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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Well it is nice to now know that Boca Raton enjoys a similar malady suffered nationwide; to wit: when the truth is inconvenient then mischaracterize the question…misrepresent the facts…and get ‘buy in’ from business interests to achieve a specific, predetermined outcome as the established plan of action….or better stated…be willing to , in essence, lie….
This is the exact formula being heard from biased voices within the business community and supported by some in the press…..
This week, the Federation of Boca Raton Homeowner Associations conducted its monthly community discussion at the City’s Community Center and focused presentations on the use of City-Owned land adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway.
The question explored for comment to the gathered audience from advocates representing both sides of the argument was framed as follows:
Should City-owned land usage be restricted?
The Federation took steps to assure that both sides would be heard prior to the scheduled November 8th referendum. The email announcement further expanded on the question by asking whether the land “Should be restricted to only: public recreation; public boating access; public streets; and, Stormwater drainage.
This characterization is a fair capture of the words of Ordinance 5356, the ordinance coming up for public vote on November 8th.
No objection is taken as to how the Federation framed the question. However, objection is taken with the manner this question has been framed by outside interests and misrepresented by inaccurate media reports.
Let me state my argument:
Allowing commercialization of city owned land adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway, exampled by the proposed 45 year Hillstone lease/sale at the intersection of N.E. Fifth Avenue and Palmetto Park Road, is the most ‘restrictive’ result imaginable; to wit: a single use, standalone brick and mortar restaurant with over 70% of the available green space dedicated to an asphalt parking lot to accommodate the restaurant’s patrons.
Support for this inaccurate messaging has been voiced by Troy McClellan, President of the Chamber of Commerce and parroted in public and private by Chamber members who have echoed the arguments of economic viability, job creation, and the lack of waterfront dining in Boca Raton, all without any supportive evidence to the veracity of their claims.
Last week, Randy Schultz, columnist for Boca Magazine, reported on Councilman Singer’s September 19th “visioning summit” and opined the following:
“But even if the city decided to somehow combine the two sites, and even if the city decided to move the boat ramp at Silver Palm Park as part of that combination, maximizing that potential would depend on having flexibility and a way to attract people. The proposed waterfront ordinance – 5653….would greatly restrict use of city-owned waterfront land….”
For someone who prides himself as a journalist, it is surprising he would mischaracterize the facts, provable facts. Mr. Schultz’s characterization flies in the face of arguments made in City Hall Chambers by the attorney for the Petition group, Ralf Brookes, a Board Certified Attorney who drafted the 5356 ordinance language modeled after the 2012 ordinance currently in effect for lands on the east side of the Intracoastal to the ocean. Attorney Brookes arguments were supported on the public record by the Deputy City Manager George Brown and the City Attorney Diana Frieser. /ordinance-5356-too-restrictive-no-way/
An accurate portrayal of that public record interaction would have revealed that the ordinance is merely a way for Boca Raton residents to voice their land use preference. Even if passed, it is unequivocally acknowledged by both the Petitioner group and the City that, short of a judicial determination, the City Council is the sole and exclusive arbitrator of how to interpret and implement Ordinance 5356. This is undisputable and easily ascertained from the public record.
What does that mean….
It means that the most unrestrictive result is for the passage of Ordinance 5356. This ordinance presents the City Council with the most flexibility possible while in light of what is an undeniable demonstration of the residents’ political will.
Mr. McClellan and Mr. Schultz are simply wrong on what ‘restricts’ the use of the land adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway….
As you are an informed voter, please recognize that there is an Inconvenient Truth presented here, a truth that certain interest groups do not what you to know…or….better stated, do not be deceived by this attempt at a Great Intracoastal Waterfront Lie….