Best Politician — Palm Beach (2008)

Dawn Pardo

Pardo is one of those rare politicians who has done more good before gaining elected office than most officials do in their entire careers. Pardo, of Riviera Beach, basically saved the municipal beach at Singer Island from developer Dan Catalfumo and his giant Ocean Mall project: She led the signature-gathering effort to bring about the referendum for a five-story height limit on the beach. The people passed the measure, dooming Catalfumo's plan, which had been approved by a rubber-stamp commission. After beating the commission, Pardo decided to join it; she was elected over incumbent Jim Jackson in March. If she's half as effective in office as she was on the sidelines, great things are in store.

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