Deputy mayor’s take on proposed charter changes

 

 

 

Boca Raton Deputy Mayor Andrea Levine O’Rourke

Q: Voters will find two charter amendments on the Municipal Election ballot. One amends residency requirements for city council candidates including mayor. The other requires signatures of 200 electors to qualify as a candidate. What are the votes needed to pass?

A: A majority of the vote in the March 9 election.

Q: Why was the residency requirement lengthened?

A: It makes sense for people to spend a reasonable amount of time to get acclimated and to understand the community. Truly live in the city you are homesteaded and invested in. Mayor Singer explains: “As in prior races, one of the candidates in this election has received tax benefits from a homesteaded residence outside of the city and yet still claims to live here for election purposes. Let’s close this repeatedly exploited loophole.”

Q: Was this based on a former candidate or candidates who were snowbirds?

A: Not necessarily snowbirds.  We have however experienced a sizable cost, approximately $100,000 to the city, to run an election due to one candidate that could not meet these   residency requirements.

Q: Why is a new petition requirement in lieu of a qualifying fee?

A: It shows a candidate is willing have their feet on the ground and be willing to be in touch and immersed in the community. Anyone can pay a small fee without being seriously invested.

Q: Are both amendments designed to assess the seriousness of the candidate?

A: Yes. The requirements of one-year residency with a homestead and 200 signatures supports the seriousness of a candidate to match the importance and responsibility of being elected to serve the citizens of the city.

Q: If either amendment passes, what will happen next?

A: It will be in effect for the next city election.

Q: Some voters are saying this is political, but this council is non-partisan. Do you want to address that issue?

A: This came from robust discussions at publicly noticed city council meetings. It was ultimately voted on in a 4-0 consensus of city council members. One member was absent.

Q: Is there anything else voters are asking you that Boca Voice users should know, too?

A: Why should we vote yes on this? We all have one main goal and that is the greater good of our city. Our ultimate responsibility is to vote on what we believe will best achieve that goal. The entire city council believed this was important.

Here is a statement from candidate Bernard Korn who opposes the amendments: “The real goal of the Boca Raton city charter amendments is to specifically eliminate Bernard Korn from opposing the mayor & other council members in future elections.”

Here’s a link to the exact wording of the charter amendments: https://www.myboca.us/DocumentCenter/View/25547/2021-Boca-Raton-Ballot-Language-

By Marci Shatzman

 

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