Senate Debate Video – Other Candidates

Joe Budd for Congress, District 19

Sherry A. Lee for the District 2 county commission race

Tami Donnally Florida state House, District 85

Francisco Rodriguez Florida state House, District 83

Pat Rooney Florida state House, District 83

Steven Rosenblum Florida state House, District 89

WPB Commission says NO to New Assessments

It was standing room only at the city commission meeting tonight and Mayor Frankel announces – you can speak if you’d like – but we will NOT be voting on a new assessment for Fire Services and the City of WPB committed to not raising the millage rates this year.

Commissioner Mitchell reminded the panel and audience that while she agreed to support a temporary assessment, that she did so with the intentions of building THREE new structures.

Originally the fee was assessed to pay for three new fire stations. If, in fact, those stations do not need replacing this assessment fee needs to end. I disagree with the notion  about the nexus between the fire fee and fire service. One has nothing to do with the other — except the word “fire.” I do not  believe that getting rid of any assessment will slow down the job of the firemen.   They  know their job and do it well.  This fee (tax) is just supplanting the operating budget of the general fund (ad valorem and non ad valorem).

This issue has nothing to do with the brave men & women who work for our Fire Dept.  It has to do with a Commission who continues to tax and spend its residents and property owners into poverty. 

In 2008, city administration brought forward a plan to build three new fire stations.  The commission finally agreed by all that with the sale of certain city-owned property out west,  bonds (not to exceed $12 million) would be (retired) and the assessment would end. 

In 2009, facing budget shortfalls, administration suggested the city sweep the previous $2 million collected and add another $2 million in assessments to plug the deficit. Only Commissioner Mitchell voted against the budget last year due to these outrageous  recommendations. 

I would like to ask why no bond has been issued to raise the capital for the new fire stations but, the revenue stream has continued to be collected.  Citizens should be outraged. 

There was conversation about pensions and unions and how all across the country – municipalities are finding it almost impossible to fund these pension plans.  The attendees are encourgaed that as West Palm Beach begins the budgeting process, we all need to be in attendance and take part of the process.  Cuts are coming… let’s just jope they start with the non-essential items. 

Elections bring out the conservative in candidates (so for one year we can benefit).  It’s our very own Commissioner Mitchell who has the consistent voting record for responsible government.  Read Palm Beach Post Article here

Senate 25 and 27 Candidate Biographies


Lizbeth Benacquisto has been a Florida resident for over 30 years, living in Wellington
for the past 15. She attended the University of Florida and Penn State University, and
she graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University with her Bachelor of Arts degree in
Organizational Management. Lizbeth and her family currently reside in Wellington. She
is a Realtor and mother of two school-age children and a college-age step-son.
Lizbeth was first elected Wellington Councilwoman in 2002 to represent the Village of
Wellington, and was re-elected through the conclusion of her term in 2010. She served
as vice-mayor for two years. Ms. Benaquisto has served the community as a member of
the American Council of Young Political leaders and was chosen and served as a
delegate to South Africa in 2004. She has served as member of Early Learning Coalition
of Palm Beach County, the Florida League of Cities municipal loan council, and as a
member of the Western Communities Council of Palm Beach County. She is currently a
member of the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the National League of Cities
Council on Youth Education and Families.

Mike Lameyer served in the United States Marine Corps for 4 years, saw difficult
combat in Vietnam, and received an honorable discharge as Sergeant E5. He earned a
bachelors degree, as well as his Commercial Pilot License along with a Flight Instructor
Certification. Mike was employed as a Commercial Pilot and Flight Instructor. After a
downturn in the airline industry, Mike became the Director of Corporate Development for
International Science and Technology, which specialized in the development of hard
goods technology products. He also received several world-wide and US patents.
Mike married Karen a Palm Beach County School teacher. They have been married for
twenty-nine years and have four children. Mike, as a certified bowling coach, has
coached adults, children and Special Olympics. He is also a certified firearms instructor,
a published author and on the James Madison Institute’s Palm Beach Board of Advisors.
The Institute is a Florida-based research and educational organization rooted in a belief
in the U.S. Constitution. Mike states that he has the experience “necessary to insure Job
growth in Florida along with protecting our rights from an ever-intrusive Federal

Sharon J. Merchant is a fifth-generation Floridian. Born in West Palm Beach, she
received a B.S. in International Affairs from Florida State University. While attending
FSU she served as legislative assistant to Rep. Marian Lewis from 1987 until 1992,
when she was elected to succeed Marian. Merchant served four consecutive terms as
District 83 Representative. When House Republicans earned a majority in 1996,
Representative Merchant became part of the legislative leadership. She was the Chair of
the Appropriations Committee on Transportation and Economic Development, and later
chaired the Juvenile Justice Committee. Other committees on which she served included
Utility and Telecommunications, Community College and Career Prep, Regulated
Services, and Water & Resource Management.
Domestic Violence continues to be a priority for Merchant. Sharon hosted an annual
conference/seminar for several years, with all proceeds going to domestic violence
shelters. Merchant has homes in both Palm Beach and Lee Counties. She is married to
Dan Turner. They have one son, Max Turner. Sharon is Vice President of Equipment
Rental Service, Inc., a family-owned business.


Ellyn Setnor Bogdanoff a native Floridian, graduated from the University of Florida with
a degree in Insurance and Risk Management in 1980. She began her career as a
shareholder in Setnor Byer Bogdanoff, Inc., an independent insurance agency, and also
wrote as a columnist for a national insurance industry magazine. She established EBS
Consulting in 1997, a government and corporate consulting firm. Ellyn received her law
degree from Nova Southeastern University in 2003, graduating magna cum laude. She
is a practicing attorney, certified mediator and arbitrator in Fort Lauderdale
Ellyn was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in a Special Election in 2004.
She was the Majority Whip for the 2006-2008 term and is chair of the House Finance
and Tax Council. Ms. Bogdanoff has received several honors and awards for her
legislative advocacy and her commitment to education and children’s issues including
the “Rising Star” award from the Probate and Real Property Section of the Florida Bar,
legislator of the year by the Florida Association of Realtors in 2006 and the Florida
Dental Association in 2008. She was recognized by the Broward Partnership for the
Homeless and was also honored by Florida’s Children First, Covenant House Florida,
and the Florida Association of School Administrators. She was a foster parent and is
currently serving as a Guardian ad litem. She and her husband, Steven, have their three
children. Ellyn is also competitive tennis player when she finds spare time.

Carl Domino has lived in FL since 1958. He has a BS in Accounting from Florida State
University and a Harvard MBA. He served in the US Navy, in Vietnam and retired as a
Commander in the U.S.Naval Reserve in1989. Carl worked for Delaware Investment
Advisors as a chartered Financial Analyst and Senior Portfolio Manager. In 1987 he
founded Carl Domino Associates, now known as Northern Trust Value Investors and
Carl became the President and Chief Investment Officer. He is President of Carl
Domino, Inc., a wealth management and investment advisory firm, since 1987. He is a
member of several local and national business groups and is a regular commentator for
media outlets on financial markets.
In 2002 Carl was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, and he is currently
serving his fourth term. He was Majority Whip from 2004-2006 and Chair of the Palm
Beach County Delegation from 2005-2006. He serves on the Joint Legislative Auditing
Committee as Alternating Chair, the Committee on Audit & Performance as Vice Chair,
and the Committee on Insurance and the Government Efficiency & Accountability
Council. Mr. Domino is also very active in the community through the American Cancer
Society board of directors, Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, Easter Seals
Golf Tournament, the Palm Beach Economic Council, Florida State University Boosters,
Florida State University Foundation, the West Palm Beach Kiwanis Club and the Knights
of Columbus. Carl, his wife, Sharon, and their two children live in Jupiter.

Photos from Senate 25/27 Debate

Photos taken by Boris Balaban and Iris Scheibl.

Fl. Senate Candidates give more depth to their positions

About 200 folks attended the  town-hall debate for Florida Senate Districts 25 and 27 GOP Primary candidates jointly hosted by SouthFlorida 912 and the Republican Club of the Palm Beaches (RCPB) at the First Baptist Church (FBC) in WPB.  There were a lot of new faces in attendance and we hope that we’ll see many of them in future events by both groups!  The FBC crew did a fantastic job in setting up the venue for us and many thanks go to them.

Joy Stone (past president of RCPB, 912 member and a parishioner at FBC) kept the agenda flowing.  Assistant Pastor Brandon Shields led us in the Invocation and the Pledge.  He was followed by Lou Galterio singing our national anthem.  Shannon Armstrong (founder South Florida 912) laid out the debate rules and spoke a little bit about the founding of the organization and the importance of getting involved.  Joy introduced the panelists: John Jamason – RCPB First VP, Ed Fulop – South Florida 912 organizer, Fred Scheibl – RCPB leadership and South Florida 912 leader and David DiCrescenzo -SouthFlorida912 leader, as our timekeeper. Melissa Andrews (president RCPB) spoke briefly about the club and reiterated the importance of getting involved, and then introduced each of the candidates with candidate biographies.  After the debate, Joy turned the microphone over to Shannon, who introduced other candidates who each got a minute to introduce themselves:  Sherry Lee for County Commissioner District 2, Tami Donnally for FL District 85, Joe Budd for Congressional District 19, Francisco Rodriguez and Pat Rooney for FL District 83, Michael E. Arth for Governor, and Steven Rosenblum for FL District 89.  Jason Shields (SouthFlorida 912 leader) concluded with the 50/50 drawing – won by Dean Taffell.  The candidates and many in the audience mingled afterwards and it was a good opportunity for people to question the candidates directly.

The debate questions were intended to try and draw out differences between the candidates: Lizbeth Benaquisto, Mike Lamayer and Sharon Merchant for FL Senate 27; Ellyn Bogdanoff and Carl Domino for FL Senate 25.  Each candidate was given 2 minutes for introductions, 2 minutes to respond to each question, and 2 minutes to wrap up.  Each candidate answered the same questions.  The audience was given an opportunity to score the candidates and then turn in their scoring sheets at the conclusion of the meeting.  About 1/4 of the folks turned in their sheets and we’ll compile the responses in a future post, recognizing that it’s not statistically significant nor scientific nor an endorsement.  People rated candidates for whom they can’t vote.  But it should be useful to candidates to see which topics resonated (or not) with the mostly conservative or GOP audience.

The following summaries of responses to questions are mine alone – and I didn’t take detailed notes.  So attendees – feel free to post comments with additions/your perspective :

Immigration – Arizona has passed a law effectively giving state law enforcement the authority to enforce federal immigration law incidental to other criminal investigation. Have you read this law and would you support such a statute in Florida?

Domino – hadn’t read either bill but supported the immigration bill in the FL House that did not get voted on in the FL Senate
Benacquisto – supports dealing with immigration and concerned about all residents – no direct response
Merchant – absolutely believes in strict enforcement and would back a similar law.
Lamayer – has read both bills and very strongly supports enforcement and 10th amendment rights
Bogdanoff – expressed concern about the impact of illegal immigration on the state

States’ Rights: Do you support the lawsuit against the Affordable Health Care for America Act brought by AG Bill McCollum? What are the strongest / weakest arguments being made?

Lamayer – yes – since federal government forcing mandate on individuals and states unconstitutional
Benacquisto– supports the lawsuit – the healthcare bill poses potential impacts from a fiscal and social perspective
Merchant– strongly opposed Obamacare and is in support of McCollums bill
Bogdanoff– concerned about the cost of healthcarebillto FL (and other states)  – with great expansion of Medicaid
Domino – will impact FL by $2 billion

Transportation: Two of you were in the legislature last year and voted for the “Sunrail” bill. Many think that this is not a good thing because high speed rail projects rarely pay for themselves and end up with endless subsidies. Others argue that it will bring “federal dollars” into the state that would have gone elsewhere. How do you defend your vote or how would you have voted on Sunrail? Why?

– Bogdanoff (voted for bill) – while she was reluctant to vote for the 3 part bill, and in general, opposes taking federal stimulus $$, she felt that using federal dollars to build infrastructure while creating a lot of new jobs was worth it.
Domino (voted for bill) – would rather have the money spent in FL.  He also mentioned the 3 parts to the bill and felt that getting funds for the south Florida trans. authority would give it some breathing room
Merchant – strongly against.  Mentioned that in the bill CSX got total immunity from any liability.
Lamayer – quoted from a CNN article on how mass transit NEVER pays for itself and is a black hole
Benacquisto – while it’s troubling to put so much cost to FL in the future, we need to find a way to create jobs while reducing our dependence on oil

State Amendments: There are 9 constitutional amendments on the ballot in November, involving redistricting, “home town democracy”, class size, health care and other matters. Which of these do you think are the most significant, and what outcome would you like to see for them?

Benacquisto – against Amendment 4 – Hometown Democracy – because it will shut down growth and incentives for people and businesses to move to our communities.  We need growth now.
Lamayer – against Amendment 4.  For Amendment 7 redistricting – using FL Senate 27 as an example of geographic and unemployment having so many differences in a single district
Merchant – for redistricting (although she didn’t mention which of the 3 amendments) and against Amendment 4
Bogdanoff – concerned about the way FL constitution has so many amendments and people generally vote for them without knowing the issues.  But she is for the class size Amendment 8 because the consequences of the class size bill was to force children to be bussed to another school when class size got to 19.  This gives parents and schools more flexibility.
Domino– sponsor of Amendment 3 – Additional homestead exemption for first time homebuyershould help with the glut of houses.  Also caps property tax increases to 5% instead of 10% year.  He is against Amendment 4 as anti-growth and anti-business.  For Amendment 8 for the flexibility.

Education: Since its inception, the FCAT has been controversial. This year several thousand students in the state failed their second try at the test and could not graduate. Does this suggest there is a problem with the test or the instruction, or is it working as advertised? What action (if any) should be taken by the Legislature?

Domino– HS students get 6 chances to pass the FCAT from 10th grade on.  HS graduation rate has gone from 54% to 74% and Florida schools have improved greatly.  If you don’t test, you don’t care.  We must have standards.
Bogdanoff – For accountability, but when FCAT passed, people started teaching to the test.  Teachers needs to be trained now to teach, not just teach the test.  She prefers end of course exams.
Merchant – Parents have a major role in making sure their children are learning.  Teachers should also be accountable.  She would have voted no on SB6.  She believes in merit pay but not having everything decided by Tallahassee.
– Lamayer – SB 6 is a bad bill.  Quoted that only 40% of juniors passed FCAT.  Education isn’t matching testing.
Benacquisto – doesn’t like FCAT.  Puts too much stress on the students.  Too much emphasis on one test..  Testing should be done at the beginning of the year so that student’s weakness can be addressed over the school year to focs on helping the students succeed.

Spending/Taxes: The budget for last year and this was balanced with considerable help from federal stimulus funds for which the governor and the legislature has been criticized, since the stimulus comes with future mandates and other entanglements. Should the budget have been balanced without the stimulus? If so, what would you cut or what additional revenue would you have gone after?

Merchant – the budget, instead of being over $70 billion, should be around $64-65 billion with significant cuts instead of relying on Uncle Sam.  Need to entirely rethink the budget and against using various trust funds to balance the state budget.
Lamayer – enforcing illegal immigration would save $$ right away.  Stop moving money from one fund to another.  Reduce government.  Lawsuit reform like in TX generated lots of jobs.  Also oil and gas reserves in FL equal those in Alaska.
Benacquisto – government is spending too much of our money.  Streamline process using infrastructure technology.  Create jobs by incentives to corporations.  Clean energy and information technology is the answer
Bogdanoff– the budget is driven by Education, Medicaid and the prison system.  Only about $1billion left that can be addressed.  She would give tax credits to businesses that create jobs.  Saved $3.8 billion with the Gov’t Efficiency Act of 2010 – this will be repeated every year to address spending.
Domino– Every department has to justify spending.  Our growing elderly population is increasing costs.

Each of the candidates made closing statements.  District 25 candidates Carl and Ellyn focused on their attributes, although Ellyn specifically asked the audience for their vote.  The District 27 candidates, however, did direct criticism against each other – and I could hear the crowd reacting.

Although the number of questions was limited and we didn’t have time for all topics and time for audience questions, we hope that this event gave the public an opportunity to learn more about the candidates and the issues.  Thanks to all of the folks from the South Florida 912  and Republican Club of the Palm Beaches and First Baptist Church for all of their hard work!

The Obama Zone

There is an excellent article in the Washington Examiner about the fact that the Democrats in Congress are not even pretending that they will pass a budget this year – a total abdication of their duty under the constitution. Read it HERE.

But the best part about the article was this comment posted by “General Mayhem” that very effectively evokes the “Twilight Zone”.

You’re now entering a dimension beyond what hope’n’change has stimulated, not to mention spoiled and squandered.
It is a dimension as unpopular as Obamacare and as untimely as cap’n’trade.
It is a middle finger raised between platitude & lassitude, and between a campaign that never ends and sound bites forever blaming Bush; and it lies between spin to allay Gulf fears and photo-ops with tar balls, all capped off by an Oval Office speech touting wind turbines, solar panels, and “energy-efficient windows.”
This is a dimension of flimsy obfuscation and of Jones Act and EPA waivers long delayed. Beyond it are other dementia— the distraction of hoops and bogeys, a declining dollar and an ever-dizzy Dow, plus dimwitted vicissitudes from McCartney and Calderon.
You’ve moving into a dimension of both denial and delay, of ideas ignored and logical things undone. You have seen the signpost up ahead— it reads, “It took a spillage”— and you’re just crossing over into . . . the Obama Zone


Of Lambs and Lions

15 June 2010
By Lieutenant Colonel Allen B West (US Army, Retired)
Published by permission.

“I do not fear an army of lions if they are led by a lamb. I do fear an army of sheep if they are led by a lion”.
Alexander the Great

Greetings Wheels on the Road readers, fellow South Floridians, and indeed all Americans. It is time for our monthly political assessment and this one is rather personal. Last month we addressed what is at stake, and the response was the future of America. One of the factors affecting our Country right now relates to Alexander’s quote mentioned above.

Attorney General Eric Holder once lamented that America is a “nation of cowards”, that is far from the truth. The problem we have in America is that we are being led by lambs, by an effete ruling class elite. America is a nation of lions, warriors, but when we find ourselves being led by a cabal of weak, ineffective, and indecisive appeasers the result is evident.

Sure, the liberal progressives are dogged ideologues and tenacious poodles when it comes to nationalizing our production; healthcare, financial sector, energy sector, and automobile industry. They stand strong against the rule of law regarding illegal immigration. And there is no doubt no group will fight harder to redistribute wealth and turn America into a collective “balkanized” socialist Country.

However, what scares the liberals more than anything else is the “Warrior Class”. They abhor the men and women who find a commitment and conviction in believing in this Constitutional Republic and the principles which make America exceptional. This is a sentiment which over the past 30 days we witnessed being manifested from the highest office in our land, the President.

When Barack Hussein Obama made the decision to take a “vacation” back to Chicago rather than attend Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National cemetery that was a complete disregard and disrespect to those who gave the “last full measure of devotion”. I know, those who suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome are frothing and recounting that Pres GW Bush missed an Arlington ceremony….but he was at Normandy, a very appropriate place to be.

But it was not just the missing Memorial Day, it was also the lack of any recognition of the 66th anniversary of D-Day. It was the failure to address Flag Day which was also the 235th birthday of the US Army. Lastly, Obama’s refusal for the second year in a row to attend the “Gold Star Family” events clearly telegraphs his regard for our military does not go beyond photo opportunities.

The malignant narcissism of the President, and the liberal progressives, is laser focused on the disrespect and the destruction of the American Warrior class. They detest anyone who has the courage of conviction and love of America, something which they find unconscionable.

It starts with a national security strategy which refuses to address the enemy of our Nation, islamic totalitarianism and radical islamic state sponsored terrorism. We have sheep who are so oblivious to the threats to our security that the Obama administation’s terrorism expert, John Brennan, stated that “terrorism is a state of mind and jihadism is a legitimate tenet of Islam”. When at the highest levels we project a recalcitrance to confront our enemy, you only embolden them.

When an enemy is emboldened, such as this one, they launch a “humanitarian aid” flotilla which is nothing more than a cover to supply a terrorist organization, Hamas. When you have a Sovereign State seek to protect itself, and even institute insidious rules of engagement, and yet is condemned for protecting its warriors, we are upside down……we are being led by sheep. Nothing pleasures wolves more than fresh lamb meat, and we are serving that up at every instance.

This seemingly is not just an American phenomenon, but a worldwide epidemic. North Korea sinks a South Korean naval vessel and we ask for an apology. The international community demands that Israel apologize and submit to an investigation.

We have created rules of engagement in Afghanistan which allows the enemy every opportunity to kill our men and women. We have considered such horrible ideas such as an award for “courageous restraint”. We even allow former Taliban members who have attacked, and maybe even killed, our troops to be released from detainment based upon a “pledge” signed by their fathers and tribal leaders.

Yet, we have our own Warriors such a Army 1LT Michael Behenna serving a 15 year prison sentence for killing a known Al Qaeda operative who attacked him. Worse however, is the fact that exculpatory evidence in his case was withheld by the Army prosecutors who also withheld a key witness. There in the military prison at Ft Leavenworth sit 10 Army Soldiers while Taliban fighters are being released. We just witnessed some of our finest Warriors, US Navy SEALS, having to endure a courts-martial because they “punched” a terrorist.

That is why I will be heading to Ft Leavenworth in September to rally for the release of our Soldiers so that they can be reunited with their families. Those families who willingly sacrificed their loved ones, believing that they could be severely wounded, or even killed….but never imprisoned for doing what we ask Warriors to do.

In the past 30 days we watched the House of Representatives so concerned about the military that they just could not wait, and voted to repeal “Dont Ask Dont Tell”. This was done against the counsel of the Service Chiefs who asked for an opportunity to allow the men and women in uniform to offer their suggestions and insights. No, it is more important to have the military accomodate behavior rather than respect the professionalism of those Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.

We have seen the President nominate someone for Supreme Court justice who attacked the Solomon Amendment, allowing ROTC activities on our college campuses. We are willing to allow an Islamic victory tribute to be erected at Ground Zero in New York City because we have leaders who just cannot find the courage to stand….sheep.

We have a running gun battle occuring on our southern border but we allowed a foreign leader to demean our laws and attack a Governor of a sovereign American State.

There has never been a more critical time for our Republic and yet we find the worse possible individuals in control for this time. We have a Nation of men and women who embrace victory and detest the stench of defeat. However, all we get is more speeches, talk, empty rhetoric, and never an action plan….at least not an action plan which is commensurate with the foundational principles of America.

I stated earlier that this subject is personal to me and that is because of my story from Iraq in 2003. Yes, I fired my service 9mm over the head of a detainee to ensure my men were protected. Yes, I was removed from command and fined $5000. Yes, I withstood the attacks from the liberal sheep and will continue to do so because I am part of the Warrior class. I retired with Honor and remain a respected member of that group of men and women who feel pride when the National Anthem is played, and tear up at Taps.

When I look at Pelosi, Frank, Weiner, Clyburn, Klein, and Obama I see lambs, certainly not leaders. I see mundane deliberators, not decisive people of character. This 2010 election cycle has the most Veterans running for office since WW II and there is a simple reason.

America will not survive as a Nation in a world of wolves being led by sheep, it will take Lions.
Steadfast and Loyal, LTC(R) A B West

REC Meeting Summary for 6/9/2010

Chairman Sid Dinerstein called the meeting to order and Sid Lanier led us in prayer followed by the pledge.

Chm. Dinerstein then called for a moment of silence to honor Kristin Hoke, WPBF Reporter/Anchor that passed away earlier in the day. He described her as a consummate professional and praised her for her brave battle with cancer.

The Board congratulated Chm. Dinerstein and especially his wife, Esther,  on their 43rd Wedding Anniversary.

Chm. Dinerstein announced that the County had dropped the issue of the additional 1% sales tax for the Fire Department. He thanked those of us that attended the meetings as well as the efforts of other groups that participated in opposing the tax.

Our speaker, Pam Bondi, candidate for Florida State Attorney General was introduced and a brief biography was given.  Pam, a fourth generation Floridian and graduate of Stetson Law, sees the AG as a legal job and not a political position. She has 18 years experience as a prosecutor and has worked with Fox News as a Legal Consultant. She supports smaller government and reduced regulation for businesses. On immigration, Pam fully supports Gov. Brewer of Arizona and the legislation she recently signed into law. She noted that the Governor had no choice but to enact legislation at the state level given that the Federal Government has failed grossly to enforce existing laws and secure our borders by any means necessary. 
Visitors were recognized. Chairman Dinerstein questioned Mark Hock as whether to vote on the current applicants or to wait on the outcome of the next motion. The decision was made to go ahead with the vote on candidates. Although 5 new members were admitted to the Committee, Mark  reiterated that they would be unable to vote tonight.

Mark Hock noted that an affirmative vote of 107 would be necessary to pass a motion to amend our Constitution and change the structure of the Committee from a district system to a precinct system.  Under the current system we have 100 districts with 4 committee members per district for a total of 400 positions, 240 of which were open as of May 2010. The precinct system calls for 1 committeeman and 1 committeewoman per 1000 registered voters, precincts would have 2 to 8 committeemen, totaling 2400.  John Parsons then reintroduced a motion for same that was tabled at our May 12 meeting. Second was made and Dean Taffel presented the argument against the motion*. Several committee members spoke to the issue, the majority being in favor. Linda Mazziotti explained how the roll call vote works with the Chairman only voting in the event of a tie. Chm. Dinerstein cast the 108th vote for, with 16 against, and 3 abstentions.

Greg Langowski made announcements regarding upcoming events.

Numerous candidates were given 2 minutes each to address the assembly. The audience was dwindling precipitously and one candidate commended the remaining members for staying, saying we were the core of the party.

Other Committee members were given 2 minutes to address what was left of the crowd.

Chairman Dinerstein adjourned the meeting around 8:45.


*Dean also pointed out that we need to go directly to the people using the examples of Scott Maxwell’s successful bid for Lake Worth City Commission because of our grassroots effort. His other example was how much absentee voting picked up after the radio spots that Sid Dinerstein had recorded were aired.  This was met with much applause.

A Reassuring Afternoon with Our Veterans

Last week  a relative  called to let me know that she would be in town with the Youth Chorale from her church in Dublin,  Georgia who would be performing at the VA Medical Center  (her children are members of the chorale and she accompanied as a chaperon).  I have been in this  area for six years and pass the hospital almost  every time I go to town, but am ashamed to say that I had never as much as been inside until  Wednesday.  Aware of  all the horror stories in the news  about the deplorable condition of the military’s medical facilities (especially Walter Reed),  I was leery of what to expect.  After navigating my way through the expansive grounds  and wide, well lit hallways I  followed the sounds of the energetic teenage  voices to the Extended Care Facility.  Although most  of the patients were wheel-chair bound,  they seemed to be very alert and  enjoying the entertainment. Most  importantly,  the veterans  appeared to be  aware of the deep debt of gratitude bestowed on them by all present.   I was pleased  to see the patients  being well cared for in a very nice,  clean,  pleasant environment with a good staff to patient ratio.  Our veterans deserve to have the best medical care throughout their lives and from what I saw they seem to be getting it, in West Palm anyway.

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