Our two print editions – the Bradenton Herald and Lakewood Ranch Herald – have almost everything in common, but allow us to tailor the news for each area.
Having those editions has created a microcosm of the debate that sometimes rages between those areas. I regularly get calls –- mostly from longtime Bradenton residents –- about why they have “all” that Lakewood Ranch news in their newspaper. When we walk through the paper, it becomes far more obvious that the rest of Manatee County has even more local coverage. But perception can be everything. So how to tackle that “us vs. them” -– from both sides?
A current poll on Bradenton.com seems to indicate you all are trying just that. Check out some of these voices:
The poll question: If Lakewood Ranch incorporates, should the new town have its own police department or continue to rely on the sheriff’s office?
And your responses go to battle:
"It's a great idea for the community."
"Yes, they should be required to provide all their own services. All the residents there have more money than they know what to do with, so let them pay. Why should we furnish them with anything? If they want to be on their own, let them totally be on their own."
"With the arrogance or, better put, disdain that some LWR residents view the rest of Manatee County, I say 'Don't stop with incorporation. Become your own county.' With that would be all the infrastructure required and expense. Let's see, law enforcement, government, water processing facility, waste water facility, fire dept., EMS & waste pickup. Oh yes, Public Works and Road Maintenance to fund and build all those roads so that the new arrivals can get around easily. Just think, you'd be masters of your own future! … It's called 'Paying your own way.'"
"Wow, such resentment toward LWR. The taxes that LWR generates for the rest of Manatee County I guess could be put back into just LWR instead of supporting the rest of the county. That would be ideal! I say to all those resentful people out there, be careful what you wish for and remember who is paying the taxes!"
"All those taxes LWR generates? Have you considered that LWR does not pay its way. That all those taxes are being eaten up by all the infrastructure, roads, schools, water lines and on and on. And still the rest of us have to pay more for everything we buy, more for gas and higher property taxes to add to what you pay…"
"Not sure if we are dealing with ignorance or jealousy here. Many out east, not just Lakewood Ranch, are paying a lot more in taxes for their homes than residents who have been here a lot longer. These residents out east are not getting back as much as paid in. There definitely is not much police presence and there are extra CDD fees that we pay out east for the landscaping. Many people just do not like changes. But get used to it, it is happening everywhere in our country."
And then there was this generous observation:
"Sometimes as a Bradenton / Manatee resident you could feel a little offended when talking to LWR residents. But take into consideration:
-- You are not living on what was a cow paddock 10 years ago in "neverland" area caught by traffic congestion.
-- You probably might have some subdivisions in your area which are usually connected to each other. I.E. you can even "visit" your neighbor on the property behind your house without the need to go back on LWR Boulevard.
-- They indeed do have nice shores, don't they. I mean those "sandy" shores on these little lakes and shores on tiny rivers. I for my perspective prefer having a real nice beach on the Gulf of Mexico or being in the natural part of Florida… So anytime you talk to a LWR resident who paid waterfront prices for a piece of cow paddock and you think he annoys you:
Relax, sit back and enjoy the sunsets on the Gulf...
And if you are living out in the county: Enjoy the freedom you have.
No offense meant!"