Americans for Prosperity in Boca – August 18th

Political group Americans for Prosperity will have a grand opening of their new Boca Raton Action Center on August 18th. Doors open 10 am with program starting at 11. Victoria Jackson from Saturday Night Live will be there along with other speakers.
It’s at 3200 N. Federal Highway, Suite 215. They will serve coffee and bagels.
AFP has a Five for Florida agenda.
RSVP to [email protected].

Report from Tea Party Candidate Night

Seventeen candidates came tonight to an event put on by the Boca Chapter of the PBC Tea Party and South Florida 912.
The candidates were:
Gary Nikolits – Property Appraiser
Susan Bucher – Supervisor of Elections
James Martz – Circuit Judge (arrived late)
Jody Lane – Circuit Judge
Sharon Bock – Clerk of Court
Joe Talley – Sheriff
Peter Feaman – GOP State Rep
Cindy Tindell – GOP State Rep
Tom Thayer – Beach and Park District
Mike Lameyer – State Senate 34
Fran Hancock – GOP State Rep
Cleamond Walker – Sheriff
Melanie Peterson – State Senate 25
Timothy McCarthy – Circuit Judge
Lisa Epstein – Clerk of Court
Margherita Downey – Circuit Judge
Peter Evans – County Judge
Robert Weinroth – Property Appraiser (arrived late)
Question for candidates – what are top issues, and how can Tea Party hold you accountable on those?
It’s not clear if judge candidates can really answer that.
Candidates not to mention their opponent. The question is: What will you do?
Susan Bucher, Supervisor of Elections: Early voting at West Boca Library on 441 is open until Saturday.
Returned almost $10M of taxpayer money to the county. Saved money on a warehouse, and other contracts. Explained problems with Wellington, seemed very clear and thoughtful. Good speaker.
Judge candidates:
Jody Lane: Litigator doing civil and criminal work, past prosecutor. Worked on Wall Street. Served on Palm Beach Gardens council. Kept taxes down. Says they were fiscally responsible.
Spoke well.
Timothy McCarthy: Has been judge for 14 years. Was a federal prosecutor and state prosecutor. Board certified civil trial lawyer and business litigator. Chair of grievance committee. AV rated. Former mayor of Lake Park Shores.
As judge, started summary civil trials – helps resolve some cases more quickly. Settles over 80% of them. Saves hundreds of days of jury trials, and a lot of money – hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Would become a senior judge in 3 years, costing 1/3 of what a regular judge costs.
Sharon Bock: Elected 2004 and again 2008. Talked about transparency and accountability. Website provides access to court records. Office is ministerial – ensure integrity of records.
Also chief financial officer of county, as comptroller. Has uncovered millions through audits. Manages county portfolio. 6 offices, 750 employees.
Attorney, ran businesses for 25 years. Another good speaker.
Lisa Epstein: Protect America as a free society.
Mother and RN. Uncovered financial fraud –
Citizen advocate. Concerned about fraudulent documents filed with clerk.
Spoke about wasteful lawsuits.
Seemed passionate and interesting but her message was unclear. Perhaps it’s more clear on her website.
Joe Talley: Openness and integrity. Budget is currently not transparent. Will put it online.
Sheriff can go after corrupt practices in area governments. Would open door to inspector general.
Gangs – get rid of waste and put those resources on the streets.
Human trafficking is a big concern here.
Get national accreditation.
Reduce bullying and intimidation that currently comes from the current office leadership.
Audience liked him.
Cleamond Walker: Promote kids. Streamline budget. Some people will lose jobs but that’s necessary because of budget problems.
Fight drugs. Listen to the people – admitted he’s not a good speaker but says he’s a good listener.
Would not try to take over work in the cities.
Seemed pleasant but his message was not at all clear.
County CourtJudge Peter Evans. Judge for past 24 years. Joke about his own weight got many laughs.
Experience in all area courts. 2005 statewide award as county judge. Trains judges. Served at National Judicial College.
Tax dollars – did an online course saving cost of hotels etc. Florida tax watch award. Pushing for online translation to save more.
Circuit Judge
James Martz: Judge appointed by Jeb Bush 2000, elevated to Circuit by Charlie Crist (audience hissed – Crist very unpopular in the Tea Party).
“Put wood on the woodpile”. Worked as police officer, prosecutor.
Worked on overcrowding. Technology committee. Doing more with less.
Reduced wait for divorce from 14 months to 6 months, by working with the lawyers.
Son works for SpaceX, other son new police officer in Boca.
Margherita Downey: “When good men are silent, evil triumphs.”
Never run for office before.
1980 award as outstanding young woman. 8th female state trooper in FL. 12 years law enforcement experience.
Experience as an attorney. Adoptive mother. Four pro bono service awards.
Running against a judge takes a lot of courage.
Serves as volunteer youth court judge.
Not a dynamic speaker but well received by the audience.
“Put a heart back in family court.”
I had a chance to speak with Ms. Downey at the end. She pointed to concerns about Judge Martz, and a video of him in court.
I will do a further post about this race in the next day or so.
GOP State Committee Woman
Cindy Tindell: Grew up in Alaska. Life long Republican, worked in Reagan White House. VP at Nextera. Active in GOP politics.
Need to reinvigorate GOP leadership. New media, technology, reach out to younger voters. In PBC we’ve lost “market share”. Reemphasize core Republican values.
Stressed opening GOP budget to public. A persuasive point and audience applauded.
Fran Hancock: Endorsed by all GOP officials, including a 19-year-old young republican club leader.
Young people the farm team for our future.
Experience in the grass roots is important.
Budget is private because we don’t want the Dems to know what GOP does with it’s money.
Both candidates received applause.
GOP State Committee Man
Peter Feaman (website?): Principle over party. Criticized Obama.
Property Appraiser
Gary Nikolits (campaign website?): Talked about uncovering corruption when he was young. Kept spending down as Riviera Beach city councilman in 1970s.
2006 – Issue over certain properties. Wrote “culture of corruption” letter that changed county commission.
Appraiser’s office – no raises in past 5 years.
Robert Weinroth: Opportunity to reduce costs.
Homestead fraud – people getting homestead objection but shouldn’t.
Other counties cracking down on this and it’s a lot of money. That lowers taxes for the rest of us.
PBC is way behind other counties on this.
See my further discussion of this issue, after speaking with Nikolits and Weinroth after the event.
Circuit Judge Ron Alvarez:
Joke about being short got laughs.
Judge for 19 years. Trial lawyer for 20 years. 13 years as judge with juvenile division. Held them accountable. He also held agencies accountable that are supposed to help the kids.
Juvenile residential programs are expensive and not good for the kids. Worked to find ways to keep kids at home and getting services to the families. Costs $2400 instead of $24,000, with better results.
Started delinquency drug court. Treat kid for $1400 for 9 months, much less than residential programs.
Greater Boca Beach & Park District – Tom Thayer (website?):
$22M budget. Only conservative in the race. Covers ocean to Turnpike (may not reach West Boca). Renourish our beaches.
State Senate – Two candidates running for different districts spoke:
Melanie Peterson:
Prayer in school. Welfare system out of control. Make our voices heard.
Kept remarks brief. Lot of applause.
Mike Lameyer:
Fiscal responsibility in Florida – spent $5B to support non-citizens, such as EBT food cards.
Everglades Purchase – state paid top dollar for farmland, then leased it back cheap to those landowners. Problem with north end of Lake Okeechobee.
Elected officials who are also licensed active lobbyists. Led to red light camera program.
Former Marine corps combat veteran. Business owner.
Spent $250M on FCAT, most to foreign provider. Money should go to teachers not FCAT.
Lots of applause for him.

AIPAC at Temple Beth El

We attended yesterday’s AIPAC event at Temple Beth El.
GOP congressional candidate Adam Hasner was working the room before the speakers began. We did not see any of the other area members.
AIPAC’s Mark Kleiman was introduced by Rabbi Brockman to an audience that generally supports the group’s efforts.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbies the US government on behalf of Israel. Major accomplishments include $3.5 billion a year in foreign aid, 75% of which is used to buy goods and services from US companies. They also lobby for sanctions against Iran.
Kleiman asked the audience for their continued support. There will be over 70 new members of Congress in the coming term who will need to be “educated.” He also encouraged attendees to come to the next AIPAC annual conference and to bring friends. 13,000 people came to the last one, and half the members of Congress.
Kleiman then introduced the main speaker, Aviv Ezra from the Israeli embassy, who greeted us with a “Shalom all y’all.” This was apparently a reference to his experience in Georgia but didn’t seem to hit with this audience.
Ezra described how the embassy focuses on Israel’s strategic relationship with the US, in areas like:

Foreign policy: Iran, peace process, Arab spring (Islamic awakening)
Defense cooperation: Missile defense, Qualitative Military Edge, Foreign Military Financing
Civilian cooperation: Energy, Homeland Security

Ezra also mentioned the recent congressional effort to boost Israel. The House passed HR 4133 411-2 and the Senate passed a similar measure on a voice vote. President Obama signed it about a week ago. Among other things, it gives US taxpayer dollars to Israel for certain military efforts such as the “Iron Dome” system for shooting down short-range rockets.
He discussed in some detail Israel’s “Active Defense”

Iron Dome (short range rockets)
David Sling (medium range/cruise)
Arrow2 (ballistic)
Arrow3 (atmospheric)

He talked about benefits of these efforts for the US, including technology sharing and jobs for Americans working on the projects.
There were some anti-Obama members of the audience. One asked about an Obama effort to remove a satellite intelligence information sharing provision from the recent legislation. Ezra downplayed this and said that the Obama administration has been cooperative with Israel on strategic matters.
He stressed that Israel does not want to be a political football in the US, as it enjoys strong bipartisan support (evidenced by the 411-2 vote).
He mentioned other concerns, such as Egypt now allowing Iran ships thru Suez; Mubarak did not allow this.
I was able to ask Kleiman about a specific issue. I’ve heard that the US gives more aid to Israel’s enemies than to Israel. He did not think it was more but maybe about even in dollar terms. But he also mentioned that US aid to Israel includes military aid, while aid to Israel’s enemies is generally non-military. He also thinks US aid to Israel is more effective – they get more value for each dollar.
I did not get to ask whether it’s wise for our country, which is $16 Trillion in debt and has been running deficits of over $1 Trillion for several years, should be giving money to other countries. Maybe next time.

West Boca Chamber Breakfast Report

The West Boca Chamber had its breakfast meeting at Lakeside Terrace. This was a last minute location change and there were problems getting the word out.
Breakfast was good, a buffet with scrambled eggs, and plenty more. I had the amusing experience of finding a fly doing the backstroke. The staff responded promptly and politely. It is a pleasant venue. Approximately 65 people attended.

Kait Parker was this morning’s speaker.

She delivered an informative explanation called “Surviving the Storm” about the upcoming hurricane season.
Due to her morning air time, she wakes up before 2 am every day. She joked that she does not answer questions about chemtrails or climate change.
September is the peak month for hurricanes. June and July are not as active. Things heat up in August and due out in November.

Category 1 events hit our area about every 6 years. They hit Miami more. Our area has had more in October than September.
Doesn’t matter how many storms there are. It matters where they go. If they’re “fish storms” no one cares. 20 named storms in 2010, but no one remembers them. Only 6 named storms in 1992. One was named Andrew.
The northeast quadrant is the most dangerous – it has the rotational wind speed aligned with the speed of the storm’s motion. The back half of the storm is also dangerous because it grabs the stuff that was already thrown and throws it back, and further dislodges the stuff that was loosened.
She recommends:
Family plan
Handcrank radio
Hurricane supply kit
More details on the WPTV hurricane page.
West Boca is not in the evacuation zone (mostly east of I-95). We should stay home because the roads need to be clear for those who have to evacuate. We are far less vulnerable to storm surge but wind risk is identical.
Ms. Parker was a wonderful speaker, and her talk was well received.