At the eleventh hour at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, literally, Councilman Robert Weinroth, without notice to the public and without any demonstrated public need, moved forward a resolution advocating “ for unity and embracing diversity” within our community. Councilman Weinroth brought this forward at the request of Palm Beach County League of Cities. There is no argument that the sentiments contained within the resolution below are laudable, albeit unnecessary in Boca Raton. In my experience here in Boca Raton, I cannot recall any demonstration or event that raised community concerns for the sentiments expressed in this resolution.
That said, there was potential danger within the resolution’s language requiring explanation. Originally, within its clauses was the use of the phrase “…welcoming communities”; a phrase synonymous with the notion of ‘sanctuary communities’. A simple ‘google’ search reveals that these terms are used interchangeably on a notional basis and, of course, there is a large, looming debate in the Justice Department on the issue of ‘sanctuary cities’. Boca Raton has never been in the spotlight of this nationwide debate. BocaWatch believes that our city should remain outside this debate.
To the City Council’s credit, after hearing public comment arguing the above, the phrase ‘welcoming’ was stuck from the resolution after which the ordinance passed with a 5–0 vote to adopt. Also, Richard Radcliff, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County League of Cities responded to my inquiry that there was no conscious attempt to introduce the concept of ‘welcoming’ as a means to forward the concept of ‘sanctuary.’ That is a good thing….but, the use of such language creates enough of an ambiguity to cause concern and to require explanation. Explanation and public discourse would be an example of ‘good goverence’.
The Council’s end result of eliminating ‘welcoming’ while embracing the remaining premises still presents some concern. The Council’s debate on the subject raised the question of why do we need such a resolution at all; the values contained are already the values of our city. More troubling is the process…To bring up items without public notice and without any history suggesting the need for such a resolution is a prime example of ‘bad goverence’. Residents should always be provided opportunity to know what their leaders are advocating. That would not have been done in this case but for a fortuitous moment in chambers on Tuesday where this resolution received public input resulting in an official reaction; a fortuitous result but still troubling!
Al Zucaro, Publisher