Riviera: Stay with Scripps

Palm Beach Post Editorial
Sunday, July 23, 2006

Riviera Beach plans to fight last week's Palm Beach County Commission decision to limit traffic on Singer Island, a move proposed by Commissioner Karen Marcus. She represents that part of the city, where some residents rightly fear overdevelopment. The decision requires state review and a second commission vote. City council members, however, perceive a threat to their planned redevelopment of the island's Ocean Mall.

But Mayor Michael Brown's proposal that the city pull out of a deal tied to The Scripps Research Institute, to paraphrase County Commissioner Addie Greene, would be like the proverbial cutting off of your nose to spite your face. Mayor Brown's angry reaction was that the city withdraw the 27.9 million square feet of potential biotech land that Riviera has offered as part of an effort with four other north-county cities to meet Gov. Bush's demand for Scripps spinoff space.

Council members wisely held off on the nonvoting mayor's resolution and will try to work out a compromise with the county. "I am looking at it," said Councilwoman Liz Wade. "But we're tired of second-class citizen treatment." Whatever legitimate gripe Riviera Beach may have with county government, however, the mayor's idea would be self-defeating. Backing out would be a long-term mistake, with unforeseen and unintended consequences.

Scripps is a good fit with the city's redevelopment effort. It is not a fit with the Singer Island dispute.