On Thursday, October 12, I got a news alert about Pahokee. I opened the CBS 12 article titled, “Officials considering allowing drag racing at Pahokee Airport one day a week."
I was somewhat perplexed by this information as I have not heard it brought up or addressed at a Pahokee City Commission meeting. Upon reading the article, it states, “Sara Baxter, Palm Beach county commissioner for District 6, says there’s a possibility that a runway at the Palm Beach County Glades Airport, also known as the Pahokee Airport, can be used for drag racing possibly one day a week. She says the airport would be closed to airplanes while drag races are held.” The article goes on the say, “Baxter says the idea needs approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Palm Beach County Commission.” Further in the article, “She (Sara Baxter) says the Palm Beach County Department of Airports Director Laura Beebe is expected to give county commissioners an update in November on whether the FAA will approve the plan.”
What is interesting is that Baxter did an on camera news appearance for this CBS 12 article before bringing it to the Pahokee City Commission and Pahokee residents for discussion or feedback.
On Friday, Oct. 13, I emailed the District 6 County Commissioner who represents Pahokee to ask, “Have you formally brought this to the Pahokee Commission and/or spoken to individual members? If so, who? How will City benefit?” Later that day, I got a response not from Baxter but from her aide saying, “Commissioner Baxter will be holding a town hall meeting on Monday Oct. 16th at 150 Civic Center Way Royal Palm Beach, Fl. To address these issues.” Conveniently, in the aide’s reply, she did not give me the time for the town hall. I did respond back to Regina Bohlen’s email (Oct 13) asking for the time of the meeting and have yet to get an answer.
My issue with the town hall is why not have it in Pahokee since the temporary drag racing will be right up the road? Also, where was the promotion of this town hall meeting to Pahokee residents? Why was the meeting not directly announced to Pahokee’s community and governing board so they could attend? Baxter’s aide for the Glades was at the City of Pahokee Commission meeting on October 10 and said nothing about this upcoming town hall or the proposal for the Pahokee Airport. Not to mention that Bohlen attends almost every city meeting so she could have mentioned this drag racing proposal or town hall way in advance of the CBS 12 article.
Baxter took office in November 2022 which was 11 months ago. She has been to only one Pahokee Commission meeting. I have not seen one Pahokee Town Hall done by her office. I spoke to 2 members of the Pahokee City Commission on Friday to see if the drag racing topic has been brought to them personally by Baxter and they both said no. They stated that the news article is the first time they heard anything about it. Now, common sense tells you that if you truly want Pahokee’s dais and community to give their feedback on this proposed idea that you would make a concerted effort to do so.
In my analysis, I believe that both the District 6 Commissioner and her aide have failed Pahokee’s community by not bringing this item to a Pahokee City Commission meeting or to the attention of the residents of Pahokee to attend this town hall on the coast. Pahokee deserves its own town hall on this matter. With this new County Commissioner, it seems as Pahokee and the Glades area remain at the bottom of her to do list and priorities. To put it bluntly, the roll out of this topic by the Commissioner and her Glades area aide was a disaster. The Tri-Cities area and specifically Pahokee’s residents need to give their responses, comments, and reactions directly to Sara Baxter at SBaxter@pbcgov.org and cc her aide RBohlen@pbcgov.org.