City hall nonsense embarrasses Bradenton across Florida

By Mark Young

It’s not often when you have a local city councilman be so bad at his job that it makes state news.

Unfortunately for the city of Bradenton, Ward 4 Councilman Bill Sanders is that guy. Sanders’ poor leadership skills and erratic behavior recently made the Miami News Journal.

The News Journal reported what most of Bradenton already knows: Bill Sanders is not fit for office and Bradenton residents will hopefully send him on his way after a tumultuous one term in office.

Sanders recently called the story “Fake News.”

Unfortunately for him, I’ve been reporting on his antics throughout his candidacy and subsequent shocking election four years ago.

So I know it’s fake news, and neither is the city’s internal report that was recently released showing that Sanders has created a hostile work environment within city hall.

I’ve gone into great detail regarding Sanders and why I currently endorse Kurt Landefeld for Ward 4 city councilman in the upcoming General Election.

If you are new to our biweekly visits, let me quickly recap:

  1. Sanders ran one of the dirtiest campaigns I’ve ever seen in my 26 years as a journalist.
  1. He falsely accused his opponent of what was essentially attempted murder, which was proven to be untrue.
  1. He falsely referred to his opponent’s campaign as a criminal empire. He accused and insulted some of the most respected members of our community out there.
  1. After he was elected, Sanders assaulted – on video – a respected member of the Hernando DeSoto Historical Society at one of their festivals.
  1. This led to the first city councilman in Bradenton history to be banned from the organization’s charitable events.
  1. Rumors swirled throughout Sanders’ time on the dais regarding anger problems, elitist behavior and making nonsensical arguments over policy.

This is a short list, but he was also accidentally overheard on a phone call ranting and raving about yours truly for 45 minutes simply because I was doing my job of informing readers of his behaviors and actions.

Truth be told, I never gave the man a second thought other than when I had to do my job. Apparently I’ve been living rent free in his mind for years and I can’t tell you how many times people have told me, “He’s out to get you.”

I always thought it was funny. And while it’s still funny to me, it’s not funny for Bradenton. It’s a clear sign of someone who borders on the unhinged and must be removed from office in November.

The final report on his behavior was essentially summed up by saying that if Sanders was in a hired position of power, he would be fired.

So he must be fired by us, and in turn, Kurt Landefeld must be hired in November.

Sanders’ only chance at reelection is the unfortunate late entry into the race by Lisa Gonzalez Moore, who jumped into the fray just last month.

Splitting votes in something Sanders can hang a final hope on, as well as the ever present percentage of voters who don’t really pay attention to what’s happening and will vote based on seeing the most signs on the side of the road.

I don’t know a lot about Moore, I must confess. And that’s a bit of a problem when I don’t. It means their campaign isn’t as serious I’d like to be, and from what I hear, Moore has never been to a city council meeting prior to filing for her candidacy just a few weeks ago.

She’s also a real estate attorney, which gives me pause when it comes to dictating development policies.

Landefeld’s campaign, on the other hand, has been impressive. He’s been serious about serving the city of Bradenton and has a deep understanding of how local politics serves the constituents.

More importantly, I know Landefeld is a fiscal Conservative. Don’t get me wrong, through a few conversations with Landefeld, I doubt I would support him at the state or national level, but national politics don’t have to be dragged down to the local level.

All that matters locally is that you know what you are doing and understand that the money you spend belongs to the taxpayers. Landefeld more than understands that, which is why he has my full endorsement.

In the city’s other races, it’s Josh Cramer unopposed for Ward 3. I can tell you it would have been nearly impossible for any other candidate to steal my endorsement away from Cramer, so Ward 3 is in good hands.

In Ward 2, we have incumbent Marianne Barnebey and challenger David Levin. This is an uphill battle for Levin, given Barnebey’s extensive community connections and name recognition.

It’s not Barnebey’s first rodeo on the city council. Levin, on the other hand, is getting bashed by local media as a “felon” because he hacked into his local election supervisor’s office to prove that their system was unsecure as they claimed.

I can’t help but to love that about Levin. He wasn’t cheating. He was proving a point that many Conservatives care about when it comes to election integrity.

And personally, unless someone is a murderer, rapist, chile molestor, or animal abuser, being a “felon,” isn’t the end all of human integrety. I know a lot of so-called ex-felons who are better humans than the pretenders and posers who sit on a church pew once a week and judge their fellow man.

But the media loves dirty little headline click bait opportunities and I think Levin is the victim of their malicious intent.

Barnebey’s connections work in her favor, but not in mine, which is why I am endorsing Levin in this race. The Barnebeys are wonderful people, but they’ve enriched themselves on taxpayer dollars for far too long.

There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the American way when you do it right, and they have. But now, more than ever, is the time when we are looking to cast aside the stigma that our cities and county only works within the Good Old Boy networks.

Now is the time that we seek out change we can trust and never have to close our eyes at night wondering how some random decision is bettering the life of an individual or the constituents as a whole.

Landefeld, Cramer and Levin can help you sleep better at night knowing that the interests of the people are being served, so they are my endorsements for the city of Bradenton’s city council.

Early voting is only a couple of weeks away, my fellow Patriots. Until then, stay vigilant, stay aware and stay informed.


By Mark Young

Mark Young is a U.S. Army veteran and a seasoned journalist of 25 years. His writing and reporting has garnered dozens of state press association and press club awards in Florida, Nebraska and Wyoming for investigative reporting, opinion writing, in-depth reporting and more.

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