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A true public servant, Karen has a well-earned reputation as a strong force for sustainable practices that positioned the county for long-term success. An effective commissioner for district needs, Marcus has championed a countywide perspective that leaves no resident behind.

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 BREAKING NEWS! Republican Karen Marcus for County Commission endorsed by The Palm Beach Post.

She knows how to get our economy moving, deal with Covid-19, and protect our special North County way of life. 

Post endorsements in the Palm Beach County Commission races.

Before March, Palm Beach County appeared to be humming.

A zesty economy, bolstered by real-estate projects and record tourism. Long-needed capital improvements coming off the drawing board. A precipitous drop in crime, especially violent crime.

Even unresolved issues such as workforce housing looked to finally be tamed by fresh money coming from the Florida Legislature.

But that was before COVID-19 changed everything — including the tenor of the Aug. 18 election. With no fewer than four seats on the seven-member County Commission on the ballot, the top question has gone from “Who best to steer the county’s growth over the next four years?” to “Who best to steer it through an unprecedented health and economic crisis?”

With about 30,000 reported cases and 750 deaths, this county is officially a COVID-19 hot spot. So far, the commission has done an admirable job of managing an excruciating situation — but profound challenges lie ahead.

We need experience, and the knowledge that comes with it, to get through this. That’s why the Palm Beach Post Editorial Board is endorsing Republican Karen Marcus and Democrat Maria Sachs to take the soon-to-empty seats in District 1 and District 5; and County Mayor Dave Kerner and Commissioner Mack Bernard — both Democrats — to retain their posts in Districts 3 and 7.

DISTRICT 1: Few candidates bring Marcus’ depth of knowledge to the dais. Her opponents — first-term Palm Beach Gardens Commissioner Maria G. Marino and former Tequesta Councilman Calvin Turnquest — don’t come close.

Marcus, seeking a return to the seat she held for 28 years before yielding it to the now-departing Hal Valeche, should be a major asset as the county deals with impending budget difficulties from the virus crisis. While she wants to reopen the economy, she says she wants to do so “safely” by “trusting the science.” For example, she told the Post Editorial Board, she supports the mandatory mask order because it gave the private sector the muscle needed to enforce common sense.

While out of office, Marcus has stayed active in county issues and still displays a granular knowledge of a broad range of policies. Beyond looking for new revenue streams to address the budget, she said she intends to focus on climate-change resiliency — key, she says, to the county’s future.

DISTRICT 5: Sachs, a former state senator from south Palm Beach County, is running to replace term-limited Commissioner Mary Lou Berger. Like her opponent, Boca Raton attorney David Shiner, Sachs is wary of further development in the Agricultural Reserve. But she pushes back against the “patchwork” way in which development has been allowed and urges a “new comprehensive plan of development” in the politically and environmentally sensitive area.

Sachs told the Editorial Board that as a resident of the Ag Reserve, she would insist that any new plan “include input from residents and community organizations.”

Sachs says she has lost friends to COVID-19 and seen others hospitalized. “We can’t approach any solutions [concerning the pandemic] with politics involved,” she said. “That’s why the mask order was right; the vote showed a unified voice for the county.”

DISTRICT 3: Central to that “unified voice” has been the stewardship of Kerner as county mayor during this crisis. The first-term commissioner has been a consistently calm voice who has sought — and often achieved — collaboration.

“We’re in a good place right now,” Kerner told the Editorial Board. “We’ve got the temperature down and buy-in from the community because we’ve made public health the main priority.”

Beyond that, the former state representative says he expects the commission to continue to push back against “over-development.”

“That doesn’t mean we don’t have development,” he added, “it just means that we aren’t seen as a rubber stamp because we need real workforce housing. It’s okay to say no.”

His Republican challenger, Jonathan Maples, did not accept the Editorial Board’s invitation for an interview. Write-in candidate Maria Garcia is also on the ballot.

DISTRICT 7: No one on the county commission has more emphatically ensured that all residents are considered than Bernard. Exhibit A: The first-term commissioner pushed through a long-sought-after racial disparity study for fair and equitable rewarding of county contracts and creating jobs.

He reminded the Editorial Board that when discussing the future of the Ag Reserve, someone must also speak up for farmers still working there. He said racial injustice must not fall off the commission’s radar.

And as county mayor in 2019, Bernard displayed keen leadership skills when Hurricane Dorian threatened our shores after devastating the Bahamas.

Bernard, a former state representative and Delray Beach commissioner, faces write-in candidate Micaela Wichman and two no-party affiliation candidates: Leonard L. Serratore and Caneste Succe.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/article/20200726/OPINION/200728665

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