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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Click here for Monica Mayotte’s homepage for your review: http://www.mayotteforbocacouncil.com/. Also, visit the video section of today’s BocaWatch for Katie Barr’s enlightening interview with Monica.
Candidate Mayotte is without doubt the “resident-friendly” candidate. This is undeniable. The BocaWatch team all agree. This collective endorsement is consistent with the BocaWatch platform for our entire six year existence.
Last year, electing Councilwoman O’Rourke has demonstrated the effectiveness of a “resident-friendly” voice. By adding a second “resident-friendly” voice, residents gain exponentially over the developer friendly impacts on Boca Raton’s quality of life.
One additional reason to vote for Monica is that she is the only candidate in either City Council race to give voice to the ethics issues surrounding Boca Raton’s CRA and City Council. She articulated this in her opening remarks at the debate last week and lists this as the number one item on her campaign literature; to wit: “ensuring transparency, accountability and integrity in our city government.” Good governance requires the pending ethics question in the City Council to be resolved before the public trust can be restored. Finally, a fresh new voice in support of that proposition.
Time to Preserve Paradise
The residents of Boca Raton have a golden opportunity to regain control of the governance in the City on March 13th, 2018. If the residents seize the opportunity, we will go forward, not backward, with a new sense of direction that focuses on quality of life issues rather than the ‘build-baby-build at all costs’ mentality that has gripped Boca Raton for the prior eight years, giving Boca not just development, but OVER-development. This mentality is not unique to Boca; it is prevalent throughout Florida and dominates in South Florida with good reason. People want to be here and they are coming in big numbers. Meanwhile, landowners, developers and all those who directly benefit from this boom want to cash in as much as they can. Who can blame them? They see opportunity and they will do what they can to take advantage. In a general sense, when it comes to development in Boca, quality of life issues take a back seat to profiteering.
Landowners/developers and their representatives, like all sales people, present their justification of requesting new zoning or variances and technical deviations from what is currently allowed by code, by creating a proven old school approach that brings OVER-development; show the features and emphasize the benefits into a salable narrative. Typically, that narrative includes how beneficial a new project will be: Removing blight; increased surrounding property values; increased tax revenues into city coffers; attracts new business, etc. It is accompanied by the hired (guns) experts such as Traffic Engineers that present their statistical evidence showing “this will actually decrease traffic”. It’s true, it actually happens. That narrative also provides cover for our elected officials to grant the approvals. It is no secret that the majority of our sitting council members currently have or have had election campaigns that are heavily funded by the development community. That spells trouble.
Virtually every resident in Boca has recently experienced the ills of this OVER-build. Primarily it comes in the form of traffic. And now, it has come to light that our city is faced with overcrowding in our schools. What is sure to come next is stress on the overall infrastructure of the City. The forever sales-minded development community, predictably, has responded with answers but no solutions: Traffic? That is background traffic passing through from other communities. School overcrowding? That is not coming from new development, it is coming from the older subdivisions that are replacing older couples with younger families. The layman will never win an argument against skilled professionals whose livelihood depends on crafting the narrative. However, the resident can win at the ballot box.
It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way, Change is in the air
It is time for a new direction in Boca Raton and the opportunity is now, and it may not come again. It is time to be forward thinking and comprehensive in the way we approach future growth. Older cities in Europe and in certain parts of the US have adopted new strategies that incorporate quality of life and sustainability as the focal point. Presently, Boca Raton is behind and following an outdated approach. At the same time, we are fortunate that we still have the makings of a city that can be an oasis amongst other South Florida communities. A city that prioritizes the elements that make cities livable: Sustainability; Resilience; Building for people first and profits second. Guess what? These elements not only make a community more livable, they also increase property values, which in turn increases revenue to city coffers, as new residents willingly pay for these quality of life features. That and more can happen by electing new voices that will champion the effort.
Don’t Pass Up the Golden Opportunity
One year ago, our city elected Andrea Levine O’Rourke. She has proven to be that champion for the residents, but she is one voice among five. In spite of those odds she has moved the dial in favor of those things that make cities livable.
This year the opportunity to elect an additional like-minded, yet unique, individual is before us. Monica Mayotte is the choice. Monica is an FSU grad with information technology expertise. She has not only served on city boards but has chaired the Green Living Advisory Board and is a past president of her children’s school PTA. As a twenty-one year resident and working mom, she knows Boca and she knows business.
It is Important to Contrast Monica Mayotte with Her Opponents
Dr. Paul Preste is unknown to most of Boca Raton. His medical practice is in Fort Lauderdale and he has not been involved in the community. Last year he unsuccessfully attempted to purchase the Boca Raton Municipal Golf Course for the purpose of development.
Armand Grossman has resided in Boca Raton since 2002, and to quote him, he “spent most of his adult life in Miami-Dade”. He has been involved in commercial real estate and is backed by the Batmasian family who happen to be the largest commercial real estate owners in Boca Raton. Mr. Grossman is endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Grossman, the Batmasian family and the Chamber of Commerce all favor commercializing Boca’s waterfront properties.
Monica Mayotte is the superior choice for the residents among these candidates. As advertised, she will be a Fresh New Voice for Boca Raton.
Elect Monica and go forward, not backward. The time is now!
WHAT’S GOING ON BEHIND OUR BACKS?
The recent Grossman mailer pictures him talking with Todd Richardson, his political consultant. Richardson is also advising Mayoral candidate Singer and City Council candidate Rodgers. An interesting trio.
The voting public must know how to put this puzzle together. Mr. Richardson is constructing a calculated and planned effort supporting three development friendly and Chamber of Commerce endorsed candidates. Our community must recognize who is working hard to control YOUR city government.
Development interests will stop at nothing to maintain a ‘developer friendly’ City Council. With Rodgers and Grossman along with the Mayor, they will have their developer friendly City Council. Boca’s largest developers, Jim and Marta Batmasian of Investment Limited, actively support Grossman, whose political signs litter the roadside on their properties throughout the city. I believe residents get the message that DEVELOPMENT = GROSSMAN. Please remember, Rodgers’ campaign war chest is predominately funded by development and special interest groups. Residents must take the opportunity to change who governs Your city on March 13. Your vote is your voice. We need Council members who will demand ethical behavior and honesty from their peers.
A vote for Monica Mayotte will result in a resident friendly future for Boca Raton.