Wednesday, November 22, 2017

After the Qualifying Period, City of Lake Worth elections, the “pitfalls” of a runoff and also, “What is a shill?”

Also below is “Another look back to 2016–2017 election season. . .” which got quite a lot of attention on this blog recently. Of note is the Qualifying Period to get ones name on the ballot ends tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 12th at noon. Who is already in the three races for election day on March 13th, 2018? Use this link to find out from the City’s website.

Also cited in the post below, “Another look back. . .” were three candidates running in the 2016–2017 elections, William Joseph, Maryann Polizzi, and Ellie Whittey. In no way do I believe Joseph, Polizzi, or Whittey was not in the race to win. In fact, in the case of Mr. Joseph, wouldn’t be the least surprised to see him on the ballot again next year.

I’ve met and talked with Mr. Joseph and know for a fact Polizzi tried her very best to win. Of all the candidates Whittey was the most, well, let’s say interesting. But Whittey had the endorsement of the mayor and don’t think Mayor Pam Triolo would ever tolerate for long having a ‘shill’ in any Lake Worth election.

However, as evidenced in previous City of Lake Worth elections, there have indeed been shills.

A “shill”, also called others things that can’t be mentioned on this blog, is someone who qualifies to get on the ballot but has no intention of winning — but just to get a certain percentage of the vote — whatever that number is deemed necessary to stop someone else from getting “50% + 1”.

In some cities and towns in Palm Beach County, to win an election outright you only need to get the majority of the vote to win. So if five or six people are running for a seat on a commission or council the winner would only need 30–40% to win, or maybe even less. However, in most cities in PBC the winner needs 50% of the vote +1 which would then trigger an automatic recount (the winner needs a margin over ½ of 1% to avoid a recount).

That’s where the shill comes in.

The shill may be in the race to help someone get 50% + 1 or, in other cases, the shill’s job is to damage another candidate and force a run-off election between the two top vote-getters that would be held two weeks after the general election. If the candidate being targeted is politically damaged enough two weeks may not be enough time to recover and beat the second-place finisher.

Now it gets more complicated: What if people think there is a shill in the race but instead all of the candidates are truly in it to win it ? And now, the most complicated possibility of all that any serious candidate needs to plan for: the dangers and pitfalls of a runoff election!

This topic will be discussed and debated quite a lot leading up to the elections in March 2018 if one or maybe all three of the elections for mayor and commissioners in Districts 1 and 3 have three or more candidates. But remember this: the shill doesn’t always have to be the third person in the race.

You see, some people like to plan ahead here in the City of Lake Worth.

Without further ado. . .

Below is a blog post from yesterday, just in case you missed this, about City of Lake Worth elections and with the Qualifying Period less than a week away (Nov. 28th at noon). . .

“Another look back to 2016–2017 election season in the City of Lake Worth: The curious case of a District 4 candidate.”

Of course Mr. Herman Robinson, now Commissioner Robinson, won the District 4 race quite handily last March. And Mr. Omari Hardy was able to garner enough votes to avoid a run-off with former District 2 Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD.

If you recall, the editor at The Palm Beach Post called McVoy a “gadfly” in the endorsement for Hardy. No one will ever know if the ‘gadfly’ label hurt the three-term McVoy (first elected in 2010) all that much, but one things for sure, it didn’t help.

Well, guess what! We get to do it all
over again on March 13th, 2018.

The big difference this time are those elected next March will begin serving three-year terms instead of a two-year term like it’s been for so many decades in this City. And if you haven’t heard by now the Qualifying Period to get ones name on the ballot begins on Tuesday, November 28th at noon and ends at noon on Tuesday, December 12th. Click on this link to learn more about the Qualifying Period.

[FYI: Click on this link for the boundaries of Districts 1–4. The mayor of Lake Worth is the honorable Pam Triolo. Who represents each one of the four districts? To find out use this link.]

On March 13th, 2018, will be the elections for mayor of Lake Worth and for City commissioner in Districts 1 and 3. If you do decide to get into the race here is just one of the things you need to prepare and practice for:

The Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents’ Council debate (or maybe debates) at the Lake Worth Playhouse.

Now for the curious case of District 4 candidate
Ellie Whittey last March:

Ellie Whittey didn’t get mentioned a whole lot on this blog after qualifying and leading up to Election Day. Frankly, could never quite figure out why she was in the race to begin with. What Whittey had though was the endorsement of Mayor Pam Triolo and a message, or platform, that few really understood and maybe that’s why Whittey got less than 10% of the vote.

But. . . everywhere Whittey went she attracted a large crowd and much enthusiasm. However, on election day all that enthusiasm never translated into many votes.

In a curious twist, Mayor Triolo also endorsed
William Joseph as well:
The “Question” on the ballot last March was to increase term limits for City electeds from two years to three years. The referendum passed convincingly.

The District 4 race between Robinson, Polizzi, and Whittey was already an odd one to begin with — a rarity in Lake Worth — an “open seat” election due to then-Commissioner Ryan Maier exiting his re-election bid. Robinson ended up winning outright avoiding a run-off and Ellie Whittey came in a very distant third.

What may have ultimately sealed the fate of Whittey was a claim she made about the Lake Worth Casino complex at the Beach which was already a debacle to begin with. And to make matters worse she then doubled-down and made the same claim again in front of a packed City Commission meeting in January 2016 during public comment: 

“I can understand the hesitation of wanting to get involved with this company [Morganti] legally. Morganti is not a United States owned company. They're based out of Athens. So again, they don’t have to comply with our rules. I would be hesitant. I don't believe people knew this going into this contract. Again, we learn from our mistakes. NEVER [Whittey raises voice] have a contract with a company which is not an American-owned company. Because again, what can we do when they mess up? They don’t have to comply with our laws as you know. Thank you.”

So was Morganti, the construction company that built the newer Casino in 2012, replacing the previous structure at the Beach, going to skip town and screw over Lake Worth? Maybe go back to Athens and give our City the shaft? No. Not at all. Whittey said, “They don’t have to comply with our laws.”


The public, the City of Lake Worth electeds and staff that were working so hard to fix all this mess, as well as Morganti, all deserved an apology but they never got one. Unfortunately, mis- and disinformation leading up to elections is all-too-common in this City. Like the rumors spread on social media days prior to Election Day that Mr. Omari Hardy wasn’t a resident of this City and therefore wasn’t “qualified” to be on the ballot. Total nonsense.

In the end I think all this was a hopeful sign. The voters seemed to be paying very close attention to what’s going on in this City, and instead of acting viscerally, were making their choices wisely.

The message is this: Pay close attention to what is going on and attend as many debates and neighborhood meetings with candidates the NAPC will be hosting following the conclusion of the Qualifying Period on December 12th. And make sure to do your homework too when an incumbent or challenger makes a claim about this or that, like this mailer from the 2016 election season:

Likely the silliest political mailer in the
history of Lake Worth politics.
This mailer by the Frank McAlonan campaign targeting Commissioner Andy Amoroso ended up generating more jokes than votes. It was called the “Five million dollar mystery”.

And lastly, sort of on topic, do you know why politicians like to say, “That’s a great question”? Click on this link to find out.