South Bay election pits mayor against activist

SOUTH BAY — Four candidates are in the running for the two seats open in the March 13 municipal election for the South Bay City Commission.

Commission Seat 2, occupied by Mayor Joe Kyles, and Seat 4, held by City Commissioner Shanique Scott, are up for election. Their challengers are Barbara Ann King for Seat 2 and Betty Barnard for Seat 4.

Today The Sun profiles the candidates for Seat 2.

Mayor Kyles, 66, who has lived in South Bay since 1970, has been mayor for three years and has served on the commission since 2002, completing his fifth term this year. (In South Bay, the commission elects the mayor and there is no requirement that the person in that role be replaced every so often.) He was educated in local schools, finishing high school at Lake Shore Junior-Senior High, then attended North Technical School in Riviera Beach.

“Afterward I started working at Okeelanta Sugar Corporation, and I worked for that company for at least 20 years,” he said. His next employment stint was also a two decade-long one, for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Lodge 166 in Cape Canaveral. “And during that time period, I was studying labor management at the William Wimpersinger Education Technical Center in Hollywood, Maryland,” said the mayor, but he never did complete a degree.

Mr. Kyles explained his sixth run for a commission seat by saying: “The reason I’m running for reelection is because I want to achieve the key goals we’ve set and (all the) things we’re doing within the City of South Bay. We’re trying to sustain a small economic sustainability within the city, and also we’re trying to complete our infrastructure work that we’re doing in the City of South Bay. Also, we’re trying to bring in more jobs for the residents not only in the City of South Bay but the entire Glades area.”

His challenger, Ms. King, is 47 and a lifelong resident of the city. A Glades Central High School graduate, she studied at Palm Beach State College. “I have some college in business management. I have a certification in nursing. I’m also a CDL, certified commercial driver,” said Ms. King. She received her nursing assistant certification from West Tech, has been employed for just over a year by the U.S. Postal Service and was an operator for Palm Tran for more than seven years.

“And I’m a business owner; I have two businesses. One is a nonprofit, which is called King’s Tutoring and Mentoring Program, which I’ve been doing for about two years now. At this time it’s partially based in my house, as well as we use the facilities at my church. The other business is Be Elegant CreativEvents, which I’ve been running for four years. I had it longer but I just certified it,” she said. It’s a party and event planning service company.

This is her second run for a South Bay City Commission seat, but her first time was more than 10 years ago.

Ms. King said she’s running again this year “because there’s a need for a right-now change. I decided to take a stand for the residents so their voices can be heard. I have been giving back and advocating for my city as well as Glades residents. I recognize issues that need the most attention are not being given much attention, if any at all,” she said, citing senior citizens’ need for “a more enhanced senior program and their own inner-city living facility” plus a youth program “that would cater to their needs and demands.”

Explaining further, she stated: “With a population of more than 2,000 lives at stake, I am ready to take a stand and be their voice and help move South Bay forward. I am in support of term limits for elected officials with a three-term maximum. Most of the residents of South Bay aren’t the wealthiest and they need to have someone that can truly relate to them wholeheartedly. And I am that candidate. The leaders have become so much of a repeat with all the same individuals saying the same things, doing the same things, and the city is not changing nor moving.
“Moreover,” she finished, “as a born-and-raised in South Bay resident, I have a passion for my city, and my past work around the city speaks for itself.”

Look for profiles of the Seat 4 candidates in The Sun on Feb. 22.

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