Electing Dave Kerner would give the Palm Beach County Commission a major upgrade.
The District 3 incumbent, Shelley Vana, has compiled a disappointing record on development during her eight years. And in August, she got just 30 percent of the vote in her attempt to remain in public life as property appraiser.
As we noted when endorsing him in the Democratic primary, Kerner — an attorney with the firm Schuler, Halvorson & Weisser — disagreed with all those bad votes on development projects in the west-central part of the county. Kerner said he also would have voted against allowing a Wawa store/gas station at Hypoluxo and High Ridge roads.
The commission just approved that project, which is within District 3. Vana went along, despite strong opposition from constituents who fear the project will harm their single-family neighborhood, which has a charming country character despite being near an Interstate 95 interchange.
Sean Hogan, the No Party Affiliation candidate who is running against Kerner, said the Wawa controversy drew him into race. Hogan lives just north of the location. A former mortgage broker who lost his job during the recession and had to declare, and emerge from bankruptcy, Hogan said he now buys houses after foreclosure and sells them to “first-time homebuyers.”
Hogan, though, is unprepared for service on the commission. He has served on no civic boards. He wants to conduct a forensic audit on the budget. Such audits, though, happen before court hearings or if there is legitimate suspicion of criminal conduct. Hogan would be more credible if he had actually studied the budget.
Fortunately, voters have a good alternative in Kerner. He has spent four years in the Florida House, which has helped him understand the relationship between state government and the counties. A former police officer, he has made law enforcement issues a specialty. The sheriff’s office comprises roughly half of the county’s operating budget.
Like Hogan, Kerner opposes the use of John Prince Park for a spring training stadium. Kerner supports the one-cent sales tax increase. Hogan doesn’t.
District 3 includes Lake Worth, Palm Springs and suburban areas west of I-95 south almost to Boynton Beach Boulevard. It is one of the less affluent districts, which means that it needs especially good representation.
Kerner would provide it, and he could be part of a progressive shift countywide. The Sun Sentinel recommends Dave Kerner for Palm Beach County Commission District 3.