The Coastal Star

Boca Raton: Five candidates in the running for two council seats

    The city of Boca Raton’s municipal election will take place March 14, as five candidates will compete for two seats on the City Council. The winners will serve three-year terms.

Profiles compiled by Steven J. Smith

Council Seat A

Patti Dervishi
    Personal: 70; attended Florida International University in Miami; Boca Raton resident for 30 years; unmarried, no children.
    Professional: Was a flight attendant for 20 years with Northeast Airlines and Delta Airlines; worked as a commercial restaurant equipment factory rep.
    Political experience: No political offices held, but worked as a volunteer in the last four presidential elections and for former City Council member Anthony Majhess. Worked as a citizens’ advocate for the City Council for 10 years on development plans.
    Positions on issues: Concerned with planning and zoning issues; believes limits should be placed on development; interested in preserving parks and beaches.
    Quote: “I would like to see that the zoning and planning board become elected officials instead of appointed by the City Council, because I think it’s a conflict of interest. I think our citizens’ rights should come first. The City Council always votes in favor of developers. The current City Council has been in bed with developers for the last 10 years.”

Scott Singer
    Personal: 40; Harvard University, A.B. cum laude, Government; J.D., Georgetown Law; Boca Raton resident for six years; married, two children.
    Professional: Served as a business lawyer with law firms Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Davis & Gilbert before founding his own practice. Previously was a strategy consultant for Monitor Company, now part of Deloitte. 
    Political experience: First elected to the City Council in 2014; also serves on the state Sober Homes Task Force and policy committees for the League of Cities at the state and county levels.
    Positions on issues: Continue to give Boca residents a seat at the table through outreach and partnership with residents; guard against overdevelopment; protect neighborhoods; enhance green space and waterfront parks and properties; foster innovative solutions for traffic and congestion; keep taxes low; expand support for local schools; maintain public safety; expand economic development efforts; cut red tape.
    Quote: “I’m proud of my work in partnering with residents and bringing needed change to Boca on development and planning issues and look forward to continuing to work together to improve our quality of life, protect neighborhoods, enhance green space, support schools, create more high-paying jobs and ensure a brighter future for Boca Raton.”

Council Seat B

Emily Gentile
    Personal: 65; attended SUNY Suffolk and participated in a management program in IT at Grumman Aerospace Systems; Boca Raton resident for nine years; engaged, two adult children and two grandchildren.
    Professional: Executive business consultant in the financial arena for such companies as Chemical Bank, Chase Manhattan, American Express, Discover Card and Bank of America.
    Political experience: No political offices held, but a current officer of the Beach Condominium Association of Boca Raton and Highland Beach since 2015 and a former president of Children’s Home Society (2001-2004). Also a past chair of the Business Improvement District steering committee, vice-chair of the Downtown Advisory Committee and a member of the Historical Preservation Board. In addition, she currently sits on two committees at Boca Raton Regional Hospital.
    Positions on issues: Wants to focus on growth management and traffic congestion in the city; maintain the integrity of local beaches and parks; continue art in public places; encourage business development in the city; keep local labor pool talent local; keep millage rate and taxes low.
    Quote: “I was just endorsed by Councilman Michael Mullaugh, whose seat I’m running for, as well as the firefighters and paramedics. I’m also being honored by Women in Communications for my city and community leadership. My tagline is, ‘Together we can make Boca better.’ That’s what I’m focusing on.”

Andrea Levine O’Rourke
    Personal: 69; B.F.A. in graphic design from Florida Atlantic University; Boca Raton resident for 37 years; married, one child and one grandchild.
    Professional: Owned a desktop publishing and communications business before being tapped by the Chamber of Commerce to be director of communications. Was also director of student services for Harid Conservatory.
    Political experience: No political offices held, but served on the Downtown Advisory Committee (2010-2017). Also served as secretary, then chairman, of the Federation of Boca Raton Homeowners Associations (2011-2017) and was on the board of the Boca Raton Police Department Crime Watch in the early 2000s. Has also served as captain for the Boca Raton Bowl, based at FAU, since its inception in 2013.
    Positions on issues: Concerned with traffic congestion and population density.
    Quote: “I’m interested in responsible, sustainable growth. I think residents need a voice at City Hall. I’ve been a spokesperson for the residential community and I consider myself to be an advocate for the residents of Boca Raton. The officials are the caretakers of our city and I want to make sure that we move forward with responsible, sustainable development and growth for the legacy we leave in the future.”

Andy Thomson
    Personal: 34; B.S. in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech, J.D. from University of Miami; Boca Raton resident for one year; married, three children.
    Professional: Business litigation lawyer with Baritz and Coleman.
    Political experience: No political offices held, but has served as a board member for the Metropolitan Planning Organization since 2016.
    Positions on issues: Public safety — wants to make sure first responders have all the necessary resources and training; preservation of beaches and parks; keeping taxes low.
    Quote: “I am a big believer that elected officials are elected to represent all of their constituents — not just their neighbors and friends, but everyone. It’s my pledge to represent all 90,000 people in Boca. I believe strongly that we are one city with one voice. That’s how I plan to govern.”

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