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NCNC Forum Highlights County Commission Candidates


We had the opportunity to attend a candidate forum at the North County Neighborhood Coalition meeting, on Tuesday 7/26. While the primary focus was on Palm Beach County Commission candidates, each of whom got 15 minutes, we also heard from candidates for Florida State House and Senate positions, as well as judicial candidates for County Court, and School Board. Additionally – two candidates announced for Palm Beach Gardens City Council for the March 2017 Municipal Elections. Some candidates had already addressed the NCNC at a prior meeting and were acknowledged, but did not speak.  Make sure you look up your  Sample Ballot  when you attend forums or Tea Party’s Candidate Expo on August 1st.  Also – lookup candidate information on our Voters’ Guide.  Thank you to Sal Faso, President of the NCNC and his board for a well attended event.

County Commission District 1 – November 8 Election


Hal Valeche

Hal Valeche, the Republican incumbent seeking his 2nd term, began with a brief bio. He then highlighted what he viewed has his key accomplishments:

  • United Technologies HQ on the Briger Tract – which with it’s ‘smart building’ technologies and 450 new hires at $85K salaries should be an asset to the area
  • Fought against raising Impact Fees
  • Worked with PB Gardens to extend the North County Airport runway from 4300′ to 6000′, enabling larger corporations to consider bringing their HQ to north county.
  • When baseball in the Gardens ‘fell apart’, Hal was charged with finding a new location and is proud of bringing the Astros and Nationals to the WPB site. He pointed out that the $$ come from Bed taxes.
  • Uber – working out temporary agreements that permitted Uber to keep operating in the County despite opposition by the taxi industry.
  • Sales tax referendum – while he voted against it, and still feels County infrastructure maintenance backlogs should be funded by issuing bonds, he was glad that the Cultural Council and Economic Development proposals had been removed from the referendum.

As for big upcoming issues – he focused on Water Management as being a key issue.


Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett, Hal’s Democrat opponent, is new to politics. He is a native Floridian, who spent most of his life in Palm Beach County. A young attorney with young children, Tony is often asked why he is running:

  • His primary concern is Growth. While he is for economic opportunity – Quality of Life is primary and needs to be managed and protected. He doesn’t think that the recent big projects approved will keep North County and in fact much of Palm Beach County special, and fears that the County will become like West Broward.
  • Traffic explosion, the backlog of current maintenance and infrastructure projects made him critical of the current Commission. He feels that his experience as a practicing attorney has taught him the ethical obligation to account for and spend as the client – which is the voter, not the developer, wishes.
  • Tony is for the Sales Tax referendum, and is very concerned about Water as well – and fears an algae bloom in Palm Beach County.

County Commission District 3 – August 30th Primary Election

David Kerner, one of two candidates for District 3 replacing term-limited Shelly Vana, spoke next. Most in the audience would not be able to vote for David but as Commissioners vote on all County issues, he wanted to reach out. Dave also went through his bio which included being a police officer, game warden, FL State Representative. Among his concerns are looking at the Sheriff’s Offie as well as the County Budget.

During Qs and As for the Commission candidates:

  • Valeche opposes the sales tax; Bennett and Kerner support
  • All pledged to work with the City of West Palm Beach to examine/revise coastal impact fees.
  • All were outraged by the ‘sham city’ of Westlake but it wasn’t clear much could be done about it.

Judicial Candidates – August 30th Election

  • Marnie BrysonCounty Court Group 7 – cited her bio and trial experience as well as endorsements
  • Tom Baker –  County Court Group 11 – some trial experience, mostly family law, general magistrate for 9 1/2 year – listed endorsements as well
  • Dana Santino – County Court Group 11 – now in private practice but lots of varied experience as a probation officer, rape/homicide counselor, State Atty and Public Defenders offices and degrees in Law and Taxation.

Marnie Bryson

Tom Baker

Dana Santino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palm Beach County School Board District 1 – August 30th Election

  • Ellen Baker – 26 year Palm Beach Gardens resident, 15 years a teacher.  Need to reign in the new administrator and watch the spending.  She is for the Sales Tax referendum
  • Note – there are 5 candidates in this non-partisan election – others had already spoken at the NCNC.

FL House District 85 – August 30th Republican Primary


Andrew Watt
  • Andrew Watt – current Aide to Representative Rooney and lifelong Palm Beach Gardens resident, said he was the only candidate in the primary who lived in the district and could vote for himself.  He also described various accomplishments working on issues with Representative Rooney.

 

 

 

 

 

Fl Senate District 30 – August 30th Democrat Primary

  • Bobby Powell – urban planner, was a graduate of PB Gardens HS.  Listed his endorsement
  • Michael Steinger – listed his primary issues – schools, gun control and background checks, Medicaid expansion – wants it accepted.

The winner of this primary will go on to compete against Republican Ron Berman in
FL Senate District 30 – November 8th

  • Ron Berman – spoke very briefly – speaking of his various business experiences and co-founder of Quicken Loans.

Bobbie Powell

Michael Steinger

Ron Berman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palm Beach Gardens City Council – March 2017

  • Mark Marciano – running for Bert Premuroso’s seat – open due to term limits
  • Matthew Lane – running for Eric Jablins’ seat – open due to term limits

Matthew Lane

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