BOCA RATON — Two newcomers to the Boca Raton Beach and Parks District succeeded in their efforts to unseat longtime commission members in Tuesday’s election.
Erin Wright, a local business owner, unseated Earl Starkoff, who has served on the Boca Raton Beach and Parks commission since 2005, in a close race. Wright won 52 percent of the votes.
Craig Ehrnst, a treasurer at a Boca Raton-based insurance firm, won 56 percent of the votes, beating out Dennis Frisch, who has served two terms with the beach and parks district and also serves on the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
The beach and parks district collects taxes and is responsible for several public parks and beaches in Boca Raton and areas west of Boca.
“I think when two incumbents lose to challengers, it’s a sign that people are looking for change,” Wright said Wednesday.
Both Wright and Ehrnst said they were interested in working with their opponents in the transition.
“I don’t want to lose any of the knowledge that the incumbents have, but rather gain it and build on it as we go forward,” Ehrnst said Wednesday.
Before the election, Ehrnst and Wright both spoke of a disconnect between the beach and parks district and the city of Boca Raton, two separate entities that often have overlapping interests in Boca’s parks.
“The most exciting thing is building that communication between the beach and parks district and the city,” Ehrnst said.
The opportunity may present itself soon, Ehrnst added, with the city’s potential procurement of the Ocean Breeze Golf Course, on Northwest 2nd Avenue and Yamato Road, and the success in passing a citizen-initiated referendum to retain all city-owned land adjacent to the Intracoastal for public use.
Frisch said Wednesday that he was willing to work with Ehrnst during his transition.
“Erin Wright and Craig Ehrnst will have a steep learning curve to get up to speed on things … I would be willing to give (Ehrnst) some insight,” Frisch said.
Starkoff echoed the sentiment.
“If Erin (Wright) would like me as resource, keep my number in her cellphone,” he said.