Vote yes to Pahokee Rising!

Pahokee March 19, 2024 Election Guest Column

Posted 2/27/24

The City of Pahokee has an upcoming election on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 to fill two out of the five...

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Vote yes to Pahokee Rising!

Pahokee March 19, 2024 Election Guest Column


The City of Pahokee has an upcoming election on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 to fill two out of the five City Commission seats. Vote-by-mail ballots have already gone out, early voting runs March 9-17, and the deadline to request your vote-by-mail ballot is Thursday, March 7. This is a critical election for the future of Pahokee. If you have been following the City Commission’s up and downs since the March 2021 election, you know why next month’s vote is imperative. From 2010 to 2022, the election with the lowest turnout was 2012: 539 and the highest was 2016: 972 (Babb Jr. vs. Walkes Mayoral race). Elections require and demand the strongest possible participation from the public. My hope is that this forthcoming election will be groundbreaking when it comes to voter participation numbers.

The March 2021 election was consequential as it led to an unstable, erratic, chaotic, and reprehensible majority led by Bohlen, Perez, and Gonzalez. Their actions from March 2021 to March 2022 were damaging to Pahokee. What Pahokee saw following the March 2021 election in the form of the Bohlen, Perez, and Gonzalez majority with the help of Brandenburg and by extension Thompson was a complete disaster. Their illegal July 23, 2021 Commission meeting hosted by Bohlen, Perez, Gonzalez, and Brandenburg was the subject of a lawsuit by Pahokee residents against the city. The court found in favor of the citizens where the judge confirmed it was a violation of the Sunshine Law and thus a settlement was reached of $74,000 against the city. We witnessed their handpicked manager, Thompson, receive an OIG Report for illegal sale of city surplus property. There was not one substantial achievement by the then majority.

Regarding City of Pahokee State of Attorney‘s PCU Case # 21PI000018AMB (City of Pahokee – Political Fraud Allegations), Det. Reid’s Dec. 12, 2023 Letter stated, “On Sept. 22, 2021,9/22/21, there was a meeting at the Federal Bureau of Investigations Office (FBI) located at 505 S. Flagler Drive, City of West Palm Beach, Florida. In attendance of this meeting was concerned citizen, Robert Lambert, City of Pahokee City Commissioners, Sara Perez, Regina Bohlen, & Juan Gonzalez, FBI Agent Ellen Thomas, and myself. The purpose of this meeting was to collect documentation-evidence that supported the allegations of criminal political fraud provided in this complaint. At the meeting, there was no documentation-evidence provided to this office that would have led to any successful prosecution.” “During this investigation, there was no documentation or evidence to support any of the criminal allegations in this complaint. This case is closed.”

At the Aug. 18, 2021 Special Meeting, Brandenburg named Greg Thompson as interim manager. At that meeting, Perez motioned to approve Thompson with a second from Gonzalez. One month later, on Sept, 28, 2021, at the commission meeting, at 2:23:11, Bohlen motioned to make Thompson the permanent manager which was seconded by Perez.

On Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 Palm Beach County’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released Investigative Report 2022-0012: City of Pahokee Sale of Surplus Property. The report dealt with the improper sale of two city-owned all-terrain vehicles (ATVs or 4-wheelers) by Former City Manager Greg Thompson. The report went on to say on page 2, “The City Manager’s disposal of city-owned property in a manner that was not approved by the governing body and that personally benefitted him is inconsistent with government accounting best practices for safeguarding assets.” The OIG Report also pointed to another issue, MISUSE OF PUBLIC POSITION by Greg Thompson. This is addressed on page 19. Overall, the investigative report makes clear that “The totality of conduct by then-City Manager Thompson reflects a blatant lack of responsibility, fairness, accountability, and basic stewardship of taxpayer dollars.” The report can be read at

Bohlen, Perez, and Gonzalez should be held accountable for this latest report and for failing to safeguard against Thompson’s misuse of public position.

This election cycle in Pahokee will see 6 candidates running for the Group 1 and Group 2 seats. Both incumbents Gonzalez and Perez are running. Group 1 candidates are Juan Gonzalez (I), Monique Gordon, and Everett D. McPherson, Sr. Group 2 candidates include Sara Perez (I), Tiana Mitchell, and Sanquetta Cowan-Williams. Apart from the incumbents and Sanquetta Cowan-Williams, all other candidates are running for elected office for the first time. I consider the four individuals running against Gonzalez and Perez as qualified candidates who want to better represent Pahokee and its people on the Commission. I strongly believe the following two are the best candidates to vote for.

For Group 1 seat, I endorse Monique Gordon. Her campaign motto has been about Empowerment, Economics, and Engagement. Her main reasons for running are impacting the youth, a better Pahokee to live and work, as well as inclusivity, citizen involvement, and commission engagement. She would like to bring financial literacy to the people. She also wants to focus on bringing younger people into the fold as it relates to city government and involvement. She would seek to bring a city youth council to fruition to allow the youth to be fully invested in the city. Mayor Babb suggested this some years ago, but it has never been able to get off the ground. Gordon also seeks to reactivate the city’s defunct advisory boards. The public wants city government to do it all but if they join advisory boards to take on community leadership roles then Pahokee can thrive with citizen involvement.

For the Group 2 seat, I endorse Tiana Mitchell. Her campaign focus has been on empowering communities through building affordable homes, nurturing leaders, and fostering economic growth. She is a local business owner of Empress Beauty, providing wellness care, birth work, yoga and mentorship to the community located at 185 E. Main Street. She has also spoken on the need to bring the youth to the table for Pahokee’s future. She strongly feels that if the youth is invested and involved then all of Pahokee thrives. One of her reasons for running is that she sees a fractured city commission that is not unified which makes it harder for Pahokee to get the resources it needs to soar to new heights. She seeks to set an example for younger people to follow her into involvement in Pahokee by taking a leap of faith and running to represent her fellow neighbors. Her platform further includes investing in infrastructure projects to stimulate job creation and boost local economies, along with promoting small business development by streamlining regulations and providing access to resources and funding. To increase the supply of affordable housing she would seek public-private partnerships and zoning reforms. She plans to support community land trusts and cooperative housing models to empower residents and stabilize neighborhoods. Lastly to develop leadership, she plans to collaborate with local organizations and schools to provide leadership training and civic engagement opportunities. Promoting diversity and inclusion in leadership positions through targeted recruitment and training initiatives would be another focus.

Both Gordon and Mitchell would bring fresh perspectives to the commission dais. They would bring back much needed professionalism and decorum to the seats which have been missing since March 2021. Of the contenders against Gonzalez and Perez, Mitchell and Gordon are best suited to bringing new people into the election process and city government involvement. At the end of the day, Perez and Gonzalez have shown unethical behavior, a willingness to sabotage the city from their elected seats, and downright hostility in commission meetings. Their words and actions do not qualify them for a second term in office. Perez and Gonzalez have shown a consistent pattern of being unfit to lead, serve, and be stewards of the public trust.

We used to use the tag of Progress Pahokee. With this upcoming election, let’s begin the Pahokee Rising season by voting Monique Gordon for Group 1 and Tiana Mitchell for Group 2. Vote yes to Pahokee Rising! For the 3 charter amendments on the ballot, I endorse all three with a vote of yes.

pahokee, election