Sun Sentinel Endorses Andy Thomson for City Council
The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board has endorsed Andy Thomson for Boca Raton City Council, Seat B. When discussing the qualities needed in a council member (“even temperament, good sense and perspective”) the Sun Sentinel states that they “see the most potential for such a council member in Andy Thomson.”
They write that Thomson “has the broadest appeal. He got the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement, but he stresses the need to protect neighborhoods and retain the quality of life for young families like his, who like Boca Raton’s dynamic.”
Don’t forget to vote Andy Thomson for City Council on your vote by mail ballot or at the polls on Tuesday, March 14th!
For Boca Raton City Council, Thomson| Endorsement
By Sun Sentinel Editorial Board
March 1, 2017
Three qualified candidates are running for Seat B on the Boca Raton City Council. But let’s talk first about the person who has the seat now.
That would be Mike Mullaugh, who’s term-limited. Of all five council members, Mullaugh often says the most while speaking the least. He displays even temperament, good sense and perspective. We see the most potential for such a council member in Andy Thomson.
On his Sun Sentinel questionnaire, Thomson noted the strident criticism of the council regarding development and the Wildflower property. “Too often,” Thomson wrote, “some people lose sight of how good we really have it in Boca Raton … Many cities in South Florida are struggling with how to reduce their crime rate or address the sober home epidemic. In Boca Raton, however, our most intense debate centered on whether to have a park or a high-end restaurant on a prime piece of waterfront real estate.”
Thomson, a lawyer, is running against Emily Gentile and Andrea O’Rourke. They agree on many issues. The proposed 2,500 residential units for the Midtown area are too many. The $24 million offer from Lennar for the Ocean Breeze golf course is too high. The council should conduct public evaluations of City Manager Leif Ahnell and City Attorney Diana Grub Frieser every year. Downtown needs better amenities and a shuttle service.
That waterfront ordinance, however, separates the candidates. Gentile and Thomson favored the restaurant, which could have brought the city tens of millions in lease payments over 45 years and which the ordinance will prevent. O’Rourke said the ordinance would “protect Boca’s waterfront parks,” even though no park was proposed for the property. Even now, O’Rourke refers to “Wildflower Park.” In fact, the council has not decided on a use for the property.
The anti-growth BocaWatch website favored the ordinance. O’Rourke spent a year as BocaWatch’s editor and is the only candidate to have received money from BocaWatch Publisher — and mayoral candidate — Al Zucaro, his wife and their business entities. O’Rourke seeks appeal beyond the Golden Triangle neighborhood where she lives and where many residents agree with BocaWatch, but it’s a tough balancing act.
Gentile tries to contrast herself with O’Rourke by saying, “I’m not a provincial candidate.” But Gentile also notes that few council members have lived on the beach, as she does. At the Federation of Boca Raton Homeowner Associations forum and before the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board, Gentile seemed too dismissive of other views. Gentile acknowledged that she can come off as “stiff.”
O’Rourke and Gentile criticize Thomson for running only a few months after moving into the city, but Thomson lived just across the city line for several years. And as he notes, O’Rourke claims to be a 37-year resident of Boca Raton, but she includes time in the neighborhood outside the city where Thomson lived. Thomson also has served on several civic boards.
All council seats are at-large, so all council members represent the entire city. We believe that Thomson has the broadest appeal. He got the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement, but he stresses the need to protect neighborhoods and retain the quality of life for young families like his, who like Boca Raton’s dynamic. The Sun Sentinel endorses Andy Thomson for Boca Raton City Council Seat B.