Editorial: Miller-Anderson, Botel right choice for Riviera Beach

Updated March 09, 2018
  • By The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board
KaShamba Miller-Anderson, Julia Botel

Seven openings for top-level positions. A majority of the city council threatened with a voter recall. A county Office of Inspector General spending probe.

For Riviera Beach voters, the main question in Tuesday’s election is: “How to clean up this mess, and get the city back on track?’

DISTRICT 2: To start, the Post recommends re-electing Councilwoman KaShamba Miller-Anderson, 44, to a second term. Miller-Anderson, now the council chair, was thrust into a leadership role where she has responded as a consistent voice of reason.

To be sure, it has been difficult. Miller-Anderson helped get the long-stalled Riviera Beach Marina Development project going again, only to see it stall after she helped force out CRA chief Tony Brown. Then came the tumult that has ensued since the controversial firing of former City Manager Jonathan Evans.

City council meetings have become chaotic as a citizen-led group seeks to oust the three councilors who voted, with little-to-no explanation, to fire Evans. “We had a good amount of momentum, working together until about six months ago,” Miller-Anderson said, referring to Evans firing. “But this lack of transparency on the council is making it too difficult to move forward” on issues like improved public safety and job growth.

Her opponent, Keith Golden, 44, says it was this stagnation and lack of focus that stirred him to challenge Anderson. A battalion chief with the Palm Beach Fire-Rescue Department, Golden said he can cut through the “distractions” and bring people together.

DISTRICT 4: There is good reason that Councilwoman Dawn Pardo, 57, has not had a serious challenger in her 10 years on the dais. Her leadership on economic growth issues has been consistent.

But she failed residents miserably when she voted — along with Terence Davis and Lynne Hubbard — to abruptly fire Evans last fall. Worse, Pardo freely admits that she knew the vote was likely improper, but she did it anyway. That’s not only disappointing, it’s irredeemable; her vote is partially to blame for the turmoil in which the city now finds itself.

The Post recommends former educator Julia Botel, 69, to replace Pardo on the council. The ongoing citizen uproar in the wake of the Evans vote makes it difficult to see how the city moves forward otherwise.

Botel prioritizes hiring a “qualified” city manager, cutting wasteful spending and transparency to help restore residents’ trust in the council.

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Read all of The Post’s endorsements online at www.MyPalmBeachPost.com/2018-endorsements.