Letter: Questionable RPB Candidates

In its last edition, the Town-Crier introduced the three candidates running for Seat 2 of the Royal Palm Beach Village Council. We have the choice between two veterans of this council and one newcomer. Dave Swift has served as a councilman for about 20 years, and Martha Webster for 5 years. Both of them would not be eligible for a new term if we had a strong term limit in place. However, both could play the Putin game by saying they skipped a term or two. That’s how Putin regained his presidency after the Medvedev interregnum.

Both of them are a good example why we should have the term limit in place. Martha was the reason five years ago that hundreds of protesters showed up at village hall demanding an end to commercializing the site of the former wastewater treatment plant. Now she claimed at a board meeting of the Saratoga Pines HOA, where I, as president, let her address our members, that she was always against commercializing the site. I was one who wrote letters to the Town-Crier back then about the case, and I remember better. So do our members. Darrell Lange also showed up, and we let him speak as well. Dave Swift did not attend, but he was busy distributing fliers to all our members into our U.S. mail boxes. So we knew already what he had to say, and that was not pretty.

In his text, Dave insinuates that our homeowners will get approximately $1,000 for the sale of Tract C, a piece of land owned by our master association adjacent to the Crestwood development site, formerly the wastewater treatment area. People who read Dave’s flier asked me immediately afterward when they will get the money. Well, Dave was not writing what will really happen. The POA will get the money and, according to our lawyer, it cannot be distributed among the owners. We know where he got this wrong idea from. He is good friends with our former authoritarian president, who we had to remove from office through a recall process. Eighty-two percent voted against Dave’s confidant, a current member of the Royal Palm Beach Planning & Zoning Committee. This man tried to campaign against our sale of Tract C with this false argument.

Dave claimed he “came up with a plan that satisfied the majority” of our Saratoga community. I happened to be one of the main negotiators for our HOA and POA with the village. The plan was worked out by the village manager, not by Dave. Dave never showed up at these negotiations, and he never talked to us. He also claimed he listened to us with regard to the density in the future development. He did not. The original plan was for 400 homes. After our intervention, it was reduced to 380, still far more than we would have liked, but Dave and Councilman Richard Valuntas argued for even a higher density. Now it stands at 385. It’s true, the village will get more money for that, and so will we, but for us, money plays only a secondary role.

So, although Martha changed her mind about Crestwood, we don’t know if she will stick to it now. Dave is telling us in a very paternalistic tone what he “did” for us, without mentioning that it is a win-win situation for both partners. I would recommend rather going with the newcomer, Darrell Lange.

Guenter Langer, Royal Palm Beach