Here’s what we think…

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The Delray Newspaper 2020 municipal election plan

The Delray Newspaper will begin covering the municipal election in this month’s edition.

We will continue coverage in our March edition before the March 17 race.

This month we have featured a Q and A section with the Seat 2 candidates. Next month, we will feature Seat 4. We have included their responses verbatim to our questions.

Delray Beach is at a pivotal point in its history.

While the city has many wonderful attributes and strengths there are major issues that need to be decided if we are going to continue to be a quality place to live, work, learn and play.

We know those words are a cliché, but they do sum up the challenges that cities face and they do create a challenge for policymakers responsible for keeping the city on a successful path forward.

So let’s take a look at those elements and lay out the challenges and opportunities ahead. Perhaps, you can use this as a guide when it comes to deciding who to support on March 17.

Live: Is Delray Beach a good place to live? What are the quality of life issues that concern us and do the candidates have a good idea how to tackle them or do they talk in generalities or clichés? For example, nobody likes traffic but how do you address the issue? What policies do candidates recommend relative to parking, development, taxes, sea level rise and infrastructure needs?

Workforce housing remains an issue—but many candidates rail against density and multifamily housing. Yet, it seems far-fetched that we can increase the supply of attainable housing without increasing the supply. How do candidates propose to bridge the gap and offer opportunities to our work force? Do they have a plan? If not, why not?

Despite the foolish rants of climate change deniers, we can all see the impacts of rising sea levels and the danger a changing climate poses to our tax base and neighborhoods. But other than acknowledging the issue what will candidates do and how will they fund resiliency efforts.

Work: The Delray Newspaper has long opined on the horrible and costly turnover issue at City Hall and the culture of fear that exists as a result. While the turnaround falls on the shoulders of newly hired City Manager George Gretsas, a manager cannot do it alone. Culture starts at the top. And without commission support, city staff suffers. What will the candidates do to address this very real issue? Do they even acknowledge it?

Work also includes jobs and economic development. Our city’s Economic Development Office resigned last year and yet we haven’t seen any sense of urgency in staffing the office or coming up with policies that will encourage investment and jobs. We have seen the opposite—misguided Comp Plan policies relative to Floor Area Ratio, a too lengthy approval process and downtown codes that discourage affordability. Do the candidates agree? Do they understand the importance of economic development and creating opportunities or do they have an “I’m in the boat, pull up the ladder” mentality. Do they get that some neighborhoods need more help than others? If so, what specific policies would they suggest?

Learn: Education is not a core function of city government, but for decades Delray has always strived to be involved in its schools. And for good reason: our schools need our help and support. Where do the candidates stand on this issue? Will they support an education coordinator and involvement in schools? Do they see the connection between schools, quality of life and economic opportunity?

Play: Measured against the weighty issues of economic development, infrastructure needs, taxes and education it may seem that play isn’t important. But “play” which is another word for recreation, culture, art and fun is very important to the health and wealth of a city. Where do the candidates stand? Do they support Old School Square, festivals, the Arts Garage, youth sports leagues, adult recreation etc?

It’s important to know. We’ve had candidates who once elected, have turned on the very things that make Delray special. Do they support the extras? Or will they discourage/fight new ideas and events?