The Coastal Star

Delray Beach: Election will reshape Delray Beach commission

By Jane Smith

    Delray Beach, which had three lawyers on its five-member City Commission, will lose that majority with the March 14 election.
    No lawyers are running for two open seats.
    Vice Mayor Jordana Jarjura, general counsel at Gulf Building in Fort Lauderdale, changed her mind about running for re-election.
    “As a newlywed, having married during my time in office and with starting my position as a general counsel, I need to balance my personal and professional lives with my service as a commissioner,” Jarjura wrote in a late January email to her supporters.  
    She called the commission’s inability to appoint a fifth commissioner to replace Al Jacquet a low point. Jacquet, also a lawyer, resigned his seat Nov. 8 after being elected as a state representative.
    On March 14, Delray Beach voters will select two, three-year commissioners from among candidates with a variety of backgrounds and financial support. The city does not hold a runoff election if a candidate fails to reach 50 percent plus one. The candidate with the most votes wins. Voting is citywide, even though the seats are for two districts.
    For Seat 2, Harvard-educated Jim Chard had both public and private sector working experience in the Northeast before he retired to Delray Beach.
    He has served on the Congress Avenue Task Force, the city’s Site Plan Review and Appearance Board and the city’s steering committee for its comprehensive plan rewrite. If he’s elected, Chard will have to step down from SPRAB and the comprehensive plan steering committee.
    He called himself the “intern emeritus” at a candidate forum, sponsored by the Beach Property Owners Association on Feb. 22.
    For the barrier island, he told the forum that the dunes on the east and crumbling seawalls on the west are its most pressing issues, along with cleanliness of the beach, lack of parking and proliferation of sober homes throughout the city.
    He raised $36,095 as of Feb. 10, the latest campaign contribution report available. That amount, which includes a $10,000 candidate loan, puts Chard at the top of the candidates for money raised.
    His contributors read like a who’s-who of Delray Beach: $1,000 from Scott Porten, $500 from Bob Victorin and $250 from Andy Katz, all three executives of the BPOA; $1,000 from Woo Creative, whose owner, Ryan Boylston, is chairman of the city’s Downtown Development Authority and an owner of the Delray Newspaper, which endorsed Chard; $500 from Jeff Perlman, a former Delray Beach mayor who is an owner of the Delray Newspaper and an employee of Carl DeSantis, who still has a stake in the Atlantic Crossing project; and $250 from Reginald Cox & Associates, the architectural firm owned by the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency chairman. His campaign treasurer, Jim Smith, donated $100.
    Chard’s closest financial competitor is Kelly Barrette, a relative newcomer to Delray Beach. She raised $15,995, including a $4,000 personal loan. She and her husband, Jack, moved to Delray Beach five years ago.
    Barrette, who graduated from Tufts University, became immersed in Delray Beach and started a Facebook page called TakeBackDelrayBeach. She wants to stop the proliferation of unregulated sober homes and incompatible development in the city.
    She also told the candidate forum that parking is a big challenge during the season and flooding along the Intracoastal Waterway needs to be addressed.
    Her contributors include Anthony Petrolia, husband of current City Commissioner Shelly Petrolia, who donated $100, and Commissioner Mitch Katz, who gave $100; Kristine de Haseth, executive director of the Florida Coalition for Preservation, donated $100; Price Patton, a retired news editor and founding partner of The Coastal Star, gave $500; and Smith, Chard’s treasurer, donated $100.
    Two other candidates who were born in Haiti are the other challengers for Seat 2.
    Anneze Barthelemy holds a master’s degree in social work from Barry University and has worked with the state Department of Children & Families. She told the candidate forum that the city needs representation from the African- and Haitian-American communities.
    The biggest challenge she sees is the growth of the city. During the season, the city is overwhelmed with tourists, making it difficult for full-time residents to move around the city, she told the candidate forum. She also said Delray’s roads and alleys need to be safe and that the beach should be preserved.
    Her father, Otes, retired after 25 years from his job with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
    She has led several mission trips to Haiti and is working on her dissertation in theology.
    Barthelemy has raised $2,480 for her campaign, including $1,050 in personal loans.
    The last competitor, Richard Alteus, has a public safety background, according to his campaign website. He said the city’s top issues are unregulated sober homes, emphasis on public safety, improving pedestrian safety and solving traffic problems from the overdevelopment of Delray.
    He raised $1,030 in contributions, as of Feb. 10. Alteus did not participate in the Beach Property Owners candidate forum.
    The race for Seat 4 pits Shirley Johnson against Josh Smith Jr.
    Johnson, a retired IBM administrator, has the support of the Northwest and Southwest neighborhoods. She has lived in the city for 38 years.
    Her financial backers include former City Commissioner Angie Gray, who donated $200; two current board members of the city’s CRA, lawyer Herman Stevens with a $100 contribution and architect Reginald Cox with a $500 contribution; $1,000 from Porten and $500 from Victorin, executives of the group that sponsored the forum; and $100 from retired educator Yvonne Odom, who also applied to fill Jacquet’s seat. Johnson was endorsed by the Delray Newspaper for Seat 4.
    She raised a total of $5,308, as of Feb. 10. The amount includes two self-donations of $1,250.
    Johnson’s platforms are sober homes regulation, sustainable growth and losing the politics and listening to the people. The last issue was raised when the City Commission was tied at 2-2 and could not pick a replacement for Jacquet.
    Her competitor for Seat 2, Smith, is a retired educator who has lived in the city for 51 years.
    Last fall, he was the choice of Commissioners Katz and Petrolia.
    Smith raised $6,595, including a $200 self-donation, as of Feb. 10. His notable contributors include Anthony Petrolia, who donated $500; frequent commission critic Ken MacNamee and his wife, who gave $1,000; Marine Way resident Nancy MacManus donated $150; and Seaside Builders contributed $500.
    The biggest issues that he sees facing Delray Beach are unregulated sober homes that are straining the budgets of the city police and fire rescue departments; improving public safety to allow residents to move around safely; and focusing on fixing the city’s seawalls, building sidewalks in neighborhoods near schools and paving alleys in some neighborhoods.
    He wants to unify the residents of Delray Beach after last fall’s divisive national election.

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