Al Zucaro Questionnaire
Below is a questionnaire sent by the Tribune staff to sent to Al Zucaro and his answers.
- Name: Alfred ‘Al’ Zucaro
- Personal: 67 Golden Harbour Married No children
- Education: Fordham University ——- A. Economics Magna cum Laude
Nova University School of Law Juris doctorate
- Profession: Attorney
- Political Background: City Commissioner in West Palm Beach 1995 to 2002
President of the City Commission 2000 – 2001
- Public service experience, community and civic involvement: Member – BOD Palm Beach International Film Festival
Board of Trustees: Franklin Pierce University
Founder and former Editor of BocaWatch
- Why is City Government important? City government is as close to the people as government can get. Government exists, at its most fundamental level, to protect citizens—and represent their best interests. We need to elect city officials that will look out for us, especially when the cameras aren’t rolling.
- As Mayor, state your top three priorities for the City: Let’s manage our growth by bringing the voices of residents to the table, not just big developers
We need a fiscal plan that will balance our budget for the long term
We need to bring back common sense to city hall—making our government processes more transparent and inclusive
- How would you go about implementing these three priorities? Let’s have a truly open dialogue with community stakeholders, city council members, and city staff. We need more disclosure about the process—not just votes—from our city manager and senior city staff. We can reign in development by putting the residents first for a change, not political ambition or personal gain.
- What is your vision for the City? I am a firm believer that Boca Raton’s small town feel and our world class services are our best qualities. Many voters in Boca Raton that I talk to have said the same thing—that they love their town but not the way city hall works. For too long the red carpet has been rolled out for the developers, but my vision of Boca Raton is putting the residents first…always.
- What are your plans for ongoing traffic in the city? First, we need to focus on infrastructural improvements where needed—in order to support the increasing residential population and commuter students to FAU and our schools. Let’s conduct new traffic studies that analyze forward-thinking options like a more holistic trolley-system, ride sharing technologies, and shuttles for our downtown area. We are also going to need to address the parking challenges in Mizner Park in the coming years.
- What are your thoughts on Midtown? The residents I have spoken with call this project the ‘gridtown project.’ People are confused and angry. Midtown is politics as usual in Boca Raton—the residents are confused, the developers are eager to break ground and make lots of money, and our elected officials are none the wiser. I do not oppose development. Nor will I shy away for a forward-thinking project. With appropriate communication, all things are possible. The mark of a good negotiation is that no one walks from the table happy but all interests are adequately addressed. As mayor, I will foster communications that address concerns and communicate to the resident and to other council members in an effort to move this, or any other, project forward.
- What are your thoughts on compensation for elected officials? Boca Raton elected officials already are paid the highest salary of any similar city in Palm Beach county—so giving them more money isn’t the issue. The question people have all around town, with that salary increase is: Why has Mayor Haynie and her husband continued to maintain a business relationship with the biggest property owner in town?
- What do you think is best for the City: single member districts or at-large? I support a district format where the elected official must live in the district but be elected citywide.
- What are your views on annexation? I oppose any further annexation, voluntary or involuntary.
- What are your thoughts on developments in the Downtown? The downtown is already overdeveloped and the Boca brand is all but erased. I support adopting the Interim Design Guidelines and the Pattern Book. No more ‘ugly’ buildings like the Mark and the Hyatt Hotel. It’s bad now, but if we don’t intervene we are going to be the next Fort Lauderdale.
- Is there anything the City Council is doing wrong? If so, what would you do to fix it? Let’s convene a Charter Review Committee chaired by the Mayor and made up of political science academics, business representatives, editorial board members, and residents. We need to eliminate obsolete provisions of the charter; reign in the power of the city manager and the city attorney; consider an Internal Auditor position reporting to the City Council; divide the city into districts with each council member representing the district in which they live but elected city-wide. In short: the city council should put residents first, always.