Bradenton Beach accepts KORN ruling, takes up ballot plans

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Chappie, Perry, Mapes & Metz

Bradenton Beach decided to move forward on a judge’s order.

In his final order Feb. 6, Judge Lon Arend of the Manatee County 12th Judicial Circuit Court determined four ballot initiatives proposed by the political action committee Keep Our Residential Neighborhoods must be submitted by the city to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office for verification for a future ballot.

In a unanimous vote Feb. 21, the Bradenton Beach mayor and commissioners chose not to appeal the ruling and instead hold a work meeting to determine the ballot language for the initiatives.

At a June 21, 2018, city meeting, the mayor and commissioners voted against placing KORN’s charter amendments on the ballot. City attorney Ricinda Perry said the amendments would violate the city charter and did not fully comply with state law.

Arend disagreed.

KORN’s charter proposals are:
• Prohibit the construction of a multilevel parking garage anywhere in the city;
• Require city commission vacancies be filled by election;
• Prevent construction within setbacks;
• Install a certified public manager as chief executive officer of the city.

Following a Sept. 6, 2018, hearing requested by KORN founders Reed Mapes and John Metz to direct the city to put KORN’s proposed charter amendments on a ballot, the judge issued the order mandating the city write the ballot language for inclusion in a special citywide election or the next regular election.

“As I have reviewed the order from the judge a number of times, it really becomes clear that he split the baby in his order,” city attorney Ricinda Perry said Feb. 21. Before the ruling, anyone could put language on the ballot, she said. The judge has now eliminated the petitioner from the process. “So while the initiatives can go forward, the city now has 100 percent control over the content that goes to the voters,” Perry said.

Mayor John Chappie supported a work meeting, saying “the language was the concern and now it’s clear we are responsible for it.”

Chappie asked Perry if the city must include all the initiatives, even if KORN agrees to eliminate them.

Perry responded that any petition that receives the requisite number of signatures, such as the KORN petitions, must be placed on a ballot.

“That’s the disappointing part,” Perry said.

This city will now have to put successful petition initiatives on the ballot for the electorate to decide.

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