After meeting with the candidates seeking a council seat in Royal Palm Beach, the Town-Crier offers our opinion in advance of the Tuesday, March 10 municipal election.
Royal Palm Beach Village Council, Seat 2 — This election features three candidates: incumbent Vice Mayor Dave Swift, former Councilwoman Martha Webster and former Planning & Zoning Commissioner Darrell Lange. All three are qualified candidates who would probably do a fine job on the council.
We were quite impressed by Mr. Lange. For a first-time candidate, he comes across polished and knowledgeable on the issues. He has done years of service in the community both in recreation leagues and on the zoning board, and would bring a unique work background to the position. If this was a race for an open seat, he would be a strong contender for our endorsement.
Ms. Webster’s desire to serve her community is admirable. She has always been a hard worker and someone who is committed to the task at hand. While on the council, she often brought an alternative point of view and did a fine job representing the village at the regional level. However, she was also a frequent lightning rod, more than once advocating positions that residents deeply disagreed with. We are glad to see that this time around, she had toned down her rhetoric and mended fences. If she is returned to the dais, she will be a more effective council member for it.
This, of course, leaves the incumbent, Mr. Swift, who unseated Ms. Webster two years ago to regain a council seat after an 18-month hiatus. Yes, over the past two years, Mr. Swift has ruffled a few feathers. However, our opinion of him has not changed much during that time. He remains a long-time public servant with a firm command of the issues and a strong desire to help the community. He continues to advocate for residents and is often the first to suggest compromises to bring disparate groups together. He is also the institutional memory of the council, routinely bringing up what has happened previously when similar issues have come up.
The Royal Palm Beach Village Council runs one of the most cost-effective, well-organized governments in the county. As we have said before, it is not unity of politics that makes that happen, it is unity of purpose, and Mr. Swift is the better choice to keep Royal Palm Beach running smoothly. The Town-Crier endorses the re-election of Dave Swift to Seat 2 on the Royal Palm Beach Village Council.