KORN sues to force ballot action from Bradenton Beach

The writ is on the wall.

A Bradenton Beach political action committee is rising to the challenge.

Reed Mapes and John Metz, co-founders of Keep Our Residential Neighborhoods, filed a writ of mandamus in the 12th Circuit Court July 5 to gain an expedited hearing and compel Bradenton Beach to put KORN’s proposed charter amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The city was served court documents July 11.

The complaint names Mapes and KORN as plaintiffs and city clerk Terri Sanclemente and the city of Bradenton Beach as defendants.

At a June 21 meeting, the mayor and commissioners voted against placing KORN’s charter amendments on the ballot, citing concerns the amendments violate the city charter. The claim is based on what the city says are insufficiencies with required petitions that were signed by electors.

Mapes and Metz, former planning and zoning board members, registered KORN as a PAC and collected signatures from more than 10 percent of Bradenton Beach electors in support of the ballot questions. They say they followed State Statute 166.031, which provides for citizen-initiated charter amendments and, according to them, supplants the city charter.

City attorney Ricinda Perry said the petitions violate a state law that prohibits land-use matters from being decided by referendum.

Additionally, Perry said all of KORN’s proposed amendments exceed a 15-word word limit.

The lawsuit alleges Sanclemente and the city refused to perform their ministerial duties and deliver the signed petitions to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office.

KORN asks the court to require the city to submit its petitions to the SOE for verification and direct the city to include the proposed charter questions on the ballot for the next general election or a special election.

According to Perry, ballot language must be filed with the SOE by Aug. 28.

As of July 11, a hearing date had not been set. However, an order of recusal was filed July 9 by Judge Gilbert A. Smith Jr. and the case was reassigned to Judge Lon Arend, who is hearing another civil case in which the city is the plaintiff and Mapes and Metz are two of six defendants.

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