Editorial: Lake Park has new voting system but no change
By Andrew Marra
It’s been more than three years since Lake Park, under pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice, put in place an unusual system for electing town commissioners in an attempt to make it easier for black candidates to win office.
On Tuesday, all four commissioners, excluding the mayor, will be elected at once, not in individual races but in a free-for-all that has no parallel in Palm Beach County. Under the system, Lake Park residents will vote for one candidate from among the six on the ballot. The top four vote-getters win three-year terms.
This will be the second time the town commission has been elected under this system. Unfortunately, it has yet to give the town its first African-American commissioner, even though blacks make up roughly half the town’s population. Both this year and in 2010, no black residents chose to run.
Among the six candidates who are running this year, we recommend Kimberly Glas-Castro. Ms. Castro, a land-planning consultant and former planner for Palm Beach Gardens, has lived in Lake Park for nearly 20 years. Her husband, Paul Castro, is a former mayor. She has served on the town’s tree board and the historical society, and is currently on the planning and zoning board.
Ms. Glas-Castro traces her decision to run to a moment when, as a finalist for the job of town manager last year, a town commissioner took note of her land-planning experience and asked her to get more involved in Lake Park issues. She is concerned that the town’s leadership has suffered from “mixed priorities” and “mixed direction.” She would like to get rid of the town’s parking meters, opposes closing Lakeshore Drive by the town marina, and thinks the marina’s parking area needs to be redesigned.
If Ms. Glas-Castro wins a seat on the commission, she will be joined by three of her five rivals. Among these, the most qualified to join her are: incumbent Steve Hockman, Michael O’Rourke and Diane Bernhard.
for The Post Editorial Board