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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I’ve never sang the “don’t cry for me Argentina” theme and I think doing so would dampen others moral. We should all stay in the boat and keep rowing in the same general direction, even if the current we row against has been stronger the last few years. (Weinroth and Singer supporting our causes? Facebook should have a boo button?).
To be clear, one vote against four is trivial, but one microphone on City Council, in the right hands, is very powerful. I was much more successful in my first term than in my second and here’s why. Most close followers of Boca politics know the Haynie camp and Whelchel camp were historically at odds. That changed in my second election cycle which was shared with the election for the seat occupied by Constance Scout. During that campaign cycle, Haynie and Constance Scott began demonstrating allegiance to Whelchel, regardless of how egregious. Those allegiances produced, on expedited hearing schedules, Archstone, the current Mark building, the off-campus dorm (even though recommended for denial by FAU, the police, traffic department and the City Attorney’s office).
So where were my successes, especially in my first term when Haynie was more responsive to the electorate, and especially before the Editor of the Sun Sentinel, Howard Saltz, began to restrict the local reporters stories to advance is personal pro-development bias? (Yes Saltz, I’ve called you out. You’ve been squelching the citizens voice since at least 2012 and its dispicable. The Sun Sentinel on Boca matters is completely biased. Honest reporting is what keeps politicians accountable to the people). But I digress.
So if I didn’t have that microphone, and the then honest reporting from the Sentinel:
1. There would already be a restaurant on the Wildflower named Bricktop’s, a spinoff from a founder of Houstons. And the taxpayers would have paid millions to make it happen.
2. The Amphitheater wouldn’t be in the hands of the City, but would instead be in the hands of the person who managed it into darkness for a two year period; only the rest of the Council was ready to give him a bailout of $1.2 million/annually for programming and a $30/month management contract. You the taxpayers own it now and it operates in the black, not red.
3. The Council would have blessed the Beach and Parks District to grant a lease for a private beach club on PUBLIC land on the beach between Palmetto and 40th Street.
These are only three examples, but one microphone can be very powerful. Unfortunately, it’s only powerful with the synergy of an honest newspaper. I encourage anyone reading this to become more aware of the politics behind the Sentinel. http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2012-07-26/news/sun-sentinel-editor-howard-saltz-bailed-on-millions-in-debts/
So from a red white and blue idealist, always vote, even if it’s for only one Council seat. It matters!
More importantly, now that we have a new Councilman, watch the meetings. Get to know your Council Members personally and let them know what you think about your issues. I can tell you the development lobby is in their ear all the time telling them what’s best for you.