The burning issues of yesteryear—development, traffic, parking, schools, recreation— may only be smoldering in 2021, but they are still important considerations as we prepare to elect new members to our City Council. Boca’s municipal elections are on March 9th, with two seats to be filled for three-year terms. The winners will determine the balance of power on the Council and will set the tone for future Council decisions affecting how our city grows and the quality of life we all enjoy. So how do voters make an informed decision?
Seat D – A challenger to incumbent Monica Mayotte
You might start by looking at the voting records of those running for the two seats. Monica Mayotte has been on the Council for three years and has been a strong environmental advocate and a critic of rampant development. Her election in 2018 was a result of many residents becoming dissatisfied with the construction approvals from previous City Councils—particularly in East Boca. We are currently living with the results of some of those bad decisions, and density problems will only increase with the completion of high rises currently under construction. But at least some of the new buildings are not architectural embarrassments. Mayor Scott Singer and Deputy Mayor Andrea O’Rourke have publicly endorsed Ms. Mayotte’s reelection. Her opponent, Brian Stenberg has an admirable record of volunteer service but no experience in elected office. He has the support of big developers and the Chamber of Commerce.
Seat C – Old and New Faces
Yvette Drucker was recently appointed by the City Council to fill the seat of Jeremy Rogers, who is on a military service leave of absence. Drucker is an independent with a strong record of public service in Boca. She also has a reputation as a collegial consensus- builder. In that regard, her appointment is telling. The Council could have left the seat open until the March election, but it appears that a majority, including Mayor Singer and Deputy Mayor O’Rourke, wanted to give a leg up to someone they felt they could work with.
Drucker’s opponent, Constance Scott, had also applied to fill Rogers’ vacant seat. Unlike Drucker, Scott has a proven voting record—much of it “resident unfriendly.” She served two terms on the Council from 2009-2015 during Boca’s building-approval boom, when those advocating a “new downtown” pushed for massive construction projects like the Mark, Archstone (a three-block long building on Palmetto Park), and the voluminous Via Mizner hotel and apartment complex on Federal Highway. While on the Council, Ms. Scott often displayed an arrogance bordering on contempt for those opposed to the agenda of big developers. You can watch her in action on YouTube. In May 2012, as Chair of the powerful Community Redevelopment Agency when she she publicly asked the City Manager if there were some way to charge residents for the cost of delaying construction projects. He respectfully replied that you can’t charge people for “exercising their rights.” If you were a developer, those were the good old, go-go days in Boca! Do we want to do that again?
The final Council candidates, Bernard Korn and Josie Machovec, are worth mentioning only because Korn has run many times for public office in Boca and Machovec has no political experience. Both are running for Seat C, as are Drucker and Scott. In some ways, the electoral process in Boca resembles a free for all.
Perhaps more importantly
In an attempt to bring more order to the City election process, there is a referendum on this year’s ballot which would establish simple rules for candidates—like proof that you actually live in Boca Raton or that you have some voter support. It’s a common-sense ordinance which deserves your support.
Monica Mayotte and Yvette Drucker also deserve your support on March 9th. Much has changed for the better in Boca since the big developers’ day. The current City Council is working well. We seem to be managing our growth in a consensual and balanced way. It’s the best way to keep Boca beautiful.