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Could Susan Haynie Return to the Office of Mayor?

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Susan Haynie: Returning to the Office of Mayor?

Is there a chance she’s coming back, a possibility she’ll be Mayor again???

You bet there is!!!….Not only a possibility but one with a ‘fair’ degree of probability!!!

Criminal Justice is so much more complex than the television images of a Perry Mason drama or the sound bite complexities of a Law and Order episode….

In a criminal matter, the accused enjoys the presumption of innocence until the State proves guilt ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. The ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard is applied when the accused chooses to participate in a trial on the facts of the case and the law applicable to those facts. Court records for Ms. Haynie’s trial has assigned Case # 50-2018-CF-0038755-AXXX-MB.

The case is now positioned to move forward in two ways:

  1. Trial by Jury by one’s peers to a verdict of guilty or not guilty; or,
  2. Trial without a jury of one’s peers with the presiding judge acting as the trier of fact and the arbitrator of applicable law.

So far, there is no indication which of these two methods Ms. Haynie will elect as her strategy of choice. However, since her arrest date of April 24, 2018, there are some indications as to what may be a strategy to achieve the ‘no felony conviction’ outcome needed either at trial or by plea.

This possible scenario has Defendant Haynie preserving her right to a ‘speedy trial’. ‘Speedy Trial’ guarantees the accused, Ms. Haynie, to a trial within 175 days of the arrest unless she specifically waives this right. Without such a waiver, Defendant Haynie’s trial must begin within the time frame or risk discharge.

As noted above, the arrest date was April 24th. To date, Court records do not show any waiver of Speedy Trial. However, there are three items of significance contained in the case file;

  1. A Notice of Appearance by Criminal Defense Attorney Leonard Feuer;
  2. A Notice of Arraignment, the first in-court appearance for Ms. Haynie, scheduled for May 24th at 8:30 A.M. in Palm Beach County Courtroom 11F with Judge Glenn Kelley presiding.
  3. A Notice of Discovery filed by Attorney Feuer on April 26th which ‘requests’ the State of Florida disclose to the defense all the evidence the prosecuting attorney may be presenting at trial. Such ‘request’ is to be fulfilled within 15 days of receipt; in this case by May 11th, 2018

As stated, there is no ‘waiver of speedy trial’ which suggests that the prosecuting attorney, right now, is under the obligation to be ready for trial on or before mid-October 2018; 175 days from the arrest unless a demand for trial is made by the defense.

Not waiving speedy trial provides the defense with a distinct advantage in a criminal case and is a tactic employed to rush the State’s trial preparation or, in the alternative, negotiate a plea with the State acceptable to the defense and to the Judge.

In most cases, defendants waive speedy trial to prolong the process to find other viable outcomes. In this case, it is to Ms. Haynie’s advantage to not waive speedy trial if her objective is to go to trial and win by acquittal. Until and unless Ms. Haynie waives speedy trial, she maintains advantage over the prosecuting attorney; generally an attorney with several other serious felony trials active at any given time.

So what should we, the public, be looking for?

At her May 24th hearing, Ms. Haynie will be required to enter a plea; to wit: guilty or not guilty. Most likely, she will plead ‘not guilty’ and since the demand for discovery has already been received by the State, the defense will be fully aware of the current evidence and the witness list expected to be presented at trial.

From then on, without the waiver, both the state and defense will proceed in the discovery process; including but not limited to taking depositions, preforming accounting reviews, preparing expert witnesses, filing pre–trial motions, as well as other available tactical maneuvers. All this activity having to be completed before the time line expires.

This is the ‘chess game’ that may be played out by the defense with their opening gambit to push for the jury trial but with a fall back posture of offering to plead guilty to a deal that drops all felony charges for a plea of guilty to one or more of the charged misdemeanors. Such a negotiated plea may perhaps be justified because the State might not be fully prepared to try the case and rather than risk losing at trial, take a sure plea bargain preserving the conviction ratios that State Attorneys are often heard too cite. 

To justify such a plea deal, the State could conclude that proving the felony charges ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ is in doubt.

Here is where the layperson’s skepticism of the system may be justified. For instance, according to the arrest affidavit (see attached), Ms. Haynie, amongst other items, is charged with one count of perjury, lying to an investigating officer while under oath; a charge that seems open and shut to the lay person. However, often times, trials are not about truth, but rather about truths allowed into the proceeding through the prism of Florida’s Rules of Evidence and the attorneys’ pre-trial motions argued to the judge with the objective of limiting or excluding information from being heard by the trier of fact.

My opinion is that such a ‘no felony conviction’ outcome is not only possible but may actually have a fair degree of probability given the high profile nature of the political players involved; the aggressive defense tactic of not waiving speedy trial; and, the close relationships amongst the individuals involved in this case.

BocaWatch will follow this criminal proceeding closely and bring to your attention the manipulations and maneuvers employed by both sides in this criminal matter.

Note the timeline…

The special election for Mayor is scheduled for August 28th. Deputy Mayor Singer will have filed his notice of intent to run for the Mayor seat. He will also have filed the ‘resign to run’ statement required by Florida law for City Council Seat A; a seat Mr. Singer won in the March 2017 election. With these filings, the City Charter will require a special election to fill the Council vacancy.

So imagine….

After declaring himself “Mayor”, not merely the Acting Mayor; after an unnecessary ‘swearing in’ ceremony on May 7th instead of simply ascending to the seat by virtue of the Mayor’s suspension; after running a vigorous campaign and assuming victory; after taking the office with the expectation of filling the seat for the remainder of the Haynie’s current term (March 2020); Scott Singer may have once again outsmarted himself…

Here’s how….

Mayor Haynie may be found not guilty in a trial or she may plead to one or more misdemeanors without any felony conviction. Given either of those scenarios, Mayor Haynie’s suspension will be lifted; she would return to office and Acting Mayor Scott Singer would be required to step down.

But….step down to what???

The Council A seat’s vacancy will have been filled, preventing Mr. Singer from returning to the Council; he would actually step down to becoming a resident without a public office; an eventuality that is more than possible but actually with a fair degree of probability; an interesting outcome considering that Scott Singer has never actually demonstrated himself to be a risk taker, a gambler with his political ambitions and future.

Interesting!!!

Stay tuned; stay informed….

Please always remember,

Your vote is your voice; let your voice be heard at the ballot box in August….

Al Zucaro
Publisher

REFERENCE: the Susan Haynie Arrest Affidavit.

Federal Lawsuit Against City of Boca Raton Now Over

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East Palmetto Park Road in front of proposed Chabad location.

The long standing legal case against the City of Boca Raton, for violations of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, has been ruled ‘Moot’ by the Federal Court of Appeals.

Beach Sweep with Boca Save our Beaches

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Plastic pollution is increasingly the most common item we see littered in our marine environment. By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. We are on a mission to stop this by partnering up with 4Ocean at Spanish River Park for a beach cleanup.

Join us from 9AM to 11AM on Saturday, May 19th at Spanish River Park in Boca Raton to help keep our seas free of debris! This cleanup is proudly coordinated thanks to Gumbo Limbo and the City of Boca Raton.

We will take a group hands across the sand photo at 11AM sharp. Remember to wear your Boca Save our Beaches tee.

Schedule of Events:
9AM to 1045AM: Beach Cleanup at Spanish River Beach with 4Ocean

 

11AM: Group Photo at Spanish River Beach

12PM to 3PM: Group Brunch at Seasons 52 on the back patio

**Happy hour prices will be honored on all beverages from 12PM to 3PM provided by Tanner Lamb & Associates**

**Free flatbreads will be provided by Tanner Lamb & Associates**

**Free deserts provided by Seasons 52**

** Virgin Islands Coffee Roasters is generous enough to provide volunteers with coffee to kick-start everyone’s morning**

 

For additional information, please see our Facebook page. 

What’s Boca Saying? Hidden Valley’s Rob Berthiaume

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Hidden Valley Homeowners Association aims to to develop the closed golf course in a way that is consistent with its zoning and the needs of residents in that part of the city. Rob is the lead voice in that fight.

Will the City and the Beach and Parks District Save our Beaches?

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Publisher’s comment:
Over-development in our downtown; over-development on our North-West corridors; over-development in our Mid-town area; and now, thanks to an errant 2015 City Council decision granting a variance to a non-buildable lot at 2500 N. Ocean, over-development may be coming to our beachfront.

Residents’ clarion call: Stop this assault on our quality of life; a quality of life that has made Boca Raton the community that we all know and love!!!

If the elected officials can not and will not fight for our pristine beach, what will these elected officials fight for?

Al Zucaro, Publisher

The Fight to Save our Beaches

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Publisher’s Comment:  Regarding 2500 N. Ocean, BocaWatch has been reporting on this matter for over two (2) years now.  Faults raised in today’s article falls directly at the collective feet of Suspended Mayor Susan Haynie and Acting Mayor Scott Singer. In a December 14, 2015 article titled  “Fights worth Fighting”, BocaWatch reported the arguments that Haynie and Singer offered for granting variances to the developer; variances that established an entitlement to what was then an unbuildable lot into a lot with an asking price in the tens of millions.  A second article titled “Misleading or Incompetence” published on November 28, 2016 further analyzes these extremely costly circumstances. Readers are encouraged to use the BocaWatch search engine above to bring up these articles and review.   Haynie and Singer’s political judgments, their disregard for the residents’ call to not entitle the lot, and their ‘developer friendly’ results are simply unacceptable and troubling. At this time, the City Council will need to carefully consider the arguments identified by Jessica Gray in today’s article and any other legally defensible arguments that may be identified in reviewing the facts of this matter to prevent further developer threat to Boca Raton’s pristine beach.    Al Zucaro, Publisher

________________________________________________________________________

Narrative:

Last week, Boca Raton’s Beach and Parks District announced they will not be purchasing 2500 and 2600 N Ocean due to lack of funds and their $42+ million commitment to Ocean Breeze Golf Course. The property owners of 2500 N Ocean and 2600 N Ocean are asking for a sum around $20M per lot.

Wondering out loud, who has an extra $40 million laying around? Meanwhile both properties were appraised in 2017 via Palm Beach County’s Property Appraiser for no more than $150,000.

The owners of 2500 N Ocean and 2600 N Ocean individually purchased the unbuildable lots for less than $1 million while they were in foreclosure. However, in 2015 – City Council granted a lot width variance to 2500 N Ocean Blvd, deeming the lot buildable, with the exception of Jeremy Rodgers who voted against oceanfront mansions. Due to this variance, the property values have skyrocketed as the lots turned from an unbuildable lot into a buildable lot.

Although not on the agenda yet, both properties, will come before City Council for a final CCCL variance. This yes or no vote will say – yes build on the beach, or no do not build on the beach. We need Council to vote NO when these parcels come up for review and put this to rest.

In the City’s Code of Ordinances, it states: “The city hereby adopts the county coastal construction control line as established by the department of environmental protection, as specified under F.S. § 161.053, and recorded in the public records of the county in plat book 80, pages 137 through 155. Seaward of the established coastal construction control line no person shall:

(a) Construct any structure whatsoever;
(b) Make any excavation;
(c) Remove any beach materials or otherwise alter existing ground elevations;
(d) Drive any motor vehicle”

https://library.municode.com/fl/boca_raton/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=VOII_CH28ZO_ARTXVSUDIRE_DIV10MIARRESE_S28-1556COCOSE

Clearly in the map, both properties, 2500 N Ocean and 2600 N Ocean are seaward of the CCCL. Check out the map here: https://ca.dep.state.fl.us/mapdirect/?focus=beaches

It is a rare scenario that Boca Raton’s City Council Members are in the same room as Boca Raton’s Beach and Parks District. There is a joint meeting between the City and the Beach and Parks District scheduled for Wednesday next week. Although only Ocean Breeze Golf Course is on the agenda – these two properties will be discussed. You are welcome to join as this meeting is open to the public. https://www.myboca.us/Calendar.aspx?EID=3029&month=5&year=2018&day=3&calType=0 

It is very important to ask ALL members, what are you going to do to protect our beaches?

The Goat Rodeo: Is The Scramble For A Temporary Appointee Needed?

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The Great Boca Raton Goat Rodeo 2018

A lot of people are talking about this process of adjusting the City Government seats in response to the Haynie vacancy. The idea of appointing a temporary council member has gotten lots of locals stirred up. This is because anyone could apply for the position and it’s not determined by election; the Council Members would mutually decide, in theory, on the temporary appointee. Will everyone show up who’s ever dreamed of being on City Council, but knows their chances of getting elected are slim? Will it turn into a goat rodeo?

Michelle Grau’s Save Our Parks Speech

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Save Our Parks - Michelle Grau

My name is Michelle Grau, and I have been a resident of the city of Boca Raton for over 30 years and I am raising 2 sets of twins. I am here to voice my concerns about the recent threats that our Parks have come under.

SCAMWATCH: A Tried And True Method For Detecting Phone Scams

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Residents of Boca Raton are often preyed upon by phone scammers. The average income and wealth level combined with an older demographic mix make Boca Raton a ripe target. Scummy phone scammers call some Boca Residents frequently, often with the same scam over and over. They’ll try hard to keep you on the phone, but if you want a way to quickly discover whether they’re scamming or not read on. This technique will often make the most persistent, rude telemarketer hang up quickly.

The Residency Requirement Ordinance Poll: What Do You Think?

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Publisher’s Comment: Two items have been raised since posting this article requiring clarification…1) Acting Mayor Scott Singer originally asked the City Attorney to draft Ordinance 5453; and, 2) In the discussion between the 3 council members present, the one year time element was settled upon but could be adjusted if that was the City Council’s direction.  Al Zucaro, Publisher ______________________________________________________________

Ordinance 5453, dubbed the Incumbent’s Protection Relief Act (IPRA) is an ill-conceived proposal to limit residents the ability to vote for candidates of their choice.  A council vote on moving forward with an August City Charter change referendum has been postponed until a date certain of May 8th for action of the full City Council.

If passed, this ordinance would place a referendum vote on the August 28th special election asking the residents to vote for its terms and conditions. The City Council action item scheduled for Tuesday night, May 8, reads in part as follows:

Ordinance No. 5453 An Ordinance of the City of Boca Raton amending Article V, “Qualifications and Elections,” Section 5.03, “Qualifications,” of the Charter of the City of Boca Raton to modify the requirements to qualify as a candidate for City Council, including the office of Mayor, by: (i) extending the length of the residency requirement, establishing certain requirements for residency, and requiring proof of such residency (to be prescribed by Ordinance), and (ii) eliminating the $25 qualifying fee and instead requiring the verified signatures of a specified number of registered voters of the City, and providing for procedures for collection, submission, and verification of such signatures (to be prescribed by Ordinance); providing for a special election regarding the proposed Charter amendments to be held on August 28, 2018 (the date of the primary election); amending Chapter 6, “Elections,” of the Code of Ordinances to create (subject to approval of one, or both, of the above Charter amendments) a new Section 6-16, “Proof of Residency,” prescribing procedures for establishing residency, and a new Section 6-17, “Filing of Petition,” prescribing procedures for the collection, submission, and verification of signatures; providing for severability; providing for repealer; providing for revisions to the City Charter and codification in the City Code, respectively; providing an effective date.

Councilwoman Andrea Levine O’Rourke is the IPRA’s leading proponent. The Councilwoman argues that these requirements are necessary to prevent unqualified candidates from running for City Council seats. The arguments offered presuppose that the residents cannot judge for themselves who should be elected; the democratic process. Argued is that one year is the magical number; that the potential candidate should be required to demonstrate residency for the prescribed period of time and that the candidate gather 200 verified signatures to qualify.

Specifically stated as what the Ordinance is protecting against are people with little or no history of Boca Raton matters; using the arbitrary time element of one year as the measurement. Another issue raised is to prevent residents from filing last minute papers to run for open seats on the council. Further argued is that surrounding jurisdictions have qualifying requirements but offers no examples to support the statement except to say that to run for President of the United States, a candidate must be a citizen of the United States; a stretch to say the least as no mention is made of the ‘natural born citizen’ requirement.

The underlying objection seems to be the March ’17 filing by Andy Thomson who moved into the city just weeks before filing to run while he maintained a homestead outside the city. Kim Do’s candidacy to run in the last election cycle is another reason cited in support of this proposed charter change. Councilwoman O’Rourke has been heard to argue that Ms. Do was not qualified because she was an unknown candidate with no apparent history in city matters although Ms. Do was a resident for the required period of time.

Finally, additional reasoning offered in support is the Armand Grossman candidacy in the March ’18 election cycle for the open council seat where Mr. Grossman filed to run on the last filing day before the window of opportunity closed. Using that logic, I suspect my candidacy to run for Mayor in the March ’17 election cycle would have been prevented as I also qualified to run on the last day of qualifying in that race.

I used the term ill-conceived earlier…Ill-conceived because there are so many challenges to the reasoning. For instance…I have lived in Boca for 10 years now…what if I moved to Boca-Del-Mar just west of Military Trail on Camino Real; resided there for say 6 months and returned to Boca. By virtue of the reasoning, I would be prevented from running for City Council in the upcoming special election for Mayor and/or the open City Council seat being vacated by Scott Singer who is an announced candidate for Mayor.

Certainly it could not be argued that I am unfamiliar with Boca matters….Another ill-conceived element is the time element of gathering 200 signatures and having them verified would take a candidate’s election strategy of registering the last minute away. Requiring a candidate to expose themselves before the qualifying window closes is simply a warning signal to the incumbent or other candidates.

I could go on and on with why this is ill-conceived argument…but my main reason to not impose additional qualifications is that residents are perfectly capable of making that decision and, as Ms. O’Rourke did in her race against Mr. Thomson, a candidate’s opposition will be the first to point out this type of deficiency.

Hence, on May 8th the City Council should shelve this idea and not bring this matter to a referendum vote in August….there are certainly more pressing items for the council to handle. but, if a charter change is desired, let’s convene a Charter Review Commission to look at this question in a holistic way…an argument well worth the time and effort….an effort to bring the city charter into modern Boca Raton, a place we all have to come to know better.

Al Zucaro,
Publisher – BocaWatch

Please let me know your opinion on the residency requirement ordinance.

 

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