Next week’s election in Royal Palm Beach features four interesting, engaged and extremely different candidates seeking one vacant council seat and the mayor’s post.
• Royal Palm Beach Mayor — In this race, Mayor Matty Mattioli is facing a challenge from Felicia Matula. While we found Matula to be passionate about issues facing Royal Palm Beach with some good ideas for the future, she does not have the experience and local track record to be mayor. Royal Palm Beach is one of the best-run, most financially sound municipalities in South Florida, and that is in large part due to Mattioli’s work over the past two decades. Since he took the gavel two years ago, Mattioli has led the village during a difficult economy and a difficult leadership transition, and has done fairly well. He has been on the council for nearly two decades, and for most of that time has seen the village lower its tax rate every year, even in the current lean years. With that in mind, Mattioli deserves another two years at the helm. The Town-Crier endorses the re-election of Matty Mattioli as mayor of Royal Palm Beach.
• Royal Palm Beach Council Seat 4 — Three challengers initially stepped forward in the race to fill the Royal Palm Beach council seat vacated by David Swift, who resigned last summer: Ken DeLaTorre, Jeff Hmara and Selena Smith. However, DeLaTorre announced this week that he is dropping out. We hope to see DeLaTorre return to local politics sometime in the future when he has more longevity in the community. This leaves voters to choose between Hmara and Smith. Both are strong, dedicated community servants, each with different areas of expertise. While both would make fine council members, Hmara brings experience that the council does not yet already have. His homeowners’ association work, military budgeting and proven leadership skills, along with a lengthier time spent in the village, make him the better choice among two strong candidates. We would be comfortable with either Smith or Hmara winning, but we feel Hmara is the better choice. The Town-Crier endorses Jeff Hmara in the race for Royal Palm Beach Village Council Seat 4.
Whether or not you agree with our suggestions, be sure to go to the polls on Tuesday, March 13 to make your voice count!