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An Open Letter to the Boca Raton Community

by BocaFirst Founders

Dear BocaFirst.org Readers

Thank you for reading BocaFirst. Our ranks come from people who: 

  • Saved Boca’s Wildflower and intracoastal parks from commercialization 
  • Help elect two grassroots ‘resident first’ Councilmembers to City Hall
  • Challenged the status-quo on school overcrowding 
  • Fought for responsible growth that considers resident’s quality of life

We are BocaFirst. Our vision is to provide a voice and platform that focuses on the matters that effect both the residential neighborhoods, and businesses of Boca Raton. Hopefully, you’ll find opinions and reporting on things you care about that just aren’t covered by the traditional media and blogs.

Our Goals

One of our main goals is to inform, educate and foster dialogue in the important matters that effect local businesses, schools, organizations and our many unique neighborhoods. Our hope is we encourage active citizenship and participation in city government for the benefit of those groups. We believe that good governance in West Boca, is good governance in East Boca because we are one community.

Your time is important to us. Our format is designed to help you get to information and make informed decisions.

Your time is important to us. Our format is designed to help you get to information and make informed decisions. Every article and video has “Reading Time” at the top. And the site organizes everything by splitting opinion, reporting and topical research articles into separate sections. We’re just getting started and have more ideas to implement.

BocaFirst welcomes you to contact us through our website at bocafirst.org with ideas for articles or to submit an article you’ve written on a topic of general interest or one that’s an issue in your area. We’ve already had letters sent to us about this. So consider being a contributor or neighborhood reporter and add your voice from your neighborhood.


BocaFirst profile picture used for city meeting reports written by a group

This is as important to us as it is to you. Some articles on BocaFirst show up as bylined by “BocaFirst” and some may wonder. But you can be sure the critics who are against our community won’t ever be satisfied. Here’s the skinny on it:

  • Boca Viewpoint – This is our opinion page. It’s where we publish letters (such as this one) from the BocaFirst founders as well as opinion pieces bylined by contributors. Our letters are signed by the founders (in the letter itself) but as far as the entries in Boca Viewpoint go, they show up as “bylined” by BocaFirst. Opinion pieces are bylined by the writer.
  • The Splainer – This section of our site is one of the ways we try to be a voice of the community; a place where many can contribute. The Splainer is intended as a place to report on city meetings to the community. We take all the reports from a meeting and put them into a concise article. The goal is to take advantage of those who sat through the meeting and boiled it down. Here you’ll find the key highlights and some possible implications; in a fact-based positive manner. When it’s written by an individual, the byline is a name. When it’s a group, the byline is “BocaFirst”.
  • BocaMatters – This is our video interview feature and BocaFirst promotional videos. People in our videos are all named.
  • The Watchdog – These are articles on topics of interest to our regular and guest contributors. They are bylined by the individuals who wrote them.

When it’s written by an individual, the byline is a name. When it’s a group, the byline is “BocaFirst”.

Our volunteer editors and contributors represent many years of civic experience and advocating for transparent governance at the local level. And so whether it’s interviewing former elected officials, business owners, residents making a difference or experts in the things that affect us, our hope is to activate civic-minded residents.

BocaFirst.org is donation based

If you like what you see here, consider helping out. You can help by donating funds to run the website and create the content you see here. Another way to help is to add your voice to the choir of BocaFirst volunteers advocating for good governance on social media. Feel free to contact us and share BocaFirst.org with others on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email or however else you hang out with your friends and neighbors.

Art in Public Places
Section of large “Art in Public Places” mural at West Red Reef Park.

BocaFirst.org is advertisement free and 100% donation based. It’s made by people, for people. We need and appreciate your donations.  

Boca Raton is your city. It’s a special place and we think it’s worth getting involved to make it better because, Boca matters.

Thank you.  BocaFirst Founders.

  • Joe Panella
  • Katie Barr
  • Jim Wood
  • Les Wilson

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