September 3, 2013
The Palm Beach County Tea Party Board of Directors has elected Mel Grossman as its new President.
Mr. Grossman is a co-founder of the group, founded in 2011 as a spin off of the now defunct South Florida Tea Party, and has served as its Treasurer.
Mr. Grossman moved to Florida in October 2001 after selling his successful small business of 35 years and lives in northern Palm Beach County. He has been involved with the Tea Party efforts since 2010 and has taken an active role in grassroots activities across the county.
In a brief statement, he said:
Mel replaces former President Michael Riordan who resigned last month.
This past weekend in Orlando, Americans for Prosperity Foundation hosted a conference for grassroots activists from around the nation.
With informative breakout sessions in the mornings to highlight successes on the state and local levels, and “big tent” events in the afternoon with national conservative leaders, there was something for everyone, including ample free time to “network”.
The “malaise” that affected many of us locally after the bitter results of the 2012 Presidential election has been pretty widespread, and organizers from many locations reported falling attendance at many of their events. Hopefully, that is now starting to change. Although we are still licking our wounds, conferences like this one demonstrate that there is still life in the conservative grassroots, we have leaders in the movement that “get it” and have the fortitude to take it to the President – to lead the fight against the train wreck that is Obamacare, the endless debt and deficits, the administration that cares little for the rule of law, the separation of powers, or the role of the states in our constitutional republic.
“It’s amazing what is possible in America“, said Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, when people are free – free to make their own choices, free from the suffocating regulations of intrusive government. He talked about education as the key for the jobs of tomorrow, and the success they have had in his state in shutting down failing schools and greatly expanding the charter school system which has done a lot to improve the lot of minority children. Last week, unfortunately, Obama’s Justice Department has decided to sue Louisiana to roll back these reforms and return students to their failing schools. Judging by his fiery critique of the President and his policies, it is clear he will stand up against our rogue Attorney General and fight to retain the success they achieved.
Our own Senator Marco Rubio declared “There is nothing wrong with America – but there is something wrong with this President“. The good news, he said, is that “we still have time to save the American Dream“, by reforming the tax code and eliminating regulations. “We don’t need Common Core”, he said, and he will not vote for any budget that funds Obamacare or to increase the debt ceiling without a balanced budget amendment and specific cuts.
Unfortunately for Senator Rubio, there is still a lot of anger in the movement about his role in passing the “gang of eight” Senate immigration bill. In the hall were members of Flimen with pink shirts that said “Pink Slip Rubio”, and throughout his speech you could hear sporadic calls for “No Amnesty”. Although he avoided this issue in the speech, he did address it in a smaller group that met with him prior to the session. In a hotel suite with about 40 supporters, after answering some questions about Syria, Obamacare and other issues for which he was among friends, someone in the back asked “what about immigration”. A hush fell across the room at this point and he had no choice but to address it with a somewhat lengthy justification that amounted to “the status quo is unacceptable so we have to do something“. To me it sounded like doubling down. Not good.
Then Arthur Brooks, President of American Enterprise Institute, succinctly summed up the Obama message: “Rich people have your stuff and I’m going to get it back for you.” This shouldn’t have worked as envy is not American, but unfortunately all our side had to say to his supporters was “You’re a moocher” – no wonder we lost. The words “fairness” and “compassion” have been kidnapped by the left and we should take them back and own them, because progressive ideology is neither fair nor compassionate. As a humorous and memorable side comment illustrating our difference in values, he recalled a bumper sticker seen in San Francisco – “Your body may be a temple but mine is an amusement park”.
Next up was Governor Rick Scott, gearing up his re-election bid with a positive jobs message. Recalling his 2010 pledge to create “700,000 jobs in 7 years”, he reported us as on-track, with the likelihood of 900,000 jobs created by 2018. Scott is still popular with the Florida grassroots, although his support for Medicaid expansion had a lot of heads scratching. We do still remember that he declined to create a state Obamacare exchange, though. A few hecklers in the audience periodically shouted “No Common Core”, reflecting dissatisfaction with the direction that our education system has taken over the last few years. Scott talked about his activities as a booster of the state’s business climate and his good-natured rivalry with Texas and Governor Rick Perry who was the last major speaker of the day.
A 2012 Presidential candidate until his campaign faltered early in the primary process, he is possibly gearing up for another run in 2016. Well known as a jobs governor, the record of the Texas economy on his watch has been very impressive. As he makes the rounds of the states selling the Texas miracle, he has gained the ire of many blue state governors who do not appreciate his pointing out the shortcomings of their performance or the failings of the Progressive economics.
On another theme, “All roads lead back to the states“, said Perry. One size fits all federal programs (like Obamacare) are anathema to the founding principles of this country. A favorite target of the Obama administration, whose ideology sees the power in the states to be a roadblock to their big government agenda, Texas is now being sued by Eric Holder and the Justice Department as they try to end-run the Supreme Court and re-impose Voting Rights Act restrictions that require federal permission for such things as Voter ID laws.
On the final day of the conference, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, another possible 2016 presidential candidate and clearly the favorite of the gathering gave us reasons for optimism. With the success of Rand Paul’s filibuster on drones, and the failure of gun control initiatives after Sandy Hook, the President was forced to “listen to the people”, he said. On Syria, with Obama now going to Congress for authorization, on immigration, on common core, – the people are making their voices heard and throwing a wrench into the Obama agenda. His job as a Senator, he says, is to restore economic growth as the lack of growth is related to all of our other problems. Tax Reform (“Abolish the IRS“), and regulatory reform (“Repeal Obamacare – every single word“) are the key. He sees Obamacare as the greatest job killer of all time and sees de-funding it in the upcoming budget process as the key. In answer to skeptics that see that tactic as a political liability for Republicans, he says “You lose 100% of the fights you surrender at the outset.” Standing ovations were frequent for this speech.
All in all, the speakers reminded us that conservatism is not “in trouble” as the mainstream media may have you believe, but resurgent and full of fire. With his agenda in tatters, the Obama team sees winning back the House and holding the Senate next year as their only chance to have a legacy of anything but failure. Any thought of compromise or even dealing with a Republican House is not is the President’s wheelhouse. Although 2014 will be a harder slog than 2010 when we took them by surprise, at the end of this conference it was clear that we have depth, we have tools and we have a maturity that comes from adversity and learning from the losses of 2012. Thanks to AFP and organizations like them, the conservative grassroots will have help and structure that will amplify our effectiveness going forward.
Author and producer of the films “They Come to America” and “They Come to America 2″, Dennis Michael Lynch drove the issues surrounding illegal immigration and amnesty home to a substantial crowd of several hundred at the Abacoa Golf Club.
Co-sponsored by the Palm Beach County Tea Party and the Martin County Tea Party / 912, Mr. Lynch used a series of video clips, anecdotes and personal stories to shed some light on what is really happening on our southern border, and what could happen if something like the “Gang of 8″ amnesty bill were to become law.
Immigration is a complex issue, yet it is approached by politicians and the media in sound bites, misleading statements and 1200 page bills with loads of subtle consequences.
The Dream Act for example, allows for the best and brightest of illegals in our schools to remain in the country. It also provides entry for all their relatives through “chain migration”, a deal breaker for many conservatives.
H1B visas, favored by high-tech companies who need skilled workers in IT and other technical disciplines, have the side effect that the participants are effectively indentured to the company that procures their visas and consequently work for below standard wages – crowding out Americans with equal skills and credentials. (Editors Note: the Senate Immigration bill would make this worse by eliminating “middlemen” who obtain work visas for tech workers and then hire them out as contractors to the tech firms).
Senator Rubio’s claim that the newly legalized would “not get Obamacare” and other benefits is a similar problem – companies could hire these folks and not have to provide them health benefits or face Obamacare fines.
My biggest takeaway from Mr. Lynch’s many fine points concerned Barack Obama and his legacy. “It is not Obamacare for which he would most like to be remembered, but immigration reform”, he said. More than anything else, flooding the country with tens or hundreds of millions new immigrants would “fundamentally change America”, the President’s first and foremost goal.
Finally, regarding the border, enforcement, and the billions of new spending on border patrol in the “Gang of 8″ bill, he said it is “not about the money”, but about the will to fix the problem. Until we have a government that has the will to act on the problem it will not be solved.
Several elected officials joined us last evening, including District 1 County Commissioner Hal Valeche, and Juno Beach Councilwoman Ellen Andel. Ms. Andel, who is running for Congress in the crowded CD18 Republican field, was joined by Beverly Hires, a new entrant in that race, and Ilya Katz. Mr. Katz was a candidate in CD23 against Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but is moving north and decided to join the CD18 race instead. Also running in that district are former state representative Carl Domino, and Alan Schlesinger , both occasional visitors to PBCTP meetings.
- Good Crowd for a Friday Evening We pushed the limits of the venue with this event.
- Jupiter Leader Laura Hanley
- Beverly Hires New entrant into the crowded CD18 race.
- Joyce Kaufman Joyce introduced the speaker who she has gotten to know as an immigration activist.
- Dennis Michael Lynch
- Dennis Michael Lynch
Representing the far northern communities of Palm Beach County, including Jupiter and Tequesta, the Republican team of Senator Joe Negron and Representative Mary Lynn Magar provided us with their perspective on this year’s legislative session and the issues of interest to the audience.
Representative Magar represents house district 82, consisting of Jupiter/Tequesta and the southern part of Martin County. Her day job is VP and General Manager of Heart Care Imaging, and she addressed the issues surrounding health care in the state, including the House decision to reject the federal medicare expansion, legislation to increase access to the medicaid program by the elderly, and assistance to those afflicted with spinal cord injury. She highlighted some of her sponsored bills in the area of helping businesses collect on bad checks, and attracting manufacturers with a sales tax moratorium on equipment purchases, which she says helps us compete with other states in the Southeast.
Taking a few questions, she promised to “look into” the core curriculum status (which was signed into law under Charley Crist and not on the session agenda this year), and she thought “local is good” regarding planning decisions under 7/50.
Senator Negron, represents district 32 – the coastal communities from Jupiter / Tequesta north to Vero Beach. He hit briefly on three topics and then took some questions in a free flowing conversation. He first discussed the “stand your ground” statute in the context of the Zimmerman case, and said he does not want to see any changes to the law. Then he mentioned his “drone bill”, which limits the use of unmanned aircraft by law enforcment except in limited circumstances, and explained it in the context of the balance between liberty and security. He also addressed the “public right to speak” bill which enables citizen input at meetings of public officials, which many cities and counties opposed.
Addressing issues of interest to the audience, he gave his view of the “tea party” – not a monolithic point of view but a decentralized body of opinion that reflects the diversity of its members. He was an early supporter of e-verify in the state (which didn’t pass), and believes that businesses should not be overly dependent on illegal labor. He explained his view of medicaid expansion (which unlike the House bill would have accepted federal money), and explained (in answer to a question) that currently Florida does not provide medical care to illegals except in the case of 1) pregnancy and delivery, and 2) emergency care.
Other items at the meeting included the announcent that current PBCTP President Mike Riordan is stepping down to focus more time on his business. The board will carry on until he can be replaced. Member Joel Channing also introduced Mike Stetson of the Pacific Legal Foundation. The foundation had just won the Supreme Court case Koontz v St. Johns River Water Management District and Mike spoke a little bit about the case and PLF. He also described PLF’s ongoing case against Obamacare challenging it on the origination clause: Now that the individual mandate has been declared a ‘tax’, the bill originated in the Senate and all taxes must originate in the House.
2014 candidates attending the meeting included Alan Schlesinger (CD18) and Brandon Cannon (FS32).
Some pictures from Fred and Ed:
Last evening at Abacoa, the June meeting of the Jupiter Chapter addressed the national scandal surrounding the IRS and how it relates to the local tea party.
Kicked off by chapter leader Laura Hanley, the microphone was passed to President Mike Riordan who started with an overview of the IRS harassment and intimidation suffered by conservative groups since 2010. As members of the Tea Party Patriots, we are supporting their legal activity and the board is meeting with leader Jenny Beth Martin later this week.
Mostly targeted have been 501(c)(4) “social welfare” applications, a category that allows some political activity, as long as it is not the primary purpose of the group (as opposed to 501(c)(3) that does not). At the present time, PBCTP does not hold either exemption, but a decision has been made to apply for both (3) and (4) designations. As Mike pointed out, with all the Congressional and public scrutiny of the IRS, now is probably the best opportunity for a speedy decision.
A primer on how best to communicate with public officials then followed, along with some talking points on the issue, including:
- Targeting of ANY group based on political beliefs is unacceptable
- What can happen to one American can happen to ANY American
- The revenue collecting arm of the government cannot be used to target, intimidate or destroy
- We demand a full investigation into the IRS at all levels
Following some Q&A, we then heard from Ed Wolff on Oversight updates, Fred Scheibl of the Taxpayer Action Board (TAB) about the upcoming county budget hearing next Tuesday where county staff plans to propose a tax increase, Lynne Sherrer about current activities surrounding the Common Core fight, and Jack McLain of the Constitution Party of Florida with his book “Which Way America?”
Finally, Congressional candidates in CD18 Ellen Andel and Alan Schlesinger introduced themselves to the group.
The Palm Beach County Tea Party hosted their 2013 tax day rally – United Stand for America, at the Wellington Amphitheatre on Sunday, under a bright blue sky and seasonally warm temperature. South Florida 912 and Martin County Tea Party / 912, and Americans for Prosperity were co-sponsors of the event. Moderated by PBCTP President Mike Riordan, the afternoon’s lineup of speakers covered a variety of conservative themes.
Keynote Kevin Jackson, a conservative blogger and creator of the “Black Sphere”, gave the audience some good advice. “The Republican Party” he said, “is about civil rights, but may have lost its way.”. We need to strengthen it though, not abandon it. For this two things are necessary: infuse the party with warriors, and understand that “liberalism is a disease, AND YOU CAN CATCH IT!”. He cited Colin Powell as an example of one of those who “caught it”.
Local radio personality Joyce Kaufman, heading to Washington on Tuesday to fight against the “gang of eight” immigration bill championed by Marco Rubio, told of politicians settling into office and abandoning the principles that got them elected.
Former NY radio personality Imre Beke likened the taxpayer to a pig with a wooden leg, and the politicians view that “You don’t eat a special pig like that all at one time.”.
Larry Kawa, of American Courage PAC gave us home economics analogies to the federal budget and pointed out the absurdity of the Washington stewardship of the national wealth.
Former Washington DC prosecutor Jeff Shapiro gave us insights into the current discussion of gun rights from his perspective of enforcing the DC gun ban in the pre-Heller days.
We also heard from Angela West about her new blog “Republican Coffee Corner with Angela“, PBC GOP Chair Ira Sabin, South Florida 912 Founder Shannon Armstrong, Martin County 912 leader Cindy Lucas, Republican Black Caucus leader Sean Jackson, and Leigh Lamson, the leader of the Port St. Lucie Tea Party/912.
Some pictures from the event:
With a crystal-clear night on the back end of a Florida “cold-snap” (getting into the 40’s the day before), there was another exciting night of patriotism from the Palm Beach County Tea Party. Though the turnout was lighter than this past month, it was an unquestionably exciting evening of brisk dialogue amongst Patriots in Boca Raton. Slade O’Brien was the guest speaker, and his perspective as a leader of grassroots movements, and dealing with politics on the LOCAL level, was quite illuminating. As the Florida Director of Americans For Prosperity, Slade has an extraordinary inside perspective on Florida politics, with access to all the “movers and shakers” within the political sphere in our state.
What he revealed about statewide graft and corruption in state contracts from legislators “thanking” their lobbyists and supporters who got them elected was both sickening and motivating at the same time. Slade also updated us on the “Five For Florida” initiative that AFP began last year, and updated us on their progress. While much has been accomplished, we have a “long road ahead”, as Slade said.
This also marked the return to Boca Greens Country Club, and exceptional venue for our group in terms of space, facilities, location, and food. Salad, Rolls, Chicken, and Salmon was served with a Vodka Penne dish, and a yummy-looking Apple-Cobbler type of dessert (I did not partake). It was a great crowd, populated by both familiar faces, as well as many new people. PBCTP Co-Founders Mel and Barbara Grossman made the trip from Jupiter to be with us, as did Terry Brady.
Boca Chapter Coordinator Alex Berry began the proceedings at 7:00pm with the Pledge of Allegiance. Carlos Manuel Santana then regaled us with his impassioned version of the National Anthem. After the usual protocol of explaining what the PBCTP is, and what it stands for, Alex made general announcements, and then asked former Board member Francisco Rodriguez to come to the podium. Francisco explained how he has recently published a book that addresses the critical issue of WINNING ELECTIONS, and how that starts on the local level, something we can all participate in. And this dovetailed well with Slade O’Brien’s discussion of the “pragmatics” of politics….
Alex then introduced Slade, who held the crowd captive with a personal account of his observations on how Florida has foolishly discouraged entrepreneurial activity with miles of red tape. He was actually very encouraging, however, because he drew parallels between what Scott Walker has done in Wisconsin, and what is possible here in Florida.
Slade followed his presentation with a boisterous “Q&A” session with the audience, moderated by Alex Berry. Tea Party members donated the raffle prizes, and the winners were announced at the drawing, concluding the evening.
We look forward to more great meetings in 2013 for our Boca Chapter—please INVITE YOUR FRIENDS to our next event, which will be on April 2nd, 2013!!! Remember—we always have our Boca Chapter Dinner/Speaker event on the FIRST TUESDAY of every month, so mark your calendars! Please get involved if you aren’t yet, and STAY involved if you already are! Remember, we are LOOKING FOR ADDITIONAL BOCA TEAM LEADERS, including a Boca Chapter Coordinator (leader in Boca). Please help out if you can!
On February 28, PBG Watch, along with the South Florida 912 and the Palm Beach County Tea Party, Taxpayer Action Board and the Palm Beach Gardens Residents Coalition hosted a candidate forum for City Council election, featuring former Mayor David Levy and challenger attorney James D’Loughy..
You may have been disappointed about the 2012 elections, but get over it! You have a chance to make an impact on the municipal elections in your city – if you live in an incorporated area, on March 12. Generally only 7-12% of the voters turn out for a city election and the very few decide for everyone. Your municipality has a huge impact on your taxes, zoning, police, fire, licensing, etc. In turn, you can have a huge impact on the results!
The Supervisor of Elections lists all of the candidates/ballot items by city , however polling places are not listed. In many cases – a sample ballot or additional details can be found on the elections or municipality’s clerk page.
The following cities are having an election. Click on the city name for the City Clerk page or elections page for your city. Find out where the candidates stand on the issues. For example – are any of the candidates for withdrawing from their city’s participation in the IG Funding lawsuit? Cities in the lawsuit have an *. Are there other issues key to your city? Find out and vote!
*MANALAPAN (no election but referendum question – contact clerk for details)
*PALM BEACH GARDENS
*PALM BEACH SHORES
ROYAL PALM BEACH
*WEST PALM BEACH
To a packed crowd at Abacoa, Tea Party Patriots founder Mark Meckler provided optimism and insights for the future, along with some anecdotes from his current work as founder of Citizens for Self Governance. Those who are still depressed about what the 2012 election says about our country should take heart by his analysis of where we stand.
In cowboy hat and boots, California native Meckler was upbeat and hopeful.
The American Revolution was not about the Stamp Act or any specific taxes, he said. Rather, it was the reaction of a free people who had governed themselves in the 180 years from Jamestown to Lexington and Concord, throwing off the moves of a foreign sovereign to place shackles on their liberty. Liberty is also at stake today, in an existential way – our freedoms are unique in history and if liberty is extinguished here it will be extinguished throughout the world.
The 2010 blowout that stopped the Obama train would not have happened without the tea party and its success with local and congressional elections. That said, it is hard to see that we could have had as much influence on the dynamics of the presidential election (does the President call me for advice? he asked). We didn’t pick the candidate, and the local knowledge and organizing skills of the grassroots were ignored in favor of a top-down “we know best” campaign managed from Boston. That helps explain why the great success of the Scott Walker campaigns in Wisconsin were not repeated on the Presidential ticket in that state.
Change can happen from below – at the local and state level, he said. Mark has observed a new dynamic of business people becoming more than just “checkbooks” to the party apparatus and taking control of the process themselves. This has happened in Wisconsin (preparing the field for Walker and the win against the unions), Texas (where incumbent crony Republicans were thrown out in primaries), and Tennessee.
There is common ground to be found with the left, he said, as he imparted his meetings with left leaning academics and the leader of Moveon.org. We are not alone in opposing trillion dollar deficits or failing schools.
We should not buy the media drumbeat that the tea party is dead. How can it be, he asked, that the media portray us as omnipotent in preventing John Boehner from dealing with the President, yet impotent to affect events.
In closing, he asked us to get involved at our local level. Become members of appointed boards and commissions, run for town council or school board, go to your city council meetings. We can change the country from below, much as they did in the first revolution.