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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Do you remember when you wanted to make Boca Raton your home?
Some of us grew up here and never wanted to leave. Some visited, and never wanted to go home. Boca Raton is a very special place, a community where thousands of people from all over the world chose to forge lifelong friendships with this community and brought with them a new spirit and energy that helped bring businesses to our community, where they continue to thrive to this day.
When I was the senior class president at Boca High in 1986, I thought I understood what it meant to live in such an inordinately special place. Flash forward almost 30 years later, and now I drop off my oldest son Jack at Boca High every day. When we think about the factors that shape us into who we are as people, the necessity of a cohesive and strong community cannot be overlooked. Boca Raton is a true community of people, a place where folks look out for each other, whether neighbors or strangers.
Yet, we owe it to ourselves to do better. We not only deserve better from our elected officials, but we also must expect better from each other. Cultural changes like this start and end with people like me and you. We really can do better, our families and children deserve every opportunity possible. Whether access to world class educational and art programs or the opportunity to regularly participate and engage with community leaders, we must do a better job communicating and listening to one another.
By engaging with all of our residents, and informing them about potential solutions to issues, we can work together to make the tough choices that will advance our community forward as we address serious threats of high-rise development and traffic congestion.
For the short term, we need to address these interconnecting issues responsibly while we have a serious community discussion about putting together a 20-year plan for Boca: A plan laying out where our city will be, how we will maintain or improve on delivery of city services as we grow, and create the roadmap to guarantee we maintain proper staffing levels, ensure we have the tools and assets necessary to ensure the best possible services, and ensure proper compensation to our hard working staff.
Part of the answer is to have a moratorium on apartments downtown and promote home ownership. Healthy owner-occupied communities are more likely to join civic organizations, plant roots, grow families and develop the community in the manner we are all accustomed. Ownership creates responsible members of the community that quite literally “buy into” Boca Raton.
But most importantly, we need somebody on the city council who will promote open government and community involvement. I believe those are our best defenses against the “Browardization” of our community, and the best way to ensure there are not any special “back room deals” for big ticket high rise developers. We cannot afford to continue to learn about a new project when the deals have already been made and it is too late to stop.
I got into this race because of and for the same reasons I ran for class president at Boca High once many years ago: there is something special about this place, and I want to do anything I can to help preserve and strengthen this community.
I am not like the other candidates in this election. I have a unique background, a combination of years of practical experience growing small businesses, an education in taxation and the law, combined with a hard working persistence needed to get things done. I will use my experience to stand up for our rights and ensure that every one of us, the residents of Boca Raton, has a say in the future of our great city. I do NOT want to simply remember Boca, I want us to “Take Boca Back” so that it remains the proud city we all remember when decided to make Boca Raton our home.
BOCA DESERVES BETTER
The City of Boca Raton deserves better. We live in a world-class city, and it’s important that the residents of this city elect leaders and stewards who are going to protect both our local economy and the brand of Boca Raton.
Boca deserves better… economic development
– A long term plan to attract existing businesses and incubate new ones. Proper placement of an economic development director and establishment of an economic development board. Establish ourselves in a position to compete for the best jobs and companies.
– A strong investment in education and the future, through advanced learning, computer coding and programming, and promotion of STEAM initiatives (Science Technology Engineering, Arts & Math). Focus on developing a talent pipeline for the local economy.
– A passion for medical, technology, and research companies, that provide local opportunities for our highly educated population and great jobs for our children.
– Smart investment and management in our services and our people, to ensure Boca is not a training ground for exporting skilled workers, but a final destination where the best-of-the-best live, work, and play in a world-class city with a small-community feel.
– Continued focus on programs to promote Boca Raton as not only the best place to vacation or retire, but also the best place to get an education, raise a family, start a business, find a skilled workforce and find employment opportunities in a community with some of the best culture, outdoor activities, weather and quality-of-life for all ages.
Boca deserves better… growth management
– Thoughtful evaluation of the current projects in the pipeline on downtown congestion and city-wide traffic, and impact studies that consider how proposed projects would impact parking, traffic, and quality-of-life for existing residents and neighborhoods.
– Improvements in the permitting process and procedures for fast-tracking compliant small projects, allowing more focus, time, and review on the bigger developments.
– An independent review of RAM/The Mark against the Interim Design Guidelines (IDG), to determine if the project meets the letter and spirit of the IDG.
– An independent, citizen-involved review of the IDG to see if the guidelines fit the community and facilitate projects that enhance the brand of Boca Raton, especially the beautiful architecture, style, and character of our city.
– Appropriate development of city owned waterfront property, including requiring docks and protecting existing services such as the boat ramp and park.
Boca deserves better… Leadership
– A proven value-driven leader who can bring engineering prowess and analytical problem solving to focus on complicated issues affecting our city.
– A true citizen legislator, who serves our country in the United States Navy Reserve, will serve the city with honor, will have the courage to stand up for what is right, and show commitment to the people of Boca Raton.
– A local FAU graduate with a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Computer Engineering, with a stable 15-year career at the same company, patent filings, and an academic publication.
– A technology evangelist, who will keep Boca Raton relevant and fully leverage social media to communicate with the residents of Boca, keeping them well informed of what’s going on at city hall.
I am running for city council because I love our city, because I am invested in its future, and because I want what is best for my family and yours. Please vote Jeremy Rodgers, the Best Choice, for Boca Raton City Council on March 10th.
I am Jamie Sauer, and I would be honored to be your next City Council member.
Boca is my hometown. I’ve lived here in Boca Raton since I was 5 years old. I’ve had the honor of experiencing it’s parks, beaches, cultural opportunities, downtown, good people and so much more for the past 3 decades. I love this community, which is why I am running for City Council. I know and understand Boca Raton better than any other candidate. I grew up knowing the character of Boca Raton, and I intend to protect the quality of life here in Boca.
I’m also honored to be a Mom. I have two children and one on the way. I have an extremely supportive husband, and we have a great family that all live close by (some just 7 blocks to be exact – in the same home I grew up in). This support allows me to balance my business, my family and my service to my community.
One of the many reasons I am running is because of my children. Not only do I want to continue to show my children that getting involved in your community matters, but also, I want my children to grow up in a great Boca Raton just like I did. One that is world-class and nationally recognized. One that offers great jobs, great homes and great places to play and raise a family. One that they too will want to call home and raise their family in.
I am a small business woman. I have had a consulting business that has enabled me to work with leaders that you have trusted like our CFO Jeff Atwater and our County Commissioner and former Mayor Steven Abrams.
I’ve never been afraid of a challenge.
During my professional career, I have had the opportunity to organize townhall summits across the state. We have brought people together from all walks of life, opposing sides, community leaders, residents, business people, government officials and more to build consensus. I worked in conjuction with an incoming Senate President to bring these people together to determine policy for the next two years in the Senate – and we did!
The summits I organized addressed many important issues like the environment and education – things that are important to our city. And I will work diligently to make sure that our Boca schools are given as much support as any other school in our county. We also need to work with our universities who provide us with great employees, research and technology.
I developed a summit on Homeland Security that also addressed hurricane protection and public safety.
I brought people together to talk about Senior issues – something that is crucial to Boca Raton. I understand the unique issues specific to Senior citizens like my Grandmother who just moved to Boca Raton. And the policy that came out of that summit included great successes like strengthening our punishment on white collar crimes further protecting our Senior citizens and others from monetary predators. We need to take care of those who have taken care of us for so many years.
I also put together 3 economic development summits. We brought more jobs, better education and even better quality water to communities as results of these summits. Great policy came out of one economic development summit that yielded Building Florida’s future, which appropriated $2 billion for Florida’s future and our economic development. Some of the funding went to FAU’s medical school.
I’ve had the experience of bringing people together to truly make a difference – and great things have resulted because of this consensus building. I intend to bring this consensus building to the Boca Raton City Council.
I am also a Realtor. As a Realtor, I get to brag about Boca Raton every day and the wonderful reasons people want to live here. I am running to improve and protect Boca Raton.
And finally, I’ve given back to the community – not only as a professional – but also as a volunteer. I have worked with amazing organizations like the Boca Raton Historical Society, my local Homeowner’s Association, the Junior League of Boca Raton and Kids in Distress to prevent child abuse, give diapers to children who need them, provide food for the hungry and preserve our history.
I have something that no one else in this race has – a deep seated passion for this community.
I’m making a difference every day. And I’m telling you that I want to earn your vote because I’ve already been making a difference in our community. A community that is so important to me. A community that I have grown up in and that I live, work and raise my children in.
I’m in this race for Boca. I care about Boca and I want to continue to be there for this community.
I would be honored to have your vote on March 10.