Today is Election Day for dozens of Palm Beach County municipal offices.
The elections are local but that doesn’t mean the issues are small. On the contrary, what’s decided on the city level is often the stuff that affects residents most directly: Traffic. Development. Property taxes.
Yet most citizens leave it to someone else to care. Voter turnout in municipal elections is predictably low, when not abysmal — even though the passions that fuel candidates and their supporters can get scorching hot.
The pace of development is a big issue in Delray Beach, where a mayor and two City Commission seats are being decided amid a blizzard of personal attacks.
Development is also a pressing concern in Boca Raton (where two City Council seats are at issue) and West Palm Beach (two City Commission seats), two local other cities where increasingly dense construction and traffic have stirred both excitement and complaint.
Restoring competence to government is the question in Riviera Beach, where seven top-level city positions are vacant and a majority of the City Council is threatened by voter recall. The election will decide two council seats that will determine whether the city remains mired in turmoil.
Royal Palm Beach will hold referendums on an incumbent mayor and city councilwoman. Similarly, Lake Wort h’s mayor and a city commissioner also seek re-election. In Greenacres, an incumbent city councilwoman hopes to retain her seat and, in another race, a former councilman is trying to make a comeback.
In all, 21 local cities and towns are holding elections for office. And in Palm Beach Gardens, voters will decide on two referendums (a judge has nullified two others for their wording, a decision that might yet be appealed).
Question 3 asks if Palm Beach Gardens City Council members who leave office because of term limits should have to sit out three years before being running for re-election. Question 4 asks if the candidate with the most votes should win a council seat, even if not gaining at least 50 percent of the vote.
All through these elections, the unending theme is the quality of life in local communities: whether your town will permit a new shopping plaza or apartment complex, put up a stop sign at a busy corner, build a senior center.
If you care how things go in your city, here’s your chance to do more than complain. Get out and vote.
Read all of the Post’s endorsements online at www.MyPalmBeachPost.com/2018-endorsements.
In all, 21 local cities and towns are holding elections for office.