Op:Ed on myths, facts brought up during August election

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By: Craig F. Ehrnst Special to the Boca Newspaper
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
– Daniel Patrick Moynihan
During the August election primary, my opponent and others tried to disseminate non-factual information to cause community concerns that were neither factual nor accurate. Here’s some myths and facts:
Dog-friendly Parks and Beaches – “There is a battle being waged against our city’s Dog friendly Parks and Beaches.” Implying if you like them, you should vote for the incumbent. Mayor Susan Haynie clarified on August 16th stating on Facebook:
Boca Raton’s dog beach, Bark Beach, and dog park, Mizner Bark, are both owned and operated by the City and are not under threat of closure. Misinformation was put out on social media indicating that action must be taken to save these wonderful gems. #NotTrue #NoWay #DogsRule #HereToStay
If the District incumbent is a supporter of Green Space Acquisition, why did they turn down so many opportunities? As of April 4, 2016 District Minutes reflect no interest in acquiring additional beach or park property:
1. Acquisition of Beach Front Property – “The Board expressed little interest in using tax dollars to buy non-contiguous, or small pieces of property.”
2. Boca Teeca Golf Course – The District passed on the opportunity to purchase the course from foreclosure stating, “the price of the property was ‘developmental price’ rather tan ‘recreation price’.”
3. Mizner Trail – “the District’s first priority should be to make sure that the properties it owns are optimally utilized and maintained…”
Annexation – is not a District issue, it’s a City and residential issue. Besides being removed from the August ballot (so it is definitely a “non-issue”), the financial impact to the District’s revenue was estimated to be $300,000. However, if only a few residents took advantage of buying a $55 annual beach pass, what is the additional cost to the District? Probably not much. The underlying issue, was to “stir-the-pot” with Palm Beach County Firefighters, as a takeover of new jobs by the City firefighters who endorsed the challengers. Shortly before the election, the Palm Beach firefighters conducted endorsement interviews, but did not endorse anyone after clarifying the issues.
Independent District – the District is an independent taxing authority that sole purpose was implemented to repay the City for maintenance and debt. The District “sunsets” when the City becomes the same size or larger. Annually, the District funds roughly $15 million to the City. The District has expressed an interest in hiring additional staff to replace City employees and shortening the master inter-local agreement from 30 years to 10 years or less. Hiring additional staff to replace City staff and shortening the contract is an ongoing issue that is not resolved.
So, readers should be forewarned that District incumbents are seeking to stay in their roles for 12 or 16 years. Why? More facts to come… everyone should be concerned.
Craig F. Ehrnst Candidate for Seat 1, Greater Boca Raton Beach and Parks District