Vote Early, Vote Always
By: Al Zucaro
Well if the notion that voting and participating do not matter were ever to be set aside, it has now been completely shattered here in Boca Raton.
Kudos to all those citizens that raised up their voices against the recent efforts by the council in a conspiracy with the developers at putting in place programs of unbridled growth within this city.
There is no doubt that the history and culture of Boca Raton has been and remains that of a low density living community. Legions of historical evidence support this proposition and, until recently, so did the voices of many of the elected officials, both past and present.
So why is it that in the last year, citizens have had to fight city hall so hard? Citizens fought them in the election process to unseat Councilman Majhess; in the Ocean Strand lease attempt to make public coastal land for members only; and in the city council’s approval of the Archstone project, a project that would forever change the look and feel of downtown Boca Raton. In all these, the citizens won…
Citizens have come together in spirit and in treasure to fight the fight. Petition drives designed to overturn a council action take a great deal of time and effort to succeed. Litigation at circuit and appellate levels require funding and all this in the shadows of well financed and determined opposition, both public and private.
To the citizen it is raw emotions; to the developer it is a cost of doing business. Emotion is the harder element to achieve. Loses discourage emotions; victories, however, encourage greater participation and, hence greater emotion.
Does it not annoy you that the council is now silent with regards to this latest victory? Where is all their bravado? Where is their continued arrogance to fly in the face of the citizens?
The Archstone matter is now being conducted in ‘executive session’, out of the public eye, to determine what the next step by the council will be.
Is it not obvious what the next step should be? Either rescind the ordinance and fulfill the citizens’ will or schedule the special election as directed by the court. Taking this matter further in the courts would be another assault on the will of the people and another demonstration of the unholy alliance between the majority of the council and the developers.
It is also annoying to have a representative of the developer quoted as saying that these determined citizens are but a “small band of people who don’t trust the democratic process.”
Trust the democratic process? Why would they?
So far all they see are political insiders, lobbyists, and city staff whispering in the corner about how to justify a council action. They see at least three council members huddled together, almost as if attached at the hip, conspiring to denigrate the will of the citizens and they see outcomes that are far from defensible, hence the recent loses which ultimately are at the expense of the citizens.
Developers have the money to continue the fight. The city council does not. The city council has the citizens’ money. The council has a public trust to do the will of the people not their individual will. That is representative government as opposed to a democratic process.
The citizens now have the will to go toe to toe with these bullies. So let the games begin. Emotions are very high and the citizens are realizing that ‘you can fight city hall.’ You do it with dignity; with organization; with the moral high ground and with the law on your side.
Here is a prediction….the citizens will continue to raise there voice in distrust of a democratic process that is not at all democratic. They will continue to oppose the deliberate attempt to change the character of the city they love without their participation and their agreement.
Petition drives are their cost of doing business but petition drives will continue unless and until the council finally gets the message….the citizens come first….or, in the alternative, until the current council is finally unelected, a real possibility in the next upcoming political cycle, March 2014.