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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The Cold War between the City of Boca Raton and the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District has thawed….
During the primary election cycle for two contested seats on the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District (Seat 1 and Seat 3), the most often presented argument by the challengers to unseat the incumbents was that the District has been unwilling and unable to enter into meaningful discussions with the City. This narrative was the ‘parroted’ talking point for all the challengers. This narrative was then, and is now, a false narrative; not supported by the past facts or by the recent advancements between these two governmental entities now.
With two (2) three (3) way races in each of the seats, neither race was decided in the August 8th primary. Since no candidate won 50% plus one vote in the primary, both races are now scheduled for a runoff on the November 8th general election; the two (2) top vote getters will face each other for the two (2) seats covering the next four (4) year period.
BocaWatch argued in advance of the primary that the lack of cooperation/communication argument was an exaggeration and easily remedied.
We argued that this narrative was being advanced by the challengers at the behest of others; others engaged in a power struggle for control of the District’s assets and its substantial $22 million dollar plus millage revenue.
BocaWatch still believes this to be the case but the narrative has now also become verifiably false in just the three weeks since the August 30th vote.
In this interim period between then and now, the City and the District seem to have overcome the alleged ‘cold war’ in communication and cooperation.
Reportedly, conversations have taken place between the City Manager and the District’s Interim Executive Director covering a range of topics including the District’s budget; its commitment to a long range plan for beach renourishment; and an identifiable schedule for meetings between the elected officials.
Some preliminary results of this ‘cold war thaw’ were advanced at the September 5th District meeting and ratified unanimously by the District Commissioners and advanced for City Council ratification in the City Council’s upcoming meetings. Notable amongst the items discussed was the District’s ratification of an Interlocal Agreement between these two governmental entities for beach renourishment and regular dredging of the Boca Raton Inlet; a major concern of the City in its relations with the District.
This Interlocal Agreement’s purpose is to define the roles and responsibilities of each entity in the funding of all projects and activities related to beach renourishment, dune repair and dredging operation activities. The agreement “shall be for a term of ten (10) years, and shall automatically renew for an additional ten (10) year period unless either party notifies the other at least 180 days prior to the expiration….”
The program specifically relates to all activities and projects within the City’s beaches/inlet and “shall include, but not be limited too, engineering analysis and design, monitoring, inspection and construction….” With this formal memorialization, the District shall provide one half (1/2) of the funding for the “local share” of the Beach Program as defined under this agreement; a commitment that was originally agreed to in July 2015 between the City and the District.
Other indicia suggesting the ‘thaw’ of this false narrative are reflective in an advancement of negotiations for the master Interlocal agreement; the advancement of scheduling calendars between the agencies; and in the adoption of a budget that not only provides 100% of City staff’s requests but does so at a 3.5% reduction in a year to year budgetary comparison.
All this ‘miraculous’ cooperation supports the proposition that the ‘false narrative’ arguing for change in leadership to advance the interests of the voting public is just that, a ‘false narrative.’
The current District board has been engaged in activities that it believes are in the best interests of the residents. The incumbents are learned in the processes; have substantial institutional knowledge; and clearly are acting in good faith in their roles and responsibilities.
The challengers have every right to present counterarguments for change. Some of these arguments may actually be meritorious. False narratives, however, are unacceptable; false narratives should be called out for what they are….FALSE.
Ultimately, that is what an election process is about. Candidates, both incumbents and challengers, must get their respective arguments out to the voters. The voters are the final arbitrators; let the voters decide.
Your vote is your voice. Let your voice be heard….vote on November 8th