Lake Worth election winners, 71 and 27-yr. olds, bring new perspective


Shh… hear that?

It’s the political winds of change blowing strong over 7 North Dixie Highway in Lake Worth, otherwise known as City Hall.

While Tuesday’s election results didn’t exactly represent a seismic shift on the City Commission, it came pretty close:

- Three-time incumbent Christopher McVoy lost his District 2 seat to Omari Hardy, a Roosevelt Middle School civics teacher.

- Herman Robinson, a longtime community activist who has served on several city boards, captured the District 4 seat Commissioner Ryan Maier vacated.

READ: Eager owner wants Taco al Carbon to be open 24 hours in Lake Worth

Several residents were overjoyed, saying both Robinson, 71 and Hardy, 27, — both political novices — will bring a new perspective and fresh ideas to a commission many felt was too divided.

“We needed this,” said Tammy Pansa, 44, who is self-employed. “As a Lake Worth resident for 10 years, I have grown to hate the word ‘divisive.’ For the first time I really think we have a chance to take that word out of the L-Dub vocabulary.”

Peter Atkinson, a building maintenance worker, called the results a “breath of fresh air.”

“Sometimes those commissioners stay too long and become ineffective,” Atkinson said.

SEE ALSO: Tired, word-down corner to get a makeover in Lake Worth

Bob Lepa, a 58-year-old financial advisor, said the results proved Lake Worth is growing more business savvy.

“Herman has a construction background that I believe will be invaluable as the Park of Commerce is developed,” Lepa said, referring to a 375-acre site and connector along Interstate 95 north of Lake Worth Road that has been the subject of upgrades for nearly 20 years. “And I believe Mr. Hardy will also have an open mind for controlled growth and progress of the city.”

Critics have often charged McVoy of “monkey-wrenching” and standing in the way of progress, as evidenced by his vote against putting the $40 million road bond on the November ballot and voting down a key zoning change in January 2016 that allowed The Gulfstream Hotel renovation project to move forward .

“There was a lot of unnecessary debate,” Commissioner Andy Amoroso said of McVoy. “We had certain electeds who didn’t do their research, they come in 10 minutes before a meeting and then spend two hour pontificating.”

McVoy said if residents want change, they should target the commission majority — Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell and Amoroso.

“The majority has run the city for six years and their vision is for Lake Worth to become just like the rest of South Florida,” McVoy said.

Not everyone, however, was pleased to see McVoy, 59, voted out of office.

“I’m concerned that the city commission may lack sufficient skepticism in its dealings with fast-talking business interests with grandiose development schemes,” said Steve Ellman, a retired journalist. “The Hudson Holdings fiasco showed us a commission majority that is easily gulled.”

Hudson Holdings’ $70 million plans to renovate the historic Gulfstream Hotel remain in limbo as the company decides if it wants to sell the site.

Before the election, City Manager Michael Bornstein said he met with three candidates — Robinson, Hardy and Maryann Polizzi, 59, a consultant fundraiser who ran for the District 4 seat against Robinson and Ellie Whittey, 63, a former office manager and assistant to Triolo.

“All three had a good grasp of the issues, where the city was heading and the role they wanted to play in it,” Bornstein said.

As for if the commission will become less fractured with Hardy and Robinson on it, Bornstein, choosing his words carefully since he’s being asked to comment on the commissioners he reports to, said that remains to be seen.

“You never know until a legislative body gets together,” he said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits among 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class
Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits among 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland has announced the class of 2018. >> Read more trending news The list is comprised of five artists or bands in the Performer Category and one performer for the Early Influence Award. Going into the Hall of Fame as performers next year are:  Bon Jovi started in the early ‘80s in New Jersey...
Things to do in Boynton Beach this week

THINGS TO DO The Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency is hosting a Music on the Rocks event Friday. The free event is from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Ocean Avenue Amphitheatre, 129 E. Ocean Ave. Attendees are encouraged to bring beach chairs and blankets. The Rouge Theory Band will perform. Food trucks, beverages and and free parking are available...
Why is this Boynton water tower lit up in blue and white colors?
Why is this Boynton water tower lit up in blue and white colors?

The 168-foot water tower at Woolbright Road and Seacrest Boulevard is lit up at night in blue and white colors to celebrate Hanukkah, which started Tuesday evening. The Hanukkah colors will shine until Dec. 20 when the Jewish holiday ends that evening. From Dec. 1-11, the tower was colored in red and green for Christmas, and starting on Dec. 26, it...
LATEST: Woman, 66, faces charges in West Palm pistol-whipping, robbery
LATEST: Woman, 66, faces charges in West Palm pistol-whipping, robbery

A 66-year-old West Palm Beach woman is accused of helping her son and his friend rob and pistol-whip a jewelry salesman in April, based on a series of phone calls she and her son had while he has been in jail, according to a police report. Delia Torres was arrested Tuesday, more than seven months after the incident, and faces charges of aggravated...
8 students hospitalized after taking pills at Miami school 
8 students hospitalized after taking pills at Miami school 

A group of students between 10 and 14 years old ended up in the hospital after taking pills at school. Eleven students at Kinloch Park Middle School in Miami ingested the pills, which they thought were Xanax, on Tuesday and eight of them were transported by emergency crews to a hospital after complaining of feeling ill,  according to NBC 6. It&rsquo...
More Stories