The tally for the mayor’s race included 265 absentee ballots, along with 32 ballots in early voting.
An informal survey of voters found several who voted for Selby because Mattick’s mother, Jo Ann Mattick, is a sitting commissioner. There was some concern about conflicts of interests and views. Others, however, said they voted for Selby because they agreed with his stance on several issues.
Some Mattick voters said they supported her because they believed she had the experience and time to devote to the office of mayor.
Voters surveyed agreed both candidates ran good campaigns and stayed away from any mud-slinging, underhanded tactics or statements.
Selby said he was pleased with the turnout, and the confidence the voters placed with him. He congratulated his campaign volunteers for their hard work, and thanked Mattick for a clean, honest campaign.
“I spoke with Sandy and said I hoped she would be around and continue to contribute to the city,” Selby said.
With the campaign over, Selby said the hard work begins, but he planned no major changes in the city’s administration.
“I’m not going to re-invent the wheel,” he said the day after the election, as he and wife Mary made their way to city hall to meet the staff.
“They are a pretty good group of people” working for the city, and he will rely on their expertise as he learns more about the city’s daily operations, Selby said.
Mattick was gracious in defeat, offering congratulations to Selby, as well as members of her campaign committee.
“I want to thank everyone who helped in my campaign. Everyone worked very hard. Everything happens for a reason,” she said.
“I shook hands with Mike before the results, and we congratulated each other on running a good, clean campaign.”
Following announcement of the unofficial results around 8 p.m. election night, Mattick said she spoke with Selby and pledged to do all she can to assist in the smooth running of the city. She will retain her seat on the city’s planning and zoning board, she said.
It was the first time either had sought political office. Mayor Fran Barford decided several months ago not to seek re-election after two terms in office.
A swearing-in ceremony for the new mayor and the two commissioners was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive.
Following the ceremony, the commission was to hold its organizational meeting, in which it elects a chair and vice chair and adopts rules of order.
Under the city charter, the commission chair is vice mayor of Anna Maria. Commissioner John Quam has served as commission chair the past eight years.
Following the organizational meeting, the new commission and P&Z board were to hold a joint work session to discuss what immediate changes need to be addressed in the city’s land-development regulations to make them consistent with the comprehensive plan.
Voter turnout in Anna Maria is traditionally higher in even-numbered years, particularly for a presidential election, according to information from the SOE office.
Since 2002, when the city changed its election date to coincide with the county, state and federal voting date, an average of 69 percent of the city’s registered voters have cast a ballot in an even-numbered year election.
For elections in odd-numbered years since 2002, the city has averaged a 47 percent voter turnout. In 2009, 55 percent of the registered voters exercised their voting privilege, while in the 2005 and 2003 elections respectively, 43 percent and 42 percent showed up at the polling station.
There was no municipal election in 2007 as the three incumbent commissioners up for re-election all were unchallenged for their seats.
The record turnout in Anna Maria for any election was set in the presidential election year of 2008, when 82.1 percent of the then-1,434 registered voters went to the poll.
In the 2004 election, voter turnout was 59.5 percent, while 67 percent of the electorate voted in 2006.
Anna Maria’s mayor draws an annual salary of $9,600, while a commissioner earns $4,800 yearly.
The mayor’s position is generally considered a part-time job for a city the size of Anna Maria.
The new year will bring changes to the Bradenton Beach Charter, most of them subtle revisions to the governing document for the city.
One of the changes, however, will be in spirit with the marking the new year. The amendment, approved by voters Nov. 2 along with seven other charter proposals, requires the mayor to deliver a state-of-the-city report.
A commission-appointed charter review committee recommended the changes to the document earlier this year and the commission OKd in August the changes for voter consideration on Election Day.
Each proposed amendment was abbreviated on the ballot to contain a title, question and explanation.
The votes, as reported by the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, at a glance:
• Approved 396-73. Amendment 1: Amending the duties of the mayor to require an annual state of the city report.
• Approved 281-161. Amendment 2: 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 were asked to change the charter to allow for a forfeiture of office hearing notwithstanding any legal proceedings.
• Approved 370-101. Amendment 3: 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 were asked to change the charter to require a nominee for a vacancy to live in the ward where the vacancy occurred.
• Approved 361-117. Amendment 4: Amending term-limits provision.
Voters were asked to amend the charter to state that no person may hold the same elected or appointed office for more than three full consecutive terms. The charter already limits officeholders to three terms, but it is unclear whether that includes partial terms.
• Approved 341-115. Amendment 5: 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 were asked to change that section to refer to “real” property.
• Approved 271-170. Amendment 6: Amending the provision on a voter-initiated repeal of an ordinance.
Voters were asked 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.
• Approved 314-147. Amendment 7: Amending the provision on maximum building height.
The question was not meant to change the allowable height — 29 feet — but to clarify that the provision includes commercial as well as residential buildings.
• Approved 363-92. Amendment 8: Authorizing the city to make technical changes to the charter.
The final ballot question related to the charter asked voters to authorize city officials to correct capitalization, spelling and other such errors in the document.
To pass, each charter amendment needed a “yes” from a majority of voters. All the amendments passed with more than 60 percent of the vote, and some passed with more than 70 percent of the vote. The amendment requiring the mayor to deliver an annual city report passed with 84 percent of the vote.
Bradenton Beach has 923 registered voters. The elections office reported 507 total votes from the city in the Nov. 2 election, including 381 at Tingley Memorial Library on Election Day, 93 cast by absentee ballot and 33 cast in early voting.
Bradenton Beach voters went status quo — sort of — in the only city office up for election on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Voters retained Janet Vosburgh for city commission in Ward 4, which runs from First Street North to the city’s southern boundary. Vosburgh was the incumbent in the race. However, she also was
campaigning for her first elected office.
The Island businesswoman was appointed to the Ward 4 commission seat in June, replacing Bob Bartelt, who was appointed mayor following the resignation of Michael Pierce.
Bartelt will continue to serve as mayor — he ran unopposed Nov. 2.
Also unopposed was Ed Straight for the Ward 2 commission seat held by outgoing Commissioner Bob Connors, who decided not to seek re-election.
The three newly elected officeholders will be sworn in during a brief ceremony at 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15, at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.
Vosburgh’s opponent was Michael Harrington, a member of the city mooring and anchorage committee and frequent attendee of city meetings.
Vosburgh received 273 votes — 60 percent — to Harrington’s 182 in the contest for the two-year term.
When election judges Nov. 2 unlocked the door to Tingley Memorial Library, the city’s only polling place, about a dozen people waited to vote.
Vosburgh was among the early voters. She then moved to the 100 block of Gulf Drive North and joined supporters waving signs.
She said, with hesitation that morning, friends assured her that she would be the day’s winner.
“You never know,” she added. But by the end of the night, voters proved her friends correct.
Vosburgh is a former member of the city’s charter review commission. Within weeks of her appointment to the city commission, she was in the Nov. 2 race for the seat.
The 12th Street South resident who owns an accommodations business on the Island, campaigned with the motto, “Taking action, getting results.”
She emphasized her fiscal conservatism and business acumen as she sought citizen support for her candidacy throughout the city.
“I have an extensive business background,” said Vosburgh. “I have excellent people and management skills. I enjoy problem solving — through listening, utilizing my organizational skills and implementing a plan to resolve.”
In her former home state of Utah, Vosburgh ran a successful furniture store and served as vice president of the Utah Chamber of Commerce — work that helped her earn a Utah Citizen of the Year Award.
Harrington, a resident of Church Avenue, is a retired law enforcement officer and facilities manager.
Like Vosburgh, throughout his campaign Harrington stressed his business experience.
He also demonstrated his fiscal restraint with a low-key campaign, refusing to accept campaign contributions. His most recent finance report shows $700 in contributions — his own — to Vosburgh’s $2,103.
Harrington campaigned with a promise to be a dedicated representative. He told The Islander, in a candidate Q&A, that citizens should vote for him because “I have the experience for just this type of position and feel that experience is very important in dealing with the issues.”
On Election Day, Harrington said he ran the campaign he wanted to run.
“It’s been a fun trip,” he said, adding that he waited out the day — and the results — at home.
“I ran a very clean campaign and said nothing derogatory about my opponent,” Harrington said.
He added, “I felt that the important thing was to get elected on our merits and experience. I had nothing to hide. I still think Jan is a very nice woman.”
Bradenton Beach is the only city on the Island to elect commissioners from geographic wards. A charter review committee earlier this year explored a possible change to the ward system, but decided not to make a proposal.
Vosburgh, as a member of the committee and later as a commissioner, stressed her faith in the ward system.
“It’s much better to have someone right in your neighborhood” as a representative, she said.
In Bradenton Beach, the commission salary is $4,800 a year and the mayor’s salary is $9,600 a year.
Voters turned out in Holmes Beach to re-elect incumbents Sandy Haas-Martens and John Monetti to the city commission.
First-time candidate Jean Peelen challenged them for one of two open commission seats on the Nov. 2 ballot. The Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office reported 2,949 ballots were cast from among the 3,319 registered voters in the city.
Haas-Martens topped the voting at 1,200 and Monetti received 1,123 votes to Peelen’s 626 in the three-way race two two-year terms.
Throughout the campaign, Monetti pointed to his common-sense approach and a belief in serving one’s community as his strengths.
While the news of his re-election to a third-term came as a relief, Monetti said he also finds himself with a renewed sense of responsibility.
He anticipates the greatest challenge facing the commission over the next term will be the budget. “I must stress though that we are fortunate in Holmes Beach to be on very solid ground and I have the utmost confidence in our abilities to continue to provide exceptional service to our citizens,” said Monetti.
“My greatest thanks go to the citizens, who so strongly recognized my past efforts on their behalf by allowing me to continue to serve them,” he said.
Haas-Martens begins her seventh term on the city commission. “I feel the citizens who re-elected me have been happy with the job I’ve done and in representing Holmes Beach,” she said. “I thank them for the faith they continue to have in me. I look forward to another two-year term and whatever it brings.”
Haas-Martens anticipates that the next two years will be much like the past couple of years. “We will continue trying to serve the citizens of our city on less money coming in and trying to keep the taxes down as we’ve been doing,” she said.
Haas-Martens also looks forward to working with newly elected officials throughout the county.
Election results for first time candidate Peelen were “sad, but not surprising.” She said she is grateful for the 626 votes she received. “I only campaigned for a month and, as a newcomer, people didn’t know me.”
Peelen, an Island resident for three years, said she enjoyed the experience of going door-to-door and meeting so many Holmes Beach residents.
She ran on the desire to bring a new voice to city leadership, and she doesn’t intend for the election results to quiet her voice. “I would like to see the city establish a guiding principle that is applied to its actions and decision-making process that enables Holmes Beach to be a truly sustainable community,” she said. “And I believe I can help achieve that goal as an annoying member of the public — and I mean, an annoying member of the public.”
In the meantime, Peelen plans to continue her efforts with the Dining For Women chapter she founded on the Island and to take in another foster dog — something she put on hold during the election campaign.
Holmes Beach Maybe Rich Bohnenberger was re-elected on Nov. 2. He ran unopposed.
The newly elected city commissioners and mayor will be sworn into office at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 15, at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive, with an organizational meeting to follow.
The next regularly scheduled commission meeting and work session will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23.
Incumbent West Manatee Fire Rescue District Commissioners Larry Tyler, Seat 3, and John Rigney, Seat 4, won their bids to keep their seats on the in the Nov. 2 election.
Tyler faced Michael Carleton and Rigney faced Mondher Kobrosly on the ballot.
Tyler won his seat 5,689 votes to 4,350 votes.
Rigney topped the WMFR voting with 7,213 over Kobrosly’s 3,024.
Scott Ricci who actively campaigned to bring “new blood” to the fire commission challenged for Seat 2, held by incumbent Mike Mulyck. Ricci won the vote 6,017 to 4,146 for a seat.
“Commissioner Mulyck has been wonderful,” said WMFR Chief Andy Price. “He has been a very dedicated and valuable member of the commission. While I’m sad to lose him, the election process is what it is.”
Price said he has already met with Ricci several times “to get him up to speed so that he can be an effective commissioner.”
Ricci was a volunteer firefighter for more than 10 years and previously served as fire commissioner where he lived in New Hampshire.
“I’m a fiscal conservative in my business and personal life and can work within a budget,” Ricci said in a Q&A with The Islander. “I’ll be a set of budget-minded fresh eyes on that board. I feel that I have a lot to offer.”
Tyler has served 13 years on the WMFR commission, having held the positions of chair and secretary-treasurer — adding to his fire experience with a city in Wisconsin comparable in size to Bradenton. Tyler believes experience matters and helped make him worthy of another term as a WMFR commissioner.
For Rigney this will be the fourth term of service on the WMFR commission. Rigney, a certified firefighter-emergency medical technician who was a Longboat Key firefighter for 24 years, says he is comfortable in knowing all aspects of fire service.
The WMFR commission is scheduled to hold its first post-election monthly meeting at 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 18, at Station No. 1, 6001 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. The newly elected officials will be sworn in at the start of the meeting.
Veteran officeholder Carol Whitmore handily won her quest to serve another four-year term on the Manatee County Board of Commissioners.
Whitmore, a Republican and resident of Holmes Beach, defeated Democrat Sundae Lynn Knight, a rookie campaigner, in the Nov. 2 race for the District 6 at-large seat.
The Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office reported that Whitmore received 69 percent of the vote. The tally from the county’s 127 precincts was 70,075 votes for Whitmore, 31,656 for Knight.
On her home turf of Anna Maria Island, Whitmore’s showing was even stronger: 78 percent of the vote in Anna Maria, 73 percent of the vote in Bradenton Beach, 84 percent of the vote in Holmes Beach’s
Precinct 92 and 79 percent of the vote in Holmes Beach’s Precinct 93.
Knight’s election night party took place at Joyland in Bradenton.
Whitmore’s campaign celebrated at Mattison’s Riverside in downtown Bradenton.
“I am very proud of this campaign,” Whitmore said. “It was very important to address only the issues and the facts. My candidacy was about accomplishments, services and a record of success.”
Whitmore was first elected to the county post in 2006. Prior to that election, she served as Holmes Beach mayor and city commissioner.
The Republican, who was unopposed in the August primary, said her top priorities are encouraging the creation of jobs and bringing more business to the area, especially the port.
“The state of the economy in Manatee County remains first and foremost in my campaign,” Whitmore said. “Just five or six years ago, we had the lowest unemployment rate in the country. We need to decrease the unemployment rate and help current businesses expand as well as attract new companies that offer well paying jobs.”
Knight, an engineer, said she decided to run after learning how many colleagues and friends had lost their jobs in recent years.
The elections office reported five under-votes in the countywide race.
In the other county commission race decided Nov. 2, Republican Robin DiSabatino defeated Democrat Roger Galle for the District 4 seat being vacated by Ron Getman. The vote, which was not on Island ballots, was 61 percent for DiSabatino.
In the primary, incumbent Gwen Brown lost her race against Michael Gallen for the District 2 seat. Gallen was unopposed on Election Day.
Commissioners earn $74,764 a year.