We Get The Government We Deserve……

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Sunday’s Sun Sentinel, on its Opinion page, printed a small paragraph penned by Deputy Mayor Robert Weinroth. In this missive, Mr. Weinroth writes that 25 years ago Boca Raton voters approved a comprehensive ordinance to create a Redevelopment Agency authorizing some 8 million square feet of development within the downtown, an aging urban core. In this statement, Mr. Weinroth is factually accurate.

However, he makes no reference to the arguments raised concerning the more recent events of 2008; the community charrettes leading to the implementation of the Interim Design Guidelines and the much aligned Pattern Book. He also makes no mention of the developer encroachment of open space in the public realm by the encroachment on setbacks resulting from the misinterpretation of the enabling ordinance 4035 and other items leading to the congested experience in today’s downtown.

In the story line Weinroth offers, one would think that but for a “…small minority of community residents,” all is well with the situation in our downtown.  That may have been the case during the last decade; a decade led by Mayors Abrams, Whelchel and Haynie along with the administration led by Leif Ahnell. Today, this is no longer the case. Today, there is a more aware resident, a more concerned and active group of informed voices with the energy and finance to question our developer friendly elected and appointed officials.

BocaWatch was conceived in 2012 with the purpose of educating the electorate on the activities within the political class of Boca Raton. Since its inception, BocaWatch has evolved in a number of ways. Today, our weekly blog is published as a function of the law office of Alfred Zucaro, Jr.

The BocaWatch website and its FaceBook presence, BocaWatch Official, now touch thousands of residents weekly. BocaWatch Official is nearing 9,000 likes and growing rapidly. Mr. Weinroth’s statement of “a small minority of our community” is wishful thinking on his part. The BocaWatch audience is real and will continue to be real as long as the Boca Raton elected official and the appointed staff continues to misrepresent and lie to the electorate.

You may notice on the home page today a new look and a new option; the option to “Donate.” The donate button leads to a new page; BocaWatch PAC. BocaWatch PAC is the political advocacy arm of the BocaWatch website. This PAC is approved by Florida’s Division of Elections to support and/or oppose candidates and issues that are being brought to the electorate for referendum. Issues like ‘pay raises’ for the elected officials will now have a watchful eye on the facts and circumstances especially with the manner in which the deceptive staff presents items to the public.

BocaWatch PAC will now also support and/or oppose individuals seeking municipal, county and state elected offices.

To this end, BocaWatch PAC is beginning the process of identifying qualified “resident friendly” candidates for the upcoming elections of March 2017, March 2018, and November 2018, all of which have a direct impact on the political landscape of Boca Raton. “Resident Friendly” is defined as individuals who will put the interests of residents in front of the interests of developers; individuals that will deny the developer class unfettered access to and influence on city administration within the offices of city hall.

Residents have come to realize that, with the recent past and current crop of elected officials, there is little hope at a fair playing field in the political process. Resident groups have aggressively taken to the courts in instances where elected officials’ actions should be challenged…..and Residents realize that the next level of participation is to field candidates in the upcoming elections to replace those “developer friendly” officials currently in office.

Please review the criteria outlined in the section under the “Donate” button. Your participation and contribution is greatly needed and will be very much appreciated….

Remember….people get the government they deserve….If we do not elect people that truly represent the sentiment of the resident, then we cannot complain about the quality of life in Boca Raton.

Al Zucaro, President and Treasurer

BocaWatch PAC

 

 

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Alfred Zucaro has resided in Palm Beach County since 1982 and has been a resident of Boca Raton since 2008. A graduate of Fordham University, he holds a Magna Cum Laude degree in Economics. Mr. Zucaro attended Nova University receiving a Juris Doctorate Law Degree in 1986. He is a member in good standing with the Florida Bar, practicing in the area of Immigration Law for the majority of his career. Currently he is manager/member of Palm Beach Investment and Finance LLC, a USCIS approved regional center identifying foreign investment leading to permanent resident status. Mr. Zucaro served as a City Commissioner in West Palm Beach from 1995 to 2002 and as the President of the City Commission in 2000/2001. He has also been a member of and/or served on the Economic Council, the Business Development Board, the Film and Television Commission, the Tourist Development Council, the Workforce Alliance and the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Of particular interest is his founding of the World Trade Center Palm Beach, an organization that focuses on international economic development. Married to Yvonne Boice, they are avid world travelers having visited 6 continents and dozens of countries since their 2008 nuptials.

1 COMMENT

  1. My name is Jack McWalter,resident of Boca Raton for 35 years, and I am doing focus groups in many parts of the city to determine if Boca residents understand how the 1 cent increase in Palm Beach County sales tax could impact their life for the next 10 years. My first objective is to determine how much each person spends and I came up with a range of $20k to $40k each year. Seems low since comes out to $200 to $400 a year due to this 16% increase of the sales tax from 6 to 7 cents. This would total $2000 to $4000 a person over 10 years. I multiplied 90,000 residents times these numbers and came up with $18 to $36 million per year in additional taxes and over 10 years would amount to $180 to $360 million in new taxes for Boca residents alone. I am sure my logic can be reworked but everyone I talked to got the point.

    Now that I determine the costs I tried to identify the benefits. The county says that this 16% tax increase would generate $228 million a year that would be divided by county government(29%), public schools(45%), 38 city governments(19%) , and maybe cultural centers(7.5%). Each group was asked to submit their wish list of projects totaling $714 million. I pulled the list which was 22 pages of projects and could not find one from Boca Raton. Maybe paving Dixie Hwy for $200,000. Yesterday I asked the city council as to what is going on,where this tax increase stands, and if the city council would somehow explain to the residents how this 16% increase would be good to vote for In November if it makes the ballot. Councilman Mike Mullaugh who represents Boca Raton at these county meetings pointed out the above numbers and discussions were still ongoing. Ok but what is Boca”s strategy and what are they saying in these meetings.

    Now ,in the last 2 weeks other cities are saying Boca is to rich to get anything. Somehow, Mike Mullaugh got a request in for some funding for the Boca Norton and Boca Museum of Art and was criticized since they had deep funds. On Feb 24th, the county’s League of Cities which our major is on voted it would not oppose the effort in a 16% sales increase. Since then the mayor of Boynton said ” dream come true” to get funding to rebuild their infrastructure and others badmouthed Boca residents as “those people” whatever that implies. Boca is a great city because of Mayors like Abrams, Whelchel, and Haynie, This city is not an accident. Under past councils we rebuilt our fire houses, invested in our infrastructure heavily and now we are expected to rebuild Boynton and other cities. Listen, we have great schools, first class university, and most important we have attracted developers that want to spend billions in our city. We are blessed to have a first class city council that is basically managing billions of dollars of investments. Their job is serious. I watched Mayor Haynie evolve into a first class leader. We are also lucky to attract young smart new council members like Scott Singer.

    In summary. I am confident that we can trust our leaders to protect us from over $180 to $360 million in additional taxes over 10 years because of a 16% county sales tax increase with little no benefits to residents of Boca. I am confident that our leaders will keep us informed at the right time. I am confident that our leaders will fight a good fight.

    Dominic Calabro,president of Florida TaxWatch, said “There’s nothing more delicious in life than spending other people’s money”.

    I will continue my focus groups regarding above and will post results as I travel throughout Boca. Thank you, Jack Mcwalter . .

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