A New Council Takes the Reins

The Council Chambers were packed with friends and family of the incoming and outgoing Council members on Thursday, Apr 6th. Mayor Tinsley called the meeting to order, and after the Pledge of Allegiance and acceptance of the results of the Municipal Election, she, Vice-Mayor Jablin and Council Member Premuroso stepped off the dais while incoming members Mark Marciano, Matthew Lane and Rachelle Litt each took their oaths of office and took their places at the dais. At this point, City Manager Ferris spoke about his relationship with each of the outgoing members and presented each with crystal gavels as a token of the City’s appreciation for their accomplishments, love of and dedication to Palm Beach Gardens.

April 6, 2017

Next came the nomination and appointment of the Mayor and Vice-Mayor. In both cases, Council Member Lane moved to nominate and close nominations for Maria Marino and Mark Marciano, respectively. Both were voted-in unanimously and new Mayor Marino took the gavel.

Comments from the public included welcomes and well wishes from Tom Cairnes of PGA Corridor, Ken Tooma, also of the PGA Corridor, former Mayor Joe Russo, former Mayor David Levy, Gunster Attorney, Gardens resident and member of many PB County organizations Brian Seymour, resident Pat Hughey, former Council candidates Joseph R. Russo and Michael Paolercio.  Margaret Kennard of North Palm Beach addressed concerns about handicapped space distance from Planet Fitness and asked that the Council address alternatives. Tom Murphy, President of the Palm Beach Gardens Police Foundation spoke of upcoming two $2500 scholarships along with welcomes to the new council.

As the Council turned to business, the chambers literally cleared out, leaving a handful of folks and staff for the remainder of the meeting. Both Ordinance 12, 2107 (and related Resolution 22, 2017) second reading and adoption, and Ordinance 13, 2017 passed 5:0.

There were no City Manager or City Attorney reports.

During Items for Council Action and Discussion, each of the new Council members expressed in turn what their election meant to them and their hopes for the City’s future. Vice Mayor Marciano asked City Manager Ferris for some ideas on how to coordinate future outreach by the Council to the communities throughout the City. He expressed the idea for town-hall (our term, not his) type get-togethers in both those communities that have HOAs (and respective club houses) and those that don’t (perhaps having such informal meetings at the library). We are very supportive of Marciano’s proposal and hope that it will be a continuous effort by the Council members.  This will be discussed further in the May City Council meeting, as will board and committee assignments for the Council Members.

Mayor Marino also pointed out that only 2 members of the public attended the New Council Orientation earlier in the week and hoped that others would take the time to view it online. It has an excellent overview of the various responsibities of the Council and staff alike and we encourage any future candidates and all residents to check it out here.

We also wish to thank former Mayors Jablin, Premuroso and Tinsley for their contributions to the City, and congratulate the new council for taking on the responsibilities and commitment to Palm Beach Gardens!

New City Council to be Sworn In on Thursday, April 6th at 7pm

A new City Council takes the reins on Thursday, April 6th at 7pm when term-limited Mayor Tinsley, Vice-Mayor Jablin and Council Member Premuroso step down and are replaced by newly elected Matthew Lane, Rachelle Litt and Mark Marciano. Council Members Maria Marino and Carl Woods were seated in 2016. While there is a light agenda, active residents may want to attend to see the transfer to the new council, swearing in and election by the council of the new Mayor, Vice Mayor and any discussion of future actions. This will happen right after the meeting is called to order and the roll call is taken.

Announcements/Presentations: National Congenital Diagphragmatic Hernia Awareness Month

Consent Agenda includes 3 Purchase Awards:

  • Emergency Equipment for Police Vehicles – Piggyback/Access Contract for $116K – ” Each year the City purchases new police vehicles to replace the vehicles that are scheduled for replacement. The new replacement vehicles are not sold with installed sirens, light bars, etc. The City must purchase these items and their installation elsewhere.”
  • Bunker Gear for Fire/Rescue Department – Piggyback/Access Contract for $114K
  • Renovation and Repair of Splash Playground at Burns Rd Community Center – Piggyback/Access Contract for $130K. The splash playground is not currently in operation and must be repaired prior to re-opening.

City Manager Report – no details listed

Public Hearings and Resolutions:

  • Second Reading and Adoption of Ordinance 12, 2017 and related Resolution 22, 2017 – Business Center at the Gardens – which passed 5:0 on First Reading.
  • Ordinance 13, 2017 – a City-initiated Amendment to Chapter 78 – Land Development Regulations, to provide for the inclusion of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles into the City’s Land Development Regulations. CPTED has been a part of development reviews since 1998 but was never codified into the regulations. The Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board (PZAB) approved this on March 7, 2017 7:0 and recommended approval by the Council.

Check the agenda to see if any additional items have been added before the meeting here.

Rachelle Litt wins the Group 5 Runoff

Congratulations to the winner in the Group 5 runoff election, Rachelle Litt, who won the race by 16 points, 58% to 42% over challenger Joe Russo.

The newcomers, including Ms. Litt, Dr. Mark Marciano and Matthew Lane, will be sworn in at the next Council meeting on April 6. The Mayor and other Council officers will be selected at that time.

Turnout for the race was 5235 – 13% of registered voters, and 83% of the turnout on 3/14. As runoffs go this was respectable as in the last March runoff in 2004, only 59% of the original voters returned to cast their ballot.

Group 5 Runoff
Strong Litt Weak Litt Very Close Weak Russo Strong Russo
Click the precinct on the map for vote totals.

1186 1426 196 14 132 64 67.3
1188 869 65 7 39 26 60.0
1189 75 17 23 0 17 0.0
1190 3166 248 8 112 136 45.2
1192 1476 160 11 94 66 58.8
1194 2023 390 19 264 126 67.7
1238 1667 288 17 195 93 67.7
1240 2479 341 14 231 110 67.7
1242 2490 459 18 290 168 63.3
1244 1544 200 13 118 82 59.0
1246 2380 282 12 168 112 60.0
1247 221 50 23 6 44 12.0
1248 1488 226 15 133 93 58.8
1250 61 3 5 3 0 100.0
1252 2355 797 34 356 441 44.7
1254 454 63 14 48 15 76.2
1260 1320 164 12 107 57 65.2
1266 478 5 1 1 4 20.0
1268 293 9 3 3 6 33.3
1272 1911 196 10 116 80 59.2
1274 1589 186 12 94 92 50.5
1280 396 39 10 25 14 64.1
1284 2290 153 7 86 67 56.2
1288 37 3 8 2 1 66.7
1290 2114 216 10 127 89 58.8
1292 67 9 13 5 4 55.6
1296 732 38 5 22 16 57.9
1324 1288 62 5 32 30 51.6
1326 553 77 14 45 32 58.4
1340 11 1 9 0 1 0.0
1352 2200 198 9 114 84 57.6
1360 883 94 11 47 46 50.5
1372 157 4 3 4 0 100.0
TOTAL 40513 5239 13 3019 2216 57.7

Vote in the Group 5 Run-Off Election on Tuesday March 28th!

Congratulations! 14% of us turned out for our City Council Elections on March 14th. But we’re not done. There is a run-off election for Group 5 between Rachelle Litt and Joe Russo on Tuesday March 28th. One of these WILL be on the Council – so it’s up to you to vote again! I’ve linked to their profile answers above, and if you want to do more research – look at responses from our forum here: Candidate Forum Synopsis with Videos for each question.

The polls are open from 7am to 7pm on Tuesday March 28th. There will be no lines! Here are the polling locations. Here is your sample ballot.

You’re active residents – please encourage your family, neighbors and friends to vote too!

Here is a detailed analysis of the March 14th election results. Congratulations to Group 1 winner Mark Marciano and Group 3 winner Matthew Lane.  And thanks to all the fine folks who gave of themselves to run for the Council.

We get the government we deserve – and it’s up to us to watch what they do.

An Analysis of the 2017 PBG Council Election

The March 14 municipal elections in Palm Beach Gardens yielded a pair of winners – Dr. Mark Marciano in Group 1 and Matthew Lane in Group 3. No candidate got a majority in the four way race in Group 5, so Rachelle Litt and Joe Russo will meet in a runoff on 3/28.

In Group 1, the seat currently held by Bert Premuroso, Dr. Marciano performed strongly in most areas of the city, winning by 33 points with 66% of the vote. A long time participant in city government, Mark served on the budget committee for quite a few years and is a regular at city council meetings. His challenger, Michael Paolercio, a newcomer to city politics came closest in Frenchman’s Reserve and Creek, where he lives.

In Group 2, the seat currently held by Eric Jablin, Matthew Lane avoided a runoff in the three way race by capturing 50.2% – a majority by 13 votes. Matthew, who entered the race over a year ago has also been a regular at council meetings and is active in many local civic organizations. Of his two challengers, Quicken Loans founder and past Senate candidate Ron Berman did well in the Gardens last fall, but was a newcomer to city issues and that may have come across. Challenger Katie Gettinger has been active in local issues and a regular at council meetings, but her lightly funded campaign did not do any direct mail or put up signs, possibly limiting her exposure to the voters.

In Group 5, the seat currently held by Mayor Marcie Tinsley, Pharmacist Rachelle Litt and tech enterpreneur Joe Russo won 37% and 34% of the vote respectively, advancing to the runoff election on 3/28. Of the others in this four way race, challenger Kevin Easton, who has run for Council several times before and was a principal in advancing term limits in the Gardens, polled 9% while retired Attorney George Wicker won 20%. Mr. Wicker did especially well in BallenIsles (where he lives), getting 51% of the vote there, 41% of his total vote count. Mr. Wicker also won Frenchman’s Reserve and Creek by 12 votes over Rachelle Litt.

Go to Group 1
Go to Group 3
Go to Group 5

Group 1


Group 1
Strong Marciano Weak Marciano Very Close Weak Paolercio Strong Paolercio
Click the precinct on the map for vote totals.

Precinct Registered Votes Cast Turnout % Marciano Paolercio Marciano
Margin
1186 1428 238 17 167 66 71.7
1188 867 68 8 41 26 61.2
1189 73 15 21 3 12 20.0
1190 3158 346 11 225 111 67.0
1192 1474 187 13 134 51 72.4
1194 2024 620 31 316 296 51.6
1238 1668 348 21 218 124 63.7
1240 2483 404 16 289 106 73.2
1242 2488 531 21 378 121 75.8
1244 1539 254 17 175 70 71.4
1246 2377 305 13 166 132 55.7
1247 221 51 23 9 40 18.4
1248 1488 259 17 169 82 67.3
1250 61 14 23 6 7 46.2
1252 2349 1010 43 544 332 62.1
1254 454 66 15 51 11 82.3
1260 1320 186 14 127 54 70.2
1266 479 5 1 2 3 40.0
1268 294 11 4 7 4 63.6
1272 1912 256 13 171 77 69.0
1274 1590 237 15 159 58 73.3
1280 396 47 12 26 21 55.3
1284 2287 184 8 135 42 76.3
1288 37 3 8 2 1 66.7
1290 2114 258 12 196 58 77.2
1292 67 24 36 22 2 91.7
1296 733 45 6 25 19 56.8
1324 1287 82 6 55 26 67.9
1326 553 79 14 61 17 78.2
1340 11 1 9 1 100.0
1352 2202 222 10 145 68 68.1
1360 882 116 13 71 41 63.4
1372 156 6 4 5 100.0
TOTAL 40492 6478 16 4101 2078 66.4

Group 3


Group 3
Strong Lane Weak Lane Very Close Weak Berman/Gettinger Strong Berman/Gettinger
Click the precinct on the map for vote totals.

Precinct Registered Votes Cast Turnout % Berman Gettinger Lane Lane
Margin
1186 1428 238 17 58 25 149 64.2
1188 867 68 8 18 27 22 32.8
1189 73 15 21 8 3 1 8.3
1190 3158 346 11 100 85 146 44.1
1192 1474 187 13 39 35 107 59.1
1194 2024 620 31 181 50 341 59.6
1238 1668 348 21 95 33 207 61.8
1240 2483 404 16 125 49 221 55.9
1242 2488 531 21 130 75 303 59.6
1244 1539 254 17 62 38 135 57.4
1246 2377 305 13 79 119 102 34.0
1247 221 51 23 40 2 7 14.3
1248 1488 259 17 72 75 103 41.2
1250 61 14 23 3 2 9 64.3
1252 2349 1010 43 417 90 394 43.7
1254 454 66 15 11 2 48 78.7
1260 1320 186 14 49 41 88 49.4
1266 479 5 1 1 4 80.0
1268 294 11 4 4 5 2 18.2
1272 1912 256 13 74 69 105 42.3
1274 1590 237 15 66 73 87 38.5
1280 396 47 12 13 12 20 44.4
1284 2287 184 8 51 36 87 50.0
1288 37 3 8 3 100.0
1290 2114 258 12 65 47 142 55.9
1292 67 24 36 4 6 9 47.4
1296 733 45 6 19 17 9 20.0
1324 1287 82 6 28 22 32 39.0
1326 553 79 14 16 17 43 56.6
1340 11 1 9 1 0.0
1352 2202 222 10 59 46 106 50.2
1360 882 116 13 29 35 50 43.9
1372 156 6 4 2 2 2 33.3
TOTAL 40492 6478 16 1918 1139 3084 50.2

Group 5


Group 5
Strong Litt Weak Litt Very Close Weak Russo Strong Russo
Click the precinct on the map for vote totals.

Precinct Registered Votes Cast Turnout % Easton Litt Russo Wicker Litt/Russo
Margin
1186 1428 238 17 20 127 61 24 67.6
1188 867 68 8 13 22 23 10 48.9
1189 73 15 21 2 13 13.3
1190 3158 346 11 32 119 153 31 43.8
1192 1474 187 13 10 70 73 28 49.0
1194 2024 620 31 53 186 132 198 58.5
1238 1668 348 21 17 161 104 54 60.8
1240 2483 404 16 17 206 132 43 60.9
1242 2488 531 21 25 242 169 77 58.9
1244 1539 254 17 17 104 110 20 48.6
1246 2377 305 13 59 111 97 35 53.4
1247 221 51 23 3 40 8 7.0
1248 1488 259 17 31 104 89 35 53.9
1250 61 14 23 2 6 2 4 75.0
1252 2349 1010 43 11 172 307 515 35.9
1254 454 66 15 4 30 21 10 58.8
1260 1320 186 14 42 69 58 16 54.3
1266 479 5 1 4 1 0.0
1268 294 11 4 1 2 3 5 40.0
1272 1912 256 13 72 76 84 22 47.5
1274 1590 237 15 37 71 110 15 39.2
1280 396 47 12 7 19 14 5 57.6
1284 2287 184 8 11 89 61 18 59.3
1288 37 3 8 2 1 0.0
1290 2114 258 12 21 107 93 32 53.5
1292 67 24 36 5 15 1 25.0
1296 733 45 6 12 21 9 3 70.0
1324 1287 82 6 10 19 44 8 30.2
1326 553 79 14 8 41 27 3 60.3
1340 11 1 9 1 0.0
1352 2202 222 10 25 88 86 21 50.6
1360 882 116 13 18 41 37 20 52.6
1372 156 6 4 3 2 1 66.7
TOTAL 40492 6478 16 578 2315 2175 1263 51.6

Good turnout for PBG Election

Congratulations to the winner in Group 1, Dr. Mark Marciano, who dominated the race with 66% of the vote over challenger Michael Paolercio, and in Group 3 to Matthew Lane who topped 50% in a three way race by 13 votes to avoid a runoff. The Group 5 race moves to a runoff between Rachelle Litt and Joe Russo who captured 37% and 34% respectively in the 4 way race.

Election results last evening were somewhat sporadic, with the Supervisor’s website lagging some of the other reporting sites. Accurate vote counts were not available at pbcelections.org until this morning. At one point during the evening, the wrong candidates were reported in various places as having won or advancing to the runoff. For some reason, Palm Beach County still has difficulty with election results and we really haven’t shaken the “curse of the hanging chad.”

Turnout for the three races averaged about 6200 – about 14% of the registered voters. Although low by November election standards (72% of the Gardens voted for President), it was near the top of the range for a March election. The record was reached in 2014 when 7085 turned out for the Jablin /Peragine race. To find another that surpassed this year’s turnout you need to go back to 2005 when 6400 voted in the Jablin / Sartory contest.

The runoff election will be held on March 28. Historically, turnout drastically declines in runoffs. The last March runoff election in the Gardens was in 2004 when David Levy defeated Carl Sabatello in Group 4. Although 6552 voted in the original contest, only 3850 showed up for the runoff. Mr. Levy got 74% – 2864 votes, which was down from the 2909 he got in the first race. Mr. Sabatello’s votes declined from about 1340 in the first contest to about 1000, so turnout (or lack thereof) can have dramatic results. Mr. Russo and Ms. Litt will have to keep their supporters focused to prevail in two weeks.

There was another runoff in 2004, when 6 candidates competed coincident to the August primary election in Group 1. Three times the August vote turned out in November, giving Hal Valeche a narrow victory over Jodie Barnett. It was the presidential election of course that drove that turnout.

Here are the results as reported by the Supervisor of election:

You Passed Term Limits – Now Vote on March 14th!

Almost 80% of the Gardens’ voters in 2014 passed Term Limits. Over 16,000 of us voted for it. So now – it’s time to repeat that kind of voter turnout on Tuesday and select 3 new members for our City Council, rather than the abysmal turnout numbers, (3500-5000 voters) typical in our Municipal Elections. Our local government impacts all of us daily; think about safety, traffic, parks, taxes, ordinances, regulations, policies and practices.

We have good candidates – but they’re not identical in experience or outlook and you have more than enough information to make an informed decision. If you haven’t had an opportunity to meet the candidates or research them, then please check out our

The polls are open from 7am to 7pm on Tuesday March 14th. There will be no lines! Here are polling locations. Here is your sample ballot.

You’re active residents – please encourage your family, neighbors and friends to vote too!

2017 PBG Council Candidate Forum Synopsis

For additional information see:

On February 28, PBG Watch, along with the Palm Beach County Tea Party, the Republican Club of the Northern Palm Beaches, the Republican Club of the Palm Beaches, and the North County Democratic Club hosted a candidate forum for the City Council election.

Moderated by WJNO Radio Host Brian Mudd, 9 candidates for three seats answered questions on a variety of current issues. The questions were drawn from a list of 18 in-depth topics that were provided to the candidates before the event.

The candidates are:

Mark Marciano Michael Paolercio Ron Berman Kathryn Gettinger Matthew Lane
Group 1 Group 3
Kevin Easton Rachelle Litt Joe Russo George Wicker
Group 5

A Word about the Video


The video of the event, recorded for youtube by PBG Watch, can be viewed in full HERE. The video icons in the table below are links into the full video that start at the question of interest. If you have trouble viewing any of it, you can click on the “youtube” link under the video frame and view it there using the index provided.

Present for the forum was current Councilpersons Maria Marino and Carl Woods, and Former Gardens Mayors Eric Jablin, David Levy, Joe Russo, Mike Martino, Linda Monroe, and Walter Wiley..

The meeting was kicked off by PBG Watch Co-founder Iris Scheibl, who introduced the leaders of the other sponsoring groups including Mel Grossman, President of Palm Beach County Tea Party, Mary Therese Delate, President of the North County Democratic Club, Marilyn Parmet, President of the Republican Club of the Northern Palm Beaches, Fran Hancock, President of the Republican Club of the Palm Beaches and Fred Scheibl, co-founder of PBG Watch who introduced moderator Brian Mudd. Timekeeping duties were performed by Barbara Grossman of the Palm Beach County Tea Party.

Below you will find a summary of the event, with the questions that were asked, and a link to a video of that section of the forum.

2017 PBGWatch Candidate Forum
Welcome and Moderator Introduction
Opening Statements

Mark Marciano
Michael Paolercio
Ron Berman
Katie Gettinger
Matthew Lane
Kevin Easton
Rachelle Litt
Joe Russo
George Wicker
Round One
Question: Term Limits Council / Staff Relationship – With term limits, the governance experience of a Council member will be less than in the past, and some say that shifts the balance of power to the City Manager and staff. Sunshine laws also have an effect in that Council members can interact privately with staff but not with each other. Do you see this as a problem and how will you balance a good relationship with city staff against your duty to represent constituents?

Answered by Group 1: Mark Marciano and Michael Paolercio.

Question: Sales Tax Revenue – The sales tax will provide a 10 year revenue stream to Palm Beach Gardens totaling $35M, that could have gone to existing and forecast capital projects, reducing property taxes. Instead, the current Council opted to borrow $30M against it and spend it all in 3 years on projects that were created above and beyond the existing capital plan. Did you agree with this decision? Why or why not?

Answered by Group 3: Ron Berman, Katie Gettinger, Matthew Lane

Question: Annexation – The city has developed a long-term annexation plan for those pockets of unincorporated PBC enclaves within and around the city limits. Typically, the neighborhoods annexed gain a government but end up paying higher taxes. Some neighborhoods desire to be annexed and request it of the city. Others would rather not. How agressive should the city be in acquiring these pockets of independence, and is it beneficial to grow the city in this way?

Answered by Group 5: Kevin Easton, Rachelle Litt, Joe Russo and George Wicker.

Round Two
Question: Community Differences – Palm Beach Gardens consists of both high end, gated, golf course communities and older un-gated neighborhoods of more moderate housing. These neighborhood types have different lifestyles and different expectations from the City Government. Do you see this as a problem, and how would you balance the needs of disparate communities?

Answered by Group 1: Michael Paolercio and Mark Marciano.

Question Council Districts – With the growth of the city, and its spread out west with Avenir, there will be geographic differences within the city that some say would benefit by a district organization. Council positions would either be elected to represent a specific district by the voters who live there, or they would continue to be elected city-wide but be required to live in the district and represent it as is done in West Palm Beach. Do you favor such a change? Why / Why not?

Answered by Group 3: Matthew Lane, Katie Gettinger and Ron Berman.

Question Special Interests – The representatives of business or neighborhood groups, for example the PGA Corridor Association or the BallenIsles HOA, meet regularly with Council and staff and frequently speak in support of council actions at the monthly meetings. How will you weigh this input against the issues and positions that matter to the parts of the city that are less organized and vocal?

Answered by Group 5: George Wicker, Joe Russo, Rachelle Litt, Kevin Easton.

Wildcard Round
Question: Political Goals – Ultimately, in politics, what is your goal – what office would you like to achieve politically?

Answered by Group 1: Mark Marciano and Michael Paolercio.

Question: Transparency – Regardless of the popularity of an issue or position, what will you do in terms of transparency, will you promise to always be forthright, engage the community and be accountable to your constituents and the media?

Answered by Group 3: Ron Berman, Katie Gettinger and Matthew Lane.

Question: Catalyst – At what point and why did you decide to run for public office and what is it that you think you can move the needle on?

Answered by Group 5: Kevin Easton, Rachelle Litt, Joe Russo and George Wicker.

Round Three
Question: Road Projects – Traffic is a growing concern, particularly with continued development both within and around the city limits. The Beeline flyover, State route 7, the Hood Road I95 interchange and the widening of Northlake blvd, could help but they also have negative aspects. How forcefully should the city lobby the FDOT, either alone or through the Palm Beach MPO to affect if, how and when these road projects proceed?

Answered by Group 1: Michael Paolercio and Mark Marciano.

Question: Growth in Spending – With property valuations continuing to rise, there is less pressure on programs and tax rates. Assuming this continues, how can we prevent the explosion of spending that occurred during the last period of rising property values? With low expected inflation and modest population growth, how do you decide what is an acceptable level of spending growth?

Answered by Group 3: Matthew Lane, Katie Gettinger and Ron Berman.

Question: Inspector General Funding – The voters overwhelmingly approved the Inspector General and Ethics Ordinances and their application to municipal as well as county government. Many cities, including Palm Beach Gardens won on appeal the lawsuit challenging the right of the county to bill the cities for the cost of the IG Office. How much do you value independent IG oversight of Palm Beach Gardens, and how should these PBG specific services be compensated?

Answered by Group 5: George Wicker, Joe Russo, Rachelle Litt and Kevin Easton.

Closing Statements and Audience Questions
Closing Statements

Mark Marciano
Michael Paolercio
Ron Berman
Katie Gettinger
Matthew Lane
Kevin Easton
Rachelle Litt
Joe Russo
George Wicker
Audience Questions

Martino: Educate Yourself, Pick Your Favorite and Vote on March 14!

On Thursday, February 16th, I attended the North County Neighborhood Coalition Candidate Forum involving the nine City Council candidates for the three open seats, Groups 1, 3, and 5, in Palm Beach Gardens. My attendance was for the purpose of learning more about the individuals who will shape the future of the Gardens. There will be another Candidate Forum on February 28th at the Palm Beach Gardens Library. The election will be held on Tuesday, March 14th.

The forum was well attended. The moderator, Beth Kigel, President and CEO of the Northern Palm Beaches Chamber of Commerce, asked the appropriate and pertinent questions that one would expect of Gardens’ Council candidates and kept the forum on schedule. As time permitted there were several questions for the candidates from the forum audience. The one question that was not asked, however, was, “How would you as Council member embrace, maintain, and improve the older, original Plats of the City?” In my opinion, all of the candidates acquitted themselves with decorum and handled the questions asked of them to the best of their abilities.

One could postulate from the literature handouts and from the candidates themselves that their backgrounds, life experiences, and ages vary rather widely. If you prefer a lawyer, a volunteer/homemaker with a Business Administration degree, several very successful business entrepreneurs, a Doctor of Optometry, a Pharmacist, a neighborhood activist and protector with a degree in Criminology, and a non-profit Executive Director who is a native of Palm Beach Gardens, make your choice, and vote accordingly.

The forum really was an interesting, enlightening, and for me an enjoyable two hours. However, some of the answers and comments from the candidates I would take issue with. From my perspective, Candidates should know more about the Gardens’ historical background and not solely refer to the “last 25 years”, which quite frankly, depending on who you ask, haven’t been that great. Candidates should not just know there are term limits but should know why there are term limits. They should know Council members are advisors to City committees and not members. Candidates should know the in and outs of City Charter. They should understand that the City Manager’s job is to administer the policy directives of the City Council.

This March 14th City Council election is the most important and significant Palm Beach Gardens election in decades. It behooves all Palm Beach Gardens registered voters to educate themselves about the candidates, select your favorite, and most importantly, VOTE.

PBGWatch to Host Council Candidate Forum 2/28

Join us for an evening of in-depth discussion of city issues with the candidates for the March 14th election in Groups 1, 3 and 5 at the Gardens Branch of the County Library. With nine candidates vying for three open seats this year, it should be a lively discussion.

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