By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – The local City of Delray Beach elections will be held on March 9, 2021 with a mayoral contest between incumbent Shelly Petrolia and well-connected challenger Tracy Caruso. Also sitting Commissioners Adam Frankel and Ryan Boylston are facing opposition.
Politics in Delray Beach are unusually turbulent with nine city managers since 2013, the latest, George Gretsas, lasted just six months. Law suits and investigations are pervasive and City Commission Meetings often tense and heated.
In a statement, Mayor Petrolia wrote, “I am fully invested in Delray’s future, stepping up to serve first as City Commissioner for five years, and now as Mayor. It has truly been a great honor to represent our Village by-the-Sea for over seven years and with your support, I’m ready to serve a second term.”
Adding “My voting record speaks for itself – I have been a crusader for neighborhood improvements, a fiscally responsible guardian of your tax dollars and a steward of our history and environment.”
Tracy Caruso is married to Republican State Representative Mike Caruso, of the state’s 89th House district which includes Delray Beach. She is chairwoman of the historic preservation board, vice chairwoman of her condo association board and owns Delray Beach Executive Suites.
“We need to have a commission that gets along,” Caruso told the Palm Beach Post. “I am not a politician. I’m a business person who will try to run the city like a business. There has been a lack of civility for some time. The turnover rate of top administrators needs to be addressed.”
Tennille DeCoste, the city’s former human resources director, was the third candidate in the race, however she withdrew on December 10th. She said by social media, “Good evening to all of my supporters. I will be pulling out of the Mayor race to support and get behind Tracey Caruso. I ask all of my supporters to get behind Tracey.”
City Commissioner Adam Frankel will be defending his Seat 1 against Price Patton (who donated to Mayor Petrolia’s campaign). Mr. Frankel was first elected to serve on the Delray Beach City Commission in 2009 and served as the Vice-Mayor of the City from 2010-2011. He was elected to serve a fourth term in 2018 and was nominated as the Vice-Mayor of the City from 2018-2019.
Challenger Price Patton is a 33-year resident of Delray Beach and served six years on City advisory boards, including two terms on the Historic Preservation Board currently serves as vice-chair of the Site Plan Review and Appearance Board (SPRAB). Not to mention he is the co-publisher of local paper The Coastal Star.
He said, “A newspaperman for most of my life, I worked for over two decades at The Palm Beach Post in various management roles, including metro editor, state editor and city editor of the south county bureau in Delray Beach. In 2008, I helped found the award-winning The Coastal Star.”
City Commissioner Ryan Boylston will be defending his Seat 3 against former Commissioner Mitch Katz, which will be a rematch of 2018 when Boylston won with 56 percent. Ryan Boylston is the Founder and CEO of 2TON, A Creative Agency and also had co-founded the Delray Newspaper and Boca Newspapers.
Boylston wrote in a statement, “I am proud to have earned endorsements from our first responders and frontline city workers, seven of our city’s former mayors, the Human Rights Council, and hundreds of local residents.
Challenger Katz wrote, “I am an eighteen plus year resident of Delray Beach. Because I have a great passion for this Village by the Sea, I have decided to file and run for the Delray Beach City Commission Seat 3 as I believe that all Delray Beach voters should have a choice on election day.”