By Mary Thurwachter
Council members up for re-election in Lantana on March 17 will face opposition from two political newcomers and longtime residents.
Mark Allen Zeitler, 63, an air-conditioning contractor, will challenge Edward Shropshire, 67, for the Group 3 seat that Shropshire won by a 2-vote margin in 2017. Shropshire is semi-retired from Cemex (formerly Rinker Materials) but continues as a driver trainer and safety coordinator.
Karen Lythgoe, 60, is running for the Group 4 seat held by Philip J. Aridas, 65, who has been in office since 2011.
Zeitler and Shropshire live across the street from each other in the Lantana Heights neighborhood and have different views about code enforcement.
“Part of the reason I’m seeking office is that neighbors, some of the longtime residents that I grew up with, encouraged me to run,” Zeitler said.
“Lantana to me has always been a middle-class, working man’s type of area, and to me it’s going the wrong way in terms of code enforcement,” said Zeitler, whose family moved to Lantana in 1959. “I remember back when people had no yards and boats were parked in the swales and things like that, and to me it’s really starting to come along.
“But I don’t think we need to have more code enforcement laws and create a gated-type community with condo commandos. That’s what I’d like to put a slowdown on. We do need code enforcement, but we just don’t need to be making new codes to basically benefit what appears to be just him,” referring to Shropshire.
A resident since 1979, Shropshire has said that Lantana is no longer the seaside village it was and voted to add an additional code enforcement officer because the town was “looking terrible.”
Lythgoe, a security analyst for a Fortune 500 company, has lived in Lantana since she was 4.
“I had a wonderful childhood here and I want to make sure other children have the same memories,” she said. Her late husband was David Lythgoe of Lythgoe Plumbing, a business that was in Lantana since 1947.
“I’ve not been active in government,” she said. “Someone called me and said, ‘Come on, these two guys are running unopposed; we’d like to shake things up a little bit.’ I’m comfortable in my life and I’d like to give something back to the town that gave me such a great childhood. I’ve been a political junkie all my life.
“I’ve got an awesome granddaughter and I’m running for her,” she said. “I’m doing this to show her you can do anything at any age.”
One issue that concerns Lythgoe is traffic.
“As a child, I rode my bike all over this town through all the little streets, and now people just go racing up and down the roads. Everybody is in a hurry. There’s just so much traffic. It’s just not safe for kids,” she said.
She would like kids to play outdoors more, away from their electronic devices.
Aridas, a resident of Lantana since 1977, works for Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation and wants kids and adults to spend more time outdoors, too. He’s pleased with the council’s implementation of the first dog park in the town at Maddock Park, as well as having made significant improvements to the skate park there. He has been a staunch supporter of the new Lyman Kayak Park and thinks it’s important to provide residents with fun things to do within the town. Council members are elected to three-year terms with no term limits and are elected townwide. Ú