Adriana Colon Arrested – Grand Theft

Adriana Colon (26) was arrested by deputies on Thursday for Grand Theft. Ms. Colon has a significant history in the Palm Beach court system, with several cases including two prior felonies.
In 2011 she was charged with petit theft, marijuana possession and something to do with transporting drugs. That charge was “downfiled” to misdemeanors.
In 2010 she was charged with felony retail theft, and that charge was also downfiled to five counts of petit theft and all of those were dropped by prosecutors.
She also has had quite a few cases in Broward, including two separate felony incidents in 2012 and another in January of 2014.
On the bright side we didn’t find any cases in Miami-Dade.
On the new case, whatever she’s accused of allegedly occurred in December of 2013. However, the charge was not filed until late July. Delays like long often indicate problems for the prosecution.
Her reported address is in Mizner Pointe off Boca Rio. She was released the same day she was arrested.

Olympic Heights Grad Julian Maura Arrested Again

Julian Maura was arrested on Friday by Florida Highway Patrol and charged with Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle. Despite being only 19 years old, this is not the first felony case the Olympic Heights High School graduate has faced. Back in December he was arrested for the same thing by Boca Raton Police, as covered by our friends at Boca News Now.
Police then wrote:

On Thursday, December 19, members of the Boca Raton Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit located a stolen Dodge Charger in the area of 1400 West Glades Road. The driver of the vehicle was Julian Maura. Inside the car, officers located an iPod that showed the auto burglary victim’s name on the screen, along with a credit card belonging to another resident of 1401 South Federal Hwy.
Maura admitted to stealing the Charger Friday night when he was at a party. Maura also admitted to breaking into several cars at 1401 S. Federal Hwy. He also confessed to breaking into cars on Monday night in another jurisdiction.

Mr. Maura was sentenced in that case to 147 days in county jail and 2 years probation. He now faces a violation of probation charge for the new offense, along with the new charges. At this writing he remains in custody.
He was apparently not a happy camper in the days leading up to his arrest.
Mr. Maura’s reported address is in the Boca Park townhouses off Palmetto Circle.

Karen Brill – School Board Candidate

Having interviewed the two challengers for school board earlier, I met Karen Brill the other day at Jidai Kaiten Sushi on Powerline. The funny thing about interviewing candidates is that they all tend to be likeable. Sometimes that makes it hard to pick who to vote for. In this case Brill made it easier.
Brill, Dave Mech, and John Hartman are running for District 3, which runs north from Clint Moore so most of West Boca can’t vote in the race.
She was elected to the school board in 2010 by defeating a long-time incumbent and a few others. She was endorsed in that race by the Palm Beach Post, and they endorsed her again today.
As their 2010 article mentions, Brill became motivated by challenges she faced from the school district in getting a proper and fair education for her autistic son. Because of that experience she describes herself as the go-to person on the board for parents with special needs kids.
Two things in particular impressed me about her. First, she’s very knowledgeable. Some people get elected to boards and just show up to collect the paycheck. Brill, by contrast, has spent the last four years learning a great deal about how things work in the school district. She doesn’t know everything, but she understands how the school district works far better than her opponents.
Second, she is a bundle of energy. The Post mentioned that as well. Our conversation ranged over many topics and anything that came up sparked a stream of ideas and answers from Brill.
She’s not perfect. I asked her some tough questions about “Common Core” and I didn’t love her answers. Her focus on special needs and her knowledge of the finer details of the issues seems to keep her from taking a “big picture” look at the district. For example, we talked about how the system should work better so that parents of kids with special needs wouldn’t need to go to a school board member for help. She got the point, but didn’t seem to know how to get there.
In a follow-up e-mail she said:

I believe we went off on a tangent on how to address the issue of parents of special needs students going to a school board member for assistance. There is an answer. The District needs to restore the Parent Services position (with federal funding from the IDEA) under the new ESE Director or they need to create an ombudsman position.”

And regarding seeing the big picture she said:

My special needs son is only 1/4 of my children. They range from gifted to advanced to average and then to challenged. One my primary concerns is the crush of standardized testing and what is doing to our students’ love for learning and teachers’ ability to teach.

I don’t find those responses persuasive, but I’m voting for her anyway. She has two opponents in the race. I interviewed Dave Mech in June. While I liked him, he just didn’t seem serious enough about the actually winning the election and serving on the school board. Brill, by contrast, is almost too serious about it.
More recently I interviewed John Hartman. There are some critical things I love about Hartman. He’s more of a big picture guy. He’s very concerned about Common Core and strongly opposed to it. If opposition to Common Core is your biggest issue with the schools, then Hartman is the one you should vote for and you should give him some money too. But it’s a little too much of a holy war. He reminds me of the Blues Brothers:

I don’t like Common Core, but it’s not enough. One school board member isn’t going to stop it, or whatever other name they place on it. Brill does see problems with Common Core, FCATs, etc. Her knowledge and energy will be more effective at managing how to deal with it. At the same time she’s ready to handle all the other issues our school board will confront. And she has the personality to get along with others and work through things.
Ideologically I line up more with Hartman. But you don’t win elections because of a higher power. You win them by planning ahead and figuring out how you’re going to reach the voters with your message. Those same methods help you get results when you do get elected. Brill is more ready to get things done. Like many first-time candidates Hartman did not understand how difficult it would be. And that makes you wonder how effective he would be if he won.
Practically speaking, Brill is going to win this election easily. I hope Hartman runs again, either for school board or another office. I’d love to help him in that next race.

West Boca High Grad for State Rep: Joshua Izaak

Okay, so we’re not exactly Joe Biden fans. But Joshua Izaak is a fan, and that’s probably not a bad thing in a Democratic primary race. Izaak is running for State Representative in District 81, which runs west of the Turnpike from the county line up to Wellington. West Boca has a big chunk of the voters, possibly a majority within the district.
We met Mr. Izaak in Mission Bay Plaza, as you can see below.
Sometimes we get criticized for doing too many negative stories, or mentioning the arrestee’s high school in the headline of a crime story. This is one of those moments we get to do the reverse – a positive story about a local kid.
Mr. Izaak attended Water’s Edge Elementary and Loggers’ Run Middle Schools. He spent a year at Olympic Heights and then West Boca High opened near his home in Boca Falls. His academic accomplishments go up from there, graduating from Emory University and recently from law school at the University of Florida. He’s now 25 years old.
His Democratic political resume includes internships with Ted Deutch who was a State Senator at the time, and with Congressman Robert Wexler. If you read the About page on his website, it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t just sip the liberal Democrat Kool-Aid. He chugs it.

During Joshua’s second summer in law school, he worked at the Democratic National Committee in the Voter Protection Department. Joshua worked to combat Republican attempts to restrict access to the vote through discriminatory laws aimed at reducing voter turnout. Joshua also worked to find solutions in response to the conservative Supreme Court’s decision to strike down portions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Ideologically he’s not my guy. But he’s running in a primary against a Democratic incumbent with no Republican in the race, so it’s not about ideology or party.
During our conversation he was particularly motivated about education. He’s passionate about schools based on his own experience in the ones our kids go to. And contrary to what we expect from his liberal Democrat credentials, he’s strongly against Common Core and high-stakes testing. He wants to decouple school funding from test results.
I challenged him on that from a political standpoint. As we recently reported, West Boca schools do well in such testing. So our schools benefit from the link between testing and funding. Izaak stuck to his guns. The problem, as he sees it, is that schools teach to the tests instead of just teaching so even the kids in the “winning” schools suffer.
Speaking of guns, Izaak criticized Kevin Rader for voting to expand the Stand Your Ground law to protect warning shots. We will be meeting with Rader on Monday and will ask him about that. Izaak is thus positioning himself to the left of Rader on “gun control.” That’s not something that persuades me but might be effective in a Democratic primary.
The two other big distinctions Izaak draws between himself and Rader deal with special interests and access. He feels Rader is affected by special interests, especially in his own industry. Rader works in insurance and Izaak criticized him for an amendment that would shift the burden of dry wall replacement from condo associations to individual condo owners. That might not seem important until you realize how many votes are in Century Village and similar housing in our district.
After the interview I asked Izaak to provide a link or other support about this amendment. He sent me this YouTube video which shows Rader on the floor of the House presenting an unimpressive defense of his amendment.

As for access, Izaak said that Rader is not sufficiently responsive to voters in the district. We’re not sure how to measure that but we’ll ask Rader about it anyway. He certainly responded quickly to our request for an interview.
Despite some disagreements, I was impressed with Izaak. He’s smart, well-educated, passionate, and energetic. He’s the kind of success story we’re happy to see coming out of our local schools and we hope to see more like him.
We should note that although it’s a Democratic primary, Republicans can vote in it because there’s no Republican candidate in the race. The primary election is on August 26th.
Update: We just found a video of Izaak speaking about his campaign.

Disclosure: We also live in Boca Falls, though in a different subdivision and we’ve never met or even heard of Izaak or his family before. We also live around the corner from Ted Deutch and we have met him and his wife, but only briefly.

Kids' Programs at the Library

Eastern_screech_owlHoot, But Please Don’t Holler, August 5th at 3 p.m. at Glades Library. The Daggerwing Nature Center presents Shadow the screech owl. Ages 5-9. Please preregister at 482-4554.
Summer Fun Story Time, August 5th at 11:30 a.m. at West Boca Library. Stories, songs and finger plays for ages 3-12 months. Preregister at 470-1600.
How Charming!, August 5th at 6 p.m. at Glades Library. Make charms and keychains with polymer clay in this 2 week workshop. Ages 11-17. Preregister.
Shrinky Dinks, August 5th at 3:30 p.m. West Boca Libary. Design pins and magnets. Grades 6-12. Preregister.
sharkShark Week Party!, August 6th at 6 p.m. Celebrate Shark Week with jawsome games, crafts and food. Ages 11-17.
Lego in the Library, August 6th at 2:30 p.m. West Boca Library. Ages 5-10. Preregister.
Tween Wii Time, August 8th at 2:30 p.m. West Boca Library. Participate in cool indoor racing, dancing or sports on the Wii. Ages 10-14.
Garden Safari, August 8th at 3 p.m. at Glades Library. Explore bugs and worms that live in our backyard with the 4-H Club. Ages 5-9. Preregister.