Lobster Fest 2017

Join us for Lobster Fest 2017. In addition to keynote speaker James O’Keefe, we will hear from Agriculture Commissioner and candidate for Governer Adam Putnam, Congressmen Brian Mast and Ron DeSantis, and State Senator Jack Latvala.

The Club has a table started at Headquarters under the name of Fran Hancock, so please call 561-686-1616 for reservations and say you are with the Republican Club of the Palm Beaches.

For more information, see lobsterfest.gop

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.

Municipal Candidates at February Lunch

February’s lunch featured PBC GOP Executive Director Ryan Hnatiuk in support of the Republican candidates this March at the city and town level.

Municipal elected officials are the key to keeping Florida a “red state” – it is the farm team for filling spots at higher levels. Just next year for example, district 4 County Commissioner Steven Abrams and FH89 Representative Bill Hager are both term limited and both districts will be challenging to hold. (Abrams CC4 seat is D+1, and Hager’s seat is R+2). Good candidates for both of these races are needed.

Ryan is working with candidates in Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, Highland Beach and Lake Worth this cycle, but cautions he cannot help if there are Republicans competing against each other (as in the Gardens group 5 race which includes Joe Russo and Kevin Easton).

Since municipal races are typically about non-partisan issues like roads, taxes, capital budgets, development, etc. – there is really no rationale to discourage anyone from running, but Republican voters should at least know which of the candidates are on our side. For this, Ryan directs you to the county GOP website at www.palmbeach.gop.

Present at the meeting were some of the Palm Beach Gardens candidates who are Republicans:


PBG Candidates Michael Paolercio (grp 1), Joe Russo (grp 5), Ron Berman (grp 3)

Committeeman Joe Budd Highlights January Lunch

Our January meeting was anchored by newly elected state committeeman Joe Budd.

Recently returned from Washington after having witnessed the swearing in of our new President, Joe related some anecdotes from a day filled with exuberance (like standing in line next to Diamond and Silk), and interpreted Donald Trump’s inauguration speech for us.

No one should be surprised at how Trump proceeds as President, as he has been remarkably consistent from the day of his announcement in June of 2015 right up to the executive orders he signed today. Joe was an early believer, jumping on the “Trump Train” in the summer of 2015 and serving as county Vice-Chair through the campaign.

Joe broke down the inaugural speech into five themes.

First, was an indictment of the DC establishment. He took direct aim at those seated around him and didn’t pull any punches.

Second, was the intention to transfer power to the people.

Third, a list of the policies he intends to enact – improve our schools, make neighborhoods safer, create jobs, stop the flow of drugs, insure fair trade and secure our borders. Anyone who is paying attention should note the progress on these fronts in the first days of the administration.

Fourth, a “New Vision”. Joe saw biblical references in this part, specifically from the book of Haggai, which deals with the rebuilding of the temple after a period when the people had lost their way (2:18 – “Consider now from this day forward..”).

And fifth, for all Americans, the beginnings of a national pride, where “we all bleed the same red blood of patriots”.

Joe also spoke about the state party and that he has secured a seat on the board, which along with County Chair (and state vice-chair) Michael Barnett, Peter Feaman and Cindy Tindall, gives the county 4 votes out of 33.

At the conclusion of Joe’s talk, past President Melissa Nash auctioned off some Inaugural paraphernalia that she brought back to raise money for the scholarship fund.


Next month’s meeting on Februrary 22 will feature County GOP Political Director Ryan Hnatiuk.

For those that live in Palm Beach Gardens, the club is co-sponsoring a candidate forum for the 9 city council candidates at the Gardens branch of the county library. The meeting will start at 6:15 on Tuesday, February 28 and will be moderated by WJNO radio host Brian Mudd.

Dimensional Harmony Brightens our December Lunch

Our Christmas lunch was enhanced by the sweet tones of Dimensional Harmony from Boynton Beach High School and their leader Sterling Frederick.

The a cappella chorus did a range of traditional Christmas songs, as well as some of their pop favorites, highlighted by some very excellent soloists.

The group will soon be performing at Carnegie Hall.

Mark your calendar’s for next month’s meeting on January 25 which will feature newly elected PBC Committeeman Joe Budd. Joe will discuss what to expect in the coming year, both from the Trump Administration and from RPOF.

Ballot Amendments Discussed at October Lunch

Clear differences of opinion were expressed by our speakers at the 2016 Ballot Question Forum, hopefully providing the information needed to cast a vote for all the right reasons.


Clockwise from upper left: Cindy Tindell, Richard Pinsky, Bianca Garza, Virginia Brooks, Fred Scheibl, Bill Perry

Kicked off by moderator Fred Scheibl, who gave an overview of the questions and drilled down on amendments 3 and 5, we had pro and con speakers for the solar amendment (1), medical marijuana (2) and the county sales tax increase.

Amendment 3, which adds totally and permanently disabled first responders to the list of groups getting extra homestead exemptions, is an enabling amendment. If passed, the legislature will have to fill in the details, including the amount of the exemption.

Amendment 5 is a tweak to the previously passed amendment which provides an extra homestead exemption to low income seniors by allowing the exemption to continue, even if rising valuations raise the home value above the $250K threshold.

On the Solar Energy Amendment 1, Cindy Tindell, Vice President of Nextera Energy (parent of Florida Power & Light) explained the amendment from the utilities point of view – that the desire is to not reimburse the retail price of energy to the generating consumer as is now the practice with net metering. Utility generating plants, with all their overhead, are only reimbursed at the wholesale energy price she explained, and it is unfair to treat solar generating consumers more favorably.

Not so fast, said Ackerman public policy manager Richard Pinsky. The energy that flows back into the grid from a net metering device is only returning the energy it has already paid for at the retail price. He compared the situation to a water company charging its customers for rainwater they collected in a barrel.

That the effect of the amendment turns on the pricing model for net metering was enlightening to some, as the ballot language only talks vaguely about “subsidizing the costs of backup power and electric grid access.” An old rule of thumb says that if the effect of an amendment or statute is not easily understood, there is probably a reason – vote no if there is any doubt.

For Medical marijuana amendment 2, which came very close to passing (57.6%) in 2014, Bianca Garza, Communications Director of United for Care made the case for the effectiveness of marijuana derivatives for many medical conditions and the safety and good results that have been experienced in the states that have implemented similar programs.

Opposing the amendment, Virginia Brooks took us through a list of considerations, including non precise administration amounts, sourcing of prescriptions outside of the pharmacy system, use of a prescription drug not vetted through clinical trials, access to the drugs by children in the household, and other potential problems.

Regarding the county sales tax increase to 7%, Bill Perry, CEO of Gunster and the incoming chairman of the PBC Economic Council made the case based on the need for a long list of infrastructure repairs, and the advantages that a sales tax has over borrowing the money with a bond issue.

Opposing the tax, Fred Scheibl, argued that the infrastructure shortfall could have been addressed in the normal budget process but a conscious choice was made to divert Engineering and Public Works funds to other priorities like employee raises (12.5% in 5 years), and the proposal comes on top of the highest property taxes in county history. The sales tax is a “blunt instrument” and will raise the $2.7B whether it is needed or not. A bond on the other hand (which can be used if the tax is defeated) can borrow only enough money to address the really critical needs.

For more information on the ballot amendments and sales tax question, see our voters guide to the ballot questions.

Peter Feaman Gives His Views on Donald Trump

Peter Feaman, Florida Committeeman to the Republican National Committee, gave the September lunch meeting crowd his perspective on the 2016 elections.

Admitting that Donald Trump was not his first choice (or second, or third, or…..), Peter now says he is firmly on the Trump Train, given the alternative would be so devastating to the country. Many other elites are slowly coming around now, even some of the diehard Bush people, including Donald Rumsfeld and Ari Fleischer in recent days. (By one recent poll, more than 90% of Republicans nationally are supporting Donald Trump).

In Peter’s view, it is the backlash against the do-nothing Republicans in Washington that is driving the Trump movement. After major gains in the House in 2010, the Senate in 2014, and state offices all across the country, there has been no effective opposition to the Obama agenda, and we are losing bigtime on the economy and the culture. It is a new populist revolt – mirrored by the Brexit vote in the UK.

Trump is the only candidate fighting the corrosiveness of political correctness, the dangers of Islamic terrorism and the invasion of illegal immigrants, and he is taking his message to places Republicans have just not gone – from the Black churches in the inner city to the Hispanic enclaves of Little Havana.

There are four requirements needed to maintain a strong country – secure borders, a common language, a shared culture, and a single strong currency. Only one candidate sees and will act on this principle.

Also at the meeting were Debbie Maken, a surrogate for her husband Sonny Maken, running for Port Commissioner, and Cindy Hite for the Rick Roth campaign (FH85).

Next month’s meeting will address the pros and cons of the five ballot questions we will decide in November – including medical marijuana, solar energy regulations and the county’s proposed 1 cent sales tax. Don’t miss it!

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