Boca Raton citizens have signaled a mandate, through their overwhelming support of the November 8th ballot question, that they want their Intracoastal Waterway lands to be preserved for recreation. This article examines the details of the election results, their implications and required actions.
On November 17th the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections posted the detailed results of the November 8th election on their website: http://www.pbcelections.org/. BocaWatch has summarized the results:
- 43,858 of 63,684 registered voters in the City (69%) voted on the Boca ballot question.
- 29,374 were YES ballots and 14,484 were NO ballots. This is approximately 67% YES and 33% NO.
- In Total: ALL 37 precincts in the City had more YES than NO votes.
- Absentee Voting: ALL 37 precincts in the City had more YES than NO votes
- Early Voting: ALL 37 precincts in the City had more YES than NO votes
- Nov 8th Voting: ALL 37 precincts in the City had more YES than NO votes
The following map shows the percentage of YES votes per precinct:
When absentee, early and precinct voting are viewed as separate contests in each of the 37 Boca Raton precincts, there were a total of 111 contests for the November 8th Boca Raton ballot question. The YES votes swept all 111 contests for a 111-0 shutout.
The implications of these results are significant:
- Special interests that did not want the YES vote to win raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for their campaign while the YES vote supporters raised a mere fraction of that amount. Give credit to the Boca Raton citizens who did their due-diligence and voted accordingly.
- In an era of post-truth politics Boca Raton voters are sufficiently rational to not be influenced by outrageous claims by special interests, City officials and the local media.
- Several City Council members did not want the YES vote to win and either actively campaigned for a NO vote or tried to minimize political risk by positioning themselves slightly off of a NO vote in public settings. These people not only failed to influence the city-wide vote, but the NO vote also lost in their home precincts.
- When it comes to preserving Intracoastal Waterway lands for recreation, there is consensus from all geographical parts of the City. Supporters of a YES vote have been accused of being NIMBY’s (Not in My Backyard) and a vocal minority among other things, but election results prove that these assertions are false. The demand is City-wide.
The city-owned Wildflower property has sat idle for the last seven years. Every precinct in the City voted YES on the Boca Raton ballot question to preserve City-owned Intracoastal Waterway lands for recreation. Residents will hold the City Council accountable to move quickly on this mandate. First, the property must be opened as a passive park. Second, recreation-oriented comp plan and zoning changes made for the site. Third, timely implementation of changes recommended in the City’s comprehensive waterfront study. The Wildflower passive park opening plan should be presented to the citizens at the December 13 City Council meeting.