Holmes Beach challengers take over commission, mayoral seats

wtatangelo@bradenton.comNovember 7, 2012 

HOLMES BEACH -- Residents of the Anna Maria Island city of Holmes Beach voted for change.

And to keep their oceanfront town the same.

While incumbent commissioners Sandy Haas-Martens and John Monetti favored potential new duplexes with a dozen bedrooms and two pools, challengers Judy Titsworth and Marvin Grossman argued such development would disrupt neighborhoods with noise, trash and parking violations.

Mayor Rich Bohnenberger lost to challenger Carmel Monti in the other contest.

All three challengers called for strict enforcement of the city's land development codes, describing current applications of building rules too lax.

Despite never having held office before, all three challengers won.

Titsworth's Holmes family founded the city and were celebrating Tuesday evening with her at the popular Blue Marlin eatery and live music venue on Bridge St. She had 1,628 votes (36.5 percent) while Grossman had 1,142 (25.6 percent) to beat Monetti (862 for 19.3 percent) and Haas-Martens

(832; 18.6 percent.)

The top two vote-getters win commission seats.

In the mayoral race, Monti won with 1,318 votes (54.5 percent) to Bohnenberger's 1,102 (45.5 percent).

Holmes Beach has a population of about 3,840, according to City Clerk Stacey Johnston.

"We're getting our island back," Titsworth said while standing arm-in-arm with Monti and Grossman. "It was a grassroots effort and we did it."

Titsworth's parents, Jean and of Hugh Holmes Sr., celebrated as well while her nephew, Trevor Bystrom, sang and played guitar at Blue Marlin's Trap Yard.

Attendees noshed on crackers covered in fresh salmon dip, pineapple and chicken skewers as well as alligator ribs with ginger and pineapple glaze. Blue Marlin owner Adam Ellis provided flutes filled champagne for the victory toast that took place around 8:30 p.m., following a call to Titsworth from Johnston.

Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow Twitter.com/wtatangelo.

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