The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 27 - April 18, 2012


Commission hears streetscape proposal

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Cindy Lane | Sun
The Holmes Beach Merchants presented this plan to
redesign the commercial district at Gulf and
Marina drives by architect Gary Hoyt to the city
commission last week. The Holmes Beach commercial
district would benefit from two-laning Marina Drive, adding
a single-lane roundabout and creating on-street parking,
according to the Holmes Beach Merchants.

HOLMES BEACH – The Holmes Beach Commission encouraged the Holmes Beach Merchants last week to continue working on their plan to revamp the commercial district's streetscape on Marina and Gulf drives.

Located at the heart of Anna Maria Island, Holmes Beach should have a thriving business district like Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach and Pine Avenue in Anna Maria, said Holmes Beach Merchants spokeswoman Amy Welch, who presented the Holmes Beach Commercial District Concept Plan designed by Gary Hoyt, of Sarasota-based Hoyt Architects, who designed Lakewood Ranch Main Street.

The city's marina would become the district's focal point, like the clock tower on Bridge Street and the pier on Pine Avenue, becoming a waterfront park, she said.

To enable shoppers to park and walk to the three shopping centers in downtown Holmes Beach, the plan would quiet traffic with a single-lane traffic circle at Gulf and Marina drives and remove two of Marina Drive's four lanes and its median to make it two lanes with on-street parking.

Emergency services may have trouble on a two-lane road, Commissioner Sandra Haas-Martens said. An alternate emergency route on Gulf Drive is also available, Welch responded.

The roundabout, which would be 30 percent larger than the one in Bradenton Beach, would make both vehicle and pedestrian traffic safer, according to Hoyt.

Welch said she is applying for grants from the Metropolitan Planning Organization, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Keep Manatee Beautiful, BP and the Florida Department of Forestry, among others.

The merchants group should break the project down into phases, and be prepared to wait up to several years for certain grant funds to become available, Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said.

Ed Chiles, of the Pine Avenue Restoration project, and Mary Ann Brockman, president of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, praised the plan at a recent Holmes Beach Merchants meeting.

The Holmes Beach Parks and Beautification Committee has expressed concern that the proposed landscaping, including royal poinciana, palms, hibiscus and crotons, are not native plants.

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Seasonal patterns for investors

Investment Corner

The passage of time allows us to make observations about seasonal or calendar-based tendencies of price movements in the stock market and other asset classes. Many of these appear to be solid patterns to be followed at first glance, but none are perfect, and all are subject to modification when they become too popular.

One well-known pattern we are approaching is the "Sell in May and go Away" theory. This historical observation correctly observes that the bulk of the stock market's gains are achieved in November through April, and that being invested in May through October yields little gains for the risk assumed. The trouble is that it doesn't work that way each year.

Using average return data compiled over 50 or 60 years produces an analysis of what would have happened in the past, but there are also years where the pattern doesn't fit. If you sell on the last day of April and the market moves up 10 percent in May, June and July, what do you do then? Hopping back in would be the normal tendency, but that may prove to be a mistake since after the move up, the market is that much closer to the next correction. You can imaging the frustration if you had moved back in breaking the Sell in May and go Away model, only to then lose money after not participating in the upside.

I'm not a proponent of the Sell in May and go Away theory, but if you're going to use a seasonal pattern to trade the markets, you should probably stick with it even when it doesn't work. Violating the rules will likely achieve even worse results. I am a fan of rules based portfolio management, even if I don't like every system that someone can mine out of the data. My favorite methods tend to be designed more around the price action of the markets themselves, not a fixed point on the calendar. Of course, each type of method will have its day in the sun, only to be cast to the scrap heap after it doesn't work for a while.

An example of another calendar-based observation is the presidential election cycle. Over the years, the worst years for the stock market, on average, are the first and second years of the new term. Years three and four are far and away the best. 2011 was the third year of the cycle and last year turned out to be very lackluster for equity returns and included a gut wrenching correction in the middle part of the year. So last year, Sell in May and go Away would have worked great, but the presidential cycle theory would not have.

Another consideration is the tax ramifications of timing the markets using any system including seasonal or calendar based rules. In non-qualified accounts, short-term gains are taxed at higher rates than long-term gains, and most seasonal pattern trades will be short-term in nature. Obviously in qualified accounts such as IRAs and other retirement plans, this point is moot since realized gains and losses are not taxed in these accounts.

Perhaps a blend of techniques might be best. If you want to follow a seasonal pattern, then doing so in your IRA might be best for tax reasons. You can use your non-qualified accounts to own investments in more of a buy and hold strategy, which will enhance tax efficiency.

We'll re-convene in November to see how the patterns work out this year. Good luck and good investing.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing. Visit

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