Boca’s first mayoral debate was a monologue
The first Boca Raton mayoral debate later this month was a monologue — City Councilman Anthony Majhess was not participating in the verbal spar on Jan. 21.
Gold Coast Tiger Bay Club organized the event that will also include candidates for Boca Raton City Council. Barry Epstein, president of the club, said he’ll have Deputy Mayor Susan Haynie debate an empty chair.
“If a candidate intends to be the mayor and leader of a major city, he should not be fearful to articulate his positions in any public forum,” Epstein said.
Epstein said his club is nonpartisan and straddles the northern part of Broward County and the southern part of Palm Beach County. It started in November and now has about 60 members.
When contacted, Majhess said: “For the remainder of the campaign, I am focusing my time and energy on visiting those organizations and civic groups that have a history of involvement within the city and Boca Raton elections. I will continue to campaign actively and will be attending numerous forums throughout the community with Mrs. Haynie.
“I look forward to discussing the issues of concern to our city with my opponent and the voters of Boca Raton at the Federation of Homeowner Associations debate that is scheduled as well as the other traditional city forums hosted by groups such as the Boca Chamber.”
For her part, Haynie said the choice to debate was up to Majhess.
The Boca Raton Federation of Homeowner Associations has scheduled its mayoral debate for Feb. 4.
Epstein said he originally picked the Jan. 21 date he did because of Majhess’ work schedule.
“We were moving dates merely to accommodate him,” Epstein said.
How many of the seven City Council candidates will participate in the club’s debate is not known yet. Epstein said he intends to send out invitations after candidates officially qualify to be in the election.
Andre Fladell, a Delray Beach political activist, is set to be the first debate’s moderator.
Tiger Bay Clubs are located all over Florida, although they do not have official relationships with one another. Gold Coast’s charter prevents the club from endorsing one particular candidate over another or having political candidates or elected officials serving on its board of directors.
Epstein said the forum would focus on development and Boca’s finances.
Advance admission to the debate and luncheon at Bogart’s Bar & Grille costs $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers and $10 more at the door.
The event will not be televised, Epstein said.
Ageggis@tribune.com or 561-243-6624