Congressman Brian Mast Visits our November Veteran’s Event

In our annual salute to veterans, of which there are quite a few among the club members, Army Veteran and Congressman Brian Mast recapped his first year in the House representing CD18.

Brian was introduced by Sid Dinerstein, who pointed out that although Brian’s seat has been targeted by the national Democrats mainly because of the narrow (R+4) district demographics, with popular State Attorney Dave Aronberg likely sitting it out the seat is not that much at risk if we all give Brian our support.

Club President Fran Hancock echoed that theme, pointing out that although some club members live outside the district, Brian is still “our” Congressman since he is the only Republican representing any district in Palm Beach County. As such, we should give him our support, our time and our money as he runs for re-election in 2018.

Brian’s remarks addressed some of the questions he was asked before the meeting got started.

A common question was “is Washington really as awful as it sounds?”. The answer is somewhat mixed. One of his pet peeves about many of those that inhabit that swamp is the total disingenuousness of his colleagues. It is hard to fathom how someone can call you vile names while in front of the cameras, then come by later and act as if they are your friend seeking support for their pet legislation. Not the way real people behave.

Brian was hopeful for passage of tax reform this year, and he was one of the needed votes for it to pass the House this past Thursday. What will happen in the Senate (where hundreds of bills have gone to die) is anybody’s guess, but the House has done their part. The House bill will be good for people in district 18 – statistics indicate that currently only 30% itemize, and the new standard deduction will drop that to 5-10%. What the left is spinning about tax cuts only for the rich is very misleading. Pointing out that the amount of taxes that are levied in each bracket is declining for all earners, tax reduction is real.

He spoke of his work on VA Legislation, and the fact that through his efforts, he now has a Congressional Office right in the West Palm Beach Medical Center. He encouraged veterans with problems with the system to drop by his office and seek his assistance.  He also hoped that other representatives throughout the country choose to do the same and get offices at their local VA hospitals.

In the Q&A session that followed, he was asked what we could do to help. “Bring your friends to the townhalls” he said. That is the way to create new activists when they witness the rhetoric on the left and how he stands up to it.


At the conclusion of the meeting, members voted on the slate of officers for 2018 who will be installed at the December 6 lunch featuring Dimensional Harmony. They are President Fran Hancock, Vice President Fred Scheibl, Secretary Claire Anderson Jones, and Treasurer Bette Anne Starkey.

Dimensional Harmony Will Sing at Lunch on 12/6

Join us at the Holiday Inn, Airport on Wednesday, December 6th for Holiday Music from Boynton Beach High School’s phenomenal “Dimensional Harmony, as they dance, sing and harmonize their way through another great and successful year! Their outstanding performance in London led to an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall in April 2017! This group is on the move and shows what creativity is all about!


Dimensional Harmony
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Program Noon – 1PM, Buffet starts at 11:30AM

Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center

Palm Beach Airport
1301 Belvedere Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33405

$25/Members $30/Guests
Pay at the door.

Make sure you submit your RSVP in advance by clicking on our link below:

or by emailing info@gopclubpb.org, or by calling 561-855-0749.
  Please respect Club rules: Cell Phones Silenced, Business Casual Attire, Please No Jeans
Republican Club of the Palm Beaches
PO Box 2585
West Palm Beach, FL 33402
(561) 855-0749

Dimensional Harmony is a sensational choral group of 50 extraordinarily talented Boynton Beach High School students that has received state and nationwide acclaim for its amazing singing ability!

Under the direction of innovative director, Mr. Sterling Frederick, Dimensional Harmony has been widely recognized nationwide over the past few years, winning first place gold in several competitions in New York and Atlanta; and also winning the prestigious National Show Choir Title. Members have performed their creative interpretations of inspirational songs, ballads, and popular hits live on the “Today Show,” as well as at numerous theaters. Other venues for Dimensional Harmony’s accomplishments include the Florida Music Educators Association Music Conference, openings for renowned gospel singers, and at events held at Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Resort.

Dimensional Harmony members are a proven example of the positive impact dedicated students, their dedicated leader, and the Performing Arts can have on the local community and on developing future successful, well rounded, and responsible, young individuals and citizens! With their incredible talent, grace, harmony, and unlimited enthusiasm, they deserve the opportunity to become our ambassadors and compete at the highest level.

Property Rights Discussed at October Lunch

At the October lunch, Daniel Peterson, Director of the Center for Property Rights at the James Madison Institute in Orlando gave us his view of the legacy of property rights in the US, and the forces that threaten them today.

Contrasting the situation that existed in the Soviet Union, where all property was owned by the state and most people lived in apartments, he described our system dating back to the Puritan colony in New England were they considered individuals as “stewards of the land”.

Our system provides 5 rights associated with property: the freedom to possess property, to enjoy it without interference, to use it for our own purposes, to exclude others from it, and to dispose of it as we see fit.

Threatening these rights are three forces:

First is the “Government Estate” – ownership of land by governments that crowd out private uses. As example, 50% of all the land west of the Mississippi is owned by the federal government, including 83% of the state of Utah. This not only takes the land out of public use, but it starves state and local government of property tax revenue (sometimes offset by PILT – payment in lieu of taxes, where the locals are partially compensated by the federal landowner.)

In Florida, about a third of the state is government owned with 30% in conservation (37% in PBC). The cost of acquisition of these 2.5 million acres was about $2500 per acre under the P2000 and Florida Forever programs. Added is the cost of maintenance ($173M per year) and the cost of bonding ($145M / year).

Another threat is over reaching regulations, particularly things like the EPA’s “Waters of the US”, which attempted to restrict usage of most of the surface water in the country, (including presumably rain puddles in your backyard) and the “Clean Power Plan” which the Obama administration was using to destroy the coal industry and hamstring energy use and production.

The third threat is the Bureaucratic maze with its sometimes conflicting permitting requirements from all manner of jurisdictions that makes business creation or even enjoying your own property difficult.


Please join us next month as we salute veterans with Congressman Brian Mast on Saturday, November 18th. The usual lunch meeting will be free to all veterans – bring your friends!

Congressman Brian Mast will Highlight our November 18th Lunch

Our guest speaker in November is District 18 Congressman Brian Mast.

Note: This meeting is on SATURDAY, not Wednesday.

Congressman Brian Mast

Please join us at the Airport Holiday Inn on Saturday November 18th. As this is our annual Salute to Veterans meeting, veterans eat free! Bring your friends.


Prior to his election to Congress, Brian followed in his father’s footsteps by serving in the U.S. Army for more than 12 years, earning medals including The Bronze Star Medal, The Army Commendation Medal for Valor, The Purple Heart Medal, and The Defense Meritorious Service Medal. While deployed in Afghanistan, he worked as a bomb disposal expert under the elite Joint Special Operations Command. The last improvised explosive device that he found resulted in catastrophic injuries, which included the loss of both of his legs.

While lying in bed recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center, Brian’s father gave him advice that has stuck with him to this day–to ensure the greatest service he gave to our country and the best example he set for his children was still ahead of him. Brian took this advice to heart and dedicated himself to finding new ways to serve our country and his community.

Brian remained on active duty following the injuries and provided expertise to the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms during his recovery process. After his retirement from the Army, he continued working in counter-terrorism and national defense as an Explosive Specialist with the Department of Homeland Security. Brian subsequently received a degree from the Harvard Extension School and volunteered to serve alongside the Israel Defense Forces to show support for the freedom Israel represents throughout the Middle East and the world.

In Congress, Brian strives to serve as he did on the battlefield: without regard for personal gain or personal sacrifice. He is a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where his priorities include fixing the pressing water quality issues stemming from Lake Okeechobee, and the Foreign Affairs Committee, where he uses his military expertise to help strengthen the safety and security of the United States.

Brian lives in Palm City, Fla. with his wife Brianna and three children, Magnum, Maverick and Madeline.

Saturday, November 18, 2017
Program Noon – 1PM, Buffet starts at 11:30AM

Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center

Palm Beach Airport
1301 Belvedere Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33405
Phone: 561-659-3880

$25/Members $30/Guests
Pay at the door.

Make sure you submit your RSVP in advance by clicking on our link below:

or by emailing info@gopclubpb.org, or by calling 561-855-0749.
  Please respect Club rules: Cell Phones Silenced, Business Casual Attire, Please No Jeans
Republican Club of the Palm Beaches
PO Box 2585
West Palm Beach, FL 33402
(561) 855-0749

Professor James Todd’s Views on the upcoming Supreme Court Term

The Supreme Court begins its next term on Monday, the thirteenth presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts. What can we expect?

Our speaker yesterday, PBAU Professor James Todd, who specializes in American governmental institutions and constitutional law, gave us his perspective.

Professor Todd listed the three areas that he is watching – the actions of new Justice Neil Gorsuch, a set of interesting cases they are likely to take up, and the possibility of resignations in the near future.

Justice Gorsuch, who took office in April and participated in the end of the last session has had an auspicious start. As promised by President Trump, he is very much in the mold of Antonin Scalia – a very conservative jurist. For those cases in which he participated, Judge Gorsuch staked out the most conservative positions, even going so far as to write his own opinion when he thought the majority did not go far enough.

On the travel ban case for example, while the court mostly removed the lower court injunction pending review in the fall, but modified the ban to allow for exceptions, Judge Gorsuch (along with Clarence Thomas) opined that the executive was not to be second guessed by the judiciary on matters of national security. He also strongly affirmed the principal of religious liberty in the Missouri playground case – where a religious school was denied government funding for safety improvements by a lower court. The upcoming session should be interesting to watch.

Upcoming cases that Professor Todd thought would be addressed by the court include:

  • The revised travel ban, after it makes its way through the lower court challenges. (The October hearing was canceled since the original ban ended and a modified one has been introduced that addresses some of the initial objections).
  • Partisan gerrymandering – do partisan state legislatures have the right to define districts so as to advantage a particular party. He expects that the court may conclude that there is no constitutional issue here – it is all politics and should be addressed at the ballot box rather than the courtroom.
  • The Colorado “wedding cake” case – does religious liberty allow a baker to refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding when in conflict with local anti-discrimination laws. The justice to watch in this case is Anthony Kennedy, who has typically been supportive of gay rights in other cases.
  • Gender segregated bathrooms
  • The Maryland AR-15 ban
  • The right to privacy in cell phone records. The court has already decided that a warrant is needed to search the contents of a cell phone, but not the records maintained by the carrier.
  • Should school boards be allowed to have a prayer at their meetings? Although the courts have ruled that governmental bodies (eg. city councils) may include a prayer, this issue turns on whether a school board is special because it is part of a school system (where prayer is precluded).

On the issue of retirements, Professor Todd lists the most likely in order as Anthony Kennedy (coming up on his 30th anniversary next year), Ruth Bader Ginsberg (at 84, the oldest justice, but would be loath to let Donald Trump pick her successor), Clarence Thomas, and Steven Breyer.

Please join us for the next meeting on October 25 for Daniel Peterson, Director of the Center for Property Rights of the James Madison Institute.

August Lunch Featured County Commissioner Steven Abrams

August speaker Commissioner Steven Abrams gave us a county update, and some musings on the events of the day today at the Airport Holiday Inn.

As a term-limited Commissioner with 15 months remaining, he described the difficulty in seeking higher office for any Republican in Palm Beach County. After a successful challenge by the League of Women Voters after the 2012 redistricting, in which coastal and inland districts (aligned with unique and different interests) were forced into two east/west districts with significant Democrat majorities, we are left with CD21 (Lois Frankel’s D+17 district) and CD22 (Ted Deutch’s D+14 district which is mostly in Broward). There is also Alcee Hasting’s minority interest district (CD20 which is D+49) and northern CD18 (R+3) which is already held by a Republican – Brian Mast.

Steven joked that Ted Deutch told him how his district had improved – with the Broward area he now has three “Century Villages” and two “King’s Points” – areas where Republicans are an endangered species.

When the redistricting for county offices was in the planning stages, he looked into expanding his district 4 north into Palm Beach (it now ends at South Palm Beach). (“At least he would get invited to better parties.”) Unfortunately, districts have to be contiguous and the minority interest district 7 needed a piece of the island to connect Riviera Beach and WPB sections to Boynton and Delray.

With reference to the unpleasantness surrounding the Mar-a-Lago bookings that have involved local pols, Steven said the county commission tries to stay out of the ‘ideological’ issues that churn in Tallahassee and Washington, and focus on the “pothole” issues – public safety, economic prosperity and quality of life.

In these areas, he described some ongoing projects – a golf development coming to non-aviation airport land, the shooting range being built on SFWMD land at Mecca Farms, and issues surrounding western development like the GL Homes projects and Minto’s “Town of Westlake”.

He also pitched his idea to realize a $15M savings in the budget (over several years), by NOT buying the SFWMD land in the Ag reserve that has been offered and which staff wants the county to purchase. He would rather see it sold to farming families and kept zoned for agriculture.


In other business:

– Fran mentioned that John Clark (one of our scholarship recipients) just got married.
– Our scholarship fund is depleted (please give!) and there will be a fundraiser later in the year.
– Linda Gore mentioned that “Furry Friends” is holding an event in Jupiter on Saturday from 9-3 where you will be able to watch dogs surfing.

Photos from Carol Porter:

     

Ann Roberts Scholarships Awarded

This year, we were able to fund five young scholars from the Anne Roberts Scholarship Fund – three past recipients who are continuing their studies and two new winners. Eligible applicants must be attending or plan to attend an accredited institution and have and maintain a 3.0 GPA. New applicants also submit a 500 word essay on the importance of a higher education.

The awards were presented by William M. B. Fleming, President of Palm Beach Atlantic University. In his remarks, Mr. Fleming contrasted his institution with others which have been in the press lately with riots, shutdowns of conservative speakers and other challenges to diverse thoughts and opinions. PBAU is “not burning”, he said, and there are no “safe speech zones” necessary.

Unlike those schools who feel it necessary to publicly pledge support for “discourse”, at PBAU they embrace those things that make us an exceptional nation. In the “American Free Enterprise Statement” he passed out:

PBAU “confidently affirms the values and institutions that historically have informed American society – religious liberty; traditional Judeo-Christian morality; limited constitutional government; the Rule of Law; personal and political accountability’; and capitalism – the system of free enterprise. We believe that America is truly an exceptional nation, which was founded and has flourished under the guiding providential hand of God.”

This year’s new winners are:

Madison Andrews, Palm Beach State University. Madison moved to West Palm Beach from Utah, and now attends Palm Beach State as a sophomore. She is involved in the PBS Art Alliance Club and Student Government Association. In high school she participated in Model United Nations and most recently, has worked with Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches and Associated General Contractors of America. Her passion is education as the basis of making changes in our country. To quote Madison, “The trouble with learning from experience is that you never quite graduate.” Her vision is to improve America’s education system by ensuring that students learn the pillars of Junior Achievement: financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship.

Jessica Blakely, Belmont University. Jessica, of North Palm Beach, returns to Belmont University in Nashville as a sophomore. While at Kings Academy in WPB, she was also enrolled at Palm Beach Atlantic University with courses in Public Speaking, Business and Algebra. She studied Spanish in Spain. Among her achievements, she was one of the winners of the PB POST Pathfinder Awards, a President of future Business Leaders, 2nd place winner at the PBA Entrepreneurship Challenge, and she created her own business “Make Up Doctor”. At Belmont, she was elected Congresswoman in the Student Government and participated in Intramural Volleyball. Jessica has volunteered in Haiti Missions, Belle Glade Missions, and Puerto Rico Missions, through the Christ Fellowship Office. Jessica aspires to study for a Doctorate and to work as an economic analyst at the Federal Reserve.

Returning scholars this year are:

Jenna Calderaio – Florida State University. Jenna, from Jupiter and the last of 5 children, enters her Sophomore Year at FSU where she is majoring in Business and Entrepreneurship. She was politically active with the 2015 Sunshine Summit in Orlando, witnessing 14 Presidential candidate presentations. She participates in FSU’s Republican’s Club and is very involved in the Catholic Student Union. Jenna has been selected to work on Missionary Core for the union this upcoming year. She is very active in the pro-life movement, participating in the March for Life this past January. She has plans to join the skeet and trap club and hopes to join the FBI upon graduation. This summer, she has an internship at Congressman Brian Mast’s office and another at Wall Financial Group.

Lauren Staff – University of Florida. Lauren of Palm Beach Gardens, is entering her Junior Year at UF majoring in telecommunications. She is passionate about sports and aspires to work with ESPN or FOX Sports after she attends UF Law School. Lauren has been a staff writer for the “Florida Alligator” newspaper and also works with ESPN Gainesville radio 95.3. She has been active in Student Government, Honor Society, and Future Business Leaders and she participated in “Support our Troops” of North Palm Beach at Dwyer high school.

Ryan Walker – Stetson Law. Ryan, of Wellington, graduated this year from UF majoring in political science. During his career he has spent time with the campaigns of Rep. Bill Hager, Governor Rick Scott, and Candidate Chuck Clemons of Gainesville. As a REC member in PB County, he was Chair of Western Community Development and worked on the campaigns of Mayor Anne Gerwig of Wellington, and Candidate Howard Coates. He was very active at UF in the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. Ryan will be attending Stetson Law School this fall.


Winner’s Table with Scholarship Chair Bette Anne Starkey. (Picture by Carol Porter).

Representative Rick Roth on the Legislative Session

The Florida Legislative session has just ended, and at our May meeting Representative Rick Roth, Florida House District 85, gave our members a helpful report on the new bills and issues.

Roth served on five committees, including Commerce, Pre-K (Education) Quality, and Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations. He explained that it was in committees that bad legislation could be stopped much more easily than on the floor of the House. He learned to appreciate how House Speaker Richard Corcoran set a very good tone for the legislative work. He also learned that there are twelve ways to kill a bill, but of course only one way to pass it–approval by both houses and the governor.

Some of the legislation he promoted, that is now waiting for Governor Scott’s signature, include revisions to the Certificate of Need required to build a medical facility (allowing a nursing home to add on a hospice–an increasing need in Florida); limiting funds for Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida bills, to add more transparency and accountability; passing a cap on the taxes for non-homesteaded property, and improving the Stand-Your-Ground immunity for self-defense.

Other legislation that was passed included more regulation of “sober homes,” a controlled substances act relating to opiod use, and insurance and non-discrimination regulations that apply to companies such as Uber and Lyft. A bill concerning choice and accountability in education increased public school funding, providing bonuses for exceptional teachers and help for low-performing schools.

Laws relating to medical marijuana did not get passed. Rep. Roth thinks that issue and the budget may be dealt with again in special sessions. He had reminded us at the beginning of his talk that none of the bills that were passed have yet been signed by the governor. (We will have to see what happens to them in the next few weeks.) It was a privilege to have Representative Roth at our meeting, and to learn about what was happening in Tallahassee from someone who is aptly representing us there.

Sid Dinerstein Talks about the Trump Victory

“Black People Vote on Sunday!” – with this thought, former county GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein laid out for us all the clues that were readily available to predict the election of Donald Trump.

Describing a conversation he had with his daughter in New Hampshire on November 7, the night before the election, Sid gave us some insights into the demographics of 2016 and how it differed from when Obama was running. While at the time he wasn’t sure how it would turn out, there were encouraging signs.

The re-election of Barack Obama in 2012 saw a turnout in the black community that exceeded white turnout for the first time (on a percentage basis). Many thought the Obama coalition would turn out for Clinton and insure her victory, but it was not to be. On the traditional “souls to the polls” day – the Sunday before the election, turnout in Palm Beach County was very heavy, but the proportion of black voters seemed to be less. (Editor’s note: In fact, 24% of the 23K voters on 11/6 self-identified in voter rolls as black, compared to 33% on 11/3/2012.) This was happening all across the country.

Another clue was the polling, much of it designed by the media to suppress Republican vote.

Zander Lurie, CEO of Survey Monkey (the company that provides much of the polling muscle for the mainstream media), was known to have contributed $600K to the Clinton campaign. All pollsters are not dishonest of course, but when you know how the boss wants the poll to come out it can have an effect.

There are many ways to diddle with poll results. One that was used was to adjust the outcome to reflect the demographics of the 2012 race. Another was to adjust where the polling was done. If I wanted to make the case that independents were supporting Clinton with big numbers, I could have polled them in Century Village. Since many “independents” have a tendency to vote just like their neighbors, independents in heavily Democrat areas will lean that way.

Survey guru Nate Silver has usually been right about outcomes, but he is an aggregator of polls, not a pollster himself. Thus, if the majority of the polls show a Trump defeat, than he was led to draw that conclusion.

An ironic side-effect of this bias in the polls was over confidence by the Clinton campaign. They had no internal polling of their own and believed the polls that were skewed to make them appear to be running away with it. As a result, they neglected to campaign in Wisconsin and Michigan, believing those states to be solidly in their camp.


Also at this meeting, we heard from Steve Hyatt who is running a “candidate school” for GOP candidates down in Plantation.

The next meeting will be April 26 for which we are trying to line up a speaker from the James Madison Institute.

If you live in Palm Beach Gardens or Jupiter, please remember their is a runoff election on March 28. Republican Joe Russo is the Republican in the Gardens Group 5 race, as is Ron Delany in Jupiter District 2.

  • Steve Hyatt Steve Hyatt
  • David and Tami Donnelly with Mercedes Garcia and Delia Garcia Menocal David and Tami Donnelly with Mercedes Garcia and Delia Garcia Menocal
  • Sid Dinerstein Sid Dinerstein
  • Nancy Hogan, Col. Arthur DeRuve Nancy Hogan, Col. Arthur DeRuve

     

An Analysis of the 2017 PBG Council Election

The March 14 municipal elections in Palm Beach Gardens yielded a pair of winners – Dr. Mark Marciano in Group 1 and Matthew Lane in Group 3. No candidate got a majority in the four way race in Group 5, so Rachelle Litt and Joe Russo will meet in a runoff on 3/28.

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