2 qualify for Anna Maria mayoral seat
Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford did not file for re-election. She had said months ago that she would not run again or the office. Islander File Photo: Lisa Neff
Anna Maria voters will see a mayoral contest on their Nov. 2 general election ballot, but no commission contest.
Qualifying for the non-partisan municipal election closed July 30 at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office in Bradenton.
By the noon deadline, incumbents Jo Ann Mattick and Chuck Webb had qualified for re-election to the commission. They are unopposed.
For mayor, a post that Fran Barford decided not to seek again, the candidates are Sandra Mattick and Michael Selby.
Michael Selby was the last candidate to qualify July 30, completing the process at about 11:30 a.m., according to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office.
Selby said he decided to go forward with the filing at about 6 p.m. the night before. It was an “11th-hour decision,” he said.
“You’ve heard of the phrase bridging the gap? That’s what I want to do,” Selby said, referring to the chasm perceived between business and residential interests in the city.
Selby is a former member of the city’s code enforcement board, but Anna Maria residents might better know him as a big-time pickleball enthusiast at the Anna Maria Island Community Center.
Selby and wife Mary moved to Anna Maria from near San Diego. They purchased property on the Island in 2003 and became permanent residents in 2005.
The retired real estate developer said he decided to run because he had reached a crossroads — either leave Anna Maria or get more involved.
“Over the last year or so, I have noticed a change in our city,” Selby said. “There have been a lot of ugly and disgraceful happenings and a lot of discourse over the vision for Anna Maria. This rhetoric has pitted friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor, business against residents and visa versa. And I admit I was part of the rhetoric.”
Selby said “it is time to change the tone and to bring our city back to the way it was.”
Sandra Mattick is a longtime member of the planning and zoning board and the daughter of the commissioner, as well as the former owner of the general store on Pine Avenue. She also has been active in the petition drive to recall Harry Stoltzfus.
Mattick said she has thought about running for office for some time, and decided to enter the race when Barford chose not to run.
“I think I can bring a lot to the office,” said Mattick, whose experience includes federal government work in Washington, D.C.
The Cincinnati native has worked for an international law firm, the IRS, the FBI and two independent counsel offices — Dan Pearson’s investigation of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and Ken Starr’s investigation of President Bill Clinton. The government work involved project management and budgetary oversight, said Mattick.
When the Starr operation ended, Mattick left the District of Columbia for Anna Maria Island, where she quickly became involved in civic affairs.
“I am a candidate for mayor because I want to listen to all the people of our city and move our city away from hostility and lawsuits,” Mattick said last week.
The candidate said she would strive to balance business and residential needs, and that she believes “Anna Maria is, and should always be, a largely single-family, residential community.”
She also said voters should not be concerned that her mother is a commissioner.
“Some will say there is a conflict,” Mattick said. “In fact, I have served on the planning and zoning board for all the years my mom has been a commissioner. There have been times when we have strongly disagreed on issues. We voice our opinions. And when we both know we are right, we agree to disagree.”
Jo Ann Mattick also stressed the administrative role the mayor plays and the legislative role the commissioner plays in the city.
The commissioner, who will be serving a third-term, said she felt an obligation to seek re-election because “it is important to have stability on the commission.”
Parking and budgeting are two top concerns. “We have such limited funds, I think it is unfortunate that we keep getting these kinds of lawsuits that really tax the taxpayer,” Mattick said.
Looking ahead, the commissioner said she’s excited about the 100th anniversary of the city pier, as well as the planned improvements she helped make possible at the pier park.
Mattick is from Cincinnati. She retired from the medical accounting field in 2001, about the time she moved to Anna Maria.
“We came to visit a couple of times,” Mattick said. We fell in love with it. We didn’t even know this little tiny island was here.”
Chuck Webb also will be serving a third term as commissioner.
Webb is a local attorney and a retired U.S. Marine Corps Reserve officer. He previously was an assistant attorney for Broward and Charlotte counties.
As commissioner, Webb said he’s done his best “to insure that development in the city is consistent with the visioning statement, comp plan and the land-development ordinances to insure that the character of Anna Maria is preserved.”
Looking ahead, Webb said the city’s top issues are “land development and regulation thereof, balancing reduced revenue with the need to have as little tax impact on property owners as possible and preserving the historical character of Anna Maria.”
On the ballot
Holmes Beach: In the Nov. 2 general election, voters will find three candidates vying for two two-year terms on the city commission. The field includes incumbents Sandy Haas-Martens and John Monetti and challenger Jean Peelen.
Mayor Rich Bohnenberger is unopposed in his bid for re-election.
Bradenton Beach: In the Nov. 2 general election, voters will find one contest — in Ward 4, where appointed Commissioner Janet Vosburgh is running for election against Michael Harrington.
Ed Straight is unopposed for the two-year commission seat in Ward 2 that’s currently held by Bob Connors.
Appointed Mayor Bob Bartelt is unopposed in his run for the two-year position.
Bradenton Beach voters also will face a series of proposed amendments to the city charter.