Traditionally, municipal elections in South Florida, unless they coincide with general elections, attract a low turnout of voters. It’s only a relatively few voters who seem to be concerned or are even aware of what city commissions or councils are responsible for.
Repeatedly, city officials have tried to advise their residents that city management that has more of an impact on their day-to-day lives than the people elected to federal offices, but based on the turnout of voters in past municipal elections, only a relatively few residents seem to take heed of this advice.
Perhaps if more people knew that city commissions and councils are the ones that set the taxes they pay on their property, ensure they have effective law enforcement, a clean and affordable water supply, that businesses are attracted to the cites, and also that there are parks and other recreational facilities for the youth, among others, they would participate in local elections.
This year, those seeking offices in several cities in Broward and Palm Beach counties are depending on, and are urging voters to break the tradition and turn out in large numbers.
On Tuesday, March 9, aside from the Miramar, municipal elections will be held in the Broward County cities of Coconut Creek, Delray Beach, Deerfield Beach, Hillsboro Beach and Sea Ranch Lakes.
The municipal elections in Palm Beach County include the cities of Delray Beach, Boca Raton, and Riviera Beach.
Although Broward County has the largest concentration of Caribbean Americans in Florida, the population in those cities is relatively small, compared to cities like Miramar, Lauderhill, Lauderdale Lakes, Pembroke Pines, Plantation and Sunrise. Nonetheless, there is indication of a slow growth of Caribbean Americans, especially in Coconut Creek.
In Palm Beach County, a relatively small but solid and thriving Caribbean-American community exists in Boca Raton, while in recent years, the Caribbean-American community has been growing in Delray Beach and Riviera Beach.
For the benefit of Caribbean-American voters residing in these cities, the Caribbean National Weekly recommends:
City of Miramar
Seat 1: Incumbent Maxwell Chambers has proven himself as a man of the people and should be reelected to continue his work in the community.
Seat 2: Incumbent Yvette Colbourne, with her wealth of knowledge and expertise as an official, should be reelected to continue serving the people of Miramar.
Seat 3: Incumbent Winston Barnes faces a challenge from Val B. Glenister, but is expected to retain his seat.
City of Coconut Creek
Despite being a city with a young population, median age of only 40.2 years, the city commission has been controlled for the past several election cycles by seniors, and although 17 percent of the population of some 62,000 residents is Black, the commission does not reflect any racial diversity. All this can change on March 9.
Elections will be held in Districts: B, C, and E.
District B: Nikitress Lewis, 57, is seeking to hold off the challenge from 77-year-old Jacqueline Railey.
District C: African American Patricia Duaybes, 52, is making her fifth attempt to be elected to the commission. She is one of two candidates who try to deny 72-year-old Sandra Welch a third term as commissioner. Not only is Duaybes is seeking to be the first Black person to serve on the commission, she is keenly interested in making a difference in the quality of service provided by the commission to the residents.
District E: Lauren Lynville, 32, is challenging 39-year-old Joshua Rydell, the city’s vice mayor. Rydell’s commitment to the city is questionable. He is returning to seek reelection after a failed bid for state attorney. Lynville has the potential to bring fresh ideas to the city commission.
Reelect incumbent Bernie Parness in the Seat 3 Commission election.
When CNW spoke to some residents of Hillsboro Beach, they said they believed there’s no need for an election because the three incumbents—Deb Tarrant, Vicky Feaman and Barbara Baldasarre, who are all up for reelection—are already doing a fine job for the city.
This city is unique among Broward Cities, as its election candidates are chosen from one batch of candidates. On March 9, voters need to elect three of four candidates, and it is recommended that Feaman, Baldasarre and Tarrant be reelected.
City Mayor: Reelect incumbent Shelly Petroila
City Commission – Seat 1: Price Patton
City Commission – Seat 3: Ryan Boylston
City Council – Seat C: Constance Scott
City Council – Seat D: Monica Mayotte
City Charter Questions:
- Increase residence requirement for candidates seeking city office – Vote: Yes.
- Remove qualification fees for candidates – Vote: Yes
City Council – District 4: The reelection of Julie Botel is recommended.