Gulf Stream will have its first election since 1993 as six candidates are running to fill five at-large seats. Voters can cast their votes for up to five candidates. The five with the highest votes will be elected. The winners will serve three-year terms.
Personal: 78; undergraduate degree Yale University and MBA from Harvard; Gulf Stream resident 22 years; married, two children.
Professional: Former vice president of development for Kraft Foods; business consultant, Gulf Stream Consulting Group.
Political experience: First contested election; appointed to Town Commission in August 2012 and unopposed in 2013; former chairman of the Architectural Review and Planning Board for nearly four years; former president Gulf Stream Civic Association; co-founder and president Florida Coalition for Preservation; vice chairman, Historical Society of Palm Beach County; former president Delray Beach Historical Society.
Positions on issues: Work out differences with the town’s most vocal critics and avoid taking issues to the courts; continue to engage Florida Power & Light to ensure that the town’s underground utilities project moves forward on schedule; revisit and reconsider the proposal to switch to staggered elections; recognize the world is changing but “protect and preserve the qualities that make Gulf Stream an extraordinary little town”; promote awareness of the potential impact of sea level rise on coastal communities.
Quote: “The most important issue the next few months is to navigate ourselves around some people who are trying to upset the apple cart… I think we can figure out a way to accommodate each other. It’s going to be awkward, but I’m very hopeful we can find common ground.”
Personal: 56; bachelor’s degree, Pennsylvania State University; law degree, Pennsylvania State’s J.D. Dickinson School of Law; married, three children.
Professional: Practiced law in Florida for 25 years; president Humidifirst Co., Boynton Beach, household appliance manufacturing company.
Political experience: No elective office; member of the Gulf Stream Architectural Review and Planning Board for five years, currently serving as chairman.
Position on issues: Take a proactive approach to dealing with residents’ court cases against the town; supports staggered elections to allow for more continuity to the commission and “less disruption in its deliberative processes”; backs use of ad hoc committees of residents to review rules, problems and finances; make ending the delays to the underground utilities project a priority; address the town’s issues “in a creative, positive and civil manner.”
Quote: “The most important problem facing Gulf Stream is the onslaught of litigation brought by two of its residents, which is depleting the town’s finances and is undermining the effectiveness and morale of the town staff. I believe a proactive approach to these lawsuits is necessary to prevent further harm to our town.”
Personal: 62; high school dropout, Woodlynne, N.J.; Gulf Stream resident since 1982; married, six children.
Professional: President, Commerce Group, Deerfield Beach-based commercial real estate development and holding company; Commerce Group incorporated in 1996; has developed more than 200 shopping center and retail store projects in 46 states and Canada; earned first real estate license at 18; developed properties for Color Tile and Pearle Vision retail chains.
Political experience: No elective office; first campaign as candidate.
Position on issues: Revisit the town’s overly cumbersome codes and streamline them; lower taxes; make Gulf Stream a friendly place to live, work and visit;
re-evaluate all policies and procedures, considering efficiency and economy; scale down government; residents “don’t need Big Brother to tell them what color they can paint their front door.”
Quote: “Gulf Stream belongs to ‘we, the people,’ not unelected and inept amateur politicians who have let arrogance and pomposity convince them that they know better than the people.”
Joan Orthwein (incumbent)
Personal: 58; bachelor of science degree in civil engineering, University of Missouri, Columbia; 31-year resident of Gulf Stream; married, three children.
Professional: Borg Warner, York Division, St. Louis, 1979; Southwestern Bell, 1979-1984, St. Louis; former treasurer Delray Beach Historical Society; Bethesda Hospital board; former president Gulf Stream School Auxiliary.
Political experience: First contested election; member Gulf Stream Town Commission since appointment in 1995 (Palm Beach County’s second-longest-serving elected official still in office, behind Cloud Lake’s Patrick Slatery with 36 years); vice mayor, 1997-2012; mayor 2012-present; Gulf Stream Planning Board, 1987; chairman, Architectural Review and Planning Board, 1991; Gulf Stream Civic Association and Beautification Committee.
Positions on issues: Supports staggered election terms for commissioners to balance experience with fresh thinking; important to continue progress with the underground utilities project; work with ad hoc committee to review concerns about town’s code; review how Delray Beach fulfills emergency medical services contract with town; believes bringing town’s water department in-house saved money and improved reliability; wants to update town files to digital format.
Quote: “It is a very exciting time in the history of Gulf Stream. The town is bustling with renovations and new construction. We survived the economic downturn incredibly well and home prices are strong and rising.”
Personal: 36; graduate of Atlantic High School, Delray Beach, 1995; bachelor’s degree from Princeton, 1999, majoring in history; law degree, Florida State Law School, 2002; married.
Professional: Partner, MacMillan & Stanley law firm, Delray Beach; practice includes real estate law, wills, trusts, estates, premarital agreements; judicial intern, Family Law Division of the Leon County Circuit Court; Estate Planning Council of Boca Raton.
Political experience: First election; appointed to the Town Commission in August 2012; former alternate on the Architectural Review and Planning Board; former chairman of the Delray Beach Historic Preservation Board.
Positions on issues: Town must continue to keep the underground utilities project moving; review staggered election proposal and possible charter changes this summer; keep focusing on aesthetics, such as installation of new neighborhood street signs and street lighting infrastructure; improve Town Hall’s internal process with more technology upgrades and improved efficiency; continue to ensure that the town respects the voice of every resident.
Quote: “One of the things I’ve found is that most of the residents care about things that are tangible. So they want to see progress, whether it’s with the undergrounding or getting the signs done in Place Au Soleil. So we want to focus on aesthetics.”
Personal: 65; born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y.; bachelor’s degree from Catholic University, Washington, D.C., psychology major; 11-year resident of Gulf Stream; widow, two children, two step-children.
Professional: Former purchasing agent and assistant purchasing manager for Embraer (Brazilian aircraft manufacturer) in northern Virginia; office manager for McDonnell Douglas Automation.
Political experience: First election; appointed to the Town Commission in June 2013 to fill a vacated seat; Architectural Review and Planning Board, 2006-2010; Place Au Soleil Homeowners Association officer; treasurer for Cedar Run Homeowners Association, Vienna, Va., 1980s.
Positions on issues: Important to get town’s underground utilities project completed in a timely manner; supports ad hoc committee’s revisions of town code to make rules “more user-friendly and responsive to residents;” switch to staggered elections would be good, though the current process “has not seemed to present a problem in the past.”
Quote: “I would like to bring a positive spirit of communication, cooperation and integrity between the barrier island and Place Au Soleil. The town’s responsibility is to provide for the safety and well-being of the residents, as well as the maintenance and enhancement of property values. The current commission, Architectural Review and Planning Board and town staff are dedicated to the best interests of Gulf Stream, and I see that dedication reflected in the beauty of our town.”