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
8/15/2014 SPECIAL MEETING NOTICE
GOVERNMENT PERPETRATED CHAOS ON THE BORDER
Welcoming the Return of Dennis Michael Lynch
BOCA, JUPITER & WELLINGTON CHAPTERS COMBINED
PROGRAM: Dennis Michael Lynch will present excerpts from his new video “Coming to America” and discuss current border problems. You can see Dennis on a recent MEGYN KELLY SHOW and see a video trailer of the films at THEY COME to AMERICA
DATE: Friday, August 15, 2014
TIME: 5:30 PM Dinner (Soup & Sandwiches, Cash Bar)
6:30 PM Meeting
COST: Dinner & Meeting: $18 (tax & tip included).
Meeting only: $5.
PLACE: Abacoa Golf Club, 105 Barbados Dr., Jupiter, FL 33458.
DIRECTIONS: MAP 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.
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Painting a picture of the construction cranes in Washington, DC, a sign that we are “upside down”, in the US Economy, former Congressman Allen West told us that we have to “win the image battle” to turn things around.
WIth a long line waiting for an autographed copy of his new book “Guardian of the Republic“, Colonel West had just returned from Michigan where he had addressed a tea party gathering of 900.
“Find 5 people and convert 3 of them,” he proposed, “that’s 60% – how hard can that be?”
We need to go behind enemy lines, like the paratroopers before D-day, and bring the conservative message to those who really should be susceptible to it. Minority communities are socially conservative – especially in the churches. Progressive policies leading to a welfare nanny state, inflation and the lack of good jobs are likened to “economic slavery” – an idea that should resonate.
Another area where we should win is on school choice – it is Eric Holder’s justice department who is suing Louisiana to close their charter schools, and Barack Obama who ended the DC voucher program that was giving minority children a real chance at a better future.
Foreign policy and national security is another area where we should be making our case – and the tea party should embrace that part of the constitution about “provide for the common defense”. Our enemies do not fear us and our friends don’t trust us. Reagan said “Tear down this wall”, while Obama seems to be telling Vladimir Putin – “It’s OK if you want to build it again.”
Colonel West then took a series of audience questions ranging from the spread of military hardware to civilian police departments, the case for impeachment, the crisis in the middle east, and making gains in the Black and Jewish communities.
Present at the meeting were CD18 candidates Calvin Turnquest (also PBCTP Director) and Beverly Hires, State Senator Joe Negron, Andy Schaller (County Commission District 6), and Charles Punches (House District 86).
- PBCTP President Mel Grossman
- PBCTP Board Member Terry Gallagher
- Excitement Builds
- Buffet on the Patio
- Colonel West Book Signing
- Ruth Peeples and James D'Loughy Palm Beach Gardens Needs Term Limits
- Busy Check-In
“Running a trade deficit is a good thing.” “It would have been better if the Fed had never been created.” “The country can continue to run deficits and pile on the national debt as long as there are those who continue to invest in the US.” “The dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency does not depend on the amount of gold in Fort Knox.”
These are some of the jewels we collected from Economist Donald J. Boudreaux at Abacoa last evening.
In an informal discussion of all things economics, this professor, attorney and noted author brought life and clarity to the “dismal science” as his anecdotes and pithy analogies questioned conventional wisdom and shared with us his lifelong appreciation of “fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets”.
Regarding the US trade deficit, he asked what could be wrong with acquiring real goods from abroad in return for pieces of paper embossed with monochrome pictures of dead presidents. Pointing out that we all run a trade deficit with (for example) a supermarket, unless we actually work there, he explained that attempts by politicians to limit imports of foreign goods is misguided.
Having no love for the federal reserve, the endless printing of money is not a good thing, but as long as others are willing to accept dollars in payment for goods and services, the party will continue.
He even took on his professorial colleagues when asked why they are all so liberal. Stupidity is the reason he said, not an ideological belief in the goodness of socialism.
It was an enlightening and entertaining presentation.
In other business, Mel announced that the Tea Party Patriots is looking for volunteers to go to Mississippi for a few days (at their expense) to work on campaigns in that state, and the PBCTP will be needing volunteers later in the year to help distribute our voters guides for the 2014 election.
Present at the meeting were candidates Calvin Turnquest, Beverly Hires and Alan Schlesinger for CD18, and Jay Bonner who is running against Alcee Hastings in CD20.
On an untypical Friday evening, an enthusiastic crowd from the three PBCTP chapters turned out to hear Kiwi author Trever Louden, whose latest work is “The Enemies Within”, exposing the subversive elements within our Congress.
Starting with a sobering assessment of current events, from the growing domination of China in the Pacific and the emergence of Putin’s Russia as a threat to European peace, he illustrated Obama’s foreign policy as “picking the bad guys over the good guys”, supporting the emergence of Muslim dominated governments while turning a blind eye to those fighting for their freedom everywhere, and reducing the power of the US Military as a force for good in the world.
Noting that many believe that Communism has retreated from the world, he laid out their two secrets – first convince people that they don’t exist, then achieve control of the legislative process by manipulating small groups. With examples, he explained how well this has been working, such as the fundamental change to the AFL-CIO that occurred in 1995 when anti-communism was removed from their statement of principles. Today’s unions are first about the socialist cause and less about the welfare of their members, and although their membership is small, they exert significant control over the much larger Democrat party.
After a depressing exposition on the path we are on, he then gave reasons for optimism. Starting with the electoral success of 2010 which firmly closed the door on the Obama Agenda, it is the grassroots activists in the tea party and similar groups that keep the Progressives up at night, fretting that a movement they did not see coming has thwarted 40 years of preparation for a fundamental makeover of our country.
With an outline of how Ronald Reagan was able to triumph over the big government opponents in both parties starting in 1976, he pointed to Ted Cruz as someone who could lead such a revolution in the current day. His solution, consisting of a Ted Cruz / Allen West ticket in 2016, would be bolstered by a set of pre-announced leaders to attract a broad consistency. Rand Paul for Treasury (do what you want with the Fed), Scott Walker as Labor Secretary, Michelle Bachmann at Commerce, John Bolton at State, Ben Carson at HHS, Mark Levin as Attorney General, and David Barton as Secretary of Education. And the one that brought the audience to their feet – NO ONE as United Nations Ambassador.
Some pictures from the event.
- Carol and Iris
- Shirley and Linda
- Terry Gallagher and Gay Robertson
- President Mel Grossman
- Standing Ovation for Trevor Louden
- Terry and Speaker Trevor Louden
“Fiscal Responsibility, Limited Government, Free Markets – sound familiar“?
This is how Libertarian Governor candidate Adrian Wyllie began to describe his governing principles and those of his party.
The real wedge issue today is not left versus right but tyranny versus liberty. We are heading toward a cliff and the only difference between the mainstream parties is how fast they are driving.
An adherent of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, as Governor he would resist the encroaching power of the federal government, even to the extent of rejecting all federal regulations and taxes on businesses that confine their activity solely within the borders of the state. If the feds ever came here to confiscate our guns, he would arrest the federal agents who tried – calling out the national guard if necessary.
Regarding the signing of bills into law, he would use three criteria:
- Is it constitutional?
- Is it affordable?
- Is it the proper role of government (as opposed to some “nanny state” measure)
Pointing out that Rick Scott has significantly increased the state budget while he has been in office (current proposal is larger than what Russia spends on their military – around $74B), Mr. Wyllie has plans to cut it by 30%, returning sales tax revenue to the counties to take pressure off property taxes.
In favor of legalized marijuana, he predicts easy passage of the ballot amendment in the fall.
Candidates present at the meeting and working the room with their petitions were five of the seven remaining candidates for CD18 – Carl Domino, Brian Lara, Ilya Katz, Alan Schlesinger and Calvin Turnquest.
Jupiter Council member Wendy Harrison was also in the audience, as was St. Lucie County GOP Chair Bill Paterson, who gave us an update on the RPOF position on Common Core.
Some pictures from the event:
- Adrian Wyllie with Anna and Ed Wolff
- Laura Henning and Wellington Leader Marion Frank
- Entertainment by Jim Hunter
- Carl Domino and Brian Lara with Petitions
- CD 18 Candidates Brian Lara, Alan Schlesinger, Calvin Turnquest
- STL County GOP Chair Bill Paterson
The American Coalition for Property Rights (ac4pr.org), with some help from members of the Palm Beach County Tea Party, has been able to convince three County Commissions (St. Lucie, Martin and Indian River) to ‘opt out’ of Seven50 – the HUD funded regional plan that sets out a progressive vision for “seven counties, 50 years”. Now their sights are set on Palm Beach County.
Predicting significant population growth in South Florida over that time frame along with rising sea levels and constraints on natural resources, the Seven50 plan sees public transportation, high density housing situated close to transit corridors, and restrictions on private land use as the solution. Implementation would involve changes in zoning regulations, and adoption of a regional blueprint which would supersede today’s system of county and municipal land use rules.
Fearing loss of local control and influence by property owners and other citizens, opponents of the plan have been asking county governments to “opt out” of the Seven50 MOU (“memo of understanding”) which they signed in 2010. Our three northern neighbors acquiesced, but so far Palm Beach County has not been willing to accept the premise that any of their authority would be preempted by the plan, nor do they feel bound to implement any of its provisions. Commissioner Hal Valeche, certainly not a proponent of the “New Urbanism”, does not see Seven50 as anything more than a federally funded study that lays out some proposals – that the county can accept or reject (or ignore) at their leisure.
Phyllis Frey, a leader in this fight, along with Mel Grossman, president of PBCTP, arranged for interested citizens to come to the February 4th Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting, to speak “off agenda” during the “Matters by the Public” session.
The 80 or so activists wore red shirts in support of the 15 or so who spoke, and the speakers covered a range of issues, from the impacts to Home Rule, development density concerns, the relationship to UN Agenda 21 and other topics.
For the most part, the session was cordial, and the Commissioners made comments and suggestions, although it was clear none of them saw any reason to “opt out”. There was a little bit of drama, as leader Mel Grossman was thrown out of the meeting room by an overzealous deputy. (see sidebar). In the Sun-Sentinel (“SFL Tea Party Leader Ejected from PBC Commission Meeting) and the PB Post (“About 80 seven/50 opponents pack palm beach county commission“) that part was the lead.
Drama notwithstanding, potential progress was made in the meeting. Seeking a way to address the concerns – namely that home rule would be compromised or that the county would be compelled to implement the seven50 plan, Commissioner Steven Abrams suggested that the County Attorney draft an addendum to the agreement(s) with the Seven50 committee, clarifying that nothing in those agreements in any way compromises our Home Rule or otherwise overrides the County’s planning and zoning. The addendum would be signed by both the BCC and Seven50 officials. The rest of the BCC agreed and County Attorney Denise Nieman said she would return at the next BCC meeting on March 11th. After the meeting, Ms. Nieman spoke with members of the public – including Mel and Phyllis. The latter plan to work with Ms. Nieman’s team to see if the proposed wording would satisfy their concerns.
All should recognize however, that whenever government grants are accepted, there are strings attached. And having an addendum or an opt-out, no matter how it is worded, does not relieve interested citizens from having to continue to monitor various development projects from appearing on Consent Agendas for passage without discussion. Also – most if not all on our County Commission, are in support of the goals of Seven50 and other regional planning initiatives – and one shouldn’t just assume that all regional planning is good or bad. As citizens, it is up to us to watch what is going on, hold our elected officials accountable, speak out, educate others and vote!