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Boca-Delray Nostalgia

Burdines...sigh..Town Center Mall.

Burdines…sigh..Town Center Mall.

10 reasons to know you’ve lived in Delray for longer than 10 minutes or years…

  1. You remember when the traffic signals were blinking yellow on West Atlantic Avenue and when the corner of A1A and Atlantic felt a little seedy. (You also remember the Georgia Town Tavern, Paradise Club and The Phoenix.)
  2. You remember when you looked forward to seeing all of your neighbors at “Art and Jazz on the Avenue”.
  3. You remember workers applying the final touches of paint on the new tennis stadium when it debuted for the Virginia Slims tournament back in the 90s.
  4. You shot pool at the aforementioned Phoenix and went to reggae night at Boston’s.
  5. You were excited when Damiano’s opened—finally a restaurant!
  6. You remember looking at the pictures on the wall at Cheeburger, Cheeburger.
  7. You can name the restaurant that used to be where’s Bru’s Room is now. Atlantic Station?
  8. You used to have lunch at Coasters.
  9. You bought your baseball glove at Sal’s Sporting Goods store and had a sandwich at Food Fiesta.
  10. You remember when Lou Jensen re-opened the Sundy House, as a tea room.

10 memories of old Boca..

  1. You remember the old Boca Mall on US 1.
  2. You loved Dirty Moe’s.
  3. You actually saw Wilt Chamberlain at Wilt’s on Glades.
  4. You went to Pete Rose’s Ballpark Café to see Pete do his radio show.
  5. You loved a sub from Grace’s.
  6. You went to The Dive Bar in the Boca Mall to hear bands.
  7. You remember when Jimmy Connors played at Boca West.
  8. You went to see a 14 year-old Jennifer Capriati play tennis at the Polo Club.
  9. Tom’s for ribs.
  10. The Monday-Thursday Papers on East Rogers Circle

7 Traits Determine A Child’s Success

Author Paul Tough

Author Paul Tough

Paul Tough is an award winning journalist who believes he has found the 7 traits needed for children to succeed in school and in life.

I had a chance to see and meet Mr. Tough at the recent annual meeting of Leadership Florida, a statewide organization that has been involved in education for over 30 years.

Tough is the author of the best-selling book “How Children Succeed”. He did exhaustive research, interviewed dozens of experts, reviewed countless studies and spent a ton of time in a variety of school settings studying the personalities of kids who succeed.

He found that the following 7 traits were essential: zest (having passion), curiosity, self-control (ability to delay gratification), social intelligence (empathy), grit (resilience), gratitude and optimism.

It’s an amazing list when you think about it. Tough found that in wealthy communities and schools, oftentimes “helicopter” parents (those who hover over their children shielding them from life’s challenges and setbacks) aren’t doing their kids a favor. Over-protected children often don’t develop grit or self-control in a world that demands both. So when the inevitable hurdle is encountered, many of these kids crumble.

Consequently, some kids have it so tough—living in impoverished conditions or with a raft of social pathogens– that they need more nurturing in order to succeed in life.

I’ve been thinking about Tough’s talk, our brief conversation after his speech and his book since meeting him a few weeks back.

It’s hard to stop measuring whether friend’s, my own kids and myself have the traits he mentioned.

I also think that those traits (and others) determine whether people are good leaders and managers.

Think of an elected official and see whether he or she has passion, curiosity, social intelligence, grit or optimism. Do any of the aspirants for the White House possess all 7? Do your children? Do you?

When I take Tough’s research and apply his thinking to the local level, it sparks all sorts of ideas.

Boca Raton has an incredible public school system—“A” rated schools everywhere you look, with involved parents and well-funded PTA’s providing the extras. But in some of these wealthier enclaves are our children learning to be resilient? How can we allow them to fail occasionally, scrape their knees, learn and be stronger for the experience?

Recently, I wrote about a Bar Mitzvah I attended in Milwaukee. At the service, my friend gave a speech in which he told his son that it was OK to experiment and to fail and I thought that was an amazing gift.

In the book Start-Up Nation which chronicles Israel’s amazing entrepreneurial culture, investors view failure as a rite of passage, a way to build resilience and learning. Many won’t invest in an entrepreneur until they have failed, figuring you learn more from your defeats than your victories.

In Delray, our foundation Dare 2 Be Great works with children who often have all 7 traits, in abundance. Many of them have overcome brutal poverty, violence, family substance abuse and other dysfunction. We are there to provide them with the last bit of help they need, some money for school and mentoring. But after reading Tough’s book, I wonder about those left behind.

My friend, Mark Sauer, has a non-profit called Delray Students First, that provides the nurturing and intervention that many of these kids need. It reminds me of what Wayne Barton has done with his non-profit in Boca. Yes, there are children in Boca with needs.

Often, when we focus on our cities we fixate on development and on numbers: how high, how dense, how many trips generated etc. etc. And it’s important, those numbers are the starting point of a good conversation, but they are only a starting point.

When we talk about economic development, we often talk about incentives and “big game” hunting…how do we get the giant corporate headquarters to come to town? But the best economic development we can do is to invest in people. It’s called human capital.

We teach to the test in this state and in many others. But how do we develop children with zest, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, self-control, curiosity and grit?
That’s the conversation we should be having as a society.

Read the book, it’s compelling.


Charleston Part II: Going to the Mountain Top

Mayor Joe Riley is finishing his 10th and final term.

Mayor Joe Riley is finishing his 10th and final term.

If you love cities, going to see Joe Riley is like watching LeBron James play ball.
He’s just the best. So when you have a chance to see him and hear him speak about building a great city you drop everything and you go. Especially when your invited to share your story with a national audience. I never miss a chance to promote Delray.
After 40 years as mayor of Charleston, one of America’s great cities, Mayor Riley is calling it a career. And what a career it has been.

At 72,  Mayor Riley is sharp and vigorous and there’s more to do (there’s always more when your a mayor who matters) but he’s decided to move on after having shaped, preserved and grown his city for 10 terms. He’s also influenced several generations of Mayors and place makers worldwide.
Charleston is a magical place, imbued with history and character. It’s Main Street, Kings Street, defies all planning logic: its one-way, doesn’t have the widest sidewalks, it’s pavement pocked. But it works, even though some bemoan the presence of a ton of national retailers where independents once operated.
Mayor Riley spent a lifetime shaping modern day Charleston by preserving the past but carefully ensuring that his city would not be a museum piece. Change happens whether we like it or not or as Riley memorably puts it: “the only human that likes change is an infant wearing a diaper.”

Still, he believes that mayors are the primary sales people and architects of their cities and they need to be both every day. And so for 40 years he has sold and promoted Charleston and then shaped the growth he has attracted with a design ethic that has made him a legend.
Every piece of public infrastructure in Charleston is thought out and made beautiful like the Romans used to do. So you will see interesting pump stations, granite sidewalks and beautiful architecture when you visit his city.
All of this costs more, sometimes a whole lot more,  but Riley is a believer in the public realm and Charlestonians have been eager to help him via generous donations over the years.
“The public realm belongs to every one. So the poorest person owns the city park as much as the richest person in town does. When you invest in the public infrastructure of a city everybody feels like they have a stake.”
The Riley Symposium, hosted by ULI at the College of Charleston was a chance for real estate professionals, architects, developers, planners and others to celebrate Riley’s legacy.
Delray Beach was selected to participate because we have a unique success story and have used innovative strategies, financing and policies to revitalize our urban core.
It was an honor to be selected and it’s a privilege to share the story with other communities and professionals seeking to move the needle in their towns.
I often feel that we don’t fully appreciate the place we live. It’s special and people from across the country recognize it. That bears repeating: Delray is special and people know it.
Mayor Riley told the symposium that Charleston exists for its citizens and businesses but also welcomes and values visitors.
“When you create a special place people want to come and experience that place,” he said. “It’s a challenge to manage but you must strike a balance.”
Charlestonians–at least the small sampling I met–have an enormous amount of pride in their city as they should. They debate events, development, business mix and affordable housing with gusto but also with a sense of pride. They know they live in a special place.

So do we.


Senior Vice President and Chief Transactional Officer Joins SoundHealth

Allen F. Campbell, JD, has joined SoundHealth, a Boca Raton-based medical innovation agency, as Senior Vice President and Chief Transactional Officer.

An attorney and biotech entrepreneur, Campbell brings invaluable expertise to the SoundHealth executive team, according to Michael Miller, founder of SoundHealth.

“It is indeed a pleasure to welcome Allen to the SoundHealth team,” said Miller. “He has a successful and exemplary track record of legal and business structuring for a wide range of medical and biotech projects.”

This experience includes: crafting contractual arrangements to protect all parties involved, analyzing commercial potential of medical and biotech projects, and building leadership teams capable of refining innovations and bringing them to market.  Campbell honed his exceptional skills at leading institutions. One of them was the international technology consulting firm of Arthur D. Little (ADL), Inc. in Cambridge, MA.  In this capacity he was to help the firm build and enhance its capabilities in licensing technology and incubating new companies formed to commercialize technology that was created in-house or brought in from the outside. Campbell served as ADL’s teacher, strategist and organizational consultant.

“Allen’s background enhances our SoundHealth team by bringing the experience of having been on every side of many transactions, and being instrumental in their successful conclusions,” added Miller.  “This talent and experience will be a key asset for SoundHealth, as transactions like this are similar to those we are doing.   Our business is rooted in being hyper-efficient. Having expertise and knowledge relevant to each product we look at is critical to successful commercialization.”

SoundHealth’s ‘hyper-efficient’ process combines the expertise of innovators, the mission of funding organizations, and the resources of top-tier research institutions to accelerate the development and deployment of beneficial medical innovations.

“We do this without the drama one might find in similar situations,” said Miller. “Allen’s 30 years of experience in medical industry business transactions and keen understanding of the intellectual property licensing arena will serve to benefit everyone involved in and with our unique process.”

Campbell appreciates the benefits of the SoundHealth process.

“As the point organization for these activities, SoundHealth must make sure that all of the various transactions, contracts and business arrangements are legal, reasonable and enforceable,” said Campbell. “Having been the architect of many transactions, and having participated in many others, I’m aware of the pitfalls, from a legal standpoint, and I’m able to analyze the business opportunity of a project by asking the right questions. Once those

questions are answered, we can move forward with needed refinements and bring important innovations to the public.”

Campbell brings more than transactional expertise. He has been the founder, chairman, director and/or shareholder of several medical innovation companies. Most notably he founded International Murex Technologies, which created the world’s first rapid diagnostic for AIDS.

Campbell received his Bachelor’s degree from The College of Wooster, his Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago and his law degree from Columbia University.

About SoundHealth SoundHealth, LLC ( founded in 2010, based in Boca Raton, FL, is a “medical innovation agency” whose unique structure and system are designed to expedite the delivery of medical innovation to the marketplace.  By combining the business savvy of its executive team with the expertise of inventors, funding organizations and research institutions, SoundHealth is able to provide commerce-ready products to the medical industry’s manufacturing and distribution companies.

Charleston: Part I

love‘This is such an aberrant incident that we just naturally come together and honor those that we’ve lost, they are good good people who are important parts of this community and they’re our neighbors. We love them.'”–A resident of Charleston.
A wonderful sentiment, but I only wish that the murder of 9 worshippers in an historic Charleston church last Wednesday was “aberrant.”
Sadly, it was not.
Violence on a mass and horrific scale has become common place in America.
I happened to be in Charleston last week and left one day before the shooting. I was with Charleston Mayor Joe Riley at an ULI Symposium celebrating his remarkable career.
Riley is a legend in Charleston and he has six months left on his 10th and final term. He has served 40 years.
Much has been said about Charleston in the past few days, about race, violence, guns, mental illness etc.
I read a lot of it, but kept thinking about Mayor Riley and the people in the community and in that church family.
First, the mayor.
When you are in a position such as mayor, you get credit when good things happen and blame and responsibility for when things go south.
The credit part may not be entirely fair, since it takes a team to build a great city, although a bad mayor can kill a town faster than a good mayor can make an impact.
But when things go wrong in a city, it’s a mayor’s job to be chief listener, healer, problem-solver and if possible the person who can keep hope alive even when facing the worst news imaginable.
In great tragedies, there are always lessons; teachable moments that can bring a community closer together.
When I read the quote from a Charlestonian on I was struck by the phrase “they’re our neighbors…we love them.”
It’s always a common theme; an antidote to hatred, racism, intolerance and violence.
Love can cure, but it doesn’t always heal. The nine worshippers gunned down in church will not come back regardless of how much we love them. It won’t bring back the children and the teachers who were murdered in Newtown, Connecticut either.
But yet love is the answer to some of the worst afflictions plaguing our society.
We have enough hatred. We need much more love.
Charlestonians take a great deal of pride in their community. And they should. It’s a beautiful, historic city.
But much of that history is difficult.
The church where the attack took place was built by a man who led a slave revolt.
Denmark Vesey led the revolt in 1822.  He was convicted in a secret trial in which many of the witnesses testified after being tortured. After they hung him, a mob burned down the church he built. His sons rebuilt it. Last week, it was turned into a shooting gallery by an avowed racist.
Still, the Confederate Flag flies at the state capitol, an affront to many.
Spend any time with Mayor Riley and he talks about these issues, the importance of making the public realm beautiful for everyone, rich, poor, black, white or other, the public square belongs to all and that’s why it must be made beautiful.
He has devoted the last several years to acquiring land and raising money for an African American History Museum in Charleston. He plans to continue his work at the museum after he leaves office in six months. He told the symposium last week that it was important for Charleston to host the museum and tell the story of the African American experience in America.
Mayor Riley is beloved and respected in his hometown. A place he has devoted his life too. But the great mayors–and Riley is undoubtedly great– aren’t devoted to policy or things, buildings or monuments, they are devoted to people.
His love for Charleston is synonymous with his love for its people. And last week, the community came together. Those who expected rioting, “do not know us”, said a pastor at Emanuel Church yesterday. He talked about love, he talked about forgiveness and community.
Love: that’s what will sustain Charleston in this darkest of hours. It won’t bring back those who were tragically gunned down while studying the Bible, but it will enable that beautiful city with a complicated past to endure.


Still Bowling Alone


Editor’s note: YourDelrayBoca is taking a week off after this post to travel. Our stops include St. Petersburg, New York City and the great city of Charleston S.C. where we will participate in the Urban Land Institute Riley Symposium honoring one of America’s truly great mayors, Joe Riley. We will be back with lots of material. Have a great week!

A few weeks ago, I attended a Bar Mitzvah in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin.

The Bar Mitzvah boy was the son of a friend I have known since I was six years old. We went to elementary, junior high and high school together, went to each other’s Bar Mitzvah’s, took road trips to visit each other while in college, attended each other’s weddings and have remained friends through the years and the miles through middle age.

I know his family and he knows mine. We had the same teachers, the same friends and I remember his prom date. I have at least six other friends that I share a similar history with. Several also made the journey to Wisconsin to share an important  moment with a lifelong buddy.

When I share this story of friendship with others, I get two reactions: amazement and how nice that must be to have a shared history with so many other people.

I am very grateful for these friendships. The friendships came naturally in the beginning when we spent every day together playing ball, listening to music and talking about girls and what we might do when we grew up.

But over the years we have had to work hard to maintain our friendships. Time and distance, pressures and commitments can take a toll on old friendships. I’m proud that ours have survived endless moves, jobs, wives, kids, mortgages, the loss of loved ones and cancer.

In a way, working hard to stay in touch has made our friendships stronger.

There’s research out there that says that friendship is good for our mental, emotional and physical health. One study says people with close friends live longer than those who don’t have them. I believe it; we all want to hang around for the next chapter in the story.

I’ve been thinking about friendship and community building lately.

A few weeks back, I wrote about an old video we had discovered of Delray’s 1993 All America City bid and how the energy, camaraderie and closeness came through the screen when viewed.

We used to talk a whole lot about community building and citizen engagement in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, but it seems that the subject has fallen off of our radar screens of late. That’s a shame really. And a mistake.

Society has changed. Social media, texting, Snapchat and other tech tools can be wonderful, but they also seem to have replaced community.

In Delray, when we talk about being a “village” it’s often when we refer to the scale of development and the strong desire to have local businesses over chain stores. Those are important subjects, but how we work with, relate and treat each other is just as important, more so in my opinion.

In 2000, Harvard Professor Robert Putnam released a groundbreaking book called “Bowling Alone.”

His research showed that Americans were increasingly isolated; no longer joining civic clubs and bowling leagues which once served as ways to connect us to our neighbors and our communities.

Now a new study from Civic Observatory called “Less in Common” has taken up where Putnam left off and argues that restoring the civic commons will be critical if we are to solve some of society’s most pressing challenges.

The new study indicates that people trust their neighbors less and spend less time with them as a result.

The share of the population that says “most people can be trusted” has fallen from a majority in the 1970s, to about one-third today, according to the annual General Social Survey. Meanwhile, “In the 1970s, nearly 30 percent of Americans frequently spent time with neighbors, and only 20 percent had no interactions with them. Today, those proportions are reversed,” notes City Observatory.

Other trends noted:

Recreation is increasingly privatized. Since 1980, the number of members of private health clubs have quadrupled to more than 50 million.  “We used to swim together—prior to World War II, almost all pools were public” according to City Observatory. “Today, we swim alone in the 5 million or so private swimming pools compared to just a few thousand public ones.”

Economic segregation trends upward as middle-income neighborhoods decline. “Between 1970 and 2009 the proportion of families living either in predominantly poor or predominantly affluent neighborhoods doubled from 15 percent to 33 percent. Think about Delray Beach and Boca Raton which have lots of high end neighborhoods and some low income neighborhoods, but very little in the middle and virtual zero neighborhoods that have a mix of incomes.

Many live in gated communities. “By 1997 it was estimated that there were more than 20,000 gated community developments of 3,000 or more residents.”

Politically, America sorts itself into like-minded geographies. “Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of consistent conservatives and about half (49 percent) of consistent liberals say most of their close friends share their political views.”

The biggest portion of our leisure time is spent watching television. “TV watching is up to 19 hours per week today compared to about 10 hours in the 1960s.”

Low-density, automobile-oriented living patterns are partly to blame, according to the report.

Still, there are encouraging counter trends.

Third places. “The number of coffee shops in the United States has nearly doubled in the past decade, from about 11,000 in 2003, to about 20,000 in 2012 (SBDC Network, 2012).”


Farmer’s Markets. “The number of Farmer’s markets in the U.S. has quadrupled in the past two decades to more than 8,000 nationally (Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA), 2013).”


Declining Racial Segregation. Overall, American neighborhoods have become demonstrably less segregated by race over the past half-century (Glaeser & Vigdor, 2012). I don’t think we can say that in our community.


Overall, notes report author Joe Cortright, “There is compelling evidence that the connective tissue that binds us together in cities is coming apart. As we’ve spent more time in isolation and less time socializing with our neighbors, participation in the civic commons has suffered. Rebuilding social capital in America will require innovative approaches to spur community engagement.”

To take a look at the full report visit

So what does it all mean?

In Delray Beach, we have seen more expensive elections and less voter turnout despite a bigger population. Twenty five years ago Commissioner David Randolph received over 9,000 votes, today about a third of that many even vote and Delray is a far more populous place than a generation ago.

We are also seeing less civic involvement from a wider range of the community enabling smaller groups to claim the public square.

In Delray Beach, the beach area and Lake Ida neighborhoods are extremely active but wide swaths of the city are virtually never heard from. There was a time–not too long ago– when the lion’s share of the city’s voters resided west of Interstate 95. Communities such as Rainberry Bay, Pines of Delray, Del Aire, The Hamlet, Country Manors and High Point not only were politically active but were also active volunteers for police and fire and local schools. Leadership in these communities was regularly tapped for advice and support. Newly elected Delray Commissioner Mitch Katz recognized this gap and did a good job of communicating his desire to include the west in the recent municipal election.  But much work remains to be done to engage Andover, Rabbit Hollowe, Sabal Lakes and virtually the entire Linton area corridor.

Active and engaged Delray Beach has become a much smaller, eastern focused endeavor.

Less than a decade ago, when I was on the City Commission we were covered by three daily newspapers, a weekly newspaper, a local radio station, three TV stations and one or two magazines. Media coverage was once heavy, now it’s scant. The community water cooler is gone. And that makes a difference.

Beginning in the 80s and gaining steam through the mid 2000s, Delray made a huge effort to organize neighborhoods, host interactive town hall meetings, publish newsletters, use an emergency radio station with community news in three languages, host citizen driven visioning charrettes and resident academies all designed to engage and build community. Efforts were also made to talk about race relations and to create volunteer opportunities for those willing. Special events—the subject of lots of discussion today—also had a community building component when originally conceived. The entire All America City effort mentioned earlier was designed to foster community, build relationships and work collaboratively to solve community challenges. My favorite activities during my term in office were holiday parties hosted by the commission for city staff and neighborhood pot luck dinners.

During the former, we donned aprons and served lunch and punch to three shifts of city workers, getting to know them and giving us an opportunity to say thanks.

The pot luck dinners paired disparate neighborhoods in our city giving neighbors a chance to meet and find common ground. We learned that just about everybody has a desire to live on a safe street and to give their kids opportunities to succeed. Simple gestures, big results.

Today, in an age of “screens” and disruptive technology we should take the time to refocus on community. I think people long for it.

If we want to talk about building a sustainable village, a place of value, gratitude, respect, civility and warmth it has to start with people. The best part is these efforts aren’t expensive. It just takes time and genuine commitment.

If you restore and strengthen the civic commons you create a city of immeasurable value.

It all comes back to friendships and relationships—they benefit us personally, but they also benefit communities by—you guessed it— building community.

Just ask the cities that experienced unrest recently whether they wish they had invested more in community building and relationships.








Quotes for Urbanists

We have 52 of them.

We have 52 of them.

At Your Delray Boca, we like lists and we love quotes. Here are 50 quotes, plus two bonus quotes that fit into the local zeitgeist at the moment. Enjoy. Courtesy of Quotes for Urbanists, a fascinating collection.

  1. In a 20 mph collision, 4% of pedestrians die, 30 mph is 55%, and 40 mph is over 80%.”– AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities. Handy for the next time somebody complains about making US 1 safer.
  2. “Factors that are driving the popularity of large houses: First, with less of a sense of community and public life in our culture, the home becomes a fortress which needs to contain everything we need, including multiple forms of entertainment, rather than basic shelter.” –John Abrams, battle cry for community building.
  3. “A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.” Douglas Adams. A good reason why you don’t design public policy to guard against foolish elected officials.
  4. “How is a village a village? By including young & old, white & black, rich & poor, churches & shops.” Anonymous
  5. “How many of you here think housing should be more affordable? (almost all hands rise) OK, now how many of those own your own home?’ (most of the same hands stay up) OK. How many of you want the value of your own home to go down? (lots of blank looks, and hands creeping down) You see the problem?” – Anonymous
  6. “A teacher fills a bucket with big rocks and asks the students ‘Is this bucket full?’ They all answer yes. Then she takes gravel from a pile hidden behind her desk and fills in around the big rocks until the bucket is full again. Now, with the same question, some students aren’t quite so sure. She repeats the same with sand, and then with water. ‘What’s the lesson? ‘She asks… The smaller stuff can always fit around the larger stuff, but if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in.” Anonymous. And a good reason not to major in the minor.
  7. “The suburb fails to be a country side because it is too dense. It fails to be a city because it is not dense enough”. Anonymous
  8. “Suburbia is a collection of private benefits and public nuisances.” Anonymous
  9. “A specialist is someone from out of town.” Anonymous
  10. “A community has to have the capacity to envision a future they want, and not just the one they are likely to get.” Anonymous
  11. “Placing surface parking lots in your downtowns is like placing a toilet in your living room. “ Anonymous
  12. “The goal of the city is to make man happy and safe.” Aristotle
  13. “Downtown is the antidote for boredom.” Daniel Ashworth
  14. “A leader is someone who cares enough to tell the people not merely what they want to hear, but what they need to know.” –Reuben Askew. Met him once at a Leadership Florida event. He was wonderful.
  15. “Long before I was struck with cancer, I felt something stirring in American society. It was a sense among the people of the country—Republicans and Democrats alike—that something was missing from their lives, something crucial. I was trying to position the Republican Party to take advantage of it. But I wasn’t exactly sure what ‘it’ was. My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society was what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood…. Love each other a little more, care about each other, and get away from that [dirty, negative] kind of politics.”- Lee Atwater. Empathy, my friends. Empathy.
  16. “If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties. “ Sir Francis Bacon. In other words, don’t be so sure of yourself.
  17. “All of the old-timers knew that subprime mortgages were what we called neutron loans: they killed the people and left the houses. The deals made in 2005 and 2006 were going to run into trouble because the credit pendulum at the time was stuck at easy. “Louis Barnes. Wonder if some of these eye popping commercial deals will make sense in a year or two.
  18. “No urban area will prosper unless it attracts those who can choose to live wherever they wish.” Jonathan Barnett
  19. “If car ownership is mandatory, [the place is] not urban.” Donald Baxter. South Florida, we’ve got a long way to go.
  20. “In the desire to be collaborative, don’t forget leadership. Don’t be embarrassed to lead. There are too many efforts where it’s all about ‘getting everyone to the table.’ Everyone goes away feeling good, but no one’s doing anything. “– Frank Beal. At some point, you have to make a decision. Solicit input from a wide range of people and then do the right thing, as Spike Lee would say.
  21. “Neighborhood activism is a path to political power in American cities today, and city halls are filled with former activists more sympathetic to the social agenda than to the physical agenda. “Steve Belmont
  22. “The rigid, isolated object is of no use whatsoever. It must be inserted into the context of living social relations”—Walter Benjamin on codes. Flexibility and high standards build great towns!
  23. What gets us into trouble isn’t what we don’t know; it’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” –Yogi Berra, who would have been a great city councilman.
  24. “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” Yogi Berra talking about Atlantic Avenue?
  25. “The most destructive force I continue to see is the grafting of suburban types… building-lot configurations, street types, landscaping, public works, open space… onto urban settings. This has fueled the destruction of the city as well as frustrated the construction of new urban places.”—Chuck Bohl, a brilliant placemaking thinker.
  26. “Bureaucracies to be effective must move slowly and deliberately, in the manner of planets and vegetables”— Jorge Luis Borges
  27. “Those who buy into the suburbs because they want to be close to nature are going to keep doing so. The point of parks in cities is not to satisfy that urge, but to make better urbanism for those who want real urbanism.”—David Brain
  28. “NIMBY reactionaries don’t stop change in the long run. They simply help to insure that it happens in the worst possible way.”—David Brain
  29. “It is the adaptable, not the well-adapted who survive.” Ken Boulding
  30. “As long as the world is turning and spinning, we’re gonna be dizzy and we’re gonna make mistakes.”—Mel Brooks. As long the mistakes aren’t fatal or repeated and you learn something that’s Ok.
  31. “The most intrinsically green buildings are those that already exist. This is because constructing a new building consumes 15 to 30 times the building’s annual energy use. Reusing it after its original purpose is obsolete makes an old building even greener, because the new purpose does not require a new building.” David Brussat
  32. “Cars are happiest when there are no other cars around. People are happiest when there are other people around”—Dan Burden
  33. “We must not build housing, we must build communities.”—Mike Burton. Do we even talk about building community anymore?
  34. “The second shortest code in the world: Diverse, walkable and compact”-Peter Calthorpe who is so great.
  35. “Anyplace worth its salt has a ‘parking problem’.”—James Castle. Corollary: Want to solve your parking problem, build a place nobody wants to visit.
  36. “Planning of the automobile city focuses on saving time. Planning for the accessible city, on the other hand, focuses on time well spent.” Robert Cervero
  37. “Convivial towns can offer solace in disaster, solidarity in protest, and a quiet everyday delight in urban life…Creating and revitalizing places that foster conviviality is essential to the good life.”—Mark Childs
  38. “I’ll tell you what I want for Christmas. I want the Planning Commission and the mayor and the county Legislature and the county executive and all our decision makers to get on a plane and go to Charleston, S.C. I want them to walk around and see why that city works, and what can be done with wonderful planning, and how developers… if you do it right… won’t run away.”—Lonnie Chu. I’m heading there next week to talk at the Riley symposium, I won’t wait for Christmas.
  39. “Vancouver killed the freeway because they didn’t want the freeways to kill their neighborhoods. The city flourished because making it easier to drive does not reduce traffic; it increases it. That means if you don’t waste billions of dollars building freeways, you actually end up with less traffic.” Rick Cole
  40. “Increasingly, we live in a world where cities compete for people, and businesses follow. This trend has largely been ignored by many cities, which are still focused on business climate and tax incentives. But I think the big question businesses will ask in the years to come is going to be ‘Can I hire talented people in this city?’ Cities need to be able to answer ‘yes’ to succeed.”-Carol Coletta, author—along with our citizens–of Delray’s cultural plan, a good plan indeed.
  41. “We have too much legislation by clamor, by tumult, and by pressure.” Calvin Coolidge. Cal was really saying don’t give the squeaky wheels the grease every time, unless of course they are right.
  42. “Elected officials, community leaders and intellectuals must cease encouraging the untenable belief that there is an inherent American right not to be offended.”—John Coski. Sometimes the bridge goes up, construction happens, life goes on.
  43. “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than knowledge.” –Charles Darwin.
  44. “Parking is a narcotic and ought to be a controlled substance. It is addictive, and one can never have enough. “Victor Dover, a fan of Delray Beach.
  45. “The problem with planning is that it has been overtaken by mathematical models… traffic, density, impact assessment, public costs etc. discarding common sense and empirical observation.” -Andres Duany…hmmm….weren’t we supposed to get a form based code?
  46. “We have legislators who think it their duty only to listen to the people instead of becoming expert on the subjects which they must decide upon.”—Andres Duany. Listen to all, but learn, so you know whose advice to take.
  47. “The loss of a forest or a farm is justified only if it is replaced by a village. To replace them with a subdivision or a shopping center is not an even trade.” –Andres Duany. Losing the Ag Reserve is tragic.
  48. “Higher density housing offers an inferior lifestyle only when it is without a community as its setting.” -Andres Duany
  49. “With infill, start by providing for those who are not risk-averse (singles, Bohemians, etc.). These people are the urban pioneers”—Andres Duany. Are we pricing our pioneers out in Delray and Boca?
  50. “The Department of Transportation, in its single-minded pursuit of traffic flow, has destroyed more American towns than General Sherman”—Andres Duany. DOT almost killed Atlantic Avenue in the 80s with a hurricane evacuation plan. Thank goodness, leadership at the time stopped the widening.
  51. “The Department of Transportation (DOT) typically keeps the public at bay by having only two phases for their projects: Too early to tell and too late to stop.” Ernest Fitzgerald. Isn’t this the truth?
  52. “Power corrupts, but so does weakness and absolute weakness corrupts absolutely.” Josef Joffe.

Former Interim FAU President Joins SoundHealth

Dennis J. Crudele was a former interim President and CFO at FAU.

Dennis J. Crudele was the former interim President and CFO at FAU.

Dennis J. Crudele, former Interim President and CFO of Florida Atlantic University (FAU), has joined the leadership team at SoundHealth, a Boca Raton-based medical innovation agency.

Mr. Crudele takes the top spot as the President and Executive Director of The Discovery and Translational Science Research Institute @ SoundHealth a non-profit, 501(C)(3).

“Our organization has built a ‘hyper-efficient’ process that combines the expertise of innovators, the mission of funding organizations, and the resources of top-tier research institutions to accelerate the development and deployment of beneficial medical innovations – without the Drama,” said Michael Miller, founder of SoundHealth.

“Having administered an $800 million annual budget at Florida Atlantic University, Mr. Crudele is the ideal person to be the liaison with our institutional partners,” said Miller. “Dennis knows the culture, speaks the language and understands the systems at large research universities.”

In his new role, Crudele will be performing a range of duties similar to those of chief executive officer: overseeing all departmental functions and all operational matters. Paramount in his duties will be matching research facilities (universities & institutions) to medical innovations, in order to best fulfill the required refinements and development in making them market-ready.

“This is a unique opportunity, where all participating parties involved get to win,” said Crudele. “I look forward to developing these important relationships with institutions that, in many cases, would never have the opportunity to collaborate with creative inventors, committed funders, and some of the largest distribution companies.  In addition, partnering institutions benefit from the funding to support research that the SoundHealth model can provide. That research expertise is a key component of our process. Best of all, the work we’ll be doing can directly impact so many people’s lives, locally and globally. ”

Crudele has more than 30 years of experience in the academic, non-profit sector. Prior to joining the Discovery and Translational Science Research Institute @ SoundHealth, he served as Senior Vice President of Institutional Initiatives and Major Projects at FAU.

“The Institute and Dennis are invaluable components in our unique translational process of how medical innovation evolves,” added Miller. “Healthcare charities and foundations can support and/or sponsor medical innovation that can help their constituents; research institutions can receive funding to conduct specified research; and distribution and manufacturing companies can have the opportunity to benefit from the latest medical innovation that may well save lives, and improve their bottom lines.”

About SoundHealth

SoundHealth, founded in 2010, located in beautiful Boca Raton FL, ( is a “medical innovation agency” whose system expedites the delivery of medical innovation into, the marketplace. SoundHealth’s unique process combines the expertise of inventors, funding organizations, and research institutions, in providing commercial ready products to distribution/marketing/manufacturing companies.


Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Rex's Hair Salon in Delray. Billie, Karyn, Rex, Billie C and Hazel.

Rex’s Hair Salon in Delray. Billie, Karyn, Rex, Billie C and Hazel.

Rex’s on North Federal Highway is an old-fashioned barber shop/ hair salon.

There’s nothing fancy about its décor or its prices, but it’s an extraordinary place. An absolutely extraordinary place.

It is Delray Beach.

The real Delray.

Monday night, a standing room only crowd gathered in the bar at Fifth Avenue Grill to celebrate Karyn Premock’s retirement after years and years of cutting hair at Rex’s in Delray. It was a celebration of a wonderful person, someone friendly, kind, warm and funny. But it was also a celebration of a small business,  a craft and a community.

One by one, friends (there are no customers or clients at Rex’s just friends) came to the microphone to express their gratitude for having known Karyn and for being part of a very special town.

They shared stories, memories and experiences. Many came to the microphone twice, reluctant to let go of a treasured part of their town.

We talk often about what makes a place great, we strive to create policies and rules that will preserve our “village like” character and that’s all well and good and important too. But the truth of the matter is great places come about because of great people. Karyn, Rex, Hazel, Billie, Billie C and the rest of the cast of characters at Rex’s are great people. They love the people who come through their doors to get their hair cut and colored or to share some gossip while getting a manicure.

There’s a lot of talk about Delray that happens in that small, modest but very vibrant shop. Rumors are discussed and discarded, jokes are told, lives are shared and there are stories galore.

If you want to understand Delray—it’s a requirement to visit Rex’s.

Over the years, Rex’s and especially Karyn began to attract a series of aspiring politicians. If you want to get elected—the story goes—you had best find your way to Karyn’s booth. If she liked you, she would talk you up, get your petitions signed and you would win come Election Day. If she didn’t or if you ignored the power of Rex’s Salon, well Mr. Politician good luck to ya.

The power of that story attracted city commissioners, mayors, state legislators and other wannabe’s over the years.

I was already elected when I went to Karyn.

I went to her out of self-defense.

Everywhere I went in town, I would hear rumors about this or that. When I asked where they were coming from I was told they heard it at Rex’s or from somebody who went to Rex’s. Most of what I was hearing had elements of truth, some were wild stories and some of the information contained great insights. I had to check this place out.

It’s not easy to get an appointment with Karyn. Her appointment book would make a President look lazy.

But I was able to get in and I never left. I was happy she kept me after I was termed out and became one of Delray’s “Pips”, previously important people. We became friends, like she is with everybody who comes to the shop.

The stories told at her retirement party by local legends Gary Eliopoulos, Ernie Simon, Bethesda Hospital CEO Roger Kirk, Fred Bonarde, Lloyd Hasner, Howard Ellingsworth and many many others were simply incredible.

Why? Because getting a haircut at Rex’s is an experience.

Often an exhausting one.

You walk in and it’s like a vortex—jokes, gossip, singing, dancing and lots and lots of talking. Gary joked that it took so long to get his haircut (and he doesn’t have much hair to cut) that it grew back by the time it was over. Ernie said that he went to Karyn for an ego boost (he’s also challenged in the hair department) but she would bring out clippers, make a bunch of noise and make sure that he saw hair on the floor, even if it wasn’t his.

“Karyn is what Delray is all about,” Ernie told the crowd. “Neighbors and friends caring for each other.”

John Miller, a member of a pioneering Delray family, said Karyn has cut his hair since he was 12.

Lloyd Hasner joked about haircuts that went on so long and were so exhausting that he prayed for sweet release—only to come back for more. More laughs, more friendship, more community.

Gary E. talked about how Karyn would cluster her appointments to make sure the person before you and after you were people who didn’t like you. Was it a plan? Or was it her attempt to help people mend fences. Sometimes, if you had a health issue, say a heart problem, she would cluster your appointments around others facing the same concerns. Hmmm…happenstance or was she really a maestro?

As for me, I’ll always remember Karyn coming to my house to cut my hair and Adam Hasner’s after  some hurricane; can’t remember which one. We were tired and hot, but Karyn set up shop in my kitchen so we could get the hair out of our eyes and get back to recovery efforts.

We shared happy stories and sad ones too. We shared a love of dogs; goldens for me, bloodhounds for her. She just lost her beloved Annie and the Rex’s community mourned. We knew Annie.

And we laughed. Laughter was a given.

Rex’s is Delray’s version of “Cheers” somebody said; the place where everybody knows your name.

That’s a village, my friends.

Happy retirement Karyn, we love you and we will miss you.

1993: A Magical Year

My wife discovered a gem recently.
While attending a fundraising party she met someone who converted old videos to DVD’s.
Searching through her archive of videos, she discovered footage from Delray’s first All America City bid in 1993.
About 140 residents made the trip to Tampa after qualifying for the finals in a hotly contested competition sponsored by the National Civic League.
In ’93, the All America City competition attracted a record 150 plus applicants, cities ranging in size from Pittsburgh to small towns in Tennessee.
Delray was chosen one of 30 finalists and ended up bringing home the award. In 2001, the city would take its second All America City title in Atlanta, becoming the first Florida city to win the award twice.
I was a reporter during the ’93 awards and remember being disappointed when my newspaper denied my request to travel to Tampa to witness the event. I had to cover it remotely, calling officials during and after the competition. By 2001, I was on the City Commission and we brought another large contingent to Atlanta to showcase our cities progress.
Viewing the footage, I was reminded how amazing the All America City awards were and hopefully still are.
Yes, there is a performance piece of the process that some may find hokey, but there was also some serious grilling from a panel of grizzled civic veterans who ask in-depth questions of participating cities.
It’s a heated competition between cities that are really serious about solving problems and working together.
The All America City award doesn’t mean you’re perfect, but it does mean that you are hard at work finding innovative solutions to difficult problems.
In 1993, Delray had some very hard problems to work on: poverty, poor schools, drug abuse, crime.
The Decade of Excellence was being implemented and so were ideas from Visions 2000 and the earlier Atlantic Avenue Task Force.
There were some green shoots happening downtown, but we were far from the thriving central business district that we see today.
Still, in viewing the official and raw footage from the event, mostly shot by my wife Diane–then assistant planning director, you could see the camaraderie, unity, confidence and excitement among a cross section of the community.
The 140 member contingent that travelled to Tampa was a large party compared to other cities and also very diverse. Black and white, young and old, east and west, business leaders and neighborhood activists and a city staff that oozed confidence and excitement.
It was fun for me to see faces that I haven’t seen in awhile, our transformative police chief Rick Overman, our former volunteer coordinator Mike Wright, the chair of the effort the wonderful Sandra Almy, Frank McKinney, Chuck Ridley, Lula Butler, Elizabeth Butler Burrows (who was a little girl) Bob Currie, Bill Wood, Frances Bourque, Chris Brown, Mike Weiner, Kevin Egan, Debra Dowd, Cory Cassidy, David Kovacs and on and on.
It was very poignant to see some departed Delray Beachers who were so important to our community: Mr. and Mrs. Pompey, Ken Ellingsworth, Helen Coopersmith and the wonderfully kind John Tallentire.
The Mayor at the time, my friend Tom Lynch was there as well; with his children who were little back then but now grown and running businesses.
The footage showed a really young and very energetic Joe Gillie leading the large group through the performance part of the competition. Joe is retiring in a few months. What a run, he has had. What a run.
My favorite part of the footage was the behind the scene shots, the breakfast footage, where neighbors relaxed and laughed with each other. The scenes of the booth, where people posed for photos and picked up literature about this beautiful town on the ocean in South Florida were also great.
Of course, hearing the former Governor of Hawaii call Delray’s name as a winner was also fun to watch. The yells of joy, the relief, the celebration.
Sandra Almy was on the verge of tears when she thanked the jurors and recognized the large group who made the journey and gave of their time and talent to move their hometown forward.
1993 was at the beginning, when it was exciting and the possibilities were enormous. They still are. At least I believe so.
I came to Delray in 1987, it was a vastly different place back in those days.
Times change, towns change, people move on. Many are still here, some move away and some pass.
But spending some time with those old videos reminded me of why I fell in love with this place.
You could feel the spirit, you could sense the warmth and you could see a community coming together to forge a future together.
It was magic. Pure magic.