Welcome to Florida small-town elections, where many of us subscribe to the notion that what happens locally will affect us the most.

If our country is honoring women for the first time since we got the vote almost 100 years ago, then maybe Delray Beach, which just elected its third female mayor in 100 years, can be considered contributing to this effect.

Now look at our situation. Commissioner Shelly Petrolia, a five-year veteran of the commission with a track record that should have deterred anyone from running against her: saving the city/residents approximately $9 million from a no-bid Waste Management contract, a $1.6 million garbage cart refund, a development bankruptcy resulting in $4 million in tax grant money, another $3 million refusing to give alleys and an avenue to a developer for nothing in return — and the list goes on and on.

Instead, a man who was on the dais for six months when he declared his candidacy for mayor, with all the developer big-money backing, challenged her. Still, she won by a mere 5 percentage points when her accomplishments should have given her a landslide.

Clearly we women are still bumping our heads on that glass ceiling. Our qualifications and experiences can help break it, but we better be darned determined to work the hardest of anyone. 

And that was certainly true of Petrolia, who went door to door for months, meeting constituents and finding out what mattered to them — while she was simultaneously running a successful real estate business with her husband and caring for a household of four boys and two doggies. Who says we can’t have it all?

Back in the ’80s, when I was an advertising rep in NYC, another female worker told me in order to succeed in business you had to work like a dog, act like a lady and think like a man. Well, I’m revising that to: Work like a dog, act like a lady and think like a woman!

Benita Goldstein

Delray Beach

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