The On-Going Political Saga: Boca National


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The Political Saga of Boca National has reach new heights but the expected outcome remains the same…no deal!!!

Last week a proposed solution was brokered at the City Council by Councilmember Andy Thomson with all Council members’ concurrence . Since then, the Beach and Park District has met to discuss and has now issued a response letter to the City with the District’s conditions to ‘close the deal’ (see below). These conditions are scheduled to be discussed at the joint meeting between the City Council and the Beach and Park Commissioners next week.

The early reaction so far is that the District’s response conditions are non-starters…that the District’s response is ‘dead on arrival’ at the City Council.

So what else is new….

Let’s face it…

The City Council wants complete control of the golf course design, construction and operation. They are not interested in any cooperation or interaction with the District. If this is not evident to you by now, than you must have had your head buried in the proverbial sand for the last two years.

The District, for its part, has demonstrated a lack of backbone, a lack of independence to set the stage and bring Boca National to life regardless of the City Council. The District has compromised its position in so many way that it is almost not measurable. The final straw was failing to raise millage to facilitate a revenue bond and move the course forward. Oh well….what’s done is done….

My prediction: At next week’s meeting, these amateur deal makers, these political neophytes, will ‘hem and haw’ and again result in a dismal failure at resolving the issues. Read the letter below and make up your own mind…

Click for the full letter (PDF)

Al Zucaro
Publisher of BocaWatch

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  1. As a nine year member of the Board of Commissioners for the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District, I would like to speak only for myself regarding being a political neophyte. Guilty, as charged! I entered into this position to serve our community with no other agenda items on my radar. Unfortunately, recent projects have become political in nature, but I will continue to strive for service vs. personal gain.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Susan Vogelgesang
    Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District

  2. Thank you Commissioner Vogelgesang. Painting with a broad brush often leave room for ambiguity. The operative words in your response are “continue to strive for service vs. personal gain.” I applaud that sentiment but fear some, not all, of our local elected officials are more concerned about political gain than for their service to the community. Boca National should be planned, constructed and operated by the District as proposed especially now that the costs are in line with the City Council’s concerns.
    Al Zucaro, Publisher

  3. As a ten-year observer of the politics of development in Boca, I wonder if there aren’t some systemic flaws in our system of governance that make it so difficult to reach consensus decisions. For example, why do we have an “independent” Beach and Park District? Why do we have an “independent” CRA with the same membership as the City Council? Why do we have a powerful bureaucrat running our city, rather than a powerful elected Mayor? Why do our rules of governance, e.g. our “sunshine” laws, make it more difficult to reach intelligent compromises on controversial issues? No City Council Member can cut a deal or even discuss a pending issue with another Council Member unless they are in front of a microphone. Seemingly simple decisions are hard to make and harder to implement– just look at the Wildflower saga. And compromises which would benefit Boca are harder to reach. Just look at the jurisdictional flap over Boca National or the coming fight over the Brightline rail station. We tend to blame poor governance on the quality of our political leaders. But maybe we also should take a look at the system under which they try and make and implement policy. Something’s not working.

    • John, You raise incredibly interesting questions. The remedy however, starts with converting from a manager/council form of government to a strong mayor form of government. WPB did this in the late 1980s and early 1990s when its population was nearing 90,000 people. Boca is way past that growth pattern. Boca is ready for a strong mayor. That would give the resident a much greater voice in how this city is run. Residents can un-elect a strong mayor but they cannot un-elect a city manager. The city manager needs to go!!! Al Zucaro, Publisher


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