Greens Win First Election of 2006

Great news for the Green Party as they win their first election of 2006, a seat on the Lake Worth City Commission in Florida…

A 29-year-old mentor of high school students who believes decision-making should come from a community of equals, not from “top-down authoritative government,” beat out a 50-year-old backed by big business Tuesday night.

First-time candidate Cara Jennings grabbed more than 60 percent of the votes in the District 2 race against Jorge Goyanes.

Jennings, a part-time mentor at Forest Hill High, raised about $9,000 during her campaign, mostly from friends and family. Her competitor, former head of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, was the highest campaign fund-raiser, collecting nearly three times as much.

While Goyanes was financed and backed by the Hispanic community, developers and big sugar companies, Jennings’ supporters included the Sarasota Green Party and local chapters of The National Organization for Women, the AFL-CIO and the Sierra Club.

Enjoying her victory party at the Little Owl Bar after the votes were tallied, Jennings said she was thrilled to have won on a platform that addressed citizens’ concerns on development, crime and youth programs.

Jennings said her first order of business will be to follow up with voters to get “more concrete ideas from them on new projects they’d like to see happen in the city.” She said she also will review the city’s recent electric utility upgrade, carry out the city’s master plan and review the city’s recreation programs.

The other winner of the night was bank manager Dave Vespo, who garnered support from current and former city board members. He defeated retired X-ray technician Barbara Aubel for the District 4 seat with 58 percent of the vote.

Both seats come with a two-year term, $7,200 a year and a $7,200 expense account.

They will be sworn in on Friday.

Celebrating at The Cottage in downtown Lake Worth, Vespo, who has sat on a few city boards and headed the city’s chamber of commerce, said his first focus will be the electric utility.

He said the city has to regain the people’s trust and needs to revisit its recent decision to convert to a 26-kilovolt system. After that, he said, he’d like to focus on attracting businesses to the city’s commercial corridor.

Both Jennings and Vespo have said they would support the master plan and would like to see the city keep control of its utility plant. Vespo wants to see development that reflects the desire of the people, which means limiting height, he said. His competitor Aubel campaigned for controlled growth and making the building department more user friendly.

Jennings, a longtime affordable housing advocate, has said the city has an obligation to provide houses that low- and moderate-income residents can buy. The city also should consider alternative energy sources such as solar power to reduce electric rates, she said.

Goyanes said he wanted to put beach redevelopment on the front burner, as well as initiatives to help migrant workers who are often targeted for carrying cash.

Tuesday afternoon, campaigners outside the First Congregational Church on K Street said they were hopeful about the day’s turnout. Many were disappointed by the March 14 election, which attracted 2,569 voters, around 500 less than the past two elections.

On Tuesday, 2,574 voters showed — not too bad for a Lake Worth runoff that, with the exception of last year’s mayoral race, usually attracts about 1,500 voters.

2 Responses to “Greens Win First Election of 2006”

  1. undercover_ararchist Says:

    The Green Party in my state doesn’t like to run white people against ethnic or racial minorities… Even if those minorities are conservative incumbents.

  2. jack-a-dandy Says:

    Is this a partisan or nonpartisan office?

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