Boca Beach and Parks election: Former opponent endorses incumbent Earl Starkoff

Earl Starkoff (Contributed)
Earl Starkoff (Contributed)

BOCA RATON — John Costello, the candidate who lost in the nonpartisan primary for the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Parks District election, has endorsed his formal rival and incumbant Earl Starkoff in the upcoming general election, according to Starkoff’s campaign.

Starkoff and Erin Wright, the third applicant for the vacant seat on the five-member board, were neck-and-neck in the Aug. 30 primary. Because neither candidate secured a majority of the votes, Starkoff and Wright, a local business owner, will move on to runoffs Nov. 8.

Wright led Starkoff in the primaries by just 98 votes, based on official elections results. Costello, an accountant, secured about 25 percent of the votes, and is encouraging his supporters to cast their votes for Starkoff.

“Thanks to everyone that voted for me on Aug. 30. On Nov. 8, I’m voting to reelect Earl as our Beach & Park Commissioner,” Costello said in a statement released by the Starkoff campaign. “I’ll be actively supporting Earl in his campaign, and I’m encouraging my supporters to join us.”

The beach and parks district collects taxes and is responsible for public parks and beaches in Boca Raton and areas west of Boca.

Erin Wright
Erin Wright
John Costello
John Costello

“I truly appreciate John’s support as my campaign moves forward to the final election in November,” Starkoff said. “We’ve found ourselves as kindred spirits in our passion for our beaches and parks, and John’s confidence that I am best-suited to serve all of our residents is an invaluable boost to my re-election efforts.”

Following the primary, Wright said her lead over Starkoff was an indication that residents wanted change in district leadership.

“The feedback we’ve gotten is that people are tired of those in place in the district already, mainly Earl,” Wright said. “The status quo just won’t cut it anymore.”

» For more details on Starkoff, Wright and their campaign platforms, see our Palm Beach Post Know Your Candidates Guide. 

Boca’s beach and parks elections head to runoffs

runoffs-beach-and-parksBOCA RATON — Residents will vote again in November to fill two seats on the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Parks District after close margins in Tuesday’s primary.

Of the three candidates who contended for each vacant commission seat, two will move on to runoffs Nov. 8 after no candidates secured a majority of votes Tuesday. The beach and parks district collects taxes and is responsible for public parks and beaches in Boca Raton and areas west of Boca.

One of the races was a near-tie between incumbant Earl Starkoff and Erin Wright, a local business owner who leads Starkoff in the unofficial election results by just 98 votes.

“The feedback we’ve gotten is that people are tired of those in place in the district already, mainly Earl,” Wright said Wednesday. “The status quo just won’t cut it anymore.”

Starkoff could not be reached for comment.

» For more details on each candidate, see our Know Your Candidate guide.

The second runoff pits Dennis Frisch, the incumbent who secured about 41.78 percent of votes, against Craig Ehrnst, a treasurer at a Boca Raton-based insurance firm. Frisch led Ehrnst  by about 6.5 percent of votes in Tuesday’s election.

“I’m pleased at the turnout and that people understand the importance of the parks district,” Ehrnst said Wednesday. Frisch could not be reached for comment.

Shayla Enright, a medical physicist who announced candidacy just one month before the election and ran against Ehrnst and Frisch, garnered nearly 23 percent of the vote. She plans to meet with Frisch and Ehrnst and is considering a possible endorsement, she said.

“Considering I only campaigned for about a month, I got a decent amount of support,” she said.


Vote to quadruple Boca council salaries passes by close margin

Council Members (from left): Councilman Robert Weinroth, CRA Chairman Scott Singer, Mayor Susan Haynie, Deputy Mayor Michael Mullaugh, Councilman Jeremy Rodgers (Contributed)
Council Members (from left): Councilman Robert Weinroth, CRA Chairman Scott Singer, Mayor Susan Haynie, Deputy Mayor Michael Mullaugh, Councilman Jeremy Rodgers (Contributed)

BOCA RATON — About 80 votes made the difference in a decision to quadruple the salaries of Boca Raton city leaders.

While the official results aren’t yet in, the salary hikes appear to have passed.

The referendum was one of two on the ballot in Boca Raton during the primary election Tuesday. It proposed quadrupling the current base salaries for the positions of mayor and city council member, a notion twice shot down by voters in the past.

“Because it has failed so often in the past, many people were afraid of it,” Councilman Mike Mullaugh, who proposed the ordinance, said Wednesday. “I decided I can take it on because I’m term-limited anyway.”

The salary amount was included in the ballot question, rather than just asking voters whether salaries should be quadrupled.

“I think that played a role in it’s success this time,” Mullaugh said.

About 50.43 percent of votes cast were in favor of the salary increase, which is about 0.86 percent more than those who voted against it. The difference isn’t small enough to prompt a recount, according to the county’s Supervisor of Elections.

The current base salary for mayor is $9,200. The proposed $38,000 salary is 40 percent of the base salary earned by Palm Beach County commissioners.

In salary and car allowance, Boca Raton council members, in a city of about 89,000, make $12,600 a year, according to Palm Beach Post database compiled in 2015. City commissioners in West Palm Beach, with a population of about 102,000, make $36,000 per year in salary and car allowance.

“I suspect nobody wants a 30-hour-per-week job that pays only $600 a month,” he said. “I think it will make it possible for people who are not in the position to make the financial sacrifice to actually run for council.”

The last city council salary increase was 1984. If approved, the increase will take effect in October.

Another referendum, which will require a special election to fill any city council vacancies, also passed, based on unofficial elections results.

Currently, if a council member’s position becomes open mid-term, the remaining council members appoint someone to the position, which lasts until next regular city election.

If the position of mayor becomes open, the deputy mayor would serve in that role until the next election.


Daughter likely to take father’s south county House seat

Emily Slosberg (Contributed)
Emily Slosberg (Contributed)

Emily Slosberg appears to have won the primary election for the vacant House District 91 seat and — with no Republican contenders — will likely succeed her father in representing south central Palm Beach County.

Slosberg, the daughter of State Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, who currently holds the seat, narrowly defeated Kelly Ann Skidmore, a House veteran. Based on unofficial elections results, Slosberg took 51.7 percent of the votes, only about 550 more votes than Skidmore.

» Related: Results from Tuesday’s elections in Palm Beach County

“I have some big shoes to fill,” Slosberg said late Tuesday. “I have learned a lot from my father. I look forward to representing District 91 and helping get Hillary (Clinton) elected.”

kelly-skidmoreSkidmore, who succeeded Irv Slosberg in the House District 90 seat and went on to serve four years, sought to return to elected office after an unsuccessful bid for state Senate in 2010.

“I called Emily to congratulate her and unfortunately she was clueless … ” Skidmore said just after the unofficial results went live. “I feel bad for the folks in District 91. If you’ve ever had a conversation with Emily, it was most likely a disjointed one. It’s very challenging to have a straight-forward conversation with her.”

web-072816-pbp-ELEX-FLA-HOUSE-91Skidmore is currently executive director of Broward Days, an organization of business and government leaders who advocate for Broward County-friendly legislation. She plans to stay plugged in to District 91, which encompasses western Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach.

“I anticipate I will always be involved,” she said, adding that she’s willing to work with Slosberg to better the community.



Incumbent concedes, newcomer claims Boynton mayor seat

Steven Grant

Steven Grant, 33, is the new Boynton Beach mayor.

When reached by phone Tuesday night, Jerry Taylor, 80, said: “It’s over. He won.”

Taylor, who was seeking his sixth term as mayor, said he doesn’t plan to run again.

“I was honored to serve the city for 13 years. I did my best and I hope the city moves forward,” he said.

Grant, when reached by phone, was celebrating at the Twisted Fish.

“A lot of people didn’t give me any sort of chance in the beginning and I was able to prove them all wrong,” Grant said.

As of 9 p.m. Grant had 2,538 votes and Taylor had 1,906.

Check back for more information on this breaking news story.

Political newcomer has lead over incumbent in Boynton Beach

Steven Grant


It’s early in the night but so far Steven Grant has a lead over incumbent Jerry Taylor, 80, in the race for the Boynton Beach mayor’s seat.

Grant, 33, has 1,808 votes compared to Taylor’s 1,513.

This update is from numbers posted at about 8 p.m.

To read the latest headlines from Boynton Beach, go to

Latest numbers: newcomer beats incumbent to Boynton commission seat

Christina Romelus
Christina Romelus
Mike Fitzpatrick
Mike Fitzpatrick

With late night counting of ballots, it appears that Christina Romelus was able to pull ahead of incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick, 62, and win the majority of the votes plus one to claim the Boynton Beach District 3 commission seat.

City Clerk Judy Pyle told The Palm Beach Post on Wednesday morning it appears that  political newcomer Romelus, 27, has won, but she has a call in to the Supervisor of Elections to make sure that is correct.

It is unknown if all provisional ballots have been counted yet.

The mayor’s race is still going to a runoff. Incumbent Jerry Taylor, 80, received the most votes but didn’t reach the majority plus one. He will go head-to-head with political newcomer Steven Grant, 33.

The runoff is March 29.

Read more about the races here: March 29 runoffs are next for Boynton Beach mayor, commissioner races

To read the latest headlines from Boynton Beach, go to

Incumbent, newcomer to head to runoff for Boynton commissioner seat

Mike Fitzpatrick
Mike Fitzpatrick
Christina Romelus
Christina Romelus

It appears it’s back to the polls for Boynton Beach for at least one race.

Candidates for the District 3 commissioner race had to win the majority of the votes plus one, and no one did. Now, the top two candidates in each race will faceoff in the March 29 runoff.

Incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick, 62, will go up against political newcomer Christina Romelus, 27, for the southeast end of the city’s commission seat.

Romelus said she decided to run against one-time commissioner Fitzpatrick to speak for those whose opinions are not heard and are underrepresented. She often describes herself as a mother, entrepreneur and an educator.

Fitzpatrick, who was at Banana Boat in the Boynton Harbor Marina as the results came in, said he expected a runoff.

“There’s been a lot of indications,” Fitzpatrick said when reached by phone. “With early voting, they did a good job with absentee ballots so I got hurt.”

To read the latest headlines from Boynton Beach, go to

Taylor, Romelus lead so far in Boynton Beach elections



The absentee ballots and early voting results are in!

Here’s what’s going on in Boynton Beach so far:



Jerry Taylor: 50.38 percent (in the lead)

Steven Grant: 17.31 percent

David Merker: 16.05 percent

Carl “The Real” McKoy: 12.95 percent

Piotr Blass: 3.31 percent

Total votes: 4,194


Christina Romelus: 69.02 percent (in the lead)

Mike Fitzpatrick: 19.38 percent

James Brake: 11.60 percent

Total votes: 1,569

Stay tuned for more election results. 

To read the latest headlines from Boynton Beach, go to

Election 2016: Voters discuss their choices in Boynton Beach

Voters at Ezell Hester Community Center in Boynton allowed some insight into their choices today.

Alondra Reyes, a student at Palm Beach State, voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders: “I feel like he’s talking to the younger generation. We’re the one that’s going to have to deal with all the problems we are facing.”

Reyes also had some ideas into why young women were not voting for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary: “It doesn’t have anything to do with gender. It’s her policies.”

Meanwhile, brothers Herierto and Luis Centano talked about voting for Clinton: “She has more experience in the White House than all of them. Her husband was president and he did a great job, especially with the economy. Hillary was right there. We trust her.”