Most people don’t know candidates through meaningful business, friendship, community and/or neighbor interactions. Campaign interviews, mailers and panel comments help inform voters, but they need to be consistent with a candidate’s actions and his public record. Todd McLendon has too many significant litigation issues and losses that suggest bad judgment and disregard of our rural community.
McLendon filled in protected wetlands on his property to expand the land area used for bird cages. He lost a multi-year legal challenge with the South Florida Water Management District and faces the consequences of a state court order that has found him in continuous and chronic contempt for not complying with the court judgment to restore the wetlands on his property.
Loxahatchee Groves held a workshop and provided several town council meetings for all residents to express their opinions regarding the location of a Palm Beach State College campus at corner of B Road and Southern Blvd. After this was done, and ordinances approving the college campus location were passed, Palm Beach State College purchased the new 75-acre campus property for $4.5 million. McLendon then tried to use a petition to call for a referendum vote to overturn the ordinances. He went further with state court actions to repeal the ordinances. While McLendon’s efforts failed, he was exposing the town (and taxpayers) to a well-publicized $4.5 million requirement to purchase the land from Palm Beach State College if it could not be used for the new campus.
After the town’s special magistrate heard evidence and ordered McLendon to correct a recurring nuisance noise code violation in the operation of his commercial aviary, McLendon unsuccessfully appealed the magistrate’s order in state court. Not satisfied with this result, McLendon sued the town in federal court alleging selective code enforcement and again failed. He continues to ignore the initial magistrate’s order to bring his property into compliance with the nuisance noise code. Likely, this will involve further hearings and town fines and enforcement proceedings.
In 2015, McLendon had a litigation dispute with the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s Office regarding whether his raising of exotic birds for sale as pets qualified as an agricultural land use. The court decision was another loss. Essentially, the court held that McLendon’s aviary was a commercial exotic bird pet kennel that did not qualify as an agricultural land use. This court decision now jeopardizes aviaries that want to qualify for Florida’s right to farm protections.
McLendon’s campaign sign slogan is “keep it rural,” but he is “reckless rural” with poor judgment involving litigation that has adverse consequences for many residents other than just Todd McLendon.
John Ryan, Loxahatchee Groves
Editor’s note: Mr. Ryan is a member of the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District Board of Supervisors.