Wanted: Boca Raton City Leaders Who Will Lead

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Peter Drucker, a management theorist, observed that “Management is doing things right and leadership is doing the right things.” It’s interesting to view the situation regarding herbicide chemical distribution in Boca Raton City Parks with that definition in mind.

For several years the Boca Raton City Council has been approving the annual purchase of chemicals and distribution equipment as follows:

Date Expenditure
4/8/2014 $195,000
4/14/2015 $179,464
5/24/2016 $337,318
4/19/2017 $263,109
4/10/2018 $288,077
$1,262,968

 

Before the City Council voted to approve the 2016 expenditure, the City Council received an excellent presentation on the health hazards of spreading herbicide chemicals in City Parks. This includes the controversial use of Roundup with its key ingredient glyphosate which may be carcinogenic. The presentation is captured in the following seven-minute video clip. Pay particular attention to the City Council members reaction toward the end of the video.

 

So, the right thing to do would be to acknowledge the information presented and take decisive action. Instead, only two City Council members (Robert Weinroth and Susan Haynie) spoke and they didn’t even address the problem. The other three City Council members (Scott Singer, Jeremy Rodgers and Mike Mullaugh) sat silent.

For the last two years herbicide chemicals have continued to be spread across City Parks and residents have been asking the City Council members to take alternative action with no results. Other South Florida cities have implemented measures to limit the distribution of hazardous chemicals and the Broken Sound Club, in our City, has been recognized as a national leader for several years in environmentally sensitive golf course practices. Boca Raton’s residents, especially children, should also be protected from hazardous chemical exposure.

At the recent City Council meeting on April 10, 2018 the annual chemical purchase decision was again put to a vote. Only two of the City Council members, Scott Singer and Jeremy Rodgers, who were involved with the 2016 vote were present for the 2018 vote and they both voted to continue with the usual hazardous herbicide chemical distribution in City Parks for 2018. Of course, direction was given to staff to continue studying the problem; but a due date was not set.

The purpose of this article is to highlight a leadership void in the Boca Raton City Council. The hazardous chemical situation was used as an example, but many other examples such as school overcrowding could also be used. Leadership can be messy and not pretty. The recent corruption allegations against Suspended Mayor Susan Haynie are an example of a resident leader, Al Zucaro, doing the right thing by persisting until the right outcome was achieved.

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Jim Wood is a 25-year citizen of Boca Raton. Upon arriving in Boca from Arizona, Jim and his family had a house built in Broken Sound in the western section of the City. After the last of their three children left for college Jim and Trish downsized and relocated to east Boca, where they have lived for 18 years. His volunteering activities include serving eight years on an advisory board in the City. Jim is a computer engineer who advanced into executive positions with telecommunications companies Siemens and Lucent. He holds undergraduate degrees in mathematics and management, a master’s degree in computer engineering and an MBA. He is also a veteran who served four years on active duty with the United States Air Force. His interests include cycling (A1A), guitar (acoustic) and cooking (healthy comfort food). He is a member of the Boca Raton Bicycle Club and the FAU Alumni Association.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Why hasn’t our city council been directing the city staff to look into the solutions that have been presented for over 4 years by residents who are concerned about the continued use of toxic chemicals that are being sprayed throughout our parks, beach parks etc where our children play? These Boca Raton residents have put together packages, slideshows and presentations that have been presented at numerous meetings and have offered alternative solutions that are less costly, but city council and management – you look the other way. Also, people don’t realize that golf courses are some of the most poisonous places to walk. Our poor city workers who are out there spraying these chemicals on their golf carts aren’t even wearing protective face masks. Glyphosate is known to kill living cells. Google it.

    • Nicolle, Even if Glyphosate was 100% safe for people it would still BE ABSOLUTELY WRONG to use so much of it as a defoliant. It’s one thing to give a little squirt to a root between the cracks that you tried to pull out but couldn’t. It’s a completely different thing to broadcast Glyphosate all around the picnic tables to keep the plants from growing under them. It makes handweeding a thing of the past, true, and that might be the lowest cost, short-term way to control the weeds, but think about this:

      Other plants, native threatened plants, live a tenuous life on the dunes and in the hammock already. When you broadcast herbicide, like Glyphosate, around in the manner that’s being done in the parks it impacts native species.

      When I was a Park Ranger I never remember herbicide being applied to this degree, back in the 90s. It seems so excessive now judging by the precision of the vegetation line around picnic areas and the absolute defoliation underneath them.

  2. According to the total amount of money spent over the past 4 years, the City is spending approximately $1,012 per day on chemicals (365 days, less Sundays); that’s not including the labor of applying/spraying these chemicals. Add labor at $100 – $200 per day – seems pretty costly. Going with $150 per day labor; that’s an additional $46,800 annually or an addition of $187,200 to your $1,262,150
    That’s the approximate ‘monetary’ cost – the human costs? With that unknown, perhaps it best to consider a moratorium on spraying any chemical that is banned in any Country? ESPECIALLY IN PARKS, etc.

  3. LEADERSHIP?
    It’s expected from elected leaders. City Council members kick easily resolved and patiently obvious problems down the road. It’s not leadership but evidence of their inept behavior. How hard is it to say NO?

    “No” to chemicals known to harm children, adults, pets we walk and wildlife. For 4 years.

    “No” to granting give away variances to projects that violate our laws, our codes. For 4 years.

    “No” to permissive, ‘look the other way’ lack of ethics when shown Susan Haynie broke the law. For
    1 1/2 years.

    Scott Singer and Jeremy Rodgers are not LEADERS. They are yes men.

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