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Boca Raton’s $100,000 civics lesson

Friday, February 11th, 2011 by George Bennett

Voters in Boca Raton deserve a choice for mayor, Linda Spurling Gruneisen says. So when no one filed to challenge incumbent Susan Whelchel, Gruneisen decided to file papers Thursday about six hours before the deadline for candidates to qualify for the March 8 ballot.

“The main reason I’m running is because I woke up the other day and saw that no one was running for mayor,” Gruneisen said this morning. “I wanted to be sure that the people of Boca Raton have a choice.”

The mayor’s race will be the only one on the March 8 ballot. City council incumbents Susan Haynie and Michael Mullaugh didn’t draw any challengers and therefore were automatically reelected.

Conducting an election could cost the city about $100,000, City Clerk Susan Saxton said. The city’s last election, in 2009, cost about $94,000 to pay poll workers, print ballots, run required advertisements and move voting equipment to more than two dozen polling places.

Rival feels Abrams’ Rothstein link tilted field in his favor for Crist appointment

Thursday, November 5th, 2009 by George Bennett

Boca Raton Councilwoman Susan Haynie was edged out by former Boca Mayor Steven Abrams this year for Gov. Charlie Crist’s appointment to fill a Palm Beach County commission seat.

Haynie concedes Abrams has an “impressive resume,” but suggests he had an edge because of his connection to disgraced Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein.

Rothstein, a friend and major money-raiser for Gov. Charlie Crist, was Abrams’ employer and was listed by Abrams as a reference on his application for the appointment.

Says Haynie: “Going into the interview process, I knew that Steve Abrams’ employer was a close personal friend of Gov. Crist as well as one of his major contributors. And it didn’t feel like a level playing field.”

GOP Commissioner Abrams’ vote against property tax rate hike called “despicable” by potential Dem foe

Thursday, September 24th, 2009 by George Bennett



Monday night’s Palm Beach County commission vote for a 14.9 percent property tax rate increase is already emerging as a hot political issue — but not in the way you might think.

Republican Commissioner Steven Abrams’ vote against the rate hike was called “despicable, disgusting” and “unconscionable” today by potential Democratic challenger Pamela Goodman.



Abams and Commissioner Shelley Vana voted against hiking the tax rate from $3.78 to $4.34 per $1,000 of appraised value. Abrams said he favored a rate of $4.29 or lower.

Goodman, former president of the nonpartisan Palm Beach County League of Women Voters, has been weighing a 2010 challenge of Abrams for months but today said she’s not sure whether she’ll run. Goodman said she’s been working with the county Democratic Party to recruit candidates for Abrams’ seat and for other races.


New PBC commish Abrams not a shoo-in for seat next year

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 by George Bennett

Steven Abrams will be sworn in at  the county commission Tuesday.

Steven Abrams will be sworn in at the county commission Tuesday.

Before he’s even sworn in as Palm Beach County’s latest (but not last) commission appointee, Steven Abrams has to wonder whether fellow Republicans will give him a clear shot at getting elected next year.

He’s slated to take the oath Tuesday after being tapped by Gov. Charlie Crist to replace disgraced Mary McCarty.

Democrats, who now outnumber Republicans in Abrams’ District 4, are vowing a serious 2010 challenge by former League of Women Voters prez Pamela Goodman.


Ex-wife, others weigh in on PBC commission appointment

Monday, March 2nd, 2009 by George Bennett

The ex-wife of Boynton Beach Vice Mayor Jose Rodriguez has weighed in with a letter to Gov. Charlie Crist about Rodriguez’s bid for a Palm Beach County commission appointment.

She strongly supports her former husband.

The letter from Sue Shumate-Rodriguez is one of more than 100 sent to Crist’s office in support of Rodriguez. In addition, more than 100 supporters of former Boca Raton Mayor Steven Abrams have written to the governor on his behalf, while more than 60 people have sent letters or e-mails supporting Boca Raton Councilwoman Susan Haynie for the appointment.

Read more here.

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