To the people of Manatee County:
I have been living on Anna Maria Island for almost 35 years. My mainland friends and neighbors have been celebrating special times with my family at our restaurant for a very long time. We have shared celebrations of birthdays, anniversaries and our children going off to school.
We are part of a community that is linked by a bridge, not separated by one.
I am embarrassed by recent statements by some of our island elected officials that access to the island should be limited in any way. They are just the latest crop of residents who have arrived and then become determined to keep anyone else from coming here. They don't realize that we didn't want them to come.
They have to be schooled that the beaches of Anna Maria Island don't belong to them. They belong to the children of Manatee County and America. The residents of Manatee County do not need any special permission from anyone to come here.
The good news is that some of these officials were not elected by anyone, and most were elected by pluralities smaller than any required to elect a class president in high school. With any luck, we can rid ourselves of their petty arrogance and selfish politics sooner rather than later.
With apologies to my friends and neighbors on the mainland.
Sean Murphy, Beach Bistro