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Al Zucaro Holds Kick-Off Rally at Juniors in Mizner Park

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Zucaro Kick-Off Rally

Al Zucaro, Boca Raton Mayoral Candidate, had a rally last night at Juniors in Mizner Park. Residents and supporters packed side by side to listen to him discuss which issues are going to be part of his campaign.

Council Candidate Kathy Cottrell introduced Mr. Zucaro. Getting directly into the issues that will be in front of him as Mayor, Candidate Al Zucaro touched on:

  • Schools: overcrowding and safety
  • Good Governance: scrutinizing city government roles including the City Attorney
  • Traffic: Preparing for the influx of new residents that are expected from development already approved but not yet built.
  • His Opponent, Scott Singer: Beyond the obligatory contrasting of himself versus his opponent, Mr. Zucaro spent a small amount of time attacking his opponent’s record, calling him, in the speech, “Haynie-lite” which was followed by some chuckles from the crowd.

Attendees enjoyed hors d’ oeuvres and drinks while chatting with neighbors and BocaWatch contributors. You can see Jack McWalter peeking around the corner in the above photo, wearing his recognizable orange. Katie Barr was also there as well as Council Member Andrea O’ Rourke.

This will be an unusual and interesting summer, because of this special election on August 28th. Will you be in town to vote? What issues are most important to you? What questions do you think the candidates should answer? What issues should they address? Tell us in the comments below.

Three Councilwomen Will ‘Justify’ a Win for Boca Residents

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Publisher’s Comment:

Wishful thinking?  Perhaps not.  Over 200 people attended Candidate Kathy Cottrell’s Kick Off party at the Addison in downtown Boca Raton; an impressive turnout of friends and family, residents, political figures, first responders and a small army of volunteers.  Kathy Cottrell, a fourth generation Boca Raton native, promises  a ‘unique perspective’ capable of connecting the Boca of the past to the Boca of the future. With an impressive resume of corporate accomplishments, Kathy offers the possibility of continuing the residents’ initiative to change the controlling interests in Boca Raton.  From the enthusiastic reception of the gathered crowd, it seems those attending already agree.  Only time will tell but the early odds suggest that this race will provide the resident with a council majority to accomplish what we, the residents, set out to do over the past four (4) election cycles.  Next up, the Mayor’s race….win that and residents immediately have a super majority on the City Council; a super majority that insures the desired ‘resident friendly’ outcomes.   So remember…

Your vote is your voice; Let your voice be heard on August 28th in the Special Election!

Al Zucaro
Publisher of BocaWatch

What’s Boca Saying? Council Candidate Kathy Cottrell

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With a resume a mile long, and experience in Fortune 500 companies, the FBI and expertise in ethics, Boca voters have a chance to vote for someone without political ambition. Candidate for Seat A Kathy Cottrell sat down with Katie and talked about her expertise and drive to “give back to the place I love”.

Boca Raton’s Native Americans: Jeaga, Calusa or Tequesta?

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A collection of Native American artifacts archived at the Boca Raton Historical Museum, from an undisclosed location along the coast
Top-to-bottom/left-to-right: Shell Scraper, ornament, ornament, ornament, pottery, pottery, pottery. Native American Artifacts Uncovered In Boca Raton - Courtesy: Boca Raton Historical Society Museum

We know there were Native American people living here in Boca Raton before Europeans. Unfortunately we don’t have any account of what they called themselves, exactly, here in Boca because there was no written record of how they identified themselves. However we do have archaeological evidence that helps us understand who was living here. The archaeological evidence points to Boca Raton’s ancient residents being something unique from the named tribes we know about from written records.

Boca Raton August 28th Election Candidate Voting Records

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BocaWatch provides an analysis of incumbent candidate voting records before each local election. In this case, the coming election is August 28, 2018 and the incumbent candidate is Acting Mayor Scott Singer. Voting records can be used for fact checking campaign promises as well as an indicator of future voting tendencies.

The voting information summarized in this article was obtained from the Boca Raton City Clerk for the meetings where votes are taken.

Following is a summary of Scott Singer’s voting record from April 8, 2014 until May 8, 2018.

Year Meetings YES Votes NO Votes
2014 17 123 0
2015 22 200 3
2016 23 173 8
2017 18 210 1
2018 10 88 1
Totals 90 794 13

 

The way to interpret this is that he attended 90 meetings where votes were taken. During these meetings he voted YES 794 times and NO 13 times.

Following are details on the 13 NO votes cast by Scott Singer during his four years on Boca Raton City Council.

Date Adopted Ord No Modifications Res No Topic
24/11/2015 5327 Text amendment – Creating PM-0.40 Zoning District  (AM14-06)
24/11/2015 148-2015 University Village – Master Plan
26/01/2016 5340 Charter Amendment – Sec 3.04 – Council salary increase
24/05/2016 5345 Bldg Height Limitations East of Palmetto Park Bridge – Moratorium on Ordinance
14/06/2016 5352 Council salaries increase – Repealing Ord 5340 amending Charter 3.04
26/06/2016 5353 Future Land Use Map Amendment – Wildflower property
26/06/2016 5354 Rezoning of Wildflower property – Northern portion  (ZC-14-01)
8/9/2016* 5356 Indefinite Postponement of ICW Land Preservation Ordinance
26/09/2016 As Amended 103-2016 Amended & Restated User Fee Schedule
13/12/2016 151-2016 Increase Retail Sign Display Density
12/12/2017 177-2017 Sponsorship Agreement – BR Championship Golf Tournament
27/03/2018 035-2018 Fowler Variance Appeal (BBAA-17-92600001)
* Ordinance 5356 was not adopted; thus sending the issue to a referendum vote on November 8, 2016

 

Some development-related NO votes in the above list include the University Village mixed-use development that is approved for 849 residences and a 185-room hotel. Scott Singer also supported preserving the ICW waterfront for recreation purposes.

The details of the ordinances and resolutions that are listed in the above NO Vote table can be found by entering the ordinance or resolution numbers into the boxes of the form in the following link. https://forms.ci.boca-raton.fl.us/…

Following are details on the YES votes for development projects cast by Scott Singer during his four years on Boca Raton City Council.

Vote Date Dwelling Units* Development Name
6/10/2014 370 900 Broken Sound
8/12/2014 76 Boca Highlands
9/9/2014 75 Spanish River Highlands
1/26/2015 170 Tower 155
1/27/2015 282 6700 North Congress
1/27/2015 398 Fairway Commons
8/10/2015 25 327 Royal Palm
10/27/2015 8 Pine Circle Villas
10/27/2015 8 Floresta Grove
12/7/2015 104 Via Mizner + 164 Rm Hotel
12/8/2015 1 2500 N. Ocean Blvd.
1/11/2016 8 Oceanside Townhomes
11/22/2016 180 5500 Broken Sound
1/10/2017 55 Boca Villas
4/19/2017 322 Boca Colonnade
8/21/2017 193 375 Royal Palm
8/21/2017 384 Mizner 200
10/24/2017 70 1 S. Ocean
12/12/2017 284 5201 Congress
2/26/2018 48 475 Royal Palm
2/27/2018 19 Yamato Villas
Total 3,079
*Approved by Scott Singer

 

During his four years on the City Council, Scott Singer approved 3,079 high density residential units. Most of these units are not developed and on-line yet. When the proposed University Village dwelling unit density is added to the above approved developments, over 4,100 additional dwelling units are scheduled to be built over the next several years. These units will add to school overcrowding, traffic and downtown parking problems. This is totally inconsistent with the City Council’s low-density planning directive.

The above voting record analysis can be used as a data point for evaluating candidate Scott Singer against other candidates competing for the position of Mayor of Boca. Bocawatch will be publishing additional candidate information, such as campaign contribution sources, that can also be used for evaluation purposes.

What’s Boca Saying? County Judge Candidate Gabe Ermine

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Attorney Gabe Ermine shares his fascinating family story and how it drove his lifelong desire to run for group 4 county judge which includes Boca. Listen in and go to the polls educated.

Are Student ID Badges Making Kids Less Safe?

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Student ID badges: Safe or Unsafe?

Are these new student ID badges an effective means to keep kids safe or a poorly thought out reaction to recent concerns about school safety?

We all want our kids to be more safe, but is it possible that student ID badges are making them less safe? Could the requirement for students to always wear them actually be creating a more stressful and dehumanizing environment, exacerbating incidents they’re intended to prevent?

June 12th City Council Agenda Raises Ethics Issues

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This City Council Meeting has items on the Agenda of significant public interest with regards to ethics and potential conflicts of interest.  Items worthy of mention are:

1) Item 9  (K) (2): Special meeting of the Executive Employee Retirement Plan Board of Trustees. This meeting took place in January and was chaired by Deputy City Manager George Brown with Lief Ahnell, the City Manager, as a board member.

  • Is this like the proverbial fox watching the chicken coop?
  • Isn’t this pension fund for the top level executives in Boca Raton’s City Government?
  • Aren’t George Brown and Lief Arnell top level Executive Employees benefiting from this plan?

Go figure!

2) Item 12 A: Ordinance No. 5458; this is item is of special concern.

On its face it is merely an extension of time for the Purchase and Sale of the municipal golf course to GL Homes. What makes this special is the persistent rumors of undisclosed relationships between Acting Mayor Scott Singer and representatives of GL Homes.

  • Singer’s campaign consultant is Todd Richardson.
  • Todd Richardson is rumored to be an unregistered lobbyist for GL Homes.
  • Also, Attorney Neil Schiller, GL Homes’ registered lobbyist, is an ardent political supporter of Scott Singer and is rumored to have recently hosted a fund raising event  for Singer’s re-election campaign.
  • At no time during this year long negotiation for the sale of the municipal golf course has Mr. Singer publicly disclose such relationships; relationships which if true are certainly worthy of disclosure and may even require Mr. Singer’s recusal from participating in this important matter; a matter that has resulted in significant financial impacts for GL Homes.  Shades of an ethic complaint, aka Susan Haynie?

Better late than never….Mr. Singer must publicly address these rumors and, if the rumors are factual, recuse himself from this matter while seeking guidance from the Palm Beach County Ethics Commission regarding his continuing participation.

Stay Tuned and Stay Informed… Remember your vote is your voice, let your voice be heard in the Special Election on August 28th!!!

12jun6:00 pm11:00 pmBoca Raton City Council Meeting - Important Agenda Issues@Council Chambers in City Hall - 6pm - 8pm (but can go longer)

Summer Hiatus?

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This week while in City Hall for some ministerial items, I observed the video display in the first-floor lobby with most of the noticed meeting for boards and committees ‘cancelled’. That struck me as very odd….With all that is happening in this city you would think that these boards and committees would be overflowing with activities….Then, later in the week, I received the City’s agenda for the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), the City Council Workshop and the City Council Meeting. A review of these agenda supports the proposition that Boca Raton may be mentally shut down for the summer. Incredible!!!

BocaWatch reported last week that the CRA meeting took all of 18 minutes to complete. 18 minutes including the Pledge of Allegiance and the roll call….Can you imagine?

The Agenda for June 11th went a bit longer considering there was an item for approval of a temporary gravel-surfaced parking lot with 23 vehicular parking spaces for the employees of the Tower 155 construction project. Requiring this project to now jump through hoops for approval of a temporary parking lot is simply political folly. The Tower 155 project should have never been approved in the first place. It did not meet the code requirements and only after a twisted change of the controlling ordinance was it allowed to go forward. Residents have already suffered the impacts of this ill-fitting project. Not granting this parking lot request impacts the residents again and again….Enough said…stop the political posturing and accept the proposition that granting Tower 155 its initial approval was the actual cause of harm. Increasing the project’s impacts on the residents and shopkeepers more than is necessary only adds insult to injury.

The City Council, after an hour long debate, voted a 2 – 2 tie and the motion to grant the project a temporary parking facility died.

Prediction: Whatever parking spaces are available on the surrounding streets will now become parking for the projects workers…..Terrific solution!

Listen Up Boca! – Never Waste A Crisis

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BocaWatch commentator at large Jack McWalter investigated what’s going on and more importantly what’s NOT going on when it comes to school safety at Boca’s public schools.

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