Broward News

South Florida Skunked on Best Towns List

Someone please tell Money Magazine that South Florida has not been swallowed by the ocean (yet). How else could the editors not name a single town in this region to its list of the best towns to live in America?

In fact, the nation's fourth-largest state doesn't get a single winner until the allegedly Utopian Lake Mary arrives at No. 96. Oviedo sneaks in at No. 100.

Ah, but if you check out the fine print, you'll get your explanation: This year's list prized towns under 50,000. For example, that rule excluded Davie, a town of 90,000.

The local scandal is that Palm Beach, with a year-round population of 10,000, was left off the list, but that's probably because it failed to achieve another standard for the mag's list-makers: that the town must be no more than 95 percent white. Wellington, which bills itself unabashedly as "the premier South Florida community" would seem to have a claim, except that it may have disqualified itself by drifting over the 50,000 mark these past several years.

Given these criteria, Southwest Ranches with some 7,000 residents might have been a contender. Perhaps a history of corruption hampered its bid. So our search for an eligible town takes us west into Palm Beach County. Pahokee and Belle Glade have small populations not overloaded with white people and with a tradition for producing great football players that should be the envy of every American town. Of course, those pesky problems of poverty and crime, plus the national media's obsession with reminding us about them can be blamed for those towns' omissions. 

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Thomas Francis