Longboat Key resident and former Planning and Zoning Board Chairman David Brenner is running for the District 3 commission seat held by Commissioner Peter O’Connor. Brenner’s decision assures at least two contested Town Commission races in March.
Brenner made his intentions known at an informal gathering of approximately 50 people Sunday, Nov. 15, at the Longboat Key Hilton Beachfront Resort.
Brenner, 73, said he is running because he is not happy with how the Town Commission has handled a Vision Plan that he helped create during his three-year term on the Planning and Zoning Board.
“The Vision Plan is a document that manages change over the next 20 years,” Brenner said. “The commission has effectively ignored the report and ignored the work of more than 300 residents who participated in its creation.”
Brenner was denied a second planning board term by the Town Commission in May, after Vice Mayor Robert Siekmann insinuated that Brenner and the planning board had been acting “as an activist group,” which he said helped spread the word for two charter amendments that voters approved in March 2008.
Brenner hasn’t forgotten Siekmann’s words.
In fact, The Islander Club resident plans to use the speech to his advantage.
“Some have accused me of being an activist,” Brenner said. “I like that tagline … that’s what you’re getting when you get me.”
Brenner said he believes the town should “try to exert some influence to help make things happen for the best interest of the Key.”
For instance, Brenner thinks the town could have played a part in the dispute between The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort and its association.
“Not to take sides, but because it’s bad for Longboat Key to have lost that resort,” Brenner said.
Brenner also believes the town should take a more active role in letting Publix officials know what it would like to see at Avenue of the Flowers.
“The town isn’t doing as much as it could,” Brenner said. “If we are going to sit back and let things happen, we are going to be in trouble.”
On Monday, Nov. 16, Brenner picked up his election paperwork at Town Hall, with the intent of becoming certified as an official candidate at the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office.
The former finance director for the city of Philadelphia says he believes he “can bring something to the table,” citing the town’s budget and pension issues as items he would like to address as a commissioner.
Brenner is a certified public accountant who retired in 1983 as senior audit partner of Arthur Young & Co. (now Ernst & Young). He and his wife, Maggie, have been fulltime residents since 2000.
In July, O’Connor, Brenner’s opponent, officially became a candidate for his third and final two-year term, which would begin in March.
The second contested race will be between current at-large Commissioner Hal Lenobel and Phillip Younger.
It will be the first time that either Lenobel or O’Connor has been challenged for a seat.
Mayor Lee Rothenberg’s District 1 seat will be available this March, because of term limits.
Vice Mayor Robert Siekmann has been certified for his third and final two-year term.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at firstname.lastname@example.org
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