Anna Maria Island should not shun visitors

September 7, 2013 

Well, the mayors of Holmes Beach and Anna Maria are stirring up a firestorm on the island and in Manatee County. Seems these mayors may have forgotten from whence they came.

You see "they" are not us, the real locals who realize as much as we hate the traffic and gridlock, as much as we hate those who don't clean up after themselves, we know they bring business and money to the many who serve them.

Can you imagine what visitors must think while staying on the island and reading that they aren't welcome? Will they come back?

Holmes Beach Mayor Carmel Monti has only lived in Holmes Beach for five years and he's complaining about "outsiders?" Mayor SueLynn has only lived here a few years and she too is complaining. Guess these two and many others who complain think they have something over on the real locals -- four or five years does not a local make.

Tolls have been brought up and the howls from the east cry unfair. But I remember the toll booths to the island back in the 1960s. I was just a kid but I never heard my Dad complain about it; you just paid your dime or quarter (don't remember how much) and went and had fun.

Now I know there are real problems like rude people who feel they can come and park wherever and leave trash and, well, just be idiots. But it's not everyone.

Parking indeed needs to be addressed, too, but calling out the very folks who help you survive is not the answer.

So to these mayors who are truly lucky to be part of the real locals' world, think about why you are here and why many just like you love it on our island.

Rick Lewis


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