Resident Friendly On The Way To Being A Community

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Resident Friendly is a major element of something more important to Boca Raton – the concept of COMMUNITY.  If we look back ten or more years we experienced a “Pay for Play” form of government where developers extract huge financial benefits for themselves; seducing City Council members and candidates by paying for their campaign with an expected quid pro quo.  We can see a direct correlation of this fact by examining where Council members financial support comes from compared to their voting history.  Some Council members have been “selling” variances and deviations from City codes. Much of this has been presented in Boca Watch for your analysis. And, more recently, we learn of the possible exchange of money for votes enjoyed by our suspended Mayor.

We have become a divided community; a community unable to come together.  Along with the “pay for play” circumstance described in the first paragraph, please recognize another impediment to achieving any semblance of Community has been the divisive actions of the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber Board of Directors made it their goal to ‘sell’ off all of our waterfront parks via long term leases in 2016.   They made this public announcement on October 4, 2016 to the Boca Raton Federation of Homeowners Associations. How can City residents and business interests arrive at or imbue the feeling of COMMUNITY when the Chamber promotes and pays for its own selfish, UNFRIENDLY and ANTI-COMMUNITY attitude?  They finance candidates and Council members with campaign money at the expense of residents; at the expense of Community.

With the above in mind, let’s examine the concept of COMMUNITY. I hope we can agree on this definition.  “Community: A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals.”  To get there we must recognize the needs and wants of all parties with mutual support.  Community is a melding, a bringing together of interests and having respect for one another’s position to reach a “shared, common goal.”  Boca Watch has helped force the recognition of residents by insisting on our being included in the process of government. So, may I suggest we embrace the next step: working toward making Boca Raton a COMMUNITY. We can accomplish so much more when we listen to and respect one another.

To vote intelligently on August 28, one must know which candidates have worked against COMMUNITY and sold variances by accepting money for their campaigns.  Looking at voting records is an eye opener.  And consider new candidates who truly represent and actively participated in the concept of  community for a sustained period of time.  It’s your city and your vote will make a difference.

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Nancy and James Hendrey arrived in Boca Raton 32 years ago as IBMers. From Hawaii to Dallas to Atlanta and Boca, for them, IBM meant "I've Been Moved". In 1988 they chose to leave IBM management and take an employee "buyout" and start their own business. Twenty-five years later they chose to retire and stay in place. "With our previous experience as teachers, sales professionals, product developers, advertising managers, small business owners and real estate developers, we both have unspent energy, especially when it comes to protecting the city we love."

4 COMMENTS

  1. I appreciate your contributions to have residents foster a better community. However, I think the comment about the Boca Chamber is a bit broad and not true – selling/lease parks. The Wildflower property was the primary issue, and the referendum broadly forced voters to address ALL city owned waterfront land with additional use restrictions. Most landowners prefer maximum flexibility, so the chamber got involved, and maybe they should not have. Regardless, I think the outcome was positive for all residents and the greater community – preserve green space for public use. Boca Raton is very unique with the large amounts of preserved beaches/green space, and future generations will benefit from our community efforts to add and improve our green space. A strong Chamber partner is beneficial to our community, as we all need to work together. I personally would like to see a better “alignment and communication” between the school district, residents, and the business community. We can do great things together.

  2. Mr. Ehrnst, you must not have been in attendance at the October 4, 2016 meeting. If you ask the CEO of the Chamber, he may provide the video played at the October meeting where the Chamber President stated: “THE CHAMBERS MISSION IS TO MONETIZE ALL OF OUR WATERFRONT PARKS WITH THE WILDFLOWER BEING THE FIRST EXAMPLE.” This is fact.

    To your point – land owners want flexibility. In this case, the land owners are the people not a business. There was absolutely no flexibility with a brick and mortar restaurant or other structure placed on “our” park land. Further, the proposed lease denied access to taxpaying residents during hours of operation unless they were paying customers of the establishment”. Now that’s truly restrictive and inflexible. I concur with you on an important point. The Chamber of Commerce should have stayed out of it. Let’s work toward “community” and we need a healthy and active Chamber to make that happen. Thank you for your observations and contribution. James

  3. Couldn’t agree with you more James. Conflict of interests, quid pro quos, and special interests swaying election results via campaign financing do NOT result in favor of community.

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