Palm Beach County Commissioner Jess Santamaria has stirred the pot yet again, this time with the hypocritical tone of a letter to the editor Friday to the Town-Crier.
After losing the first of two votes and failing to stop a controversial golf course development opposed by Century Village in West Palm Beach, Santamaria stormed out of the Feb. 28 County Commission zoning meeting. Santamaria then wrote a scathing letter to the publication serving Wellington and other western Palm Beach County communities, criticizing County Mayor Steven Abrams’ handling of the meeting.
The letter, titled “All Hail, King Steven Abrams!” showed Santamaria’s constituents — or the whole county, for that matter — his petulance over losing the Century Village vote.
District 6 constituents have complained that such childish behavior is typical for the twice-elected 74-year-old Santamaria when he loses. You may recall his 2010 “nasty gram” memo to Abrams, or more recently, Santamaria’s refusal to set aside differences and shake hands with the man he brought to trial after the jury found in favor of his opponent.
The Town-Crier letter also shows that Santamaria may still be bitter over losing his last opportunity in November to serve as County Commission chairman, as he continues to slam the commissioners’ vote to change the chairman title to mayor.
Santamaria wrote in his letter Friday:
When Commissioner Steven Abrams became chairman of the Palm Beach County Commission, he felt he needed another more important title to get more attention and respect. He decided that “Mayor” of Palm Beach County would do it. I suggested “King Abrams” for even greater attention for his big ego.
Mockingly calling Abrams “king” while displaying prominent “crowns” on commercial properties he owned in Royal Palm Beach called “Royal Inn” and “Royal Plaza,” illustrates to some the irony of Santamaria’s comment.
BizPac Review asked Abrams about the title change in a December interview, and we even had some fun with a readers poll that suggested new titles. But, while we were being politically satirical, Santamaria’s tone isn’t light or funny.
In his letter to the editor, Santamaria concluded with:
King Abrams has forgotten that all county commissioners are “public servants” and that we still are a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” The “kingdom system” ended in 1776!
It’s an interesting reminder from the man who walked away from the rules, procedures and duties of his elected office and skipped the second vote on the Century Village issue.
“I was completely fed up with the whole thing,” Santamaria told the Sun Sentinel after the February meeting.
Abrams, who was unanimously selected in November by his fellow commissioners to serve as chairman, talked to BizPac Review about Santamaria’s letter to the editor, saying it was “appropriate” the “town crybaby” went to the Town-Crier:
His legacy after eight years is reduced to writing nasty letters to his colleagues. I’m not the first and I’m sure I won’t be the last.
That’s one reason why I’m sure he was passed over to be the chairman. That’s not a way to lead the Board by writing nasty letters. And then walking out of the meeting – he wants to talk about the democratic process, let’s start with doing what the people pay us to do, which is to vote on the issues.
The good-natured Abrams even got a chuckle out of being called “king.”
“I was thinking since there’s an opening for pope, and I’m only king, maybe I should apply for that,” Abrams said.