By Steve Plunkett
Three men are running in the Aug. 14 election to replace Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District Commissioner Dirk Smith, who resigned his seat at the start of the year.
The candidates are Steven Engel, Felipe Martinez and Tom Thayer.
Chairman Earl Starkoff and Commissioner Dennis Frisch were reelected without opposition.
This is a first run for office for Engel, 62, a senior advertising consultant to Forum Publishing Group and precinct leader for the Palm Beach County Democratic Party. Engel, who rents a townhouse on Pacific Boulevard, has a bachelor’s in marketing from Baruch College and is married with two children and one grandson.
“Our beaches and parks are as much a part of our infrastructure as our roads and our schools,” said Engel, who ran a residential real estate appraisal firm in New York before he moved to Florida.
Martinez, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Services in Boca Raton, lives on Golf Vista Way west of the city.
Thayer moved from his home on the Intracoastal Waterway to a condo he owns in Boca West to be eligible to run. The commission Seat 5 is open only to district residents who live outside the city.
The move forced Thayer to resign from the city’s Marine Advisory Board, which is only open to Boca Raton residents.
Thayer, a former pilot for the Navy and Delta Air Lines, is treasurer of the Federation of Boca Raton Homeowners Association and a past president of the Boca Raton Kiwanis Club and Florida Kiwanis Foundation.
“We live in a great community and we need to keep it great,” Thayer said. “That goes for the beaches and parks and all the other amenities we enjoy.”
Early voting is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 4 through Aug. 11 at the Spanish River Library, 1501 NW Spanish River Blvd., and 11 other sites across the county.