Editorial: Elect Shoaf, Materio to West Palm Commission


West Palm Beach City Commission candidates Kelly Shoaf and Shanon Materio.

With development, traffic and livability issues looming large in West Palm Beach, voters citywide on Tuesday will decide on two seats on the city commission — the one for District 1, on the city’s north end, and for District 5, on the south end.

DISTRICT 1: Either Kelly Shoaf or Martina Tate-Walker will fill the seat being vacated by Sylvia Moffett, who has declined to seek another term after representing the district since 2011. Neither now holds public office.

Shoaf, 34, is a vice president of purchasing for a hotel real-estate investment trust. She’s secretary of the Old Northwood Neighborhood Association, a board member of West Palm 100 and on the planning committee for the Marathon of the Palm Beaches.

Tate-Walker, 69, is a pastor for the Omnipotent Outreach Ministry and a talk-show host. She serves on the city’s Community Action Board and Citizen Observatory Patrol, and unsuccessfully ran against Moffet for this seat in 2016.

Both say they’re passionate about their neighborhoods and wish to reduce crime, foster more-affordable housing and encourage economic growth, though differing on emphasis. Shoaf talks about “the kind of jobs that retain talent” and attract young professionals; Tate-Walker mentions jobs for those without higher education.

Shoaf is the clear choice. She displays a surer grasp of specific city issues and a broader vision for city development, such as imagining North Broadway as an arts or tech district. She has worked with local groups, including Inner City Innovators, to counter youth violence.

Shoaf’s financial background, which includes an MBA from the University of Florida, will be an asset on the commission. Advocating smart growth, she says that she supports arts, tech and innovative districts to foster economic growth in the city.

DISTRICT 5: Commissioner Shanon Materio, who has represented the district since 2013, is facing stiff competition from political newcomer Christina D’Elosua Lambert.

Lambert, 38, is former president and CEO of the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County and former executive director of Leadership Palm Beach County. She’s now a productivity strategist for a company that helps professionals work more efficiently. Her city involvements extend from the Forum Club, Sunfest Board and Grassy Waters Conservancy to the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches.

Lambert claims that Materio has accomplished little during her term until recently, when the commissioner helped secure a new deal for the city’s neglected golf course. But Materio has a persuasive explanation: it took almost five years to assemble all the pieces of the deal, among which were a partial redesign of the course, a new boutique hotel/clubhouse, parking for next-door Forest Hill High School and the fate of a vacated shopping plaza. The payoff, beyond reviving a beloved amenity, is a projected $1.8 million annually for parks and recreation.

Materio, 61, has deep roots in the district as an owner of a longtime business there, McMow Art Glass, and a founder of the South End Neighborhood Association. “I’ve lived here for 45 years,” she says. “I’m the people’s commissioner.”

RELATED: Editorial: 25-story One Flagler too much for West Palm waterfront

Materio cast one of the three “no” votes in September that scuttled the 25-story One Flagler, a decision we applaud. Lambert, rather than saying she would reject the tower if it came up again, told The Post Editorial Board that the city urgently needs more Class A office space and that she favors “innovative business districts” like the one that would have permitted One Flagler.

The residents of the district deserve to benefit from Materio’s feisty defense of their interests. The Post endorses her for another term.


Read all of the Post’s endorsements online at www.MyPalmBeachPost.com/2018-endorsements.

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