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Peggy Noland's Re-election 2001 - 03/15/01

Peggy Noland thinks her re-election to the city commission is a victory for the redevelopment "vision."

"Noland believes her victory could be seen as a vote of confidence for the commission's vision for beach redevelopment...." ~ Observer, Mar. 15, 2001

"Are we opposed to redevelopment? My God, we shouldn't be." ~ Peggy Noland, post-election comment, Sun-Sentinel, Mar. 14, 2001.

Commissioner Noland sees her re-election as an endorsement of the city's redevelopment plans. The fact is that Noland secured her victory with only 40 per cent of the votes in District 1 against a sharply divided opposition. Is this a ringing endorsement? I don't think so.

There are 9,127 registered voters in District 1. In the Mar. 13 election, 2,529, or 27 percent, voted. Dave Gravelle received the most votes in the beach community (Precinct 6A), with Noland second. Gravelle and Rich Lorraine together received 57 percent of the votes cast in 6A. Peggy Noland received just over 11 percent of the registered vote (1,018) in District 1 to secure her victory.

I believe it would be a mistake for Mrs. Noland to regard this election as a "vote of confidence."

It would be better if Commissioner Noland would acknowledge the concerns of a majority of her constituents about redevelopment. She should hold regular meetings where citizens can voice their concerns. She should open other lines of communication and then listen. She should make sure that the people are told the truth and all the facts about redevelopment plans.

Recent elections in District 1, ranging from term limits and charter amendments to bond issues, and of course the Ocean Park referendum, suggest that there is strong disenchantment in the district with the CRA and development in general; and may even suggest that the district is distancing itself from the rest of Deerfield Beach on community-wide concerns.

The people who live in the CRA district need to take action if they are going to have a say in the course of development there. That will require organization, increased public awareness and participation, and leadership. Time is running out for the beach community.

Those concerned about redevelopment need to build a consensus of what Deerfield Beach should be like in the future. Maybe the people's vision would be a beach area with reduced traffic and infrastructure. This has precedence in other communities, but it is the exact opposite of where we are headed now.