Letter: Anna Maria Island mayors assailing other Manatee County residents

September 3, 2013 

Manatee Public Beach is a popular spot for visitors to Anna Maria Island. OTROY MORGAN/Photos From The Air

Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn and Holmes Beach Mayor Carmel Monti are proposing ideas to discourage "day trippers" (euphemism for non-island residents of Manatee County) from using the beautiful beaches on Anna Maria Island.

After spending tens of thousands of dollars bringing visitors from many different countries and states, the residents of Anna Maria and Holmes Beach now find that the people from Palmetto, Parrish, Oneco and Bradenton are a nuisance, and they want to discourage this group of people, not the others, from coming to the island.

Mayor Monti wants a discussion about "what type of visitor we want" on the island. I respectfully ask the mayor who is "we?" Manatee County is not two counties, and its citizens should not be divided against each other.

The non-island residents of Manatee County do not interfere with the lifestyle on the island; in fact, they make that lifestyle possible.

Where do island residents go for medical care, shopping, and the airport? They come to the mainland, and the people who live on the mainland serve them.

On the Fourth of July, these workers want to bring their family to the beach, and the island residents become apoplectic, and their elected officials propose punitive ordinances to discourage this "type of visitor."

The mayor of Anna Maria proposed charging a toll to cross the bridge to the island; island residents would "of course" be exempt from paying. Other ideas include paid parking on Manatee County land.

Property owners on the island knew they were buying in a resort community. If now they don't want to be bothered by visitors, perhaps they should consider moving somewhere else.

Non-island residents need to stay informed and vocal about the effect of these punitive ordinances on the working people in Manatee County.

Susan Begat


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