During the November 22nd City Council Meeting the closing moments took an interesting and unexpected turn. The end result calls into question two items: 1. FAIRNESS. 2. Has the Mayor ceded whatever control she may have on City Council to Robert Weinroth?
The focus of these items centers on the outcome of the Ocean Breeze and Municipal golf courses. In a process that began several months ago, the City agreed to accept bids from interested parties for the purchase of the Municipal course outside of the city limits on Glades Road. Under the most likely scenario, after the sale of the West course, the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Parks District would then be involved in the purchase, rehabilitation and operation of the Ocean Breeze property. This would ultimately provide millions of dollars directly to City coffers and provide citizens with the only public championship golf course within Boca Raton city limits.
It was agreed by all members on Council that they did not want to structure the sale as an open-ended bidding contest that would result in an “auction”. Instead, they preferred an orderly process which asked for a “best and last offer” from each participant. The Council was preaching FAIRNESS in the process with a deadline for offers. All of which makes sense.
Earlier this past week, at Council Workshop, the councilmembers were considering what offers would be considered as “finalists” and determined that two offers from homebuilders; Lennar Homes and GL Homes would be the only offers subject to acceptance. Councilman Robert Weinroth made a plea to other Councilmembers to consider a late entry from Compson Developers who outbid all other submittals but had the opportunity to study the other offers first and then submit a bid after the stated deadline. For reasons of FAIRNESS, the majority of members did not accept Mr. Weinroth’s suggestion and voted to limit the process to the bidders that followed the guidelines. That decision also applied to a second last minute high bid from another party. In the interest of FAIRNESS to all bidders, this vote was appropriate.
The following evening, at City Council, there was no agenda item for the topic of Golf Course Bids. However, during “Public Comments” a procession of many non-residents of the City voiced their support for the Compson bid. It is no wonder. The Compson bid included donating acreage for the purpose of building a religious school and related senior living facility on the Municipal golf course site. At the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Weinroth took the opportunity to, once again, ask that Compson be included as a finalist and the other Council Members folded like a cheap suit. Where was our Mayor Susan Haynie on the issue of FAIRNESS then? Where was her leadership? Why did the voices of non-residents carry the day for Compson? Perhaps it is the looming election and the Mayor’s fear of making a decision that offends. If that is the case, she is failing at her job. One can only wonder.
What Were They Thinking?
Pandora’s box may now have been opened. Every other bidder that did not make the final two (now three) and followed the guidelines, may now have a legitimate case to resubmit a new bid for consideration. At this point, it’s questionable whether these entities want any further dealings with this feckless group of elected officials that refuse to follow their own rules.
A Final Word
For the residents of the numerous neighborhoods and homeowner’s associations that have turned out in the hundreds over the past years to voice opposition to decisions being made at City Hall with no result in your favor; perhaps the best course of action is to secede from the City. You may then get the ear of Boca’s Council.