Broward News

Palm Beach Rebs Threaten Secession

Nothing secedes like excess. We here at the Juice thinks it makes  sense: Palm Beach town councilman William Diamond urged his fellow confederates at yesterday's council meeting to consider seceding from Palm Beach County and forming a  new county of its very own. Diamond argued that the playground of the rich and famous was paying out something like $51 million a year in property taxes. And for what? A few paltry public parks? And those full of little brown people whom residents would much prefer not to mingle with anyway?

The last straw came with the county threatening to raise property taxes another 15 percent. You could practically smell the astroturf rebellions fomenting in those Mizneresque salons and private beach-side cabanas. Or, er, this being August, the revolutionaries were more likely gathering in the Hamptons and Bar Harbor.

But it's not like Palm Beach has ever really been a team player. This is a fairyland that made national news (and Doonesbury cartoons) a couple of decades ago for another singularly bright idea: the council  required any non-resident crossing the bridges, to work in the island's luxuriously equipped kitchens and manicured gardens, to carry a special police-issued I.D. card. This was many years after the housing for those same servants had reputedly been burned to the ground, of course.

It's too bad, but in order to secede, the town still needs the approval of the Florida Legislature. And for all the money and clout Palm Beach may have, it's doubtful Tallahassee is going to let that little $15 million nest egg slip away.   

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Gail Shepherd
Contact: Gail Shepherd