Friday, August 6, 2010

Campaign update #8


We've noted on this blog that Mary McCarty, Warren Newell and former WPB City Commissioner Jeff Koons were active opponents of term limits before their convictions for corruption. But another former WPB City Commissioner has broken new ground: he has taken to the street to oppose term limits after his prison sentence for corruption!

Jim Exline, who spent 10 months in prison for corruption, is back on the street collecting signatures to overturn WPB's 8-year term limit. "I believe (Frankel) has been a good mayor," Exline told Jose Lambiet's Page 2 Live. "No one works harder. I’ve never seen a mayor who’s this dedicated."

Exline misses the point. This isn't about Mayor Frankel or the March election, it is about a system that best serves the city over time. It is about rotation in office, competitive elections, dampening official arrogance, citizen participation in the process -- and discouraging corruption!

(Thanks to the Palm Beach Post for the photo.)


Former WPB City Commissioner David Smith and another author of West Palm Beach's charter, Bob Morrow, look back at their handiwork of 19 years ago and largely like what they see. The strong mayor form of government, complemented by an 8-year term limit, is better than the old commission-city manager form with an unelected mayor. The voters approved the new structure back in 1991. There has been no move by citizens to change it and a recent politician-led petition drive to do so is failing.

Along with the benefits of the strong mayor system, the danger was always that so much power is concentrated in the mayor. That's why they included the 8-year term limit. "A third term would give you that much more power," Morrow told the Palm Beach Post in July. "Then you become like a king."

Smith agreed and added that he still is concerned about mayoral power under the system. "I didn't think the commission would absolutely fall in line behind the mayor, who would bully them around. You need a strong commission and a strong mayor, and I'm not so sure the commission has been that strong over the years."

We'll find out if they are strong enough on Monday, Aug. 9, at 4 pm when the city commission meets to decide whether to cave in to the mayor and place her anti-term limits on the ballot even after it failed to collect sufficient signatures.


Rick Shepherd, chair of the Keep WPB Term Limits Committee, appeared on WBZT AM 1230's "That's My Point" program with Mark Boykin on Thursday. He is scheduled to appear in a segment on WPTV Channel 5 today. A short recap of the West Palm Beach saga -- with a picture of Rick Shepherd in action -- appears on the national No Uncertain Terms blog.

What we are not seeing is letters to the editor of the local daily, the Palm Beach Post. Please email a letter this morning -- right now! -- if you want to see it appear before Monday's critical West Palm Beach City Commission meeting. Letters can be sent to


On Thursday, Philip Blumel updated the West Palm Beach situation at the August meeting of the Central Palm Beach County Republican Club. Many of the members, veterans of the successful 2002 petition campaign to limit the terms of Palm Beach County commissioners to eight years in office, scoffed at the failure of the mayor's petition drive to collect 5,800 valid signatures when the earlier effort collected 65,000 signatures. "The people have spoken on this by not signing the petitions," said one of the 40-or-so attendees afterward. A couple of the WPB members reported they plan to attend the Aug. 9 city commission meeting.


Better late than never. Sorry for the wait. Hopefully they'll be out of date as of Monday, but please drive around with them over the weekend. They are high quality stickers and will easily peel off your vehicle after the vote.