This article, originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, is preserved for historical purposes by Massive Impressions Online Marketing in Boca Raton.
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On Monday, June 25, 2018 we received Scott Singer’s campaign literature in the mail and decided to perform a check of the three prominent assertions in the brochure. That is, school overcrowding, overdevelopment and traffic congestion. These three issues are important to Boca Raton voters.
Our fact checking follows the PolitiFact scoring system, i.e., there are six possible scores assigned to each assertion and they range from “True” to “Pants on Fire.”
Before we get into a discussion of the three assertions in the brochure, it is useful to establish an analysis framework. Scott Singer first became a member of Boca Raton’s City Council in April, 2014; over four years ago. Our analysis of the three assertions, therefore, spans the last four years.
The scoring and discussion of each point follows.
The assertion “Championed New Public School for Boca” is a distraction from the full extent of the Boca Raton school overcrowding problem. The City Council was alerted to the issue in 2015 by longtime resident Jack McWalter, but he was told that it was not the City Council’s problem. He persisted in highlighting the growing problem and in February, 2018 Chris Scarpa, another resident, spoke to City Council on the critical overcrowding problem at Boca Raton High School. Mr. Scarpa was also told by the mayor that it was not the City Council’s problem and the other City Council members sat silent, with the exception of Council Member O’Rourke.
The following table shows the current occupancy situation with public schools in the City of Boca Raton.
|Addison Mizner Elementary||K-5||869||996||87%|
|Boca Raton Elementary||K-5||424||401||106%|
|Del Prado Elementary||K-5||945||929||102%|
|J.C. Mitchell Elementary||K-5||997||1032||97%|
|Boca Raton Community Middle||6-8||1584||1417||112%|
|Don Estridge High Tech Middle||6-8||1264||1254||101%|
|Boca Raton Community High||9-12||3562||2928||122%|
|Spanish River Community High||9-12||2401||2259||106%|
- Source – School District of Palm Beach County – February FTE Enrollment Report SY2017-18 (FY2018) – February 9, 2018
- Calusa capacity includes 198 seats in modular buildings
Genuine leaders do not try to take credit for partial solutions. Instead, they exert leadership to implement a vision and prevent problems like school overcrowding from occurring. In addition to a new elementary school, which is forecasted to be available in August 2020, the school district is implementing measures to try to address existing capacity issues in Boca Raton schools.
The assertion “Record of opposing overdevelopment” is not backed-up by any facts. The following table shows that Scott Singer voted to approve 21 multi-family residential developments and to not approve a density increase to a previously approved development. This information was obtained from the Boca Raton city clerk’s voting database and spans the interval from April 8, 2014 until May 8, 2018.
|Vote Date||Dwelling Units||Yes Vote*||No Vote*||Development Name|
|6/10/2014||370||X||900 Broken Sound|
|9/9/2014||75||X||Spanish River Highlands|
|1/27/2015||282||X||6700 North Congress|
|8/10/2015||25||X||327 Royal Palm|
|10/27/2015||8||X||Pine Circle Villas|
|11/24/2105||409||X||University Village Density Increase|
|12/7/2015||104||X||Via Mizner + 164 Rm Hotel|
|12/8/2015||1||X||2500 North Ocean|
|11/22/2016||180||X||5500 Broken Sound|
|8/21/2017||193||X||375 Royal Palm|
|10/24/2017||70||X||1 S. Ocean|
|2/26/2018||48||X||475 Royal Palm|
*by Scott Singer
Many would argue that overdevelopment was already occurring in 2014 when Scott Singer joined the City Council and that when the above developments come on-line the problem will be made much worse.
The claim of “Smarter solutions to reduce traffic” is not backed up by results. In 1992 the City Council, under the leadership of Mayor Emil Danciu, adopted Ordinance 4035 which was designed to prevent traffic problems by requiring specified road and transportation improvements before downtown developments were approved. The following table using information from Ordinance 4035 shows the development thresholds.
|Max Sq Ft||Improvements|
The way to interpret this is that the maximum square feet of development cannot be exceeded until specified road and transportation improvements are completed. Some of the improvements are outside of the downtown. All of the improvements have been completed with the exception of improving the Camino/Dixie intersection, which is one of the four projects required to be completed to allow more than 3,000,000 square feet of development. The required improvement to that intersection was waived by Boca Raton’s Community Redevelopment Agency in January, 2015.
The current status of development in the downtown is that over 6,800,000 square feet has been developed or approved for development. Smart traffic management leadership would have extended the strategy of not approving any development until required road and transportation improvements were implemented.
In summary this article has examined three important claims from Scott Singer’s campaign literature. The claims are regarding Boca Raton school overcrowding, overdevelopment and traffic congestion. The claims about schools and traffic were found to be misleading as the total scope of the problems were not addressed or solved. The assertion “Record of opposing overdevelopment” is in no way supported by the facts.