It’s Time To Vote

Election Day is tomorrow, March 19.

Note: Today’s blog is a little bit different. I have a co-author for this one. Her name is Judy Mollica and she’s wonderful. Judy is the president of Friends of Delray and the host of their video series which I highly recommend you check out on Youtube. Just search Friends of Delray and you’ll find several interesting interviews with locals on a variety of topics. Here’s our thoughts on the Delray election, which is tomorrow. We hope you vote.

If you go the home page of Friends of Delray ( you will find a few sentences that sum up who we are. Our reason for being.

“Friends of Delray is a diverse group of Delray Beach residents and supporters who have come together in the belief that our community thrives best when we work together to preserve our city’s unique sense of place and identity.”

We believe in community. We believe in collaboration and robust debate. We believe you can have both.

The next sentence on the site frames the challenge of living and working in Delray Beach in 2024.

“Our successes have created a quality of life many of us could not have imagined.  Yet success brings new challenges along with it.”

There’s no doubt that Delray Beach is a very special place. We have a rich history and many assets that other cities envy: a walkable and vibrant downtown, historic neighborhoods that ooze charm, a beautiful beach and an array of organizations and people who get up every day with the goal of making this a better place for all.

But those very assets have a flip side.

How do we manage a downtown that has become a regional attraction and keep its charm intact? How do ‘mom and pop’ businesses pay rents that in some cases exceed $100 a square foot?

How do we strengthen and protect historic neighborhoods? How do we create housing opportunities for families, young professionals, working people and our children who may want to come home after college to build a life?

Of course, there are more issues to address: sea level rise, the successful completion of projects funded by bonds approved last year, education and the future of Old School Square.

Very little, if any, of these subjects have been touched on during this election season. And that’s a shame. The voters deserve better.

Instead, we have seen an endless barrage of negativity about candidates and frankly about our hometown. If you didn’t know better, and just read what is being said via flyers and on social media, you would think that Delray Beach is a horrible, soulless place.

It’s not.

You would think it’s a mean place. It is not.

We talk about being a “village by the sea” and that is a wonderful, warm, and evocative description.

But we tend to talk about the vision of a village by the sea solely through the lens of development and change.

It hurts when our favorite places close or change hands (pun intended Hands was a 100-year staple downtown) and we believe that all development should be scrutinized to ensure that it fits in with our rules and design sensibilities. But we should also acknowledge that Delray has tough rules relative to height and density, especially compared with our neighbors. There is NO group even suggesting that we should raise the height limit downtown or anywhere else for that matter.

We will never be Miami or Fort Lauderdale. We will never be West Palm Beach or even Boynton Beach, which allows much bigger buildings than our city will ever entertain.

Still, everything begins and ends with the five people we elect to the commission. Get it right and good things happen. Get it wrong…. well you can figure it out. Either way, we must improve the tone of the town.

The fact that we are locked in a cycle marked by the politics of personal destruction ought to give us all pause. Because this becomes a spiral to the bottom.

Not only will good people not run for office, but they will also shy away from the process entirely which means serving on boards, volunteering for key non-profits etc. We would argue this is already happening. In fact, this is the very reason Friends of Delray was formed. We wanted to provide fact-based information on important issues. We wanted to bring in subject area experts to discuss issues and hopefully stimulate more conversation.

We are proud of what we have accomplished and know we must do more. But we are also dismayed by the toxic politics in our town.

We have seen PAC’s use racist dog whistles, employ homophobia and other fear mongering tactics to sway voters.

We are not advocating that we turn politics into some sort of genteel afternoon tea; that’s unrealistic.  So, if you are a bully, you should be called out for your behavior. If you have a past you should expect it to surface and if you have voted poorly or made mistakes you should be called to account. Issues are fair game.

Tough debate on the issues is needed, but we seem fixated on personalities, feuds, and tribal alliances. It’s not working.

This kind of politics isn’t village like. This kind of politics doesn’t address our needs and it won’t position us to seize opportunities or solve problems.


  1. Richard Lucas says

    You are the source of the toxic politics. The emperor has no clothes and your cabal is about to lose tomorrow. Sleep well!

  2. Frances Bourque says

    Dear Friends,
    Tomorrow’s election seems straightforward to me .You hopefully vote for the best candidate, not against ! You vote for the most qualified, experienced, forward thinking, and fair minded, community, responsive candidate , you have had the opportunity to observe.
    You also do not vote for two former commissioners and now candidates who have experience, but used it to destroy a sacred Crown , in our City, without cause, after 35+ years of donor and volunteer contributions and countless grants from the State of Florida ! Gone! And without a plan! Accusations were made and NEVER EVER proven! In that process,millions of contributions were lost to the City!
    Now the Citizens, you the taxpayers, have to carry that burden. Close to $ 10,000,000 lost in grants and contributions!
    The pride and emotional harm, the lost programming, the contribution of “ the heart and soul of Delray” to our citizens can not be measured or replaced!
    Julie Casale and Shirley Johnson do not deserve YOUR VOTE!

    And as nice as a candidate may be personally, this is not an election to redeem a life where injustices may have occurred. While it is sad and I hate all injustice, it is not a reason to vote FOR someone. A person whose dedication and time of service and qualifications must be compared in an election.
    The candidate that does deserve your VOTE is Jim Chard who’s been showing up, rolling up his sleeves and brings to the Dais , years of life time experiences poised to do the job before our Commission, and has added community involvement to a high degree of experience many years. He knows and understands your “ Villiage by the Sea “! And if you are on boards, not for profits, educational experiences for our youth, community events for every organization, sitting at a commission meeting and listening, making sure our bikers are safe , bus shelters for all of us and serving on anything that he feels he can be a facilator, your name is JIM Chard! He is real and He is Ready! He has a PhD in community service. Vote for Jim!!!
    And lastly and perhaps most importantly, when a community is fortunate to have the opportunity to elect an experienced 6 year
    Candidate, who has served without blemish on most boards and entities who has gained him unparalleled experience , as well as being a part of the important decisions, from the Dais, given and spent time is multiple activities , which is life’s dearest commodity, You Do Not Throw that experience away! Period!!
    And , until this election, have you heard anything but compliments for this father and family man , than positive comments for his service?
    You do not vote for a “former mayor” who failed to listen to over 10,000 citizens , when Tom Carney was invited to join a Mayor ‘s letter in support of OSS against the City’s termination, and historically became the ONLY mayor not to do so. That is not listening to what may be your future constituency! Tom is my friend and I enjoy him and his beautiful wife. But in this most important issue, I can not support his judgement!

    RYAN BOYLSTON is ready and prepared and he has earned my VOTE FOR MAYOR.
    I have been volunteering in Delray for over 40 plus years, and from my Vantage Point of OLD SCHOOL SQUARE , if I have not met a candidate and observed their commitment to DELRAY and its sense of place, he\ she IS NOT READY!!!NOT YET!
    Ryan Boylston, Jim Chard, and Nick Coppola are Ready!
    They are Ready NOW!!
    Please VOTE Tomorrow!!! Thank you .

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