Queen of the Avenue: Mayor Shelly Petrolia Has Become The Voice of Reason on Delray Beach’s Demented Dais
Delray Beach Mayor Shelly Petrolia holds the onerous task of keeping order in a city hall that resembles 3 ring circus.
Even in a non-election year, the political scene frequently erupts into social media vitriol and mud slinging. People use fake social media profiles to attack commissioners they disagree with. Namely, “Deb Harlow” who uses an image of a Serbian psychic.
Another malcontent is a discredited financial services representative and another being a bitter and defeated obese hack ex-commissioner. Yes, the characters are notable if not borderline insane.
The in-real-life characters at the helm of the Village by the Sea are not much different.
There is the discredited charlatan Juli Casale with her fake college degree, boorish behavior in the streets, and a penchant for histrionic rants during commission meetings. And then there is Shirley Johnson who, let’s face it, is ready for retirement.
The aloof uselessness of Adam Frankel is regularly overshadowed by the obsequious vanity of Ryan Boylston.
Ever the narcissist, Boylston portends to be a team player. However, in reality, he is only is only interested in Team Ryan. He has obvious aspirations for higher office.
Mayor Shelly Petrolia: God Save The Queen
Of the 5 city ‘leaders,’ Petrolia is the only one who regularly behaves remotely like a leader. Though some of her positions may be controversial, she is an elected representative who takes her mission seriously.
During her first term as mayor Petrolia took actions to destroy the unchecked slush fund that was the ‘independent’ CRA. This board had funneled city money into pet projects and pork for their friends. Petrolia stopped it with a much need iron fist.
Petrolia promised fiscal reform and she delivered. She booted the dubious charity that for decades held imperial court at one of the city’s most prominent landmarks. Yes, we are talking about Old School Square Center for the Arts. The ‘charity’ who ran the ailing ‘cultural’ center.
Petrolia took the hard steps to finally remove the ineptly run charity. Initially, Petrolia tried a more soft and unsuccessful approach to reign in the non-profit. She installed the esteemed Joy Howell on the board of the Old School Square. That failed when the old guard refused to cooperate. She was forced to take the hard steps to finally expel the charity from the property.
The lack of properly done audits of Old School Square proved what was already widely believed. The charity had been a very poor steward of the people’s money.
Investigations uncovered hundreds of thousands in irregularities. Additionally, the charity gave a lavish golden parachute to its former director Joe Gillie. Gillie left in a hurry and in questionable circumstances. Mayor Petrolia held steadfast against a contrived ‘mob’ of 10,000 alleged signatures who opposed the shady non-profit’s removal.
Petrolia Cleaned Up City Hall
Petrolia also lead the charge to clean up City Hall. She swept clean the city’s most derelict departments. She pulled a successful power play that saw the termination of incompetent City Managers.
Petrolia then lead the charge for a national search that has resulted with the superior and stupendous Mr. Moore.
In terms of development, Petrolia has ushered in an era of smart development for the city. Development leads to jobs and tourism growth. Under her leadership, major national hotel companies have developed destinations in the city. She has also held the developers to uniform architecture.
Petrolia has also held the line on taxes. There have been no tax increases while she has been serving the city.
Petrolia is also a force to be reckoned with on the dais. She regularly corrals a majority vote to her side of any issue. Her influence on the fickle and immature Casale is obvious. Occasionally she is even able to persuade Johnson as well. Unfortunately, the men on the commission of course remain obstinate and somewhat misogynistic most of the time.
The city of Delray Beach is on a precipice. A crisis of leadership looms as Petrolia’s reign is coming to a close. Unfortunately, there is no obvious successor to continue her glory. Boylston certainly can’t hold a candle to the Queen of the Avenue. It is troubling to think of what will happen after 2024.
As for Madame Mayor, what is next for her? We hope a continuation of her legacy of service, perhaps at the county level or, perchance to dream, in Tallahassee. Hopefully we won’t lose her to retirement in Sarasota with her devoted husband.