Best Democracy in Action - 2002
Lake Worth Beach Bond Referendum
The great thing about this hotly contested March 12 election was that the whole town got involved, whether for or against the $19 million bond issue to renovate the aging 1920s casino and surrounding amenities of the town's public beach. It was topic A in local conversation for months, and every square inch of lawn in town seemed to be plastered with "Yes" or "No" placards. While the beach and its structures clearly are in need of repair, citizen resistance to the proposal was galvanized by the fact that the PAC urging passage of the bond was funded in part by businesses that stood to profit from it. That -- and the little town's innate resistance to wholesale change -- proved too much for even the likes of slick bond champion Mayor Rodney Romano to overcome. Voters just said "No" by a 3-2 margin, a showing that said as much about the citizens' feelings of being bulldozed as about their feelings regarding beach repair.