The City received word on Wednesday, March 22nd ForBoca.Org has dropped its suit against Boca Raton. For those unaware, Mike Arts, former President of the Boca Chamber of Commerce and Al Travasos, former City Councilman, brought suit against the city of Boca Raton for placing an item on the November Ballot regarding citizens desire to protect Boca Raton’s waterfront parks from development. Citizens voted 67% to keep our parks for the people.
Arts’ contention was based on “Haynie’s Law”, a law proposed by our Mayor and passed by the State. “Haynie’s Law” prohibits citizens from challenging, by vote, development of properties in a City once a development order has been granted. Evidently, Mr. Arts came to the reality “Haynie’s Law” does not apply in this instance.
Mike Arts is the mouth piece for The Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. On October 4th 2016, at the monthly meeting of the Boca Raton Federation of Homeowners Associations, two past presidents of the Chamber along with its current CEO pledged to monetize, develop and turn over our parks to their development friends. Yes, they made that pledge. But, this law suit was a lame attempt by the Chamber of Commerce to take a second bite at the “Houstons Apple”. All of this at the expense of the +/- 28,000 citizens who lawfully voted to protect our waterfront parks from development. Further, two individual citizens contributed, out of their pockets, $12,000 to support the legal efforts of the city to fight for your voting rights. These citizens did this because they did not trust our city would earnestly fight for your rights. Remember, four City Council members also want to sell your parks to developers. And consider this, what did the city pay to its outside legal team in terms of staff time and your tax dollars?
So where do we go from here?
The public needs to understand there are forces within our city and city government diligently working against the lawful application of codes, variances, citizens right to vote etc while extending greater rights to their development friends. The Boca Chamber of Commerce was at the center of Mike Arts’ effort using Arts and others as surrogates to convey their message – this anti resident effort is despicable.
Everyone in Boca Raton is a member of a larger “community”. Community means many things, but, for me it means we all work together to achieve a common good for residents and what the Boca Raton Brand has come to represent. The wrong headed idea the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce has to monetize everything at the expense of resident constituents destroys any semblance of “community” and it is very offensive.
Chamber members owe any level of success they enjoy to a direct result of the PEOPLE, the RESIDENTS they are so anxious to steal their parks from. We need to let them know how we feel, this is a start. And, the Boca Raton Chamber must, in writing, be forthright enough to explain its bad behavior to their customers and clients. Not to do so is an admission of guilt.