Published On: Thu, Feb 9th, 2017

Election is 4 Weeks away, Your Involvement Matters

In just over a month voters will head to the polls to select three of seven candidates to lead the city for the next two years.

And while the turnout is projected to be low considering this being an off election year, I hope the current state of the country will be an incentive for more people to get involved.

The outcome of this city council and mayoral races will mean a lot to our city. If you have never attended a council meeting to see what happens there, you should know that what goes on is the city’s business, which ultimately is your business.

They decide on zoning regulations and tax structures that affect local businesses, which could potentially attract new businesses. They have the final say on how to address the gridlock on the roads you use every day, the utilities that you depend on, and the police and fire departments that keep you safe.

Just imagine the things that could go right or wrong each day or week that would truly impact your quality of life. Make a mental list. Think about your trash getting picked up on time or repairs to your street handled efficiently. Your city council determines whether certain types of businesses are allowed set up shop in the city.

Now look at the big picture, the things that truly matter on a year-in, year-out basis. Are you satisfied with the development downtown? Can we expect to get a relief in the traffic woes anytime soon? Are city taxes at an acceptable rate, are those tax dollars being spent efficiently? How is the local economy doing? Do you feel safe on the streets?

Here is what you need to know: The people who have the biggest impact on those things — city council members and school boards — are up for election today, and voter turnout will be very low.

I recently sat in on the candidates’ interviews with the Boca Raton Tribune and every candidate we interviewed said they want to be around the decision-making table because local government is the most important form of government.

To that, I concur with Tip O’Neil, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, who once said, “All politics is local!”

Boca is a safe place to live and work, the city is in good fiscal health, and while there are no hot button issues on the ballot this year, much is at stake.

The issues remain the same as previous years: growth, traffic, and believe it or not, how to address the overcrowding issues at Calusa Elementary School. All the candidates offer suggestions on how to cure the abscess, which range from reassigning students to neighboring schools (a band aid approach) to building a new school.

For the most part, all the candidates are satisfied with the level or quality of public safety service in the city and although – depending on who you ask – the police department is at least 20 officers short, service has not been compromised.

The Boca Raton Tribune does not endorse candidates. We however will hold two candidates’ forum where the voters can question the candidates and learn more about their views on the issues.

The first candidates’ forum for those seeking the two council seats will be on Friday, Feb. 24.  and the pair dueling for the mayor’s seat will square off on Friday, March 3. Both forums will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Wayne Barton Study Center, 269 NE 14th St, Boca Raton.

We urge our readers to follow the discussion and inform themselves about the candidates and issues that animate this election. Local elections may not flood your social media channels, but they do matter.

  1. Ron Allen can be reached at [email protected] or 561-665-0151.

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