Forums are never predictable. You issue invitations to the candidates that will be on the ballot in the local area (in this case for both the August and November elections), and see who responds and/or turns up.
In Wellington, the candidates for School Board district 6 were in attendance (incumbent Marsha Andrews and challengers Joseph Moore and Carla Donaldson), joined by one candidate from district 3 (John Hartman, who also attended the Boca event). Having the four of them allowed moderator Steven Rosenblum to solicit contrasting answers on key topics like Common Core, teacher tenure, and the roll of parents in influencing district policy and curriculum.
Clockwise from the top left: John Hartman, Joseph Moore, Carla Donaldson, Marica Andrews, moderator Steve Rosenblum, Stuart Mears, Andrew Schaller, Emmanuel Morel.
There were single candidates for other races as well, which allowed some discussion that spanned local, state and federal levels, but no way to contrast answers in a particular race. Democrat Emmanuel Morel, who is challenging Ted Deutch in the Congressional district 21 race participated, as did Republican candidate Andy Schaller for the open seat in county commission district 6 and Stuart Mears, the Republican challenger to Democrat Mark Pafford in State House district 86.
The district 6 school board race is interesting in that Marcia Andrews, herself a very capable and influential board member, has drawn two formidable challengers. Joseph Moore is a recently retired school district employee who served as both Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operation Officer, providing an insiders knowledge of business and finance functions. Carla Donaldson, is an “activist mom” who has been an advocate for various school issues since 2001. Incumbent Andrews, like Moore, is a long-term district insider, with 35 years experience as a principal and as a teacher in a variety of district schools.
On many issues the three are mostly in agreement (unhappy with common core, problems with teacher tenure, and the importance of parents in affecting policy). On the latter, Andrews said it best: “Parents are powerful”, and can exert control. They should take a stand. One area where they differ is on the quality of the schools. A question from the audience – “why are the schools so bad”, drew defensive answers from insiders Moore and Andrews, and a critique by outsider Donaldson who said the system should focus on the needs of the children, not what the adults want.
Asked what they would change about the system, Andrews would emphasize the basics – reading and math, and do less testing. Moore would formalize mentoring so institutional knowledge could be retained when good teachers and administrators leave. Donaldson would stop promotions before students are ready and bring in more specialized reading programs.
The candidates in the other races gave their views on All Aboard Florida (Morel: we should do “big things”, Schaller: the junk bond status of their loan tells you all you need to know), climate change (Morel: it is real, Schaller: don’t believe it, Mears: no shovel ready jobs in green energy), medical marijuana (all support the ballot issue as configured), and offshore drilling (Morel: “oil is not the answer”, Schaller: oppose, Mears: we can do it and make it safe with technology).
The elections are August 26 (primary, school board and Judicial), and November 4. For more information about the candidates, see the Palm Beach County 2014 Voters Guide.
- Moderator Steve Rosenblum
- Former Sheriff Candidate Joe Talley and Fred Scheibl
- Delia Menocal and Mercedes Garcia
- Iris Scheibl, Doreen Baxter, Dennis Lipp
- Barbara Grossman with Team Andrews
- Laura Hanley with Marcia Andrews
- Laura Hanley with Andy Schaller
- Chapter Leader Marion Frank
At a table that spanned the width of the West Boca branch library meeting room, a good mix of candidates showed up to answer questions posed by moderator David DiCrescenzo. The candidates were sent a questionaire in advance of the event, and those and additional questions were posed appropriate to the type of seat sought. (See Candidate’s Position on Issues for the written responsess that were returned).
Congressional candidates participating were David Wagie and Paul Spain who will face each other and Andrea McGee in the August 26 CD22 Republican Primary for the seat currently held by Democrat Lois Frankel. For the county commission we had Democrat Paulette Burdick (who has won her district 2 seat by default but chose to participate for the constituent feedback), and Republican Steven Abrams who will face Democrat Andrew O’Brien in November. School board district 3 incumbent Karen Brill and challengers David Mech and John Hartman filled out the table, and we were joined briefly by Senate 34 incumbent Maria Sachs who in November will face the winner of the Republican primary between Ellyn Bogdanoff and Joseph Bensmihen (neither of who showed up).
Clockwise from top left: Paul Spain, David Wagie, Steven Abrams, Paulette Burdick, Maria Sachs, Karen Brill, John Hartman, David Mech, moderator David DiCrescenzo.
Starting the questions with immigration, both Spain and Wagie gave the expected response for tough enforcement of the border. Senator Sachs on the other hand, who pointed out that we are both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws, stressed assimilation – that new immigrants should learn the language, learn civics, and forge cultural homogeniety. This was a popular answer for the mostly conservative crowd, and Democrat Sachs may have won some votes with this appearance. Before stepping out to another engagement, she invited all to visit her Boca office. “I am a STATE senator, she said, and when someone calls they get a hearing, regardless of what district they are in or to which party they belong.”
In other areas, the congressional pair had some interesting answers. Paul Spain is in favor of a federal budget freeze, combined with a 10% reduction in federal employees and a 5% pay cut. Favoring the posibility of a flat or fair tax, David Wagie would do away with the IRS, while Paul Spain would only cut it in half.
At the county commission level, Paulette Burdick went against the grain a little, speaking in support of Seven/50 – the sustainable development plan that many in PBCTP have argued against at commission meetings. It is a body of research that is a resource on which to draw – why should we reject available data? Both Burdick and Abrams told of their actions to hold down county spending, with Paulette pointing to her opposition to the out of control Sheriff’s budget and Steven listing the sales tax proposals he has opposed.
The School board candidates were a study in contrasts. Although these races are non-partisan, Republican Hartman makes no secret of his conservatism, and David Mech trumpets his in-your-face libertarianism. Mech, a small business owner whose background in the adult film industry is an interesting beginning on which to launch a school board bid, begged off on some of the questions, admitting he has not had time to research them. Hartman, whose major policy position is based on opposition to common core, saw many issues as black and white. Brill, with the advantage of 4 years in the job, had an understandably nuanced view. On Common Core, she said “that train has left the station” (referring to the standards themselves) as it has been in the implementation stage for several years. But we now have the ability to influence the assessment and the curriculum, she said, and that should be where the focus is. Hartman wants to roll back the program, as if the school board had that power. Mech said he supports Common Core.
On School choice, Brill supports the “full choice” proposal also supported by district 1 member Mike Murgio, which would let any student in the district choose the school they want to attend (subject to available space). Hartman supports choice outside of the district schools (ie. charters), but would look carefully at them for educational values beyond their business basis. Mech opposes school choice, believing it should be “all or nothing” – if we are going to have public schools, then money should not go to alternatives.
The district 4 candidates (who would represent parts of the south county area) did not participate.
Seated at a long table, 10 candidates for 3 north county races (Congress 18, Senate 32, and House 82) answered questions from moderator Michael Williams, Emmy winning anchor of WPTV’s “To the Point“.
Williams’ show, which airs on Sunday mornings, is a “must-watch” for county residents who follow local politics and issues. Over the last few months, he did on-air interviews with 5 of the 6 CD-18 candidates (Nick Wukoson will be on July 13), giving him a unique perspective on their positions and styles.
Unlike many grassroots forums where the organizers provide the questions, Williams did his own thing, although sticking to topics he thought would be of interest to the audience. Debt, taxes and Obamacare were covered as you would expect, but he also spent time on All Aboard Florida, money in politics, and helping local businesses, and took audience questions on immigration. The candidates for the Florida Legislature were also asked about Common Core.
Participating in the event were all 6 Republican candidates for Patrick Murphy’s CD18 (Carl Domino, Beverly Hires, Brian Lara, Alan Schlesinger, Calvin Turnquest and Nick Wukoson), Senate 32 incumbent Joe Negron, Republican opponent Brandon Cannon with Democrat challenger Bruno Moore, and House 82 incumbent Mary Lynn Magar who will face Democrat Mary Higgins in November.
Clockwise from upper left: Carl Domino, Beverly Hires, Brian Lara, Alan Schlesinger, Calvin Turnquest, Nick Wukoson, Mary Lynn Magar, moderator Michael Williams, Joe Negron, Bruno Moore, Brandon Cannon.
The CD18 candidates gave predictable answers on debt and taxes (too high and won’t raise them, incentives to repatriate foreign capital), but they differed some on Obamacare. While most were for a “repeal and replace” strategy, promoting competition across state lines and health savings accounts, a few answers stood out. Carl Domino spoke of some of the “good” things in the Affordable Care Act and did not want to “throw out the baby with the bathwater.” Calvin Turnquest pointed out that advertisements for car insurance are all over the TV channels, but not health insurance, since competition is very limited in a government controlled system.
To help local businesses, Alan Schlesinger would allow individual health care deductions on the front of the 1040, so small business would get a similar break to large corporations.
Not surprisingly, all 10 of the candidates are opposed to the widely despised “All Aboard Florida” as presently proposed, and argued among themselves as to who was first to point out that it should be called “All About Freight”. It should be noted that Democrat Patrick Murphy is also now against it. Carl Domino pointed out that it is not accurate to call it a “private” enterprise, since it requires a $1.5B taxpayer loan guarantee, and very little financial or operating data has been disclosed to the public.
The state level candidates were also speaking from the same page on many issues (against Common Core, simplifying processes for small business), although Democrat Bruno Moore did point out that common education standards are needed to prepare today’s students for the global competition.
Immigration garnered a few differences in the candidates. Joe Negron opposes in-state tuition for illegals and promotes e-verify. Nick Wukoson pointed out that the current border crisis does not need new laws – enforcing the current ones would be sufficient. Brian Lara would oppose the expansion of H1B visas, such as those that provide for high-tech workers (and take jobs from home-grown specialists). Pointing out the fallacy in Williams question about illegals “taking jobs from Americans”, Alan Schlesinger pointed out that the real problem is not employment but the overburdening of the social systems. Calvin Turnquest, a legal immigrant himself from the Bahamas, summed it up with “I am the face of immigration”, and anyone who came to this country by following our laws is being disenfranchised by the flood of illegals who are circumventing the system.
Links to the “To the Point” interviews of the candidates can be found in our voters guide on the candidate”s pages. See: PB County Online Voter’s Guide
- Terry Gallagher Kicks Off Forum
- Former County GOP Committeewoman Fran Hancock with Carl Domino
- Michael Williams Preps the Candidates
- Moderator Michael Williams with organizers Barbara Grossman and Janet Campbell
Join us starting in July for our 2014 primary season candidate forums. On August 26, there will be primary elections for some districts (see below) as well as the general election for School Board. Candidates running in these races have been invited to the forums being held in their districts to make their case for their election. Since the PBCTP is non-partisan, we have invited candidates of both parties to participate.
Some of the candidates responded to a set of questions submitted to them beforehand and their answers can be downloaded from:
The PBCTP Primary Election Member Voting Guide
The races that will appear on the August ballots (depending on where you live) are:
|Republican Primary Races|
|Congress 18||Carl Domino, Beverly Hires, Brian Lara, Alan Schlesinger, Calvin Turnquest and Nick Wukoson|
|Congress 22||Andrea McGee, Paul Spain and David Wagie|
|Governor||Rick Scott and other minor candidates|
|Senate 32||Joe Negron and Brandon Cannon|
|Senate 34||Joseph Bensmihen and Ellyn Bogdanoff|
|Democrat Primary Races|
|Congress 20||Jean Enright and Jameel McCline|
|Congress 21||Ted Deutch and Emmanuel Morel|
|Governor||Charlie Crist, Nan Rich and other minor candidates|
|Atty General||George Sheldon and Perry Thurston|
|House 81||Kevin Rader and Joshua Izaak|
|Cty Com. 6||Kathy Foster and Melissa McKinlay|
|Non Partisan – August General Election|
|School Brd 3||Karen Brill, John Hartman, David Mech|
|School Brd 4||Justin Katz, Larry Rosensweig, Thomas Sutterfield, Erica Whitfield|
|School Brd 6||Marcia Andrews, Carla Donaldson and Joseph Moore|
|School Brd 7||Debra Robinson and Piaget “Peppi” Hendrix|
|Ckt Judge 14||Diana Lewis and Jessica Ticktin|
|Ckt Judge 30||Maxine Cheesman, Jaimie Goodman and Peggy Rowe-Linn|
PROGRAM: Candidate forum for 2014 Primary Election*
CANDIDATES:Candidates for the following offices have been invited:
US Congressional District 22, Florida executives, Florida Senate District 34, Florida House District 89, County Commission District 4, School Board District 3, and School Board District 7.
MODERATOR: David DiCrescenzo, Publisher, The Patriots Press
DATE: Tuesday, July 8, 2014
TIME: 6:30 PM. Doors open at 6:00 PM
PLACE:Palm Beach County Library
West Boca Branch
18685 State Rd. 7, Boca Raton, FL 33498
I-95 to Exit 48 (Yamato Rd.). West on Yamato Rd. to State Road 7. Right onto State Road 7. Library is the first left.
Florida Turnpike to exit 81 (FL 806, W. Atlantic Ave.). At the end of the exit ramp turn right (westbound). Drive west to State Road 7. Left onto State Road 7. Library is approximately 4 miles on the west (right side) between Clint Moore and Yamato Roads.
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*Note – check out the Voters Guide before coming to the forum
PROGRAM:Candidate Forum for 2014 Primary*
Candidates for the following offices have been invited:
US Congressional District 18, Florida executives, and Florida Senate District 32
MODERATOR: Michael Williams, eight-time Emmy award winning co-anchor at WPTV NewsChannel 5.
DATE: Monday, July 7, 2014
TIME: 5:30 PM Dinner (Soup & Sandwiches $13, tax and tip inc. Cash Bar), 6:30 PM Meeting
PLACE: Abacoa Golf Club, 105 Barbados Dr., Jupiter, FL 33458.
Donald Ross Rd. to Parkside Dr. North on Parkside Dr. 0.4 miles to Barbados Dr. Left on Barbados Dr. to first driveway on Left.
so we are prepared to accommodate you.
INFORMATION: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Note – check out the Voters Guide before coming to the forum
PROGRAM: The Wellington Chamber of Commerce has graciously invited the Wellington Chapter of the Palm Beach County Tea Party to a candidate forum for Wellington Village Council. Two seats are up for election on March 11, 2014.
MODERATOR: Jim Sackett
CANDIDATES: The 2 incumbents, Anne Gerwig and Howard Coates.
The 2 challengers, Matt Kurit and Sharon Lascola, have not yet responded to our invitation. If they do not attend, we will tell you everything we have learned about them.
DATE: Thursday, February 20, 2014
TIME: 6-8 PM
PLACE: The Wanderer’s Club
1900 Aero Club Drive, Wellington, FL 33414
State road 80 west past State Road 7 to Binks Forest Dr. South on
Binks Forest Dr. to end (Aero Club Dr.). Right on Aero Club Dr. to S. Club Dr. Left on S. Club Dr. to entrance on left.
Please RSVP so we are prepared to accommodate you, using the button below:
There will be no food and there is no charge to attend.
FOR MORE INFORMATION