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A Much Needed Sabbatical

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Dear Friends,

During this past week I have been overwhelmed by your good wishes. I cannot thank you enough for all the calls and kind words.

For those of you who worked so diligently on my campaign and to all who voted for me, I am so very thankful for your belief in what we sought to accomplish.

During the past six years, together, we created an important movement; a movement that has changed the course of governance in Boca Raton.

Change, however, is fragile. It will take continued diligence to keep the ‘resident’ in the forefront of the city council’s mind.

I urge you all to be diligent; to “watch” over the city council and keep the elected officials’ feet to the fire. Remain determined to creating a better Boca Raton for all the residents, present and future.

For a short while, “BocaWatch,” will be on sabbatical, but look for its return with a new team; a team who will move Boca to an even higher level!

Thank you again,

Al Zucaro
Publisher of BocaWatch (2012 – 2018)

Congratulations to Scott Singer

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Part of our democratic process is accepting that sometimes things go the opposite of what you voted for. The majority of people might disagree with you. While there’s still need to debate, there’s also a time to accept that we all need to be part of the same team moving forward, to let differences aside, and be amicable in spite of things you’d rather be different.

Congratulations go to Boca Raton’s New Mayor:
Scott Singer

Scott Singer won by a clear and overwhelming victory on August 28, 2018. It would be unfair not to recognize the difference in votes. It goes without saying that supporting Mayor Singer’s role and respecting his office, especially when it’s time to disagree with him, means supporting and respecting Boca Raton. We’ll have more elections in the future and the gloves can come off again, but now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and help Mayor Singer make Boca Raton the world class city we know it can be.

Want to read Al Zucaro’s letter to his supporters containing insight into why Scott Singer won? Click here.

Letters to Al Zucaro

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After the Special Election was over, Al Zucaro received many messages of support and otherwise. Here are some of the letters he asked us to share. There’s also a message from Al Zucaro, to his supporters, he asked be shared.


Al,

Thank you for always exposing the dark side of the city.
Still admire your street smarts. Please continue your efforts.-

Jana C.


Good Day Al & Yvonne,

There are times in our lives that things happen for the best.  Perhaps the voters of Boca Raton were sending both of you a message.  That message was simple, we don’t care about quality leadership, our town, or the future of Boca Raton.

We are not youngsters but I’m certain loosing anything is hard to accept no matter what our ages.  Al and Yvonne, both of you offered many precious moments to the citizens of Boca Raton.  You fought a very hard and difficult campaign.  For this and many other champions for your cause are very proud for the way you conducted yourselves not only during the campaign, but, for years before.  Barbara, my friend, was a supporter of your campaign.  We and many others who attended the evenings gathering place were very impressed with Al’s conduct and grace while giving his concession speech.  Al’s conduct demonstrated Al is not a Politician, he is a Statesman.  A statesman is a gentlemen who wants to serve for the good of everyone; a Politician is, well why ruin a nice email Yvonne can read without turning red!

I feel honored to call you both a friend and would always do what I can for both of you.

God Bless,
Bob M.


Hello Al and Yvonne,

Thanks for being our candidate, and thanks for giving us hope.
Best to you both,
Respectfully,

Joe G.


Al,

You fought the good fight and stood up for what you believed.  You still have an important role to play in shaping Boca’s future.  Fingers crossed for Kathy!

John G.


Al,

As a follow up to my words last night, I just wanted to again THANK YOU for your personal commitment, time, money and effort on behalf of the residents of Boca Raton.  You have opened the eyes of many of us to the political workings in our city, and I strongly encourage you to keep at it!  We need people like you, and Boca Watch, to stay involved in the community.

Most of us can talk the talk, but YOU walk the walk.  Having never run for public office, I cannot imagine the hard work that you have put in, but I can tell you that I appreciate it. Congratulations to you for the great effort.

Thanks, again,

Dr. Richard K.


Good morning Al ,

Antonella and I had the opportunity to meet a very good friend of Yvonne and yours her name is Vivian she arrived shortly after you left last night what a very inspiring woman we had a great conversation. I want you to know that we did not lose this race we won in many respects the things that you have done for this community by exposing Susan Haynie and bringing the message of less development with more consideration for the residents of this community was a message that is heard loud and clear.  I’m personally very thankful for all your efforts and your desire to effect change in this city. Now our voice is heard because of your voice thank you for all you’ve done with Boca watch and all the many different ways you stood up and continue to stand up for what’s right for Boca Raton . Never give up ! You are admired by thousands of people and your name will always be a name of great honor to those who respect what you’ve done and even those who don’t !

Enjoy your days ahead as you deserve a great life !!  Its a tough fight when dealing with corruption but God will expose much more in the days to come. Let’s get together soon and have breakfast or coffee. It’s obvious you have a great heart for success and I pray you always find it no matter what stage of life you are in. God Bless you and Yvonne you are truly great people who care about others.

See you soon,
Frank & Antonella B.


And finally, since he always liked to let others have their say first, here’s words from The Man himself: AL ZUCARO – PUBLISHER OF BOCAWATCH

Dear Friends and Supporters,
Yvonne and I want to express our most sincere appreciation for your support of my campaign for Mayor. We are forever grateful for your belief in the mission of creating a better Boca Raton.

During the past few days, my phones and emails have been deluged with messages of dismay and shock as to the final results of this election. Like you, we felt buoyed by the incredible grassroots support of like-minded residents, and we all had been very hopeful that a ‘resident friendly’ vision would be the one elected.

So why did Scott Singer win this election?

It was a brilliant political move on his part.  One that circumstances afforded him because of the timing of this election.  Unlike the typical March elections, this August 28th ballot was a full partisan one, being voted on by both Republicans and Democrats. Palm Beach County is a Democrat stronghold, and while Mr. Singer is a Republican, he aligned himself with local Democrat leaders, receiving endorsements from high profile personalities like Lois Frankel and Ted Deutch to name just a few.

Although a registered Republican, his name was added to the palm cards circulated by the south county clubs as their preferred candidate for mayor in a non-partisan race. These cards provided the names of suggested candidates for voters to select. Singer also utilized his commanding war chest in excess of $150,000 and supported largely by developer interests, to send pre-filled out absentee ballots to the entire voting community.

These advantages swayed the election in his favor. While he is now the Mayor winning with this partisan formula, many of the people who voted for him are not the active community-minded people who are passionately “watching” how our City is being run.

To those of you actively watching, I say, your job is never over! Fighting for our community and preserving the spirit of our town is something you must remain committed to in the future.

Thank you again for your support and well-wishes!

Al Zucaro
Publisher of BocaWatch

Reflection on the Special Election of 2018

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At one time, all the people who moved here felt pretty much the same way.

What changed?

Politics can easily be split into two camps: the folks who need something and the folks who want something. There are people who engage in politics with the goal of getting some kind of approval for something they want to do, something they want to build, something they are going to profit from. Then there’s the other kind of person who doesn’t necessarily have anything to profit from it, but want to have their influence felt. They might want to fight some ill of their community, want more parks, better beaches, better schools, and a safer community. But the difference is that this last group isn’t motivated the same.

Last night’s election was a controlled sampling of us, an opportunity for the folks who want to improve those things, things residents care about, to have their voices be heard. The turnout and the results were an indicator of how people here feel today.

Did the people who want to preserve the lifestyle they moved to Boca for show up in great enough numbers to overcome the donations from those with investment-worthy needs?

No – they didn’t. Those with the need to change our lifestyles, adding more and more people, won instead.

BocaWatch was driven by volunteers, people who wanted to make a difference, people who wanted to see their quality of life be the best, what they moved to Boca Raton for. They’re all people who do the best they can to make a difference. Al Zucaro wanted to make a difference. He put his heart into BocaWatch in service to Boca Raton. He didn’t need it for exposure. He didn’t need it to run ads for his legal practice. He didn’t need to lead the effort to pull volunteers together and patiently listen what residents wanted when government wouldn’t listen. He did it because he wanted to.

Of course there will be people who, twenty years from now, look back and ask why things are the way they are in their Boca Raton. They’ll read stories about how it used to be and wonder why parts they loved weren’t preserved, why it was allowed to change so much, become so different than the Boca Raton they were raised in. They’ll wonder what happened to their hometown, why it went from suburban to urban. We can say that some of us wanted to maintain that quality of life we grew up with here – there just weren’t enough of us. The want for a recognizable quality of life got trumped by the need to influence and profit. People are too happy to have wants. The bread is too good to want for more and the circus is too good to want to go someplace else.

The wants lost to the needs.

This article reflects the author’s opinion and is not a statement of the opinion of BocaWatch or other contributors.

Want to know more about why Scott Singer won?
Read the letter from Al Zucaro to his supporters.

It’s August 28th! – VOTE TODAY!

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Today is the day for Boca Raton’s Special Election. Today is the day to vote.

Find Your Polling Place with the Precinct Finder – CLICK HERE

If you love your neighborhood here’s something to think about: politicians pay attention to which neighborhoods vote. A neighborhood that votes is more politically valuable than a neighborhood that doesn’t. Politicians don’t want to disappoint neighborhoods with a lot of voters. Neighborhoods with fewer voters aren’t as valuable to please. Don’t let your neighborhood be forgotten – vote and represent.

Vote for our future. Vote for the parks, for the beaches, for the ocean. Vote for our kids, our elders, our families. This is your community and today it needs you more than ever. Vote for Boca Raton.

Follow the Money

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Publisher’s Comment:

Six plus years ago, BocaWatch arrived on the scene here in Boca Raton. Its objective was to return the residents’ voice to city governance; to halt the assault on Boca Raton’s quality of life; to reign in over-development, excessive traffic, growing congestion, inadequate parking, school overcrowding and the commercialization our parks and pristine beach.
Today, Election Day, August 28, 2018, residents are on the verge of great success. Today, for the first time in decades, a ‘resident friendly’ super-majority can be elected to the City Council; finally, a City Council representative of the resident; a rejection of the developer dominated City Councils of the recent past; a renewed breath of fresh air here in Boca Raton with its remarkable sunrises and celebrated charm.

Beginning with the residents’ overwhelming victory of November, 2016 in the Wildflower referendum, a referendum won by a 70% to 30% popular vote and continuing through the recent convincing election victories of Council members Andrea Levine O’Rourke (March’ 17) and Monica Mayotte (March ’18), the residents’ journey is incredibly clear; the journey has come to this defining moment.

Seize the moment!

Residents have had enough. It is time for a new and responsive city council direction; a new political will. Perhaps an actual return to the future; a future that begins now!!!

Residents….Get Out the Vote….Get your family, your neighbors, and your friends out to vote today. This election will shape Boca Raton for the future….This election is the Waterloo of Boca Raton politics; an election that will place a super-majority ‘resident friendly’ voting block on the city council for the foreseeable future; an election destined to shape our future for decades to come.

Make no mistake….victory today is the only option. 

Following the money as suggested in today’s satirical message reveals that development interests lurk; developer interests that wait for us, the resident, to fail; for us to give up or become complacent.

If that were to occur, they, the developer interests, will shower their ‘bought and paid for’ politicians with campaign contributions and PAC money to preserve the status quo. The status quo translates into millions of dollars from developer friendly votes.

In this election cycle alone, over $200,000 dollars have been spent to maintain the status quo and derail the residents’ demand for change.

Today…a vote for change to the status quo is nigh….

Take advantage!!!
The candidates’ opposing visions for the future could not be more different.
Our time, the residents’ time is now…Tomorrow is too late!!!

Al Zucaro,
Publisher of BocaWatch

Campaign Coffers Gorge On Epic Special Interest Contributions

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This will be our final campaign finance report prior to the August 28th election. 

Early voting at the city library has emphasized a political ticket being presented by our city’s unions. As we have illustrated in prior reports, both Mayoral candidate Scott Singer and Seat A candidate Andy Thomson are heavily supported by special interest money in the form of; Legal donors, Developer Related donors, PAC’s and Unions.

Mayoral Race

True to his past record Mr. Singer has thus far recorded 49% of his funding from special interest groups and now has amassed more than $154,000 total for his campaign when you include in-kind contributions. By comparison, Singer’s opponent Al Zucaro has received $36,000 in total funding. Both totals exclude candidate’s loans to their campaigns.

City Council Seat A

Dubious congratulations to Andy Thomson! BocaWatch has been doing in-depth campaign finance analysis for several different elections covering seventeen different candidates (some are repeat candidates). Never have we seen the high percentage level of special interest money accruing to one candidate. Thomson has 61% of his funds from PAC’s and other special interest sources. And these numbers are greatly understated when you consider the PAC mailings paid separately on behalf of both Singer and Thomson that total many thousands of dollars. In Thomson’s case, the numbers also exclude the more than one hundred individual union member contributions that typically register at $25 each. Don’t take our word for it. Check out Thomson’s last two campaign finance reports here: https://www.myboca.us/1554/Andy-Thomson.

As for the other candidates for Seat A, Tamara McKee continues to struggle finding contributors and raised a mere $50 for the last reporting period. Meanwhile, BocaWatch endorsed candidate Kathy Cottrell, has raised 87% of her funding from individuals. A stark contrast to Andy Thomson. Ms. Cottrell has actually surpassed Thomson in dollar amount raised from individuals when you factor out Thomson’s individual union contributors.

Cottrell took 87% from individuals versus Thomson taking 29%. Thomson took 61% from Special Interests while Cottrell took 8% from them.

Cottrell took the least donations. McKee was second. Thomson took the most donations. Cottrell and Thomson had almost the same expenses while McKee's was half of theirs. A further examination of the expense side of the reports points out an oddity. Both Cottrell and Thomson have reported expenses in excess of $30,000. McKee, in spite of loaning her campaign $43,100, has expensed only $11,894 which is almost identical to the amount raised from others. It is almost as if the loaned money to her campaign is really not her’s to spend and may be there for appearance sake only to legitimize an otherwise wayward campaign. Wittingly or unwittingly, Ms. Mckee may be playing the part of a spoiler in this campaign by receiving votes that may have otherwise gone to a particular opponent, most likely Cottrell. We don’t know the answers, but it is a peculiarity. We have not witnessed this type of disconnect from any serious candidates over several campaign cycles.

Summary

Voters need to be aware that the City of Boca Raton union contracts will once again be under consideration in approximately one year. The unions along with the PAC’s and special interest groups have placed their bets on the candidates of their choice. BocaWatch will continue in its quest to elect those candidates it feels will best represent the residents of Boca Raton and not special interest groups.

Can We Make Boca Parks Safer?

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Safe Parks In Boca

Boca parks are some of the nicest parks I have seen and one of our greatest assets in Boca Raton. Our City Officials and the Beach & Park District have done a tremendous job in keeping our green spaces and recreational areas pristine. Parks in Boca provide a wonderful place for social interaction within our natural environment and offer parents and families opportunities to meet and play with friends. But could they become a liability if they are deemed unsafe by residents? If they aren’t seen as safe could they lose their value and benefit to the community?

When I dropped my kids at Camp Boca this summer, I asked a staff member at the community center “what do you think could be done to improve the safety of our parks?” She mentioned that they would like to see security cameras installed throughout the park, especially the playgrounds. “We have so many kids here and Park Rangers are not enough.”

I then stopped on my way out and spoke with the one Ranger on duty. He said “we need better security here for our sake and your sake.” He said the best solution is for ordinary citizens like me to say something. He mentioned that Park Rangers are there as a “scarecrow” but if an incident happens they have to radio police.

With our attention and our public resources focused on schools safety, our parks have become vulnerable. Parents – nothing will take the place of watching your own kids, and we cannot rely upon a few unarmed park rangers to protect us. Can we come together as a community and address this concern? Perhaps form a Park Safety Task Force? I would be happy to hear other mitigating measures that can be implemented.

Thank you,
Michelle Grau

What Kind of Hurricane Prepper Are You?

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What kind of hurricane prepper are you?

Each year, Floridians know several hurricanes may impact their lives. Faced with a constant barrage of warnings through the media and word of mouth, you would think that all of us would respond in the same way. Many factors, though, influence how fast people react, or even, incredibly, if they react at all. Having survived three major hurricanes and countless scares, I have observed several attitudes before these tropical disasters.

The Big Con: No One Ever Voted For Scott Singer To Be Mayor

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Did you know the Scott Singer Mayoral campaign accepted $7,113 from the 2500 N Ocean Blvd “beach builder gang” and that their lawyer threw a fundraiser for Singer? Tired of the traffic? Jack explains why you should vote for Al Zucaro for Mayor and Kathy Cottrell for Boca Raton City Council Seat A. That puts residents with a majority voice in the Boca Raton City Council to handle the coming concrete tsunami that will clog Boca with more traffic and cause busing of our kids to Delray and Boynton schools.

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