Manjarres Mayhem and Deutch Deceit? Weird Congress Race

The congressional race in Florida’s 22nd district is getting weird. Incumbent Ted Deutch, a West Boca resident, recently sent a misleading e-mail to his supporters referencing prospective challenger Javier Manjarres. Manjarres is a Republican living in Fort Lauderdale.

Continue reading “Manjarres Mayhem and Deutch Deceit? Weird Congress Race”

West Boca Congressional District Lines: Deutch and Frankel

Congress members Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel
Congress members Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled on challenges to congressional district lines. For statewide coverage you can read more in the Miami Herald. Meanwhile Sunshine State News reports that Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel will switch districts under the new plan.
As we read the Florida Supreme Court’s opinion, the district lines for West Boca (Districts 21 and 22) will follow the “CP-1 plan” (“Coalition Plaintiffs”):

The trial court found that CP-1 … was preferable with respect to Districts 21 and 22. … CP-1 creates a more tier-two compliant configuration of the two districts. … Compared to the Legislature’s proposal, Districts 21 and 22 in CP-1 are more visually compact. … CP-1 also keeps the cities of Boynton Beach, Lake Worth, and Lantana whole within District 21, and keeps Deerfield Beach whole within District 22, whereas those municipalities are split in the Legislature’s proposal.

We were able to combine district maps with Google Maps to create a clearer view of the lines locally. Here’s how it looks for West Boca (extending a bit into East Boca):

District line overlay with underlying image and map data from Google Maps
District line overlay with underlying image and map data from Google Maps

The area in green, mostly west of the Turnpike and north of the Boca-Delray line, is in District 21. The area in pink, east of the Turnpike and south of Delray, is in District 22. There is a small area in zip code 33496 where the line gets weird, splitting up both the St. Andrews Country Club and the Polo Club communities.
33496 district line overlay on image and map data from Google Maps.
33496 district line overlay on image and map data from Google Maps.

Most of St. Andrews will be in District 21 with a small and oddly shaped sliver on Clint Moore going to District 22. For Polo Club the northwest section goes to District 21. The east section goes to 22 except for another oddly shaped section on the Delray line that goes to 21.
Congressman Deutch, who lives in Boca Falls at the far west end of Glades Road – District 21 – plans to run for the seat in District 22. Florida does not require its representatives in Congress to live within their district, but many politicians in this situation choose to move into the district. We would not be surprised to see him move somewhere east of the Turnpike.
Below are additional images and documents for the new district lines.
District lines for Palm Beach and Broward
PDF of the CP-1 district lines for all of southeast Florida. We did not review the Supreme Court decision for anything other than Districts 21 and 22, so we’re not sure if the rest of these apply.
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Foundation Scholarships to Local Students

All photos by Carlos Aristizabal
The Eda and Cliff Viner Community Scholars Foundation awarded 18 four-year scholarships to local students this week. This first Annual Award Ceremony took place at Boca West Country Club on Sunday, June 14th.

Floor: Maia Groman, Congressman Deutch, Nusrat Noor, Amanda Hirschman. Sitting: Adina Hoffman, Lauren Brito, Wenda Fils-Aime, Eda Viner, Natalia Leal, Fernanda Rodriguez, and Teagan Murphy.  Standing: Lucas de Carvalho, Maribel Dupont-Bedolla, Raquel Dunn, Megan Rahnama, Shaaz Feldman, Cliff Viner, Isaac Azoalos, Travis Young, Javier Gomez, and Brett Wolff.
Floor: Maia Groman, Congressman Deutch, Nusrat Noor, Amanda Hirschman. Sitting: Adina Hoffman, Lauren Brito, Wenda Fils-Aime, Eda Viner, Natalia Leal, Fernanda Rodriguez, and Teagan Murphy. Standing: Lucas de Carvalho, Maribel Dupont-Bedolla, Raquel Dunn, Megan Rahnama, Shaaz Feldman, Cliff Viner, Isaac Azoalos, Travis Young, Javier Gomez, and Brett Wolff.

“We are offering not only financial assistance,” says Foundation Co-Founder Cliff Viner. “But we are also providing a comprehensive mentor program to keep students on-track, so they can graduate and then go on to fulfill the promise they’ve all shown.”
The students awarded these scholarships came from: Atlantic Community High School, Boca Raton Community High School, Donna Klein Jewish Academy, Olympic Heights Community High School, Spanish River Community High School, Weinbaum Yeshiva, and West Boca Community High School.
Eda Viner, Congressman Deutch, Wenda Fils-Aime (scholarship recipient), Ruthe N. Francis, Assistant Principal Atlantic Community High School, and Cliff Viner
Eda Viner, Congressman Deutch, Wenda Fils-Aime (scholarship recipient), Ruthe N. Francis, Assistant Principal Atlantic Community High School, and Cliff Viner

The Award Ceremony featured U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch (a West Boca resident) as the speaker. Foundation Co-Founders, Eda and Cliff Viner, presented the awards.
“The purpose of this program is to work with the most dedicated and talented students, some of whom don’t have the financial means to fulfill their potential.” says Eda Viner, Foundation Co-Founder. “This will not only assist students and their families, but also greatly benefit our own community.”
The program accepts applications from students who achieved at least a 3.50 unweighted GPA, performed substantial community service, and were from families that required significant financial assistance. This scholarship will be a “last dollar” scholarship to cover tuition not already covered by financial aid, and will provide assistance with room and board as well as daily living expenses.
Cliff Viner, Fernanda Rodriguez (scholarship recipient), and Eda Viner
Cliff Viner, Fernanda Rodriguez (scholarship recipient), and Eda Viner

Eda Viner is a realtor with Sotheby’s. Her husband Cliff is a businessman, investor and hedge fund manager. He was the general partner of the Florida Panthers ownership group until they sold the franchise in 2013. He is a member of the B’nai Torah congregation in West Boca. He has a substantial history of philanthropy as well as bipartisan campaign contributions.

Candidate Forum at Temple Beth El: October 28th

Temple Beth El in East Boca will host a candidate forum that includes a number of races affecting West Boca. The event will include the leading candidates in a few “hot” races.
For Congress, Paul Spain faces off against Lois Frankel. Ellyn Bogdanoff and Maria Sach are contesting for State Senate. At the State House level, Bill Hager and David Silvers are on the ballot. And for County Commission Steven Abrams is being challenged by Andy O’Brien. All eight of these candidates are confirmed to answer questions at the forum.
The event starts at 7 pm on Tuesday, October 28th at Temple Beth El’s main campus at 333 SW 4th Avenue (between Palmetto Park Road and Camino Real), and is put on in partnership with the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County. The sponsors are 501(c)(3) non-profits and neither support nor oppose any candidates.

Others expected to take the stage include Congressmen Alcee Hastings (opponent not confirmed) and Ted Deutch (unopposed); CFO candidate William Rankin (opponent not confirmed); State Rep. candidates Stuart Mears (opponent not confirmed), Dave Kerner (unopposed) and Lori Berman (unopposed).
Disclosure: The author of this article is a member of the committee setting up this forum.

Big Crowd at Olympic Heights for School District Forum

An estimated 400 people showed up to the school district’s event at Olympic Heights High School on Lyons Road north of Glades. The meeting was for discussing the school board’s Resolution on Accountability. Slides from the presentation are at the bottom of this article.
The resolution has mysteriously disappeared from the school district website, and of course they ran out of English language copies of it. Plenty of Spanish language ones were available. However we were able to find a copy of it online at Diane Ravitch’s blog.
The resolution is lengthy but basically it seeks to limit the impact of testing on education. We give credit to the school district staff for keeping their presentation reasonably brief, and then allowing the audience members to speak.
Many of the audience commenters were teachers, though there were also students and parents. The group below spoke toward the end of the event.
An Olympic Heights junior, below, spoke early on.
And this 5th grader spoke well about the pressure of testing and the uncomfortable experience it has been for her.
There were other kids in the audience:
One of the teachers who spoke identified himself as the chair of West Boca High’s Language Arts Department, Noel Levin.
Generally the speakers read from prepared statements and were well received by the audience. The main complaints seemed to be about testing, curricula, and teacher pay. The “Common Core” buzzword came up repeatedly.
It seemed that a couple of things were missing. First, while the complaints were coherent, there did not seem to be a clear solution. Second, the resolution and much of the comments addressed federal and state issues beyond the power of the school board, but there was virtually no presence from state and federal officials.
There was one exception to that, as State Rep. Irving Slosberg took the microphone and gave a rousing speech encouraging people to vote out Rick Scott and the Republicans in Tallahassee and “change the management” in state government.

Irving Slosberg (far left); School Board candidate Tom Sutterfield 2nd from right
Irving Slosberg (far left); Board candidate Sutterfield 2nd from right

We spoke with Slosberg outside. We asked whether the problems people are complaining about (testing, curricula, common core, etc.) were brought about by both parties and he didn’t answer that directly. He focused on teacher pay, blaming Republicans for it being so low. We also asked about Charlie Crist’s role in the FCAT and Slosberg said that was in the past. He clearly did not like our questions and stuck to his partisan message. Regardless, we appreciate that he showed up and so did the audience.
A few other state and federal elected officials live close by but didn’t come. Early on we “tweeted” to Ted Deutch and Kevin Rader on Twitter but they did not respond.
Slides from the presentation are below:
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Questions to Ted Deutch & Lois Frankel on Climate Change

Political talk about climate change is heating up again (pun intended). A friend just sent us this scare piece from the New York Times. The two members of Congress who represent West Boca and most of Palm Beach County are our neighbor Ted Deutch and also Lois Frankel.
Frankel posted this yesterday on Facebook:

Deutch is a member of Henry Waxman’s Safe Climate Caucus.
We could get into a discussion of whether climate change is real or not, but that’s unnecessary. Let’s suppose it’s genuine – that human emissions of carbon into the atmosphere are changing and indeed have changed the climate, putting us all at risk and threatening to flood much of southeast Florida.
The New York Times article says:

the only major policy solutions to climate change [are] taxing or regulating the oil, gas and coal industries

But these are not solutions. Such policies might reduce increases in carbon emissions or maybe they would even reduce total carbon emissions. In the “science” advanced by the climate change community, this would not stop global warming. It would merely slow it a little.
To solve the problem, we would have to stop carbon emissions (and even that might not be enough). That means eliminating all use of these fossil fuels. To avoid economic collapse, these sources of energy would have to be replaced. So we have a few questions.
Dear Representatives Deutch and Frankel:
1. Where in Palm Beach County do you propose to locate the nuclear power plants, solar farms and wind farms necessary to replace the energy we will lose from not using oil, gas and coal?
2. Leading electric car maker Tesla faces lawsuits from car dealerships opposing their business model. Electric cars will be necessary in the post-carbon world you advocate. The UAW is fighting their labor model.
What are you doing in Congress to remove such obstacles to electric cars?
3. One of the largest carbon emitters in our country is the federal government. What government activities are you willing to eliminate? Do you support bringing all US troops home from overseas? Are you prepared to end drug prohibition and your war on guns by closing the DEA and ATF?
4. Even if we stop carbon emissions from the US, we would need other countries to stop their carbon emissions too. How do you propose to get China and Russia to stop carbon emissions?
We’ll send this to Deutch and Frankel via Twitter, but we invite our readers to offer their thoughts in the comments, either here or on the West Boca News Facebook page.
Please note that we will keep a tight rein on comments – stick to the issues and stay away from partisan shots, name calling or profanity. Also, there will be no discussion about whether climate change is real or not. Have those conversations elsewhere. This post assumes for the sake of argument that it is real and the discussion is limited to what would actually stop it and how to get it done. So stick to the five questions above.

Venezuela Demonstration in West Boca

This afternoon dozens of West Boca residents gathered on the southwest corner of 441 and Glades in a demonstration related to the current unrest in Venezuela.
Woman with sign: Pray for Venezuela
Large demonstrations began in Miami roughly four days ago, covered yesterday by NBC Miami. Certain areas of South Florida are known for having large Venezuelan populations, especially Weston (jokingly referred to as Westonzuela). Boca Raton is better known for its large Jewish population. West Boca has prominent Brazilian and Colombian communities. Apparently Venezuelans are growing here, as shown by today’s demonstration. However, it’s too soon to call it Bocazuela.

We talked to several of them. This demonstration was led by students, both from the local high schools (one mentioned Spanish River) as well as area colleges including FAU. They were emphatic about the government murdering and raping people as well as the lack of press freedom. A few noted that they enjoy much greater freedom here in the US, as evidenced by today’s protest.
We asked why they were doing this in West Boca, and why now. The timing results from the protests in Miami and recent events in Venezuela. And they’re doing this in West Boca because it’s difficult for many of them to get to Miami, and because they feel it’s important to spread the word to a larger audience. A larger demonstration will take place tomorrow (Tuesday) at the FAU main entrance at 4 pm.
Several seemed unaware who their congressman was. Congressman Ted Deutch lives roughly two miles away, near West Boca High. Having heard the name, one young man indicated he was involved with some kind of student caucus connected with Deutch. He hadn’t thought to contact the congressman but said he would reach out to him now.
It will be interesting to see if Deutch says or does anything. A search of the Deutch page on reveals zero results about “Maduro” (Nicolas Maduro is the current leader of Venezuela), zero about “Chavez” (Hugo Chavez was the previous leader) and nothing meaningful about “Venezuela.” Deutch is known for being staunchly pro-Israel but it’s unclear if he has any guiding principles to his foreign policy views or how they might apply to what’s going on in Venezuela now.
The Palm Beach Sheriff had a noticeable presence with three deputies. They told us they noticed the gathering during a routine patrol and were not sent because of any calls. They expressed their support for the right of citizens to demonstrate and were focused on making sure they were able to do so in a peaceful fashion. The deputies kept their distance and were polite.
We were alerted to the event around 4 pm. The photos were taken by this article’s author before 5 pm. We confirmed that the demonstration was effectively over at 6:15 pm when another member of our team drove by.