Best Politician in Palm Beach (2005)
Palm Beach County Commissioner Karen Marcus
Before we begin discussing this 21-year member of the commission, who has pushed purchase of beachfront land for the public, let's get one thing straight: If the Scripps Research Center goes where the commission wants to put it, Palm Beach County is screwed. Putting Scripps, which ultimately will be the equivalent of a small city of about 50,000 people, way out west will create sprawl, cost taxpayers some $1 billion for little in return, and sully the $8 billion Everglades cleanup project. Marcus recognizes that fact, and unlike the majority of the commission, she's not a moron or a greedhead. Few listened to her, though, as she tried to save the county by moving the project eastward to the urban core. But even when it's hardly heard, a sane voice in the wilderness is nice to have. Besides, Marcus has been a big advocate of schools. And in 1999, she received the Nature Conservancy's Grassroots Leadership Award.