After meeting with the candidates seeking council seats in Loxahatchee Groves, the Town-Crier offers our opinion in advance of the Tuesday, March 10 municipal election.
Loxahatchee Groves Town Council, Seats 1 & 3 — Normally, we evaluate each municipal council seat separately, but in this case, it seems a better idea to look at both seats together. In the race for Seat 1, Vice Mayor Ron Jarriel faces a challenge from Virginia Standish, who chairs the town’s Finance Advisory & Auditing Committee. In the race for Seat 3, Councilman Ryan Liang faces a challenge from Keith Harris, who chairs the town’s Roadways, Equestrian Trails & Greenway Advisory Committee.
The challengers in this election, Standish and Harris, have their own styles, but come from a similar point of view. Both are wary of the current close relationship between the town and the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District. They do not feel that the current council listens to residents offering a dissenting point of view, are critical of the town/district penchant for using OGEM paving and feel the town/district have been dragging their collective feet on implementing horse trails. Electing them to the council will likely produce a new council majority at odds with the LGWCD and many key decisions made over the past six years.
Like the challengers, Jarriel and Liang have their own styles, but come from a similar point of view. They will keep the town moving in the same direction, partnering with the LGWCD on roads and horse trails, favoring less-expensive OGEM paving and trying to keep the peace in a small town with many competing interests.
The challengers raise some good points. The current council majority could do a better job listening and compromising with residents who disagree with them. They must also be very careful in financial arrangements with the LGWCD and always bid projects out whenever possible. However, by and large, the town is moving in the right direction, albeit slowly. Electing Standish and Harris will likely open up a war between the LGWCD and the new council majority. The town has been through that before, and it was not good for the residents. Throwing away the progress of the past six years is a bad idea. The Town-Crier endorses the re-election of Ron Jarriel and Ryan Liang to the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council.