Published On: Fri, Dec 21st, 2012

CITIZENS’ VOICE #29

By: Al Zucaro

Say what you mean…mean what you say

Sound familiar….

Did you see Boca’s CRA workshop meeting on Tuesday, November 13th debating city staff’s recommendation on the proposed planned mobility ordinance?

Did Chairwoman Constance Scott really say what she meant and mean what she said?

Can you believe the inquiry she made in members’ comments as to whether the city government can impose an obligation on citizens not to hold any neighborhood meetings discussing city business without a representative of the government present?

Just what country does she think we live in?

When did elected officials in their representative capacity become philosopher kings ruling over their subjects?

These remarks are so out of line that they are almost incomprehensible.

But then again, just look at government at all levels telling its subjects what they, the citizens, do not know, do not understand.

Incredible…..

By way of background, planned mobility is a hot topic within Boca Raton.  The city council has been moving forward with legislation designed to change the character of our city.  Residents have opposed this legislation which ultimately changes the historical low density nature of Boca Raton.

And yes, Chairwoman Scott, Boca Raton has been and remains a low density destination.  Contained right in the city’s own code of ordinances is a low density planning directive adopted by the council designating Boca Raton as such.

Until and unless that is officially changed, the council, representing the voice of citizens, past and present, has the obligation to act accordingly.

To date, planned mobility legislative language is being developed with land owners, their lobbyists and attorneys that will add great value to large parcels of land within 5 areas of the city.   Agents for the landowners have been exercising major influence on what the final legislative language may be that will be presented to the city council.  Much of these efforts are without the city council recognizing the concerns raised by citizen groups throughout the city.

 

At the Federation of Homeowners meeting last week, Deputy City Manager George Brown presented staff’s recommendations for a final ordinance.  Staff’s position differs from those made at the planning and zoning committee meeting three weeks ago.  Staff presented its recommendation to the CRA at the workshop on November 13th and final legislation will be presented to council in two public hearings on November 27 and December 11. The land owners’ agents will be there in force to argue for their preferred changes.  Interested citizens must remain vigilant and have only these two remaining opportunities to remind the council of their representative role.

Good luck with that….

One note of recognition is that at the Federation meeting, Chairwoman Scott was present and offered comments to the attendees that were articulate, informed and concise.  It escapes this writer why she and other city council members, individually, do not take more opportunities to present their arguments to concerned citizens instead of the continued acrimony that is currently employed.

To that end, a political action committee, BocaWatch, has been formed and will be organizing opportunities for council members, on invitation, to appear before interested citizens and groups to discuss legislation that the council member may support or oppose.  It will be interesting to see which members are willing to participate in forums outside the formality of the council chambers.  More on this in the near future….

So back to the beginning…council members should always say what they mean and, of course, mean what they say, but more important, elected officials should be able to defend to the body politic, the citizens, their actions and their votes.

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