It is very apparent from the public meetings held by the Village of Royal Palm Beach on the RaceTrac gas station, which I have attended, and the Town-Crier, that Jess Santamaria is out to blame the resident who alerted the community to this proposed project that will be located at the entranceway to the village and next to the Royal Inn.
All of the people who have voiced their opposition at those meetings, through e-mails and letters to the council and editorial letters, did so without anyone twisting their arm. They are angry, first that they did not know about the gas station plan, and second, because the plan will, in their opinion, ruin their neighborhood. From what I see, no one has put any words in their mouths or placed any ideas in their heads other than what they honestly believe.
I hear and see the people exercising their right to have their voices heard in the public forum. But Jess Santamaria wants to intimidate them into silence. It is a fact that he has sent threatening legal letters to some who have stepped up. He has a desperate fear of the messenger, Martha Webster, who he has attacked for several weeks using the editorial page and now full-page ads — all about elections and not the gas station.
This is an issue of a project and the public’s right to speak up. If Mr. Santamaria has a great project, then tell us how it is good. He has not been able to do that, or to prove its worth to the village in this location. Instead, he attacks the messenger, which can only mean that the whole plan was to silently push it through the village approval process before anyone knew — so attack the messenger and disregard the message. It’s a bad plan for Royal Palm Beach.
Delores Fair, Royal Palm Beach