The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 45 - September 4, 2013


Surfers catch the spirit of NKF co-founder
Carol Whitmore


Giorgio Gomez, grandson of Jim and Ronee Brady
of West Coast Surf Shop in Holmes Beach, finished second
in the men’s standup paddleboard competition at the
28th Annual NKF Rich Salick Pro/Am Surf Festival in
Cocoa Beach on Labor Day weekend.


While Izzi Gomez and Giorgio Gomez were busy surfing towards top awards at a charity surf event over Labor Day weekend, someone was stealing everything out of their car.

The grandchildren of Jim and Ronee Brady of West Coast Surf Shop in Holmes Beach, and their mom, Brandi Brady, were at the 28th Annual National Kidney Foundation Rich Salick Pro/Am Surf Festival in Cocoa Beach when the crime was committed.

But the spirit of the event carried the day.

One of the contestants took to heart Rich’s motto, emblazoned on T-shirts worn at the event to memorialize his death last year: “Is it better to be right, or better to be kind?”

Surfer Vanina Walsh gave her check for winning first place in the women’s pro stand up paddleboard event to Izzi, who won second place. The gesture embodied the spirit of Rich Salick, who was remembered at the NKF fundraising auction the evening before with a deafening cheer, not a moment of silence.

Izzi also took home first place in open stand up paddleboard and second place in junior women’s longboard. Giorgio took home second place in men’s pro stand up paddleboard.

And hundreds who watched the kind gesture at the awards ceremony took home a warm summer’s end memory.

Labor Day holiday crowded but quiet

The last holiday of summer saw rain, sun, crowds of people and traffic jams, but not as busy as other holidays over the past year.

“Bayfront Park in Anna Maria was packed Sunday and Monday,” said Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Paul Davis.

He said there were no problems with the people or the critters in the water. He added extra deputies for the three-day holiday.

The parking lot at Manatee County Beach in Holmes Beach was packed and beach-goers were parking on the side of Manatee Avenue.

At the beach, things were crowded but calm, according to Manatee County Lifeguard Rex Beach. He said people were enjoying the water, and there weren’t any problems with creatures offshore.

The parking lots at Coquina were packed as well, but problems were minimal.

“We had a few stingrays and jelly fish encounters,” said Lifeguard Captain Joe Westerman. “There were a lot of people here from the middle of the state as well as from Bradenton.”

Extra police patrolled the park where there were a few problems.

“We had a near drowning, but the patient was in good condition thanks to EMS,” said Bradenton Beach Police Lt. John Cosby. “We also had a hit and run crash, but we caught the driver.”

The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce is normally busy the week before a holiday matching people arriving without a place to stay with resorts that get a last-minute cancellation, but that wasn’t the case this holiday, according to Chamber Vice President Deb Wing.

“We had some earlier in the week, but it slowed down on Thursday and Friday,” Wing said. “We didn’t get any called from resorts with vacancies.”

Whether it was planned out or just good luck, those interviewed agreed this was one of the calmer three-day weekends in a while.

City proceeds with parking plan

HOLMES BEACH – Although three commissioners said they did not like the idea of paid parking at Manatee Public Beach, they instructed Mayor Carmel Monti to develop a parking plan for the city to include the public beach and the city’s the rights of way.

Monti said he has been meeting with county officials regarding the public beach and received a quote from a company that makes pay and display type parking meters. These would be placed in the center of the isles in each row, and people would pay the rate, get a receipt and put it on the dashboard.

According to the quote, each meter costs $8,491, delivery and mounting is $800 and shipping is $50. There is a monthly fee of $55 per machine for cell service, which includes credit card processing and reporting. The city would be required to supply the 3- by 3-foot concrete pads, bollards to protect the meters and signage.“I don’t think it will prevent people from coming out here, and I don’t think it will solve our congestion problem,” Commissioner David Zaccagnino said. “It’s really a revenue thing. Are we going to get some of that revenue?

“I’m also looking at the man hours. I’m assuming it would be our police officers that would write the tickets or hiring a meter maid.”

Monti said it would be a joint venture with the county and that at 50 percent capacity at $10 per day, the meters would pay for themselves in 1½ months.

Zaccagnino pointed to the city of Sarasota, which was forced to remove meters after an outcry from business owners and residents.

A combination

“My idea was to combine parking fines, paid parking and free transportation from the mainland to keep cars off the Island,” Chair Jean Peelen said.

Commissioner Judy Titsworth said she is not in favor of paid parking at he public beach because “someone down the road might feel it’s about the money, and it won’t reduce congestion.

“If we limit parking on our beach accesses and only have a certain amount of parking at the public beach, then we have a sign telling people it’s full and maybe they’ll go down to Bradenton Beach where there’s a bigger parking lot.”

Commissioner Marvin Grossman said the day trippers are increasing, and they are the ones who will be most affected by paid parking and the revenue could help the city pay for services.

Zaccagnino said he does not like paid parking, but feels there is no other way and the revenue could be used for other programs such as park and ride.

Commissioner Pat Morton said he doesn’t like paid parking but noted, “We have to do something.”

Titsworth said paid parking will push drivers onto the side streets, and they must protect the residents. She also said it would affect businesses that will be forced to install signs to prevent drivers from using their parking spaces.

“That has to be part of this,” Monti stressed. “It’s whole program that we have to develop for all the streets, but nothing will be decided without coming back to the commission.”


Canvassing board quandary

HOLMES BEACH – In a first for the city, canvassing board requirements have created an election issue.

In this city, the canvasing board consists of two members of the city commission who are not up for election that year. Following the election, the canvassing board goes to the supervisor of elections’ office and canvasses the returns and the absentee ballots in accordance with state law.

Commissioners Marvin Grossman and Judy Titsworth should be this election’s canvassing board members. Both have stated that they plan to actively campaign for other candidates.

This is where the problem arises. According to state law, canvassing board members cannot actively campaign for any candidates in the city’s election.

City Attorney Patricia Petruff said a canvasing board member could donate to a campaign, but active participation would include wearing T-shirts or putting up signs.

“I’m supporting some candidates and the state law would take Judy and I out of the mix,” Grossman told the board at Thursday’s work session. “I think it’s taking away my constitutional rights, plus I’ve already done stuff I’m not supposed to do.”

No alternatives

Petruff said the city has no alternatives if someone is disqualified from the canvassing board and added, “This issue has never arisen in all the years that my office has represented the city. We probably do need to change it.

“My concern is whether we are too late to change it for this year. We can rush through a change, but as of tomorrow at noon, we’re in it. I’m a little uncomfortable that this change could be for this election cycle.”

She said she has asked the state division of elections if it’s too late to change the ordinance and is waiting for a response. She said if she gets approval to draft an ordinance change, commissioners must decide what process they want to use to select canvassing board members.

Grossman suggested that they adopt language from the city of Anna Maria’s code, which states that “the canvassing board shall consist of two qualified electors of the city, appointed by the mayor for the purpose, and the city clerk.”

“I don’t think we should appoint someone willy nilly,” Commissioner David Zaccagnino said. “We’ve used commissioners in the past because they’re sworn elected officials. I don’t want somebody’s buddy from the bar to determine the hanging chads or if the signature is valid.”

Petruff said whether the city can revise its ordinance or not, she would need a list of names of possible canvassing board members. She said she could ask the chief judge to appoint qualified electors from that list.

“The newspapers might want to put it out there that we are looking for possible candidates,” she said. “They will have to make a commitment that they will not actively participate in the campaigns of people who are running.”

Island Time sets 9/11 fundraiser

BRADENTON BEACH – Nine-Eleven is a time to remember the horrible terrorist attacks on America 10 years ago, and Island Time Bar and Grill at 111 Gulf Drive will have its Third Annual 9/11 Fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 14, from noon to 5 p.m.

There will be an all-you-can-eat buffet for $10 if tickets are purchased early or $15 the day of the event. There will also be drink specials as well, including $1.87 Bud Lite bottles, $4 house wines and Malibu drinks and $3 well drinks.

Owner Bill Herlihy said this is their way of showing appreciation for all those who have served and those still serving.

“We started this three years ago to show we will never forget,” he said. “We will be giving free lunch plus wine or beer anyone in the military or who ever served and got out, law enforcement officers, EMTs and fire personnel with proper ID.”

Herlihy said the community has come together to help raise money for the Manatee Emergency Services Memorial Fund through raffle items.

“We’ve got some really nice items like a weekend at Bridge Walk Resort and a two-night stay at Island Time Inn, photos by Portraits by the Sea, a boat cruise, scooter rentals and more,” he said. “The Bridge Street merchants have donated and the whole Island business community (has donated) as well.”

Doug Bidwell will provide the live music.

Take the trolley for a worry-free ride because parking spots will be scarce. For more information, call 782-1122.

Bikers to hold Remembrance ride

Area motorcyclists will commemorate the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with the Seventh Annual Manatee County 9/11 Remembrance ride on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Two years ago, the event stopped on Anna Maria Island, but the route is limited to the mainland this year.

This is open to everyone, but it is limited to motorcycles only.

Line-up starts at 5 p.m. in the Bearded Clam Waterfront restaurant & Tiki Bar parking lot at 7150 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, located at the newly remodeled Ramada Waterfront Hotel, two miles north of University Parkway.

A wreath memorial will take place on the water at 6 p.m. followed by a riders’ meeting and then the ride will commence.

The parade route will cross U.S. 41 onto Pearl Avenue, which becomes Whitfield Avenue, continues to University Parkway, turns right onto University Parkway and right into the Applebee’s parking lot at 3255 University Parkway at the corner of Lockwood Ridge Road for the bike night with a live band and vendors.

The general public is encouraged to stand along the parade route and wave flags and cheer on the bikers. Bikers are encouraged to wear their red, white and blue on this Patriot Day and attach U.S. flags to their motorcycles.

For additional information, go to Facebook: 7th Annual Manatee County 9/11 Ride, or call Esther Halt at 941-914-2327.

Mainsail hearing continues today

HOLMES BEACH – Mainsail and city officials will meet Wednesday, Sept, 4, to discuss the company’s proposed development near the corner of Marina and Gulf drives.

It is the continuation of a mediation hearing to be led by Special Magistrate Steve Seibert beginning at 9 a.m. at CrossPointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive. The public is welcome.

The two groups have been attempting to work out an agreement regarding what should be built on the property At a recent meeting, Building Official Tom O’Brien reported that items under discussion include the building on the peninsula, the height of the lodge, setbacks, landscaping and the building nearest Sunrise Lane.

The first mediation hearing with a special magistrate was held June 21. The company requested the mediation after the city commission revoked the company’s site plan for its development.

Mayor Carmel Monti and Commissioner Judy Titsworth are representing the city in the mediation. Recently Titsworth and Commissioner Marvin Grossman submitted suggestions that they felt would make the development acceptable to them.

Seeking suggestions

At last week’s meeting, Grossman asked Chair Jean Peelen and Commissioner David Zaccagnino for their suggestions and asked, “Do you agree with everything they want or are there things you would like to see changed?”

Both agreed to submit suggestions, but Commissioner Pat Morton maintained that the developer must submit an entirely new site plan.

“My only suggestion is think about everything that they could try to do,” Titsworth said and cautioned the board about “smoke and mirrors” and urged them to study the site plan.

However, Zaccagnino pointed out that any settlement would come to the commission for approval.

On Friday, Peelen submitted her suggestions stating that she “never liked the project that was approved in 2001, nor the one with a few changes that was originally presented to this commission,” but she believed that “once it was approved, some legal rights vested with the successive developers.”

She continued, “I am in disagreement with Judy that the developers have not given up much, that they are doing ‘smoke and mirrors.’ I think we are close to where we need to be.

“They have moved all parking onto their property as we asked. I believe they have provided for more buffering as we asked. I believe they lowered at least one building.”

She said she hopes to get better buffering for Sunrise Lane and a commitment from the developer to support a new pedestrian friendly downtown area. She said she does not support waiving the city’s height restrictions.

Tree house owners file appeal

HOLMES BEACH – Attorney David Levin, representing tree house owners Lynn Tran and Richard Hazen, 103 29th Street, filed an appeal of the ruling made by the code enforcement board in July.

At that meeting, code enforcement board members agreed with the city’s building department that the tree house was constructed without a permit and encroaches into the erosion control line. The board found the couple in violation and ordered them to remove the violations or demolish the structure by Aug. 28.

On another front, City Attorney Patricia Petruff told city commissioners last week that the initiative petition regarding the tree house has had all its signatures verified by the supervisor of elections’ office.

Several months ago Tran and Hazen learned that the city charter allowed them to file an initiative petition to propose an ordinance approving the structure. If they obtained signatures of a certain number of voters, the ordinance would come to the city commission for a vote.

However, Petruff found a 2013 amendment of Florida statute that prohibits the use of the initiative process in regard to any development order. She maintained that because the ordinance grants a special exception and building permit, it would be a development order.

But she pointed out that her interpretation has not been tested in court and advised the city to seek a judge’s ruling, and commissioners agreed. She also advised the commission not to take action on the initiative petition until it receives the judge’s ruling.

Commissioners held a shade meeting on the appeal with Petruff and Attorney Jim Dye, who represents the city in code board cases, last week. A shade meeting can be held outside of the public to discuss litigation strategy.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper