If you are a Boca resident, you have been receiving glossy mailers from the various candidates running for the two available seats on our City Council. It doesn’t matter whose name is on the mailer, they all say the same thing:
- I AM RESIDENT-FRIENDLY
- I AM OPPOSED TO RAMPANT OVER-DEVELOPMENT
- I WILL DO SOMETHING ABOUT BOCA’S OVERCROWEDED SCHOOLS
- I WILL DO SOMETHING ABOUT BOCA’S OVERCROWDED ROADS
Can this be true? Have politics in Boca really changed to the point where ALL of the candidates agree on everything that’s important? Is everybody channeling Al Zucaro?
I suppose the similarity in the candidate’s messages reflects the fact that politics in Boca HAS changed—which is probably why candidates such as sitting Councilman Robert Weinroth or ex-Councilman Mike Mullaugh are not on the ballot this spring. They can count votes. But if you care deeply about the topics above, whom do you believe?
One place to start is BocaWatch. The organization has long been an advocate of resident-friendly politics and has railed against the unintended consequences of Boca’s building boom. But BocaWatch has a definite point of view: it has endorsed Mayotte and Do. The other place to look is the interviews that the various news organizations who serve our community have done with the candidates. These are available on line. Or you can look up the candidates on You Tube and you will find numerous interviews and clips. A final litmus test is to “follow the money.” Look at the major contributors to each candidate. Ask yourself, “What do they expect if their man or woman is elected?” Politics is not a charity event, and unless they are idealists or zealots, people usually put their money where their economic interests lie.
The Board of BocaBeautiful.org has interviewed all of the candidates who are serious contenders in this spring’s City Council races. Here are some general observations:
Of the five candidates running, only one has a verifiable voting record on the issues: Councilman Jeremy Rodgers. The excellent research for BocaWatch done by Jim Wood reveals that, words aside, Councilman Rodgers has voted in favor of many development projects. Perhaps that is why he has the support of the Boca Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Rodgers has been a capable and thoughtful Councilman, but he has not been the anti-development candidate that some in Boca had hoped. Kim Do has a wonderful life story and is pretty much a single-issue candidate. Her children are in Boca schools and she knows first hand the deprivations of overcrowding. She feels that Boca desperately needs a new high school. A CPA, she also worries about Boca’s pension liabilities. She lacks political experience, but so did Jeremy Rodgers when he ran three years ago. BocaBeautiful has not taken a position in this race. Both candidates have merits—and demerits.
Monica Mayotte comes across as the most likely to put the brakes on future development. She is deadly serious on the subject, which is why she strikes fear in the hearts of major developers. She has the support of powerful special interest groups: the police and firefighters unions. She also has the endorsement of BocaWatch and BocaBeautiful.org. Armand Grossman, like Kim Do, is a self-achiever. He thinks Downtown Boca is “beautiful,” but he cautions against future development. In interviews he comes across as reasonable, fiscally prudent, balanced, and nuanced on the issues. He clearly understands the importance of being perceived as resident-friendly. Can you believe what he says? I certainly hope so. Unfortunately we have no way of finding out, other than by taking him at his word, electing him, and seeing what happens.
One final point on those glossy mailers and other campaign detritus: this City Council campaign has been relatively free of the attack ads that marred last year’s mayoralty race. No one has been accused of being a Nazi sympathizer—at least not yet. I did see one particularly vile ad: a commercial on the internet which contained incredibly ugly pictures of construction and traffic, with a background of construction noise and honking horns. “What a horrible place,” I thought, until I realized I was looking at pictures of Downtown Boca. Then the ad’s tag line: “Tell Monica Mayotte and her big developer buddies ‘enough is enough!’”
What a Whopper!!!
What a fantastic example of the “Big Lie” propaganda technique. The ad was produced and paid for by supporters of Armand Grossman, but Russian meddlers should take note.
Do your own research. Don’t believe everything you read. Your vote on March 13th is very important. Boca’s future is on the ballot.
John C. Gore
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