Erosion of the Public Trust is ‘Dangerous’ for our City!


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Publisher’s Comment:
Sunday’s Sun Sentinel published an Editorial titled “Politicians in prison garb shake our trust”; a must read for anyone interested in the integrity of government.  Highlighted in the Sentinel’s editorial is the following; “Today’s erosion of trust – not just in government but in business, faith organizations and the media, too – is dangerous for our nation.” A truer statement could not be made.  Click below to view the entire editorial…

Politicians in prison garb shake trust in government | Editorial

The editorial focuses on two political figures, former U.S. Rep Corrine Brown and former Mayor of Hallandale Beach Joy Cooper; the operative word being ‘former’.  Both these politicians have experiences with the Federal criminal justice system on public corruptions matters and both are longtime political figures who at the very least breached the public’s trust.

The editorial makes very salient points worth repeating….

In asking ‘What does the public see when a politician is seen wearing prison garb?’ the following opinions are rendered…

1) Citizens see politicians looking out for their own egos and desires;
2) Citizens see politicians that feel the ‘rules’ don’t apply to them;
3) Citizens lose faith in government when politicians act in unethical ways that benefit them personally; and
4) Businesses feel that the playing field isn’t level – requiring ‘palm greasing’ to get the work;

Investigating these cases and bringing corrupt politician to justice is complex. However, as seen in the Sentinel’s  cited cases and perhaps others yet to come, federal authorities are the investigating agencies. These federal authorities are experienced in matters where the witnesses in public corruption are rarely ‘upstanding’ community leaders; where there is a matter of ‘intent’; and “whether a gift, favor or job comes with the expectation of something in return.”

Cases like these are reaching the highest levels of our government and the erosion of trust is high. The Sentinel concludes with the proposition that to restore faith in government “a strong new crop of candidates to show up – and a promise not to stay too long.”

With this BocaWatch agrees….but…. with Boca Raton’s current questions of unethical, inappropriate and perhaps criminal behavior, the public needs to know to what depth the breaches of public trust have reached. This can only be done by asking the questions and seeking the answers. The City Council and the CRA have an obligation to citizens to conduct such an inquiry; to investigate.

Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers and the CRA Chair Scott Singer have the legal tools to conduct such an investigation but not the political will. They continue to sit on their hands and not act….Unacceptable!!!!

Not acting fosters what the public sees; to wit: Politicians acting in their own interests not the interests of the public; Politicians feeling the rules do not apply to them; Citizens losing faith in the institutions and their elected representatives; and, Businesses believing that ‘pay to play’ is the Boca way….Unacceptable!!!!

The public is relegated to wait for outside agencies to act or for federal authorities to once again sweep into Palm Beach County as in Duval and Broward counties or as it did in the early 2000s here in Palm Beach County when three County Commissioners and two West Palm Beach Commissioner were prosecuted and sent to Federal prison.

Closing one’s eyes to breaches of the public trust and/or public corruption possibilities relegates elected leaders to be seen by the public as complicit; complicit for acting in their individual best interests and not the interests of those they are elected to represent.

In order for the public to have closure over the current day Boca Raton ethical breaches and for the public to be assured that public corruption is not just below the surface, a legal process, an investigation by the governing body is needed…appropriate….and legally available….

So….What are these leaders waiting for????

Al Zucaro, Publisher

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