Who will replace Warren Newell?
While Gov. Charlie Crist has provided few clues about how he'll go about selecting a replacement for Palm Beach County Commissioner Warren Newell, local political operatives scrambled Wednesday to try to influence the appointment.Taylor has three strikes against him in my book. His age, I'd want someone more youthful. Two he's too close to Commissioner McCarty. We don't need any inbreeding on the County Commission. Thirdly Taylor is supported by local GOP leaders. I don't really trust Abrams judgment or any of his other colleagues like County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein.
Much of the county Republican Party establishment appeared to be lining up behind Boynton Beach Mayor Jerry Taylor. But Commissioner Karen Marcus, an early Crist ally when most other big-name local Republicans were backing Tom Gallagher's 2006 gubernatorial bid, endorsed west Boynton civic activist Dagmar Brahs for the appointment.
Taylor, 71, who worked 14 years as an aide to County Commissioner Mary McCarty, appeared to be the favorite of local Republican leaders.
Taylor "would be seamless. No learning curve required. ... He's above reproach," said Boca Raton Mayor Steven Abrams, a Republican who said a Crist emissary has already asked for his recommendations.
The Palm Beach Post editorialized today.
Though Gov. Crist has been more bipartisan than Jeb Bush, it will be a surprise if he picks a Democrat. Many Republican operatives favor Boynton Beach Mayor Jerry Taylor, who has said he would take the job. On Tuesday, Mayor Taylor said that his appointment would allow a "seamless transition." Yes, and that's the problem.The last thing we need is another Commissioner with dirty hands. So if not Taylor, who are the other possibilities for the vacant Newell seat?
For 14 years, Mayor Taylor was an aide to Commissioner Mary McCarty. With all the news about ex-Commissioner Tony Masilotti and now Warren Newell, it might be easy to forget that Commissioner McCarty has had ethics problems of her own. She was sanctioned for elections violations from a political stunt after the 2000 presidential recount. Then, she broke ethics laws by hitting up people who do business with the country for money to pay her legal bills from the elections investigation.
So, Mary McCarty represents what the county commission has become in the past two decades, not what it should be. Also, Mayor Taylor is in the middle of a controversy involving the Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency and charges of corruption in the city
Brahs, 49, was president of the influential Coalition of Boynton West Residential Associations from 1997 to 2000 before taking a job with developer Herb Kahlert. She works as a construction administrator overseeing the renovation of space for tenants in a Kahlert-owned shopping center and two office buildings.A carpetbagger. I mean in a County of over a million people, there has to be someone in the area. BTW the Post editorial board approves of Brahs if Crist were to select her. That's like the kiss of death so far as I'm concerned.
Brahs lives just outside commission District 3, but said she would rent a home in the district if she is appointed. A registered Republican who describes her views as "liberal" for the GOP, Brahs was approached by Democrats about switching parties to run against Newell in past elections.
In addition to Taylor and Brahs, Boynton Beach Vice Mayor Jose Rodriguez and former Lake Worth Mayor Tom Ramiccio have expressed interest in getting the appointment. Rodriguez and Ramiccio are Republicans.Vana is my State House Representative. As much I'd not mind her losing her state house seat, I'd prefer not seeing her on the Palm Beach County Commission even more.
Democrat Harriet Lerman, who nearly defeated then-Republican Newell in a 2004 commission race, and county Democratic Party Chairman Wahid Mahmood have also expressed interest in the appointment.
After speculation about a Newell resignation began months ago, Rodriguez and Lerman submitted applications to the governor's appointments office before the seat was vacant.
State Rep. Shelley Vana, D-Lantana, who plans to run for the seat in 2008, said Wednesday she isn't actively pursuing the appointment, but "if the governor called and said 'Hey, I want to appoint you,' I probably wouldn't turn him down."
Bottom line- Crist should appoint Tom Ramiccio. Harriet Lerman would be my second selection.
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