There is a new council in the city
By Sarah Stover
Posted: 2007 Apr 06 - 01:24
SINGER ISLAND - Singer Island residents were not exactly surprised by the outcome of the March 27 run-off election in Riviera Beach, but they were pleased.
"(Cedrick Thomas, Lynne Hubbard and Shelby Lowe) are God-fearing, caring, conscientious elected officials who care about all the people who live in Riviera Beach, and not just Catalfumo/developer dollars," said Singer Island resident Roger Butts.
Incumbent Councilwomen Ann Iles, Vanessa Lee and Liz Wade are out, and the three candidates who were supported by Singer Island resident -, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Lowe and Ms. Hubbard - won their respective runoff seats on the Riviera Beach City Council.
"The election demonstrated that people on both sides (of Riviera Beach) were tired of the negative rhetoric and the inability to move the city forward," said Anthony Gigliotti, chairman of the Singer Island Civic Association.
Although the newly elected officials live on the mainland, they won support from residents across the bridge because they share the same view on the redevelopment of the Ocean Mall property, among other issues.
"Mr. Lowe worked very hard with us to gather signatures during the petition drive. Ms. Hubbard and Mr. Thomas were also very supportive, said Dawn Pardo, president of the Public Beach Coalition, a mix of organizations opposed to development on the beach property.
"These individuals did not want to lose their beach access. They each approached us after the petition process and informed us they were running for city council. After we heard their platform, and they listened to the concerns of Island residents, the four organizations on the island agreed that these three candidates best represented our concerns and needs.
"They also committed (to) respect and adhere to the voice of the people regarding the Ocean Mall referendum," she said.
Ms. Pardo formed the petition committee to put items regarding the Ocean Mall's lease and height limitations, planned for the property by Palm Beach Gardens developer Catalfumo Construction, on the ballot for the March municipal elections.
Residents from both the mainland and Singer Island voted for a limit of 50 years on the lease and five stories on the building.
Since a majority of Riviera Beach residents also voted for change in the way of the three new council members, some residents see it as a sign that mainland and island residents are working together.
"I was extremely confident that the incumbents would not be re-elected. They represented several developers instead of the hardworking, taxpaying residents of Riviera Beach," said Ms. Pardo.
"With the residents on the east side and the west side united, our great city is finally on the verge of prosperity," she said.
"(The new council members') agenda is to serve 'all residents' to the best of their ability. The 'bridge' separating the mainland from Singer Island has finally been repaired and we all want what is best for all residents, not the developers," said Mr. Butts.
Mr. Giglotti hopes the spirit of cooperation does not end with the election.
"Our hope is that (the new council members) will work on uniting, and not dividing the island and the mainland. (We also hope) that they will understand their role in setting policy and holding management responsible and accountable for implementation," he said.
Ms. Pardo is confident the three new councilors will be an asset to both the city and island.
"Ms. Hubbard, Mr. Lowe and Mr. Thomas have vowed to clean up the city, get a handle on crime, and redevelop the mainland and working waterfront," she said.
"They have vowed to represent the entire city. One part of the city should not receive preferential treatment over another part.
"I know that these three fine individuals will represent all the residents fairly," she said.