In West Palm, this downtown issue will shape the next local election


City Commissioners Shanon Materio and Sylvia Moffett have fielded competitors in their race for re-election in March, a race that will no doubt be overshadowed by the drive to shape West Palm Beach’s growth and waterfront height limits.

In Moffett’s race, real estate executive Kelly Shoaf has jumped in to seek the District 1 seat.

Shoaf is vice president of purchasing for Chatham Lodging Trust, a hotel real estate investment trust. She’s secretary of the Old Northwood Neighborhood Association, a board member of West Palm 100 and on the planning committee for the Marathon of the Palm Beaches. A West Palm Beach resident for a dozen years, she has a degree in business and marketing from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from the University of Florida.

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Moffett was one of three commissioners who voted against Related Cos.’ plan to rezone the Okeechobee Boulevard corridor and allow a 25-story office tower in a 5-story waterfront zone. Shoaf said she has not formulated an opinion on the issue, the most contentious in the city this year, which could come up again if elections create a commission more sympathetic to the developer.

“My background as a business executive, my experience in volunteering in our city and my desire to see change has inspired me to run,” Shoaf said in announcing her run last week.

There’s also a third candidate in that race, Pastor Martina Tate Walker, who ran unsuccessfully last time around.

According to filings with the city clerk, Moffett has loaned her campaign account $500, its only contribution. Neither Shoaf nor Walker have recorded any contributions.

READ: Plan for downtown West Palm micro apartments is scrapped

Materio, another key vote in the 3-2 decision against Related’s tower, is far ahead of her competitor in fund raising for the District 3 seat. Materio raised $37,700, as of Sept. 30.

Her competitor, Christina Lambert, had no contributions listed.

Lambert is a productivity strategist who works with CEOs and other professionals to improve their business practices. She is former CEO of the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County and executive director of Leadership Palm Beach County.

“I am running for city commission to bring effective and innovative leadership,” she said. “As a Hispanic woman, I will bring diversity and a renewed energy to the city commission to ensure our city is planning for the future.”

READ: City’s Flagler bike lanes project gets plenty of flack from residents

In District 5, City Commissioner Paula Ryan is unopposed but has the fullest campaign coffer of anyone running in the city, $40,985. “That’s absolutely the way you scare away a competitor,” she said, but added that she hasn’t held fund-raising events recently.

A Ryan fund-raiser in April was hosted in part by Related’s land use lawyer, Harvey Oyer III and Chamber of Commerce CEO Dennis Grady, a prominent supporter of the project, as well as many chamber officials.

Ryan, a real estate developer, voted for the Related rezoning plan for Okeechobee Boulevard, as a way to address larger growth issues in the city, she said.



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