In following up George O’Rourke’s essay, ’Flabbergasted’, I thought a Saturday Night Live (SNL) parody might be interesting and look something like this:
Boca Raton City Hall chambers; a full complement of elected officials; 40 to 50 red shirted residents in opposition; and large team of expensive suits ready to counter any winning public sentiment with developer driven contrived facts….
The director is heard to say….Lights, Camera, Action….
Scene one Take one:
Councilman Singer offers remarks listing reasons in support of his Motion to Deny the petitioner’s request; to wit:
- No assurances of future ownership fulfilling the fictional plan presented;
- No assurances that the artistry shown in the pretty pictures will every actually be built;
- No assurances that this poorly crafted ordinance will achieve the stated but fictional goals;
- No assurances that elected leaders have protected the residents’ interests;
- A dramatic expansion of development rights by a factor of 500,000 square feet, a 60% increase over the rights granted a mere two years ago;
- A dramatically different form of land use regulation, which practically creates a “Sovereign nation” within our city;
- A “Sovereign nation” with plans that are: a) not part of a traditional master plan with its usual protections; b) contain fictional illustrations as to look and density which are not part of the proposed ordinance; and c) contains a fictional mixed use allocations;
- A plan that allows extremely liberal swapping of land uses;
- A plan limited only by a 2013 traffic study, a study based upon 2 year old data;
- A plan that creates a malleable zoning classification; a zoning classification that will be one of the most significant land use changes in the history of this city;
In this parody, Councilman Rodgers would ‘second’ Councilman Singer’s motion for discussion. Discussion ensues with words taken from Rodgers on the record comments:
- A plan asking only to increase the FAR from .25 to .40;
- A plan with no public ingress or egress into the neighborhood;
- A plan that will, in future submittals, have the highest levels of scrutiny by staff and by this council;
- A plan resulting in not just the developer lining his pockets with additional profit but arguably bring additional benefits to Boca Raton outlined here: a) will bring jobs; b) will retains graduating students in Boca Raton; c) will be a model for multi-use villages, placing Boca Raton on the map as an innovator; and, d) represents a great compromise with the developer and the residents; a win for everyone.
In this parody the suggested following dialogue is heard:
‘Singer asks Rodgers for proofs and/or assurances supporting the assertions about jobs; about retention of graduating students; about enhancement of the city’s image and reputation; and/or about the notion that the residents have come to a compromise….’
‘Rodgers points to the petitioner’s submittal and the city staff’s review. Needless to say no proofs or assurances are found….’
Because the proofs and/or assurances simply do not exist in this fictional presentation; a presentation that is based on pretty pictures and illusory numbers.
No further discussion takes place.
Mullaugh and Weinroth are both silent. They are unabashed ‘developer friendly’ votes and thus are extremely predictable.
In this parody, Rodgers votes with Singer, putting Haynie in the uncomfortable position of being the tie breaker….and based upon her silence and non-statements in the post-motion discussion….you be the judge of which side she would have voted for….
In reality, by voting with Weinroth and Mullaugh, Rodgers provided the Mayor with an easy avoidance of taking on a tough vote; a vote to demonstrate whether she is ‘resident friendly’ or ‘developer friendly’
The actual vote was 4 – 1 with Singer voting no….A 2 -2 tie vote would have been so much more interesting….
The residents overwhelmingly (3 dozen plus against, 1 in favor) were opposed.
Of all the residents’ comments, the one most appropriate for this parody is where one resident points to Mayor Haynie’s campaign literature suggesting that in the last election she held herself out as a champion of the neighborhood(s); a protector of the resident.
Not so….She is pure politician, nothing more, nothing less….Her vote on this item and her participation in Boca Raton’s ever-expanding overdevelopment proves she is not ‘resident friendly’….
She, along with Weinroth and Mullaugh, are developer votes without exception….She should and will be held to task in her next election bid for this ‘developer friendly’ track record; remember Archstone…..
The jury may still be out on Councilman Rodgers’ image and reputation but with votes like this one here, he is quickly relinquishing a ‘resident friendly’ posture in lieu of a ‘developer friendly’ voting record. Of course that should be expected.
The business community, specifically the Chamber of Commerce, believe he was elected because of their support and therefore he is their vote. And with the President of the Chamber sitting just 10 or so feet from the Councilman, the pressure mounts….guess as to which side in this argument the Chamber might be on?….
March 2017 cannot come soon enough.
The residents, last week, fought a valiant fight and should be commended. It is their actions that support the proposition that Words do matter and the record will be there to insure that false words in campaign literature will not ever again carry the day to the real words demonstrated in the form of actions….
As my second grade teacher, Sister Jean Thomas, would often be heard to say
“A word to the wise is sufficient”
The sad part of this scenario is that your parody is part of THEIR script. Use your education in a legal forum. Go to the economic crimes division of the county but go after the developers. Your council members will be easy and simply be replaced.
Mike, as long as a majority of council members lack integrity and courage the problems will persist.
Mike, Thank you for the comment. I agree that third party agencies are useful, including the circuit court. In the airport issue where Weinroth and Brown were appointed to the Airport board, I have taken this issue to the Florida Commission on Ethics and an investigation is being conducted. I also have filed a complaint with the Palm Beach County Inspector General on the issue of misappropriation of taxpayer funds by the City for providing these individuals with legal defense. That too is an open investigation. These agencies take forever and do not have injunction power. Sooner or later they will make a finding and publish a report; not a useful real time experience. The only real time option is to file a complaint in circuit court and stop further action pending a resolution, a costly option. I have not taken that action yet….Al Zucaro