Today, February 21, 2015, as part of our Municipal Candidate Series we interview Bruce Bastian who is vying for Seat 3 on the Delray Beach City Commission. So far we have profiled his opponents Mitch Katz and Josh Smith, Jr. (see below under “Suggested Links”) and tomorrow we will profile Christina Morrison. The remaining two candidate who will be on the ballot for Delray Beach voters on March 10, 2015 are running Tom Carney and Cary Glickstein who will be profiled next week in this column.
In this series we are bringing you interviews of municipal candidates up for election in southern Palm Beach County on March 10, 2015. We are profiling all the candidates in the order in which we received their answers or conducted the interview. We will include each opponents’ interviews in the “Suggested Links” section below. The exact same ten questions are posed to each candidate so you, the voter, can gauge each candidate on an equal playing field, so to speak.
Here is the result of the Bruce Bastian interview. Mr. Bastian’s answers are verbatim.
How long have you lived in Delray? Where did you come from?
I have lived in Delray for a little over 3 years. My wife and I moved from San Francisco, CA.
If elected, what would be your top two objectives? And why? What is your vision of Delray over the next 10 years?
Delray Beach has an unbalanced economy largely based on restaurants with minimal retail. As a result, we need to diversify our business portfolio mix by introducing different industries, increase our “Class A” and creative office space, and continue to build our entrepreneur base with FAU’s Tech Runway and Startup Delray.
Delray Beach is more than just the Atlantic Avenue corridor. The City Commission needs to engage residents about how we will bridge our communities over the next 10 years, manage development in the future, and provide clear guidance to builders and residents on future projects. We can’t lose focus on other parts of our town and how development will impact the community as a whole
Second, we have a major congestion problem when people try to patron our businesses, which not only creates an issue of general frustration, but there is a bigger issue as it relates to safety with our first responders having access. We need to create a comprehensive transportation solution to address safety, congestion, parking, and mobility.
What is your opinion on the recent decision to ban ‘vaping’ in private businesses?
When I first heard the ban was occurring, I was surprised, however, when I looked into vaping and the potential health risks of “second hand” vapor, I felt it was justified to ban it from private business.
What are the best things about Delray?
Delray Beach is one of those unique cities in South Florida that has retained its small-town charm and sense of community, and it is critical that we preserve our distinctive character.
Do you feel development in Delray is on the right track or the wrong track?
I feel the recent changes in the Land Development Regulations was a reaction to some interesting projects that will soon come online. As a result, it will test our infrastructure capacity. Overall, I feel we are on the right track, we just need to be upfront and collaborate with respect to future projects and articulate the vision of the city so it’s clear for any future projects that may be presented.
Are you in favor of red light cameras in the city?
I think we need to take a look at all types of advanced traffic control devices, if they actually improve traffic safety and reduce gridlock. My concern is that Boca Raton just suspended their red light camera program, so obviously something wasn’t working right there…
What is your opinion on corporate welfare (giving of tax credits and/or taxpayer money to attract businesses to Delray)?
Delray Beach is a very unique community and at this point in time I think Boca is going to be giving some major incentives to replace their loss of office depot. The point is we will never be able to compete with that dollar for dollar. How we can compete, however, is to be the best and most efficient at getting businesses through the permitting stage, and able to open their doors.
If the opportunity presented itself to replace property taxes with a consumption tax (i.e. the FairTax), is that something you would support?
My concern with this is how we would fairly split the money among governmental entities. Property is either in the city or it isn’t. Sales tax is a little squishier, and tax avoidance becomes easier when its fragmented down to the city.
Nebraska recently banned smoking cigars in cigar bars. Would you favor something similar happening here in Delray Beach?
No. This is just plain silly.
There has been much consternation regarding “home rule” between cities, counties and the Florida legislature. For instance, many Florida municipalities and counties were not in compliance with Florida Statute concerning firearms and had to change their policies accordingly. Do you have an opinion about this situation and if so, what is it?
I support home rule. Vaping ban is an example of home rule in action.