Published On: Tue, Aug 7th, 2018

Meet Your Boca Raton Mayoral Candidates: Al Zucaro

By: Michael Demyan

Al Zucaro will be running against Scott Singer and Bernard Korn for the role of Boca Raton’s mayor in the upcoming election on Aug. 28. Singer has been officially serving as interim mayor since May 7 after Susan Haynie was suspended, following her arrest in April.

Zucaro unsuccessfully ran for the mayor’s seat last year, losing to Haynie by just over a thousand votes. This would not be his first time in office however, as he was elected to serve on the West Palm Beach City Commission from 1995-2002.

He earned his law degree at Nova Southeastern University and a bachelor of arts in economics at Fordham University in New York. Currently, Zucaro works as an immigration lawyer, as well as the publisher of BocaWatch. In 1999, he founded the World Trade Center Palm Beach and has twice been named as one of the most influential people in International Trade and Commerce.

Zucaro believes that overdevelopment in Boca Raton is still a problem compared to when he ran for mayor last year and that the city is currently lacking strong leadership.

“One of my themes in this race is that the city council, under its current leadership, is reactive as opposed to proactive,” he said. “They’re reacting to situations that have been allowed to fester for years as opposed to have proactively moved forward years ago to do what they should have been doing and now they’re doing it.”

School safety is also something that Zucaro is concerned about and feels that it is something that has not yet been addressed in an effective way. He said that the city previously did not care about school overcrowding – that it was the school district’s problem – until the Parkland shooting earlier this year.

“Now all of a sudden, members of city council are concentrating on school overcrowding [since the shooting] and talking a little bit about school safety,” he said.

He suggested adding a budget line in the city’s budget which would enable the city to pay for off-duty police officers to guard schools in Boca Raton until the school board can solve the safety problem.

Zucaro also feels strongly about improving the overall quality of life in Boca Raton, which he thinks is not up to par of what it should be.

“What I’m beginning to see is the infrastructure, the roadways, the marking on the roadways, the stop lines. They are in some places nonexistent,” he said. “We are not doing for the residents that live in our city, some of the basic services necessary to meet that quality of life standard. That’s becoming a major issue for me as a representative of the resident.”

He additionally mentioned that beyond infrastructure and roadways, Boca Raton parks are an important aspect of the city that need to be protected.

“I have been fighting for years now the issue of protecting the parks, protecting the recreational advantages that are in the city, and particularly protecting our beach. I have an exemplary track record on those issues.”

Compared to multiple other candidates who are and have run for local government seats in Boca though, he does not think that the city has extreme traffic problems, however he explained that some improvements could be made, such as creating designated turning lanes to prevent some traffic buildup at intersections.

“We don’t have huge traffic problems like they have in other places around the world,” he said. “We have traffic problems during peak rush hours and there is some legitimacy that some of that traffic problem is passthrough, but what we haven’t addressed is how do we mitigate those periods of time so they are not as impactful as they are now.”

While Zucaro thinks that Boca Raton has the potential to be a world-class city, it is not there yet and he wants to change that.

“There is this belief that we are a world-class city, but I think we are missing some of the basics in taking care of the resident as opposed to establishing an image.”

Residents will have the opportunity to hear from Zucaro, and his two opponents at the Boca Raton Tribune Candidate Forum on August 24 at the Boca Raton Community Center. For more information on the candidate forum, please click here.

About the Author

- Michael Demyan is the associate editor and reporter for The Boca Raton Tribune. He is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University where he received a degree in Multimedia Journalism. Twitter: @michaeldemyan

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