The open-book mayoral candidate in Holmes Beach has a shifting past.
He went from a soldier serving in the first Gulf War (at age 15) to Army service in the Gulf War era.
Joshua Linney, a candidate in the Nov. 6 general election, has changed details regarding his accomplishments and failures three times in the biography he submitted to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections to promote his campaign.
Following a July 19 interview with The Islander about discrepancies in his bio, Linney replaced “deployed to Iraq” with “deployed to the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq).” The change appeared July 23 on his SOE candidate page.
In that July 23 revision, he went from “I’ve spent my life working to overcome war,” to “I’m a Gulf War veteran whose (sic) worked to overcome war.”
That reference again changed July 28 after the July 24 Islander story was distributed online and in print. A day later, July 25, the Bradenton Herald published a similar story under the banner: “Holmes Beach mayoral candidate claims he’s a veteran of the first Gulf War. He was 15.” The story was repeated in Politico and Stars and Stripes, a newspaper serving the U.S. military community.
Linney’s July 28 revision: “I’m a veteran of the Gulf War period whose (sic) worked to overcome war….”
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, for benefit eligibility purposes, the Gulf War period is still in effect. “Anyone who served on active duty from Aug. 2, 1990, to present is considered a Gulf War veteran,” according to the online VA benefits page.
However, according to Florida state statute, to be considered a “wartime veteran” during the Persian Gulf War, the veteran must have served Aug. 2, 1990-Jan. 2, 1992.
Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm were Aug. 2, 1990-July 31, 1991.
While Linney admittedly did not see combat, he received a bronze star for his deployment, according to his discharge papers, which indicate his campaign was Southwest Asia Cease-Fire.
Sharon Stief, chief deputy at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections, said candidates can change their biographies or photos as often as they like. The pages are only reviewed to ensure the photos include only the candidate and that they do not make negative comments about an opponent.
“I only want to be accurate, not misleading. So I’m trying to take this as a learning experience,” Linney stated in a July 28 email to The Islander. “I was certainly never interested to deceive anyone or pretend to be something I’m not.”
In reporting discrepancies on biographical information submitted by Joshua Linney, candidate for mayor in Holmes Beach, The Islander erred on Linney’s disability compensation.
Linney receives Veterans Disability Compensation, not Social Security. Also, shoplifting charges reported as dismissed were withheld for adjudication, meaning rather than a finding of guilt, the person has an opportunity to complete terms, such as probation, set by the judge.
Linney also disputes the number of felony charges on his record, while confirmation on various charges in six or more Florida counties is ongoing.