A semi-retired flight attendant is challenging incumbent Scott Singer for a seat on the Boca Raton City Council in the March 14 election.
Patti Dervishi, who bills herself as an outsider, says she is tired of the way business is done in City Hall.
“For the last 15 years, the city council has been in cahoots with certain developers without giving citizens a voice in what city council approved for this city,” she said. “The time has come that citizens need to be elevated to the top of the city’s organizational chart with city council serving tax paying citizens, where they were intended to be, instead of the other way around.”
Singer, who is seeking his second term, said he wants to maintain best-in-class public safety, increase economic development efforts to attract outstanding companies and workforce talent and keep taxes low for families and businesses. He also wants to protect against overdevelopment, and develop “long-term strategies to ensure Boca Raton continues to progress as a world-class city.”
“It’s been incredibly rewarding serving the residents of Boca Raton,” he said, adding that he accomplished an initiative in each of the six areas he identified at the onset. “Nearly three years have flown by, I’m proud of what we have accomplished, in terms of keeping taxes low, keeping our streets safer, cutting red tape and preserving green space. But we have greater potential and that’s why I’m so excited about serving for a second term.”
In comparison, Dervishi is in stark contrast from Singer. An attorney and small businessman, Singer is well polished and articulate. Dervishi on the other hand, often speaks in two- or three-word sentences. Singer wants a thriving, walkable downtown streetscape with a traffic bypass to divert pass-through traffic away from Federal Highway and onto Dixie Highway. Dervishi, a 30-year city resident, thinks progress is moving too rapidly.
She bemoans developers and accuses her opponent of taking money from developers, general contractors and architects, who do business with the city.
“I’m funding my own campaign.” She said, adding that she has gotten a few dollars from supporters. “He takes money from developers. I will not accept blood money from (developers).”
Dervishi said she is seeking the office decided because her pleas to council members over the last 10 years have gone unheard, so she to act.
“Never once were they addressed,” Dervishi, 70, said. “We were insulted. So three years I decided the only way to get city resident issues addressed was to get majority on city council.”
She thinks she has two ideal candidates seeking the other vacant council seat in Andrea O’Rourke and Al Zucaro, who is running for mayor. All three live in the Golden Triangle.
“This is a golden opportunity. We have three citizens’ advocates running, which would be a majority sitting on city council,” she said.
Singer serves on the State Attorney’s Sober Homes Task Force, the Growth Management and Economic Affairs Legislative Policy Committee of the Florida League of Cities, and the Palm Beach County League of Cities’ Economy Task Force. He is also the city’s alternate delegate to the Palm Beach County League of Cities.
Singer was first elected to the Boca Raton City Council without opposition in 2014 and Dervishi said she was not going to let him get a free ride again.
“Scott Singer, my opponent, was going to run unopposed. Scott has never been elected to office in Boca Raton and I just couldn’t let that happen,” she said.