Holmes Beach mayoral hopefuls take swipes

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Holmes Beach mayoral candidate Judy Titsworth outlines her platform at the Oct. 3 Popcorn and Politics event at The Islander.

Joshua Linney stepped to the microphone for his turn to speak Oct. 3 at The Islander’s Popcorn and Politics.

One of two candidates vying for Holmes Beach mayor in the Nov. 6 election, Linney, 43, twice tried to defer saying, “Ladies go first.”

Advised twice that the order of speakers was alphabetical, Linney thanked The Islander and began with a double-edge sword.

“On Nov. 6, I hope you will elect me as the next mayor of Holmes Beach because you deserve someone who’s going to serve you and not themselves,” Linney said.

He referred to his community activism, including a seat on the Palma Sola Scenic Highway Committee and the Holmes Beach Parks and Beautification Committee “until recently.”

Current Holmes Beach mayor, Bob Johnson, failed to recommend Linney to serve another term on the volunteer beautification board at the Sept. 25 commission meeting, despite Linney’s expressed interest and open spots on the committee.

During her time with the microphone, mayoral candidate Judy Titsworth, 55, city commission chair, struck back at Linney, pointing to his inexperience and “questionable background.”

She said she had not expected opposition and warned the crowd at Popcorn and Politics that those who favor the city manager movement “were responsible” for Linney’s candidacy.

Linney outlined his background, saying he was “born to a mother who couldn’t have children,” joined the U.S. Army on his 18th birthday and was medically discharged. He began a career in information technology and volunteered for veteran causes and disaster relief after graduating from the University of Central Florida, he said.

“Our city is at a critical juncture,” Linney added, advocating for professional management and a community investment tenant center to restore balance for a dwindling residential population, mitigate Bert Harris litigation, address sign pollution, clean up Spring Lake and “stop developers from raping our beaches.”

Titsworth previously voiced opposition to the manager concept, but told the Popcorn and Politics audience if the charter review committee — to be elected by Holmes Beach voters Nov. 6 — recommends the government change after looking at the charter “in its entirety” and the voters approve it, “it would be my honor to assist in the transition.”

Titsworth touted her leadership as a three-term commissioner, including five years as commission chair, as well as her lifelong residency. She is a third-generation relative of the namesake of Holmes Beach, Jack Holmes Sr.

She emphasized the importance of working with commissioners to achieve a balanced budget, hurricane preparedness, infrastructure, storm water, city field and dog park improvements.

The race is nonpartisan.

The mayoral term is for two years, paying $2,000 per month.

As of Oct. 4, Titsworth raised $3,375, mostly her own contributions, and incurred $1,782 in expenses.

Linney raised $1,225, spent $1,199 and received $186 in in-kind donations.

Of 2,802 registered voters in Holmes Beach, 517 requested vote-by-mail ballots with two ballots returned as of Oct. 5, according to Manatee County Elections Chief Deputy Sharon Stief.

In 2017, 919 of 2,772 eligible voters turned out to vote.

Holmes Beach registered voters will cast ballots 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 6608 Marina Drive, and St. Bernard Catholic Church, 248 S. Harbor Drive.

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