Best Politician in Palm Beach (2006)
Palm Beach County Commissioner Addie L. Greene
Palm Beach County Commissioner Addie L. Greene is quite possibly the first politician in South Florida history to spin an ethics complaint against her into good news. Earlier this year, Greene, a former school teacher, became the swing vote on the most contentious issue in Palm Beach County: where to build the Scripps Research Institute's Florida campus. Three county commissioners wanted to build in Boca Raton. Another three said they favored the Abacoa area of Jupiter. Greene, the only African-American on the dais, made her politics clear: Whoever promised the most money for minority outreach programs would get her vote. Abacoa developer George de Guardiola promised $5 million, plus another $3 million from Jupiter officials, so Greene delivered for the Abacoa site. The ethics complaint, filed by Delray Beach residents, alleges that, because Greene will help administer the $8 million in funds, she misused her public office. But Greene is unapologetic. She says that she's simply representing her largely African-American district and that if Scripps really is about countywide economic development, her constituents should benefit from the $600 million project. While it's possible that Greene did violate ethics laws, we have to give it up for a ballsy politician like Greene: From the beginning, she cast a critical eye toward Scripps, and when the time came to select a site, she made sure the developers made good on their promise to benefit Palm Beach County's less fortunate.