By Jane Smith
    
    A political newcomer and a seasoned public servant will join the Delray Beach City Commission after they were handily elected March 14.
    The most contentious race was between retiree Jim Chard and his main contender, political novice Kelly Barrette, for Seat 2. Two others — police officer Richard Alteus and social worker Anneze Barthelemy — also ran for that seat, but garnered less than 10 percent of the vote each.
    7960719658?profile=originalChard took 56 percent of the vote and Barrette was a distant second with 28 percent. “I am interpreting the results as a mandate to get things done,” Chard said.
    Chard says he will work to implement his plan to rid the city of rogue sober home operators and wants to create a list of all capital improvements needed and find a way to pay for them, even if it means issuing a bond.  
    He also thinks Delray Beach needs more upscale office space so that it no longer loses premier businesses to Boca Raton.
    Said Barrette: “I’m proud of the campaign that I ran, which was almost entirely supported by citizens. I haven’t decided how I will stay involved in Delray politics or if I will run for a commission seat again.”
    The Chard-Barrette contest quickly turned into a battle between development and establishment interests and Barrette’s grass-roots, controlled-growth supporters.
    Chard raised just under $70,000. His major contributors include a variety of development interests — iPic theater, Swinton Commons mixed-use project, Delray Place retail center and hoteliers — as well as a co-founder of an upscale sober home facility; three former mayors; two former city commissioners; three board members of the Beach Property Owners Association; and the chairman of the Community Redevelopment Agency.
    He used nearly half of that money to pay his campaign consultant, Cornerstone Solutions, $32,955.98. Most of it went to direct mail, email and telephone campaigns, according to Chard’s campaign finance reports.
    Rick Asnani, a co-founder of Cornerstone, also runs political action committees and electioneering communications organizations, such as Keeping Citizens First Inc. The organization sent out at least two mailers in support of Chard, did a telephone poll of residents regarding the iPic project and made automated phone calls backing Chard.
    As of Feb. 28, the organization raised $50,000, all of it coming from two other PACs. The PACs have no contribution limits, nor do they have to report how much they spend on any one candidate. The money the PACs raised was given to Cornerstone Solutions or Keeping Citizens First. (State law limits contributions to individual candidates to $1,000 per contributor.)

    Records show that one of the PACs giving to Asnani’s organization received $5,000 from investor Carl DeSantis, one of the early principals of the Atlantic Crossing project; $2,500 from Isram Realty Holdings, which owns the Delray Square retail center, and $1,000 from the Dunay, Miskel and Backman law firm that represents iPic and Swinton Commons.

     The money fueled an anti-Barrette campaign of mailers and automated calls that dismissed her as a part-time resident who fights issues on social media, such as Facebook.

      Chard said he has no control over what the PACs do. He said Asnani’s team showed him polling results on residents’ opinions on the iPic complex. Chard said he approved the message of the automated calls made by Keeping Citizens First.
    “I sent out my own mailers,” he said. “I didn’t see the version the PAC sent out, but I gave input into what was covered.”
    He said he will not be swayed by his contributors. “I have been saying no to developers on the city’s SPRAB [Site Plan Review and Appearance Board, where he served as vice-chair], I have a five-year track record of saying no to developers,” Chard said.
    Barrette, who started the Take Back Delray Facebook page, took no money from developers. She raised just under $30,000 from like-minded residents, colleagues and two current city commissioners. Donors included longtime resident Peter Humanik, frequent commission critic and CPA Ken MacNamee, Urban Greenway critic John Cartier and landlord Benita Goldstein.
    Barrette spent $14,659.06 on mailings. Her postcards were typical political ones that compared her political stance to Chard’s, she said.
    In the Seat 4 race, Shirley Johnson raised $30,000 and garnered nearly 64 percent of the vote. She doesn’t have political 7960719266?profile=originalexperience, but she has the support of community leaders in the Northwest and Southwest neighborhoods. A retiree from IBM, she says her top three priorities on the dais will be safe neighborhoods, youth activities and sustainable growth.
    She did send some mailers that compared herself with  opponent Josh Smith, but she did not do automated phone calls.
    Her contributions came from development interests with projects proposed in the city — including iPic, Swinton Commons and Delray Place South. They also came from  lawyers, including former Commissioner Jordana Jarjura, political action committees for firefighters and Realtors, two board members of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, and two former mayors.
    Angie Gray, a former city commissioner who held Seat 4, was her campaign consultant and received $5,000 for that work. Gray also donated to Johnson’s campaign, as did community activist and retired educator Yvonne Odom.
    “I told developers and others at the first forum, they are going to be misled if they thought contributing to my campaign buys approval,” Johnson said. “I will judge everything on whether it is good for Delray.”
    Her opponent, Josh Smith, a retired educator, could not be reached for comment.
    He raised nearly $18,000. His major donors included $1,000 from Rosebud Capital Investment partnership (a major Atlantic Avenue property owner), $1,000 from restaurant owner and city Parking Board member Fran Marincola, $1,000 from Seaside Builders, $1,000 from commission critic MacNamee and his wife, $500 from Commissioner Shelly Petrolia’s husband, Anthony, and $500 from the land-use law firm Greenspoon Marder.

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