Friday, October 28, 2016

What's in your Ballot?

What's in your Ballot?

As the November election approaches, it is appropriate to focus on the local candidates, state amendments and local questions. Our Polling Place is at the Marine Safety Headquarters 3939 N Ocean Blvd. (just south of Spanish River Blvd on the west side)


The Boca Raton Beach and Park District is of great concern to the residents of Boca Towers.
This entity is composed of 5 commissioners. This year we are voting for 2 seats. These are seats 1 and 3. Seat 5 is unopposed and Steve Engel(incumbent)will maintain that seat. Each seat is held for 4 years. The odd numbered seats will start on January 1, 2017. The entire Beach and Park District encompasses both the city of Boca Raton and the unincorporated areas to the West. Each Commissioner is entitled to vote on every question put before the District. The candidates for District 1 are Dennis R. Frisch(incumbent) and Craig F. Ehrnst. The candidates for district 3 are Earl Starkoff(incumbent) and Erin A. Wright. Please "google" each candidate to see their views and ideas. You may be interested in what each candidate says about the Wildflower site, Lake Wyman or the relocation of the Municipal Golf Course. Keep in mind that Ocean Strand may reappear. Ocean Strand is the property on the North side of Boca Towers. Several years ago, there was interest in developing this property for commercial purposes. The public,especially the Boca Towers Community, opposed the development and the idea of commercial development faded. Dr. Frisch and Earl Starkoff have pledged to vote against any future push for commercial development.

Since we have your attention, we will mention the local Question on the Ballot. It appears at the bottom but is most important to the Boca Towers Community. The Ballot refers to this question as the Boca Raton Initiative Question and the creation of Section 28-1308. The City already controls the decision making process on the use of public property on the Barrier Island. In summary, this public property may be used for recreational purposes only. This does not exclude concessions. The concessions must fit into the recreation plan. Think of the gift shop at Gumbo Limbo or the hot dog vendor at the Pavilion at the intersection of A1A and Palmetto. 

A "yes" to this question would broaden the authority of the Public to include city property on the West Side of the Intracoastal. These properties would remain in the public domain. Please think of the Wildflower and Lake Wyman properties. A "yes" vote would not allow a large "brick and mortar" eatery on the Wildflower property and might stop any move to relocate the docks.

Returning to the order on the Ballot, we have the State Constitutional Amendments. There are 4 Amendments but they are numbered 1-3 and 5.

#1-The Right of Electricity Consumers regarding Solar Energy Choice-In summary, you may choose solar energy but other energy consumers will not be taxed to pay for your choice. Another way of saying this is - If you do not choose Solar than you will not subsidize those who do. This is a yes or no vote. A no vote will support the use of solar energy power since the cost will be spread over the public base.. A yes vote will make the selection of solar energy very costly to those who choose it since they will carry the burden. The public utilities favor a yes vote. Please think carefully about this one..

#2-Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions-as prescribed by FLORIDA licensed Physicians. This allows caregivers to assist patients and for growers to be licensed. This applies to Florida law only. All activity will be subject to fees and taxes.

#3-Allows Tax Exemptions for Totally and Permanently Disabled First Responders-These individuals will be relieved from ad valorem taxes on homestead property.

#5-Allow Tax Exemptions for certain Seniors, Low Income, and Long-Term Residents. These exemptions will be based on the determination of Just Value. This value will be determined the FIRST YEAR the owner applies and is retroactive.

Last on the Ballot are the questions. we think these are the most important and more difficult to understand. The city wide question was previously discussed. The Countywide Question refers to the imposing of a ONE-CENT sales surtax. Please do not be misled. The current sales ta would be increased by 17%. The revenue would go towards education and infrastructure. The 
wording of this question may be misleading. Please understand that 50% of the increase will go to education 30% to county-wide infrastructure and 20% to cities. Boca Raton would receive very little from this tax since the poorer cities are first in line and the county labels Boca Raton as the "richest city" in the county.

We have attempted to present your choices in an unbiased fashion. We do have opinions but we do not want to influence yours. We hope our explanations will help.

Kay Winakor
Joe Pedalino