From the Comment Section

In this new feature, TBT will periodically spotlight some of the more insightful reader comments that have been posted on our recent articles. Anonymous comments or those that violate TBT civility guidelines are not considered.

Well, here we go again,...the network maintains control. KVO and this Board were responsible for Dr. Hopes and we all know how that worked out,...and many of us knew that it would work out that way given his lack of experience. And now they're heading down the same pothole-filled road! How do we get candidates from either party, who are not beholden to developers, and County voters who will vote with their heads and not with their parties? A major task!! Perhaps not even doable!! That's sad!!

Richard J Correnti

This is the same old Boy's Club that has been going on for years. Does anyone on the County Commission have any ethical backbones?

Patricia Catherine Benson

Historically, the Defacto election for County Commissioner occurs not in the November General Election, but in the August Republican primary. That has to change or we will keep getting unethical governance by short sighted puppets for developers. Only 44% of registered voters are R's, the base of which are far right extremists that are easily swayed by non-county, culture war campaigns funded by dark, developer PAC money. The path to change is for a fiscally conservative INDEPENDENT (No party affiliation) with common sense and integrity to run a campaign with a pledge to reject developer PAC support. With an Independent in the race, the real election will actually be the traditional general election where ALL registered voters will have a voice. By far, the fastest growing voter group are signing up as No Party Affiliation (Independents). Even the registered D's and R's who are knowledgeable consider themselves independent thinkers that put integrity over party. It's time to divorce corruption through developers from our County government. A strong Independent will have the support of a community that knows what we have now is broken.

David Daniels

Many of you may recall that a similar dirty trick of a proposed change to the comprehensive plan was attempted last year (April 2022) to "modify natural shorelines" to comply with the Peril of Flood Act...a neat and sneaky plan for Beruff to remove protected mangroves, add seawalls and backfill to the new development areas. Fortunately, that received a huge public outcry and a coordinated effort by at least eleven not-for-profit environmental and advocacy groups to stand up in defense of our fragile environment. The County Commissioners DID back down, yet ONLY due to huge public outcry and NUMEROUS citizens calling, emailing, writing, and showing up. This will be our only option to block the insidious attack on our wetlands and fragile environment. Speak up! Get involved. Click on the link above in the article from Suncoast Waterkeepers.

Ruth Lawler

Reeks of conflict of interest and ethics violations. Attend the March 23rd BOCC Meeting and speak, write your County Commissioner, and write your state legislators.

Alicia Fretz

Whatever REALLY happened was in part covered up by the County Commissioners who all were most likely apprised of the situation with Hopes and the outside investigation he initiated. The Board’s response was to cover their own culpability for hiring Hopes in the first place. The County Commissioners ignored Hopes’ history, dismissed the warnings by citizen activists and high-fived each other for putting Hopes exactly where the developers wanted Hopes. The developers are calling the shots in county government and using Anthony Pedicini to relay text messages to the county commissioners AND HOPES on their behalf. Do you think Pedicini, who doesn’t even live in Manatee County, would be directing Manatee government out of the goodness of his heart because he cares about this county? He is a CONSIGLIERE on behalf of Pat Neal and Carlos Beruff. Both Neal and Beruff contribute money to Pedicini’s PAC. So Pedicini is working for them both. And if Neal and Beruff wanted Hopes to do their bidding, that is why the commissioners chose Hopes. The fact that there was an NDA that the commissioners signed is the last piece of CYA by the Board. Manatee County BOCC is bought and paid for. Politically ambitious men and women care nothing about good governance. Every single move they make is weighed and decided if it benefits THEM and their FUTURE political aspirations. This board should have their political careers ENDED.

Mollie Ewing

The comments are great,...and true about the incompetence and dishonesty of Hopes, but where did it all start? With the arbitrary dismissal of a very competent and honest administrator, Cheryl Coryea and the hiring of an inexperienced braggart of no substance and questionable credentials. Who initiated that? KVO of course, with his lack of experience and credentials, and his cronies on the Board, who made the decision outside the Sunshine. It all points a huge finger at them. When are we going to get wise and vote them out?!

Richard J Correnti

Reader Comments
Larry K
MAR 17, 2023  •  Everyone at TBT - this is a nice new feature. Keep up the good work.
K Kerekanich
MAR 17, 2023  •  Thank you for the information Barbara.
Barbara Elliott
MAR 17, 2023  •  Molly, your assessment is spot on. My research shows that the corruption probably started in the 1920's with Walter Fuller and Al Capone. There is a long lineage, a dynasty, that has continued all this time. The mob's sons and daughters are in office or positions of influence.The mafia has a long history in Manatee. Chicago, New York and Pittsburgh families as well as Tampa all work, play and raise families here because Bradenton is the "friendly" city/county. The City of Bradenton is just as corrupt for the same reason. Some research done on your part will prove what I am saying. Names like Accardo, Gigliotti (Pennsylvania state rep), Trafficante, Value Car, Tampa parking valet services, Dolphin Towers in Sarasota. This should get you going. Warning, you will be fascinated, appalled, sick and compelled to continue your research way past bedtime. Everything in the COB and county are all "connected" relationships. So what is the answer when law enforcement and government are in coordination against citizens? Vote them out? I have audio recordings from a former fed prosecutor in which witnesses speak to county elections being fixed in various ways ever since at least the 1970's. So unless enough citizens vote thus eliminating the five to ten percent fix, your votes won't fix anything. There are various ways our votes are disqualified and I believe some votes are never delivered to the election office. Like kids in a candy store; if a child steals candy, gets away with the theft, he will keep doing the same until he gets caught. He will also evolve with time and become more adept at stealing. In Manatee County and the COB every government cookie and candy jar has hands stealing our stuff. We must get DOJ and the FBI involved. It will take many persons contacting them to get results. Send one complaint to multiple agencies. As well, local law enforcement can refer complaints to the state attorney for prosecution. The DOJ takes complaints by phone and you can make an appointment with the FBI. DOJ contact info is 1-202-353-1555 or 1-202-514-2000. FBI is in Sarasota, just Google it and call. Don't forget to send copies to multiple agencies as this prevents your complaint from ending up in the circular file because multiple agencies are watching what the other agencies are doing.When Baugh was caught it because eighteen citizens filed complaints and one of them was referred to the Florida ethics commission by the sheriff's office. I think that may have been the nail in her political coffin, becaus it was referred by the sheriff's office so the ethics commission could not ignore or dismiss the Baugh complaints out of hand. We need all hands on deck to make the corrupt behavior stop. Sadly, voting is not enough. Research, investigate, surveillance after business hours, complaints to appropriate agencies. Research open meetings and public records law, your comprehensive plans and local ordinances. Take nothing COB or Manatee County says at face value.