Wellington: Re-Elect Bowen & Willhite, Add Hostetler

Powerful interest groups have tried to turn the Wellington Village Council election from one about the overall direction of the community to one focused on several narrowly defined issues. The Town-Crier takes a long view and looks at the candidates best suited to govern not only on the issues today, but on all the issues known and unknown that might come up in the future. Taking a longer view makes these endorsements far more straight-forward, even though two people we have long considered friends of the Town-Crier will be disappointed.

• Wellington Mayor — This race pits incumbent Darell Bowen against former Councilman Bob Margolis. Both candidates have received the endorsement of this newspaper in the past. Margolis is a fine public servant, fully able to serve admirably as mayor. Margolis is absolutely correct on the inspector general issue, but we do not agree that Wellington is currently as poorly run as his campaign suggests. Wellington is one of the most financially sound communities in South Florida. Under Bowen’s leadership, it has improved the park system, built a new municipal complex, taken a proactive view battling crime in troubled neighborhoods, dramatically cut the budget and done far more than other places to fight the foreclosure crisis. Yes, we disagree on having Wellington join in the inspector general lawsuit, but in reality, that question will be moot shortly once a new funding system is in place countywide. We are absolutely stunned at the amount of negative campaigning this race has attracted based mostly around the controversial Equestrian Village project. Highjacking an election based on one issue bodes poorly for the process and Wellington’s shared future. Any objective viewpoint shows that Wellington is better off today than when Bowen took over, and in reality, that is all that matters. The Town-Crier endorses the re-election of Darell Bowen as mayor of Wellington.

• Wellington Council Seat 1 — This race features two political newcomers, John Greene and Shauna Hostetler, seeking a vacant seat. Both would make fine council members. Greene makes some good points, is well-spoken and extremely intelligent. With roots in the community, he certainly has Wellington’s best interests in mind, and as a resident of the Lake Worth Road corridor, he would bring a different viewpoint. However, we have been more impressed with Hostetler. She offers a sharper vision with more specifics and seems to be a candidate who is not afraid to voice concerns and ask the hard questions. She has deeper roots in the community, and we’re quite impressed with her years of volunteer work, most recently at Binks Forest Elementary School. The Town-Crier endorses the election of Shauna Hostetler to Wellington Village Council Seat 1.

• Wellington Council Seat 4 — This race pits Vice Mayor Matt Willhite against former Councilman Al Paglia. The Town-Crier has long been a Paglia fan. We have twice before endorsed him in council bids. He is a good man with a big heart who cares deeply about Wellington. However, he is not the strongest candidate in this race. We did not support Willhite four years ago, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised. While we have disagreed with him on a number of issues, Willhite has turned out to be one of the hardest-working council members Wellington has ever had. His leadership on the Patriot Memorial was spectacular and his principled opposition on certain issues serves an important purpose — offering a minority viewpoint on a council that has often otherwise been in lockstep. He also deserves the same credit Bowen does for all that Wellington has accomplished over the past four years. The Town-Crier endorses the re-election of Matt Willhite to Wellington 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!