ICYMI, Boca’s spending almost a quarter million dollars of your money for an election that has no candidates running for election. It has only a single referendum question: Should the Boca City Charter be changed to extend the term lengths of current and future council members from 3 years to 4.
Council members Mayotte, Drucker and Mayor Singer think it’s OK to spend that money for an election that will arguably have the lowest voter turnout in history in order to “find the will of the people”; which it won’t; either way. I’m going to vote NO if for no other reason than that. But I also don’t buy the arguments to vote YES. Here’s why.
Elected officials, Mayor Scott Singer and council members Monica Mayotte and Yvonne Drucker are tasked to work toward the goal of providing services to their constituents and to safeguard taxpayers’ dollars. Residents are challenging their push for extending terms. Here’s one:
Council members O’Rourke and Nachlas argued against extending terms. When speaking against putting it on the ballot, newcomer Fran Nachlas said she received many emails all against it and none in favor. And then in addition to listening to the will of the people, she articulated a moral imperative: she couldn’t vote for it because it would benefit her. How refreshing.
The rationale for extended term lengths is just not there
In a Boca Magazine interview recently, Singer asserts the extension “would reduce potential impacts of special interests.” Huh? Longer terms extend special interests’ agenda and lowers the frequency they have to over-fund and groom their candidates. Singer also spoke about the need for longer-term stability. But logically speaking, if you don’t pursue campaign donations from special interests, then you don’t have to worry about their “impacts” or “stability”; Problem solved.
As resident Amy Price explained in the video above, three year terms are in place for a reason. Turning over local politicians brings lots of opportunities for new ideas and perspectives and helps introduce new capabilities and skills. It actually diminishes special interest’s impacts. The City Council discussion video recording has the entire discussion at roughly 1:23 here.
Follow the money
Flyers promoting a YES vote have hit mailboxes. They come from a political action committee called All For One PC (9715 W Broward Blvd. #246, Plantation, FL).
According to the Florida Division of Elections PAC Tracking System, the All For One PC chairperson is Matthew Feiler apparently from Broward County and the registered agent is Michael Milner of Jensen Beach.
The Jensen Beach address rang a bell. It turns out to be the same address that was used to run a smear campaign against then resident friendly candidate Monica Mayotte in 2018. Among other things, that campaign called her unqualified. That was all during the bad old days of Boca’s famously ugly elections dominated by negative ads from well funded out-of-town pro-development special interests.
It tells us definitively where the YES campaign comes from. It’s one of the “Go To” political action committees for anti-resident campaigns. As a city, Boca Ratonians have worked hard to raise ethics and cleanup political speech. Let’s not go backwards.
Term Lengths keep politicians in check.
Term lengths and limits help eliminate ongoing concentration of power in any one administration. Mayor Susan Haynie was on the city council for 17 years before being arrested on charges of corruption. Singer will have been in office almost 10 years consecutively if this referendum passes. Long-term incumbents lose touch with their constituents. Communities and issues change over time – local government and political compositions should change as well.
Anyone who’s followed Boca politics knows the impacts special interests have had in the development of the downtown to the detriment of its quality of life, charm and uniqueness. There are exceptions but developer driven planning has left its mark. The oft touted downtown “Spine” is gone and Boca Beachside is an ugly mess. There is an abundance of examples.
Extending term lengths erodes what little power residents have against the well funded special interest and their lobbyists. And while it is always argued that other cities have moved to 4 year terms, the implication is that Boca is somehow behind or missing out on the latest trend. It isn’t. Nobody argues the change improved other cities. Your vote is your voice.