Delray Beach commission deadlocked in effort to fill vacant seat

Josh Smith. Delray Beach. contributed photo.
Josh Smith. Delray Beach. contributed photo.
Yvonne Odom, of Delray Beach (Staff photo by Bob Shanley.)

DELRAY BEACH — The city commission was at an impasse Tuesday night when four members could not break a tie to temporarily fill a vacant commission seat.

Unless they can reach an agreement by December, the commission will likely remain short one person until March elections, said Max Lohman, city attorney.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners considered a list of 10 applicants to fill the seat vacated by Vice Mayor Al Jacquet, who resigned to run for an open House District 88 seat, which he won in the general election.

The temporary commissioner would serve until March, when an election will be held to fill the empty seat.

The city commission narrowed the list down to two candidates: Yvonne Odom, a retired school teacher and co-founder of the decades old Delray Beach American Little League baseball team; and Josh Smith, a retired educator and community activist who unsuccessfully ran for city commission in 2015.

Both candidates are black, as is the former commissioner they aim to replace.

I think it’s great that we both selected minorities to fill the position,” Glickstein said. “While there were very qualified candidates, the optics of an all-white commission in a town that is anything but … so I think that is a good thing.”

Glickstein and Deputy Vice Mayor Jordana Jarjura both voted for Odom. Commissioners Mitch Katz and Shelly Petrolia both voted for Smith.

“Ms. Odom has been a part of this community for a very long time … she has actually been in this chamber more than who she is seeking to succeed,” Glickstein said. Jacquet missed a handful of meeting while on the campaign trail for state House.

Katz, who defeated Smith in the 2015 election for commission Seat 3, defended his vote because of Smith’s experience running for city commission.

Rep. Al Jacquet, State House District 88
Rep. Al Jacquet, State House District 88

“He went through a campaign, has been out there talking to residents,” Katz said.

The vote was postponed until a December meeting. The city charter calls for special election if the city commission cannot agree on an appointment within 60 days of vacancy, Lohman said.

But a special election isn’t feasible in this case, he added.

The Supervisor of Elections is busy, between the recent elections in early November and upcoming elections in March. Short of the city holding its own election, which is costly, the commission is out of options, Lohman said.

“I’ve seen it happen before,” he said. “If it becomes impossible, it’s simply impossible.”

Boca beach and parks newcomers unseat incumbants

Erin Wright
Erin Wright
Craig Ehrnst
Craig Ehrnst

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.

» RELATED: Landslide vote: Boca waterfront property to be preserved as parks

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.

More than 500 vote at Delray-area library by mid-morning

A line forms outside Hagen Ranch Road Library to vote on Monday Oct. 24, 2016.
A line forms outside Hagen Ranch Road Library to vote on Monday Oct. 24, 2016.

By mid-morning more than 500 residents had come out to the Hagen Ranch Road Library in suburban Delray Beach to show support for their favorite candidates on the first day of early voting.

A line formed outside before doors opened at 7 a.m., said Site Supervisor Nancy Ross. The line has been constant through the day, she said.

Voters said it took only about 15-20 minutes to get inside.

Margaret Gallagher voted Monday because she is leaving town tomorrow. She said she first planned to vote absentee, but felt more comfortable casting her ballot in person.

The 68-year-old said she voted for Hillary Clinton “with glee.”

“She’s going to be terrific, as well as Patrick Murphy and all the other Democrats,” she said.

Vito Fazzolara, 67, said he voted early because “it’s the most important election in the history of the U.S.”

Fazzolara voted for Donald Trump, and said Clinton possibly becoming president is “appalling.”

Leslie Steckler, 83, also voted for Trump. She said she wants less government involvement and a change.

Only about a dozen people lined up this morning outside the second Delray-area polling location, at the South County Civic Center on Jog Road south of Linton Boulevard, poll workers said. The line cleared up by 8 a.m. and people trickled in and out through the morning.

Lou Dunn, a Delray Beach resident who campaigned for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton outside the early voting location, said she anticipated long lines and passionate voters before arriving at 6:30 a.m.

“Maybe it’s because it’s the first day of early voting,” Dunn said. “People probably just wanted to avoid the lines.”

Voters wait in line to support Trump, Clinton at Boynton Beach center

Ezell Hester Center on Oct. 24, 2016. Photo taken by Alexandra Seltzer
Ezell Hester Center on Oct. 24, 2016. Photo taken by Alexandra Seltzer


Residents formed a line to vote before the precinct even opened Monday morning in Boynton Beach.

At the Ezell Hester Community Center, the site supervisor counted about 15 people on the line before 7 a.m. By about 8:30 a.m. more than 65 had voted.

“If that’s indicative of what we’re going to see for the rest of the day that makes me happy,” said Site Supervisor Brenda McLaughlin.

Residents said voting was easy, and fast. There were a few people who stood outside while handing out Democratic flyers. One woman, Mioacia Fleurilus, danced and chanted, “I want woman.”

Fleurilus said this election could ‘make history’ for the second time.

“First was the first black president. Now we need the first woman president,” she said while dancing.

Brian McGuire, 26, said he came out the first day of early voting because he is excited to support Hillary Clinton.

“I’m openly LGBT. I know she won’t take us back to before President Obama. I remember what it was like to be a second-

Mike Woods after voting in Boynton on Oct. 24, 2016
Mike Woods after voting in Boynton on Oct. 24, 2016

class citizen,” he said.

Brian McGuire after voting in Boynton Beach on Oct. 24, 2016. Photo taken by Alexandra Seltzer
Brian McGuire after voting in Boynton Beach on Oct. 24, 2016. Photo taken by Alexandra Seltzer

Mike Woods, 70, said it’s easier for him to vote early because he can’t walk well without a cane and thought Monday wouldn’t be too crowded.

While sporting a cap with Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” he said: “He wants to close the borders and she wants to open the borders and let all these people in and take our Social Security money.”


Charles Wiener, 58, declined to say who he voted for but said, “My preference is not to have a government of divisiveness.”

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: Reminder — Florida is a closed primary state!

Dozens of would-be voters who are not registered as a Democrat or Republican have realized today that Florida is a closed-primary state and they cannot vote, says PBC Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher.

Florida law requires voters to be party affiliated at least 29 days in advance of a primary. That was by Feb. 16, Bucher said.

“We have dozens and they’re really mad. Traditionally they haven’t voted in primaries,” Bucher said.