By Mary Thurwachter
Six candidates are vying for two positions on the Lantana Town Council in the March 8 election. The candidate with the most votes for each seat wins.
Incumbent Lynn Moorhouse is seeking re-election. The 78-year-old retired dentist holds the Group 1 seat.
An outspoken advocate for developing the downtown business district, Moorhouse has been in office since 2004. His opponents are Joseph Farrell, a flooring distributor and a member of Lantana’s planning and zoning commission, and John Raymer, the manager at Ace Rental Place in Lantana.
Farrell, 58, withdrew his candidacy for mayor last year due to family obligations. He also made an unsuccessful run against Malcolm Balfour in 2013.
“Lantana has been stagnating since 2007,” Farrell said. “Facilities and maintenance have fallen to new lows.
“Now is the time to replace incumbents that sat by and let Lantana slide into mediocrity.” Raymer, 51, is retired from the U.S. Army after 21 years.
“What prompted me to run is I noticed a communication breakdown in the town,” Raymer said. That breakdown, he said, is the town’s biggest issue. He noticed it last year when Sea Pines, where he lives, had flooding problems and after the first town meeting to address the issue, he heard nothing more about it, he said.
“A lot of people don’t go on the internet and don’t find their information that way,” he said.
“We don’t need politicians,” he said. “We need people that are willing to work for people and that’s my job. I want to work for the people to make sure they understand what’s going on in the community and the decisions that are going to be made.”
His biggest strength, Raymer said, is his ability to look at all sides of issues “with an open mind and not to be persuaded by any one party’s ideology.”
Malcolm Balfour, who holds the Group 2 seat, is not running again. He is 83 and has served on the council since 2013.
Three people are pursuing the Group 2 position: Media Beverly, Kem Mason and former council member Edward P. Shropshire.
Beverly, 69, is a retired business manager with a Florida real estate broker’s license. Her skills include accounting, insurance, property management, litigation and research, she said.
Beverly is running to continue her efforts “toward preserving Lantana’s small-town, fishing village character while improving the quality of life for all residents. We can accomplish that goal with proper, thoughtful planning and well-regulated development, while ensuring the fiscal health of Lantana by encouraging the addition of revenue-producing, family-friendly businesses for everyone to enjoy.”
She said being a good listener who cares about the needs of others is among her strengths.
“Identifying what residents want, research to educate myself and others, and tenacity are key to making informed, sound decisions which affect current and future generations of Lantanians,” she said.
Regarding the town’s biggest issue, Beverly said: “Town Council voted to reintroduce an ordinance lifting the ban, and allowing medical marijuana dispensaries inside our town, which I oppose, because sales are tax-exempt and provide no revenue to our town. Council members should, instead, focus on creating a realistic, sustainable Master Plan and work toward restoring Lantana to the desirable, hospitable community it once was.”
Mason, 63, is a retired captain with Palm Beach Fire Rescue who serves on the town’s planning commission and the education council and Citizens On Patrol.
He has worked in public service all his adult life as a lifeguard and firefighter.
“When I retired, I was still a public servant as a volunteer for Lantana and I want to continue that process. This is the next evolution after volunteering.
“It’s in my nature to work with the community and to help it be a better place for everybody,” Mason said.
His strengths, he said, are innovative thinking, a proactive as opposed to reactive attitude, and his knowledge of government behind the scenes from his years of work.
“One of my strongest suits is that I listen to people and am open-minded,” Mason said.
Residential and business redevelopment is the town’s biggest issue today, he said.
“There are a lot of empty storefronts. Lantana needs to be thinking toward the future of what are we going to do for sea level rise, where are we going to get our water from?”
Shropshire, 69, served on the council for one three-year term (2017-2020) but was defeated in his bid for re-election last year.
He is retired from Cemex building materials company, where he worked for 34 years.
“I am running so as to help chart Lantana’s course for the future,” he says.
One of his strengths, he said, is his “ability to present and communicate well-researched and locally focused ideas.”
Lantana’s biggest issue today is to preserve its small-town culture as the town continues to grow, Shropshire said.
Well done. Thank you!