Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Public in Lake Worth Beach needs another referendum on ballot next year.

A ballot referendum eliminating run-off elections.

In other words, winner take all on Election Day. Because Commissioner Herman Robinson missed getting 50.05% yesterday by just 1.25% of the vote there will be a run-off election on March 26th. Fifty percent of the vote plus .05% would have guaranteed a win without a recount for the incumbent in District 4.

Prepare yourselves everyone.

The next two weeks could very well be the worst of City politics you will ever experience.

At the end of this blog post is a link to what happened back in 2006, a run-off election that tore this City apart.

Here are the election results from
the District 4 race yesterday:

Commissioner Herman Robinson: 48.8%
Tom Copeland: 27.4
William Joseph: 12.0
Richard Guercio: 11.8

Tom Copeland couldn’t even muster 30% of the vote and Copeland was considered a strong challenger to Commissioner Robinson. If either Messrs. Joseph or Guercio were not on the ballot Robinson would most certainly have been re-elected yesterday.

Is this the kind of politics you want in the City of Lake Worth Beach?

Stack the ballot to force a run-off election?

Fully expect Commissioner Robinson and Mr. Copeland to keep to the high ground. But that’s not the problem.

The problem is how much control do these two men have over their campaign team? How much control do they have over their campaign manager? What will William Joseph and Richard Guercio do in the next two weeks? Has Commissioner Herman Robinson been the target all along?

Frankly, as much as the public decries money in politics campaign contributions are a way to gauge a candidates’ support from the public and business community and by far Commissioner Robinson has raised the most campaign funding. No other candidate was even close.

Now it’s back to campaign fundraising and yard signs and mailers and the knocks on the door. All because of just a few votes? Is this what you expected yesterday?

And it is worth noting Mr. Copeland taking such a strong position on a new pool at the Beach did educate many of the public about that long-standing problem. Copeland vehemently opposes a new pool at the Lake Worth Beach and he should be respected for taking such a strong position.

How did we get here? A two-week run-off?

Robinson announced his intention to run for re-election a year ago, in March 2018.

Then in September 2018 Tom Copeland qualified to run for election in District 4, then William Joseph qualified in October and then Richard Guercio in December.

Did Joseph and Guercio believe they had a chance to win the election in District 4? Maybe. But what they most certainly did is make certain that Commissioner Robinson would not win on Election Day yesterday. But it was real close. Herman nearly pulled off the impossible.

Now because of a few votes our City has to go through a run-off election on March 26th.

Remember, Mr. Copeland received the ‘coveted’ endorsement from The Palm Beach Post editorial board. And Copeland didn’t even get 30% of the vote!

The Post endorsement for Copeland was a non-factor and in 2017 the editor(s) called it a toss-up between Commissioner Herman Robinson and Maryann Polizzi. Herman won running away.

Once again, a run-off election can be one of the most devastating things for a City to ever experience and so many new and recently-new residents of this City have never experienced a run-off.

But many long-time residents recall well what a run-off election can be. It’s not fun. Two candidates and two campaigns fighting endlessly for two weeks non-stop. Two more weeks of yard signs, mailers and knocks on the door and what you have left afterwards is a bloodied and bruised winner who has to try and pick up all the pieces.

So that’s why this City of Lake Worth Beach needs another referendum on the ballot next year, a referendum to eliminate run-off elections. Make it winner take all on Election Day. And that would also go a long way in making sure the field does not get flooded again with candidates that don’t care whether or not they win or lose.

Just like what happened in the District 4 race this year. And what happened in District 2 race back in 2017 too when Mr. Omari Hardy avoided a run-off by less than twenty votes in a race between then-Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD, and William Joseph.

Yes. That would be the very same Mr. Joseph in the District 4 race this year. In 2017 he got 8.92% of the vote in District 2 and two years later received 12% of the vote in District 4.

If you are interested in learning more about what happened in 2006, when four candidates ran in District 2 back in 2006, learn more by reading a blog post from September last year.

The run-off election that followed has haunted this City for thirteen years.