Former Mayors Concerned about City Direction
Updated: Jan 31, 2022
Letter to the Editor,
We are former mayors whose service to Delray Beach dates to 1984. We love our city but worry about the direction the current administration is taking. Our community is divided, unable or unwilling to talk, and we fear that our progress as a community is in danger.
The most recent issue is the impulsive termination of the lease with Old School Square Center for the Arts, Inc., the non-profit organization that has successfully managed Old School Square for the past 32 years, without a conversation with the organization or input from the city’s diverse stakeholders who deserve a say in its future. All of us have worked closely with the dedicated volunteers at Old School Square during our terms. We believe they are willing to work hard to improve their partnership with the city. As with any long-term relationship, we believe that any problems can be solved with open communication.
This decision to terminate Old School Square’s lease has proven highly controversial, but we are just as alarmed at the lack of transparency and due process when making such a monumental decision. We must do better.
Delray has a rich history of citizen involvement that has been a key factor in our success. But while the Old School Square termination is on everyone’s mind, we see a similar pattern in the general culture of division and polarization in our city politics that has led to costly turnover and litigation. We don’t believe this is the “Delray Way,” and while we may not ever see eye to eye on the issues, we risk losing what has been built if we don’t call a time out and endeavor to do better as a community.
As former mayors, we understand the difficulty in leading a city as active and complex as Delray Beach. We suggest the following: a charrette to gain public input on the future of Old School Square, and a process to discuss the culture in Delray Beach so that we can find a better way forward for everyone. We need to reverse the damage and hurt that has occurred in our town before it’s too late.
Doak Campbell III, Thomas Lynch, Dr. Jay Alperin, David Schmidt, Jeff Perlman, Rita Ellis, Nelson “Woodie” McDuffie, Cary Glickstein, Delray Beach
Published in the Sun Sentinel
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