Last Wednesday, the Republican Executive Committee held its bi-monthly meeting at the Palm Beach County Governmental Center. The agenda for the June meeting was exciting and substantive. The REC welcomed Colonel Mike McCallister, who is running in the Republican primary and hopes to ultimately join Marco Rubio as a United States Senator from the great state of Florida. McCallister spoke of his deep concern over the expansion of Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law, and the threats that they pose to both the United States and its allies abroad. He also expressed great passion about our nation’s fiscal status, calling for an end to the era of ever-increasing government spending. This election season is shaping up to be exciting and important, as McCalister challenges formidable Senate hopefuls, Mike Haridopolos, George LeMieux and Adam Hasner, for the chance to go to Washington and usher in a new age of robust economic growth and increased prosperity for all Americans.
The REC also took up a discussion over the issue of illegal immigration and the proposed e-verify procedures considered during the last legislative session in Tallahassee. The topic proved for a lively debate, as members expressed competing perspectives on the proposed legislation. While some touted the law as a viable and necessary means of combating illegal immigration and the associated dangers, others observed that the new law will impose upon Florida businesses an added and substantial cost of doing business which, like most government regulation over private industry, will limit the ability of Florida businesses to compete, create jobs, and grow our local economy. The debate served as a reminder of the great importance of public discourse, so that we can fully appreciate the complexity of the issues facing our society and ensure that our state and nation can move forward instead of backward in the coming election cycle.
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.
The monthly PBC Republican Executive Committee meeting was filled to the brim with attendees, information and candidates.
State Senator Paula Dockery was scheduled as the guest speaker but her staff called informing she was unable to attend. Therefore, former Palm Beach Gardens Councilman Hal Valeche was asked to speak about our county’s financial issues and the Taxpayer Action Network (TaxpayerActionNetwork.com).
Mr. Valeche expressed deep concern for our country and our county. Pensions are underfunded and solutions must be found that do not involve property taxes. We must demand that programs be cut.
In 2002, 2003, property values were up 15% and our commissioners spent the increases. Now, property values have dropped 15% and there is a shortage. Most of the monies are designated for government employees’ salaries and benefits. That cost has doubled over the past 5/6 years. We are dealing with a boom size government and a bust size budget, $120,000,000.00 short.
70% of local government monies is for the government employee – salaries, pensions and benefits. Soon our personnel cost will consume all of the budget (i.e. CA and NY).
The excuse that if we cut the budget we must cut services is a scare tactic. Currently, the dollars are going to the employees, not for the service. We must reduce the cost of producing services. Government workers are paid more than private workers. A 10% pay cut and the same level of service is a solution.
YOU are needed. We must have a LARGE group to send messages to councilmen, commissioners, representatives and congressmen. YOU are needed to attend the meetings and to voice your opinions. Go to taxpayeractionnetwork.com and become a fan on Facebook.
Also discussed was the Fire Rescue Sales Surtax. Palm Beach Councilman Bill Diamond reported that the City of Palm Beach voted NO on the tax and to remove $42,000,000.00 from pensions. (THANK YOU, PB!)
We are not a servant to the government. The government is a servant for the people.
Chairman Sid Dinerstein announced that Abacoa Town Center is in foreclosure and CityPlace will most likely follow suit. He also shared that in April, the Federal deficit has consistently shown a surplus due to tax receipts. 2009 was the first year to show a deficit – $20,000,000,000. This April, 2010, the deficit is $80,000,000,000.
Gold is rising.
After Pres. Obama’s call to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the bailout for Greece increased from $20,000,000,000 to $1,000,000,000,000 (That’s $20B to $1T, if you don’t care to count the zero’s.)
Mark Hoch discussed Judicial Code of Conduct for Campaigns. Candidates for judgeship may attend club meetings but all candidates must be invited. They cannot attend fund raisers. Please call Mr. Hoch if you have any questions. He encouraged the clubs to be within the law for the consequences to the candidates are severe.
To answer concerns over the difficulty of truly knowing where a judge stands on issues, Jack Furnari reminded the committee that every year, following research, he produces the Jack Furnari GOP Voter’s Guide which include Judgeships.
Chairman Dinerstein congratulated Jack Furnari on his excellent Sun Sentinal Blog. Palm Beach Post writer, George Bennett recently published that Mr. Furnari was the first to suggest Gov. Charlie Crist would switch from R to NPA. http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/theslant/blog/jack_furnari/
State Committeewoman Fran Hancock announced the National RNC Conference will be held in Tampa, August 27, 2012. At the recent special Executive Board meeting held in Tallahassee, Jim Greer was formally removed from the party. Under Senator Thrasher’s leadership, the party raised $7,250,000. An oil painting of Gov. Crist sold on ebay for $6,700. Mrs. Hancock reviewed Rule 9 – REC members are prohibited from supporting NPA candidates. You may personally support contested primary candidates but not as a Committeeman/woman. You must formally revoke support of Crist and ask for return of donations.
State Committeeman Peter Feaman is impressed with Senator LeMieux sincerity and his 100% support of Marco Rubio. Mr. Feaman will be our speaker, May 26 for Right Nights.
Chairman Dinerstein explained how the Fire Tax Swap is the latest scheme from our PBC Commissioners. The AVERAGE salary for fire/rescue employee is $114.617. The suggestion is the 1% sales tax will be taken out of the budget – a swap – it will lower property taxes. The problem is 1) they are under no obligation to lower taxes and 2) if they did, it would more than likely only last one year. The BCC has done nothing to help homeowners nor create jobs. The average county employee makes $92,000 while the private sector average is $54,000. The gap must be reduced.
The REC unanimously passed the following resolution:
TAX SWAP RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, Palm Beach County has an unemployment rate above 12%; and,
WHEREAS, Palm Beach County has one of the highest Foreclosure rates in the State of Florida: and,
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Palm Beach County seeks to raise sales taxes by 17% (from 6 to 7 cents) for the express purpose of removing the Fire and Rescue expenses from the Property Tax budget; and,
WHEREAS, such removal is not guaranteed to lower property taxes now or in the future; and,
WHEREAS, said Commissioners want to hold this referendum in August in an attempt to “blindside” the electorate into ignoring this ill conceived significant tax increase; and,
WHEREAS, said Commissioners have a proven record of high annual tax increases with no intention of being fiscally responsible,
RESOLVED, the Republican Party of Palm Beach County strongly OPPOSES this job killing, foreclosure causing Sales Tax increase; and,
Furthermore, RESOLVED, the Republican Party of Palm Beach County strongly OPPOSES the placing of this Referendum on an August date as an attempt to fool the taxpayers into ignoring this major tax increase.
Heather Landstrom encouraged everyone to go to nonewsalestax.org (THANK YOU, FRED SCHEIBL!) to get informed and to get involved.
Philip Nicozisis, Christopher Kammerer and Michele M. Poole were elected to the REC.
Committeeman John Parson requested an amendment to PBC REC Constitution. He would like the County Executive Committee to consist of members from each precinct instead of each district. He implored us to be more organized for the upcoming elections. The districts are too large to organize.
Committeeman Jack Furnari moved to table the request until December when multiple studies could be presented to the REC.
Mr. Parsons requested a roll call vote rather to table or not; 44 voted to table and 66 voted no. Since several committee members left the meeting early, Mr. Parsons agreed to postpone vote until the June meeting. REC members approved.
The meeting concluded with candidate speeches and member announcements.
Chairman Sid Dinerstein called the meeting to order and the customary business items were reviewed.
The Resolution to Oppose the Ballot Initiative 07-15 and 07-16 was discussed and voted upon.
The resolution read as follows:
Whereas FairDistrictsFlorida.org has filed two proposed constitutional amendments by the Florida ballot initiative process – one dealing with Congressional Redistricting (Serial No. 07-15) and the other with Legislative Redistricting (Serial No. 07-16) – to amend the Florida Constitution; and
Whereas the Supreme Court of Florida has approved the language of these ballot petitions on January 29, 2009; and
Whereas each ballot initiative has obtained the required 676,811 valid petitions to qualify for the ballot in 2010; and
Whereas each of petitions has been approved for the ballot by the Florida Department of State; and
Whereas SEIU has donated $200,000 toward getting these ballot initiatives passed in 2010, and other labor unions, individuals and groups have donated more than $2.5 million to support these initiatives; and
Whereas these initiatives, if adopted, are vaguely worded directives that will cause court challenges to otherwise valid elections; and
Whereas these initiatives are not necessary to achieve properly apportioned Congressional or State Legislative Districts;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee has determined that it must oppose these initiatives and educate voters not to support them; and
IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee Board of Directors provide copies of this Resolution to the Republican Party of Florida, urge the adoption of a similar resolution by the RPOF, and provide educational support in favor of its purposes.
The resolution was passed 89 to 6.
ELECTION TO FILL REC VACANCIES:
For the first time as Chairman, Sid Dinerstein asked the committee not to elect an individual to the REC. Derek Black is the son of Don and Chloe Black. Don Black is the creator and current webmaster of the Stormfront website. According to Wikipedia, the website is considered the internet’s first major hate site, and remains one of the most popular. It is formatted from the Black’s home in WPB. Don Black was a member of the American Nazi Party in the 1970s. In 1978, Mr. Black became the Grand Wizard of the KKK. Chloe’s former husband, David Duke, was the previous Grand Wizzard of the Ku Klux Klan and is a mentor to Mr. Derrick Black. Because of Mr. Black’s youth, Chairman Dinerstein expressed hope that in time, Mr. Black will reject the teachings he has learned at home.
Derek Black told the Committee he would drop his law suit against the REC if elected. After the secret ballots were counted, Mr. Black was not approved for REC membership, 87 no, 19 yes and 4 no votes.
Jeb Bush Jr, was the scheduled guest speaker to speak on behalf of Marco Rubio. He was unable to attend.
Bonnie Re reported there will be phone banking for Marco Rubio and to please volunteer.
LTC COL ALLEN WEST:
Sue Snodden reported Col. Allen West’s campaign submitted 9,000 petitions, double the number required, to qualify for the District 22 election. The grand opening of Col. West’s campaign headquarters will be Saturday, April 17, 9:30AM to 12:30PM at 140 N. Federal Hwy, Deerfield Beach, FL.
Marie Davis, will be hosting a meet and greet at here home for Allen West. $95-$175 for a paella dinner at the Davis’ home. Date to be confirmed.
Former President of Haiti’s Senate, is running against Alcee Hastings, Dist. 22 seat. District 22 is the poorest district covering 5 counties. Stay tune to volunteer for his campaign!
Mr. Budd is planning to run, but hasn’t decided in which race. He is interested in hearing from you. Email him at email@example.com.
RPOF (Republican Party of Florida):
A private meeting of the Executive Board will be held this weekend. Speculation is finances, direction and a possible law suit from former Chairman Jim Greer will be discussed.
Since Senator JOHN THRASHER was elected Chair, $1.4 million has been raised. $1 million was also donated during ALLAN BENSE’s interim.
The meeting was adjourned.
Highlights from your Board:
**Attorney General Bill McCollum (Candidate for Gov.) stopped by to speak to us:
1) 11.9% FL Unemployment
2) Jobs are created by small businesses; government sets the climate
3) If the Federal Governtment requires us to purchase health insurance, as AG, Mr. McCollum will sue the Fed. Gov’t!
4) Platform – Lower taxes, Reasonable regulations, Education, Litigation reform
5) Tourism and Agriculture must be strong in FL
6) To Resolve – Homeowner’s Insurance, Property Taxes and Water
**REC Chair Sid Dinerstein:
PBC has 12.5% unemployment
Chairman Dinerstein had warned the County Commissioners when they raised the property taxes by 20% – we will be in debt. Debt = $70,000,000.00+
$92,000 = average PBC government employee’s salary and benefits
$52,000 = average PBC private employee’s salary and benefits
**REC Vice Chair Beth Kigel:
VOTE NO ON 4
Presentation against Hometown Democracy Amendment
For more information, go to FLORIDA2010.org
**George Blumel (standing in for Phil Blumel):
Sen. Jim DeMint, SC has sponsored a term limit amendment
Supports term limits for National and Local officials
**TARS – Teenage Republicans Club
President John Clark received a $500 check from Boynton Beach Republican Club
**Bill Skinner – Ballot Initiative Resolution
To be voted on at April REC meeting