Call to Action – County Budget Workshop

The initial county budget for 2012 has been published in preparation for the budget workshop on Monday, June 13 at 6:00pm in the BCC chambers on the 6th floor of the county building at 301 North Olive. The Sheriff does his presentation at 6:45pm, followed by public comment at 7:30pm.

We need your help! – Come to the meeting and tell the commissioners not to raise our taxes.

On its face, the budget maintains the same tax rates as last year (4.75 county-wide millage), but the County Administrator is asking the Board of County Commissioners to raise that rate to 4.992, “to reinstate some of the less desireable budget cuts”. This is orchestrated – the submitted budget is designed to bring the vocal interest groups to the meeting to protest cuts to PBSO, Palm Tran, the pools and lifeguards, etc. Like last year, the commissioners won’t be able to say no the Palm Tran Connection riders who will come to the meeting in their wheelchairs. We need to insist that if they reverse these cuts, they take the money from elsewhere so the budget stays neutral at 4.75 mills.

TAB expects participation from all the coalition partners, but in the past it has been 912’ers that has provided the most vocal and numerous opposition to county tax increases. Time to gear up and do it again.

To help, we have prepared a sample 2 minute public comment, and a sample email to the commission (CLICK HERE). Feel free to use and modify.

Also, for background information, check out these resources:

From the TAB website:

and from the local media:

Once again, please come to the meeting or at least send an email to the commissioners. Email addresses for all commissioners are listed on the right sidebar of the TAB website at http:/pbctab.org

ALERT–FLIMEN–ALERT

LINK TO HOUSE
LINK TO SENATE

2) CALL THE FOLLOWING SENATORS
(EMAILS WILL NOT LIKELY BE READ BUT IF YOU BUT IF YOU DO, MAKE THE SUBJECT LINE SOMETHING LIKE “PRO-E-VERIFY”; FAXES ARE GREAT; * = MOST IMPORTANT):

SENATOR – TALLAHASSEE PHONE – DISTRICT PHONE – EMAIL – FAX

FLIMEN
P.O. Box 667605
Pompano Beach, FL 33066

Urgent Action Required – IG and Ethics Ordinances

Help is needed to prevent a last minute attempt to weaken the Office of Inspector General.

Please attend the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners meeting:

When:  Tuesday May 3rd
Time: 2:30pm (arrive prior to that time and submit a card if you wish to speak or have your card read into the record)
Agenda Items: 4G1 (IG), 4H1 (Commission on Ethics), 4H2 (Code of Ethics)*
Where:  County Commission Chambers – 6th floor, 301 N Olive, West Palm Beach FL

See article in Palm Beach Post.

The Palm Beach County League of Cities has not given up on the municipalities’ attempts to thwart the scope and independence of the Inspector General. The League is once again raising issues that were the topics of heated debate during the entire 3-month ordinance drafting period. Some of their issues:

– They still insist that definitions be inserted for Fraud, Waste, Abuse, Misconduct and Mismanagement
– They raise concerns about the ability of the IG to have unfettered access to records and the IG’s ability to subpoena
– They disagree with the procedures for filing complaints again the IG
– They are unhappy with the funding for the IG – larger cities are concerned that they will not ‘get their money’s worth”. They also feel that the funding requirement is an unfunded mandate.
– They also want to make additional changes to the Ethics Ordinances
– They want to delay implementation of all three ordinances until October 1 – which is the next fiscal year (2012).

All of the issues, save the last, were topics of endless debate for the last 3 months.  The drafting committee members voted on each section of each ordinance.  The League of Cities had equal membership with the County in the drafting of the ordinances. 

Points you should consider making (if you speak, submit a card to be read into the record, or in an email):

1.  The opposition to adding definitions to the IG ordinance received a final 5:2 vote by the drafting committee.  The national Association of Inspectors General weighed in on the subject and said definitions would “have the unintended consequences of restricting the office and hampering its effectiveness”.  We want an independent Inspector General.

2. The ordinance drafting committees worked for over 3 months on agreeing to the changes in the ordinances.  Do not over-ride the hours the committee spent debating and voting on all of these topics, just because a couple of the members were not successful in making their case to the committee.   Please approve on preliminary reading and advertise for public hearing on May 17th the 3 ordinances as presented by ordinance drafting committees.

3.  The majority of voters in each of the 38 municipalities voted for the ordinances to apply to their city.  The funding requirement was in the ordinance voted for and states “shall be funded at a minimum in an amount equal to one quarter of one percent of contracts of the county, and all other governmental entities subject to the authority of the inspector general”.   The ordinance does not specify how the entities will pay the fee – the cities have the choice, should they so vote, to add a .25% fee to all of their contracts.

4. Delaying the implementation until October 1 is unacceptable.  There are complaints awaiting action by both the Commission on Ethics and the Inspector General that cannot be dealt with until the ordinances are adopted.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, please send an email to the commissioners making similar points at:
BCC-AllCommissioners@pbcgov.org.

  *The Agenda for the meeting can be found here.

Wisconsin Call to Action

We received this today:


Jim Woods
Medina County Friends And Neighbors (MCFAN)
North East Ohio Conservative Council (NEOCC)
Regional Director for North East Ohio, Ohio Liberty Council (OLC) Board of Directors
http://www.ohiofan.org


From: Thomas R. Zawistowski
Subject: EMERGENCY CALL TO ACTION
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2011 13:43:54 -0400
To: james.woods

Dear Jim,

Many of you who have been in the Patriot Movement since last year at this time will remember that our efforts were instrumental in getting Scott Brown Elected to the Senate in Massachusetts. Today, I believe that we are having another Scott Brown moment that requires your immediate attention and sacrifice.

In case you are not aware, the Public Unions in Wisconsin are attempting to circumvent the legislative process by electing a radical judge to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in an election that will be held in Wisconsin this Tuesday. The incumbent conservative Judge David Prosser was up by 15% and consider an easy win a few weeks ago. Then the Unions started to pour money into a campaign to unseat him. Why? Because this seat will be the deciding vote in the Wisconsin Supreme Court and they are going to try and get rid of Governor Walker’s bill eliminating collective bargaining for state workers by going through the courts, using activist judges. I believe that it is in our best interest as conservatives to do what we can to keep that from happening.

Below you will see an email from the TEA Party Express which is on the ground running ads to fight for Judge Prosser. The race is considered a dead heat going into the weekend. If we can start to bring our resources to bear this today, we can make the difference in this race. I am asking you SEND THIS TO YOUR MEMBERS TODAY and to click the donate link below and give what you can give.

This is important. We can not let the public unions stall the nationwide movement to reign in there power over our government. We have to win this race. I really appreciate your support and ask you to act NOW.

Sincerely,

Thomas R. Zawistowski
Executive Director
Portage County TEA Party
4682 State Route 43
Kent, OH 44240

We’re down to just 4 days before the critical election for Wisconsin Supreme Court – an election that will determine whether Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislators win or if Barack Obama and his union bosses will win.
To further demonstrate how critically important this election is, consider this: Governor Sarah Palin has now gotten involved in the race urging a vote for Conservative Justice David Prosser. Here’s the report from Politico:

FOUR MORE DAYS – PALIN FOR PROSSER: Wisconsin voters go to the polls on Tuesday to cast ballots in a state Supreme Court race and a Milwaukee County executive election that will test the strength of popular opposition to Republican Gov. Scott Walker. The judicial election is especially important because the state Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of the Republican-backed measure to limit collective bargaining for public employees. The latest sign that the election has become nationalized came overnight, when @SarahPalinUSA tweeted support for conservative Justice David Prosser: “Wisconsin, please remember to vote for Justice Prosser on April 5.”

We here at the Tea Party Express are one of the few “conservative” groups running ads in this race. With just 4 days left we are giving it everything we’ve got and have already spent over $100,000 in this campaign.
We must spend much more though to reach all of Wisconsin’s voters and we need your help. Please donate to our Wisconsin State PAC (click on the banner above)
If you can afford a larger contribution of $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or more, then please help us.

You can contribute any amount – since this is a State PAC there are NO contribution limits, and corporate contributions ARE accepted.
To contribute, click on the banner above and follow the links.

As always, if you prefer, you may also make a contribution via U.S. mail, by sending a check to:
State Tea Party Express
8795 Folsom Boulevard, Suite 103
Sacramento, CA 95826-3720
*Note: Make checks payable to “State Tea Party Express”

Textbook Protest PB County

NOTE: This protest has been postponed – see attached comment.

Subject: Textbook Protest PB County

————
February 22nd, 2011

4:00p

Fulton Holland building
3300 Forest Hill Blvd
West Palm Beach

This is a letter from our friend and active 912 er

Please get involved!

===========Hi Everyone…just want to let you know that I’ve stepped up as Chair of the Palm Beach County Textbook Action Team (TAT) to address the issue of the flawed textbooks our children are using.

The Palm Beach County School Board has received a letter and a list of many of the errors/omissions in our children’s textbooks. They have been asked to work with us to have textbook discrepancies addressed and rectified/explained to students by their teachers in the classroom. They have also been asked to notify the book publishers that no additional textbooks will be purchased until the present issues have been resolved.

A statewide protest, targeting those counties whose school boards have chosen not to respond or to work with us, has been scheduled for Tuesday, February 22, 2011, George Washington’s birthday (see attached flyer). To date, I have not received a response from the Palm Beach County School Board. I am therefore requesting your help with the protest. Please let me know if you and any members of your group will be available for the protest. Below are some suggestions for signs – please send me your suggestions.

Pass this on to everyone you know. For those of you in Broward County, check with Andrea Joy Bellitto (iamajoy1969@aol.com), Broward County TAT Chair. In the event the Palm Beach County School Board decides to cooperate, the protest will be cancelled and you will be notified.

Here are some possible signs:

· Truth In Education

· Remove Faulty Textbooks

· Children Believe What They Read

· Just because it is in Print – Doesn’t Make It True

WE NEED BODIES!!! Any questions, contact me. Thanks in advance for your co-operation.

Alison Rampersad, TAT Chair
Palm Beach County
sitaramc@comcast.net

(954) 977-4888

Action Alert – Prevent the Weakening of the Inspector General’s Office

[ PRINT ]

The representatives of the municipalities on the Inspector General (IG) Drafting Committee are balking at the oversight role of the IG. The municipalities are saying that we, the voters, didn’t understand what we were voting for and that we simply didn’t want ‘pay to play’ activities by our elected officials. They are attempting to weaken the scope of the IG, saying that the IG should not be able to review and report on mismanagement or inefficiencies or to second guess the municipalities’ decisions in any way – when it is precisely those types of decisions that can ‘waste’ the tax-payers dollars.

ACTIONS


1 – Attend the Wednesday, February 9th meeting at 2pm at the Vista Center, Vista Center Hearing Room, 2300 N. Jog Rd (just northeast of Okeechobee Rd) – listen to the discussion politely, and when there’s time for public comment, please state that: you as a voter knew what you were voting for and that you believe that the ‘independent oversight of local government operations” is key to the IG’s role.

It is important that we have a large turnout at this meeting. Please make every effort to attend in person.

2 – Send emails to the drafting committee members stating that you support the scope of the IG as described in the original ordinance to “detect misconduct involving abuse, corruption, fraud, waste, inefficiencies and mismanagement” and that the same scope must now apply to the municipalities. The email addresses are:

REPRESENTING THE COUNTY:

David Baker david.baker@amrl.com
David Aronberg – Committee Vice Chair aronberg@yahoo.com
Donna Raney – County Attorney’s office DRaney@pbcgov.org

REPRESENTING LEAGUE OF CITIES

Kurt Bressner – Committee Chair BressnerK@bbfl.us
Michael Bornstein mbornstein@lantana.org
Trela White – League of Cities Attorney trela@corbettandwhite.com

REPRESENTING OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL

Sheryl Steckler – Inspector General SSteckler@pbcgov.org

3 – “like” the Vote Yes on Ethics facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vote-YES-on-Ethics/104294449637067) so that you can see future action alerts or go to http://ethicspbc.com

4 – Send an email to support@ethicspbc.com with “I want independent oversight of local government” in the subject line.

Background:


In 2009 many of you worked very hard to see that an independent Inspector General was put in place for Palm Beach County, as well as Ethics Ordinances.. You stood up at County Commission meetings, you signed petitions, and you saw the Inspector General’s office get implemented. Then in November 2010 the people voted. An overwhelming 72% of voters wanted these ordinances and for the Inspector General’s scope to apply to all of the municipalities in the county.

The Charter Amendment called for a drafting committee consisting of representatives from both the League of Cities and the County, in equal representation plus the Inspector General for the IG Drafting Committee, and the Executive Director of the Ethics Commission for the Ethics Drafting Committee. The role of the IG committee is to write a new ordinance, using the original as a basis to incorporate the municipalities.

The Charter Amendment (http://www.pbcgov.com/countycommissioners/pdf/charter.pdf), in Section 8.3, defined the role of the Inspector General:

“The county shall, by ordinance, establish an Office of the Inspector General to provide independent oversight of publicly funded transactions, projects, and other local government operations”

The original IG ordinance (2009.049 – Sec. 2.422), stated that the office of the Inspector General was to “detect misconduct involving abuse, corruption, fraud, waste, inefficiencies, and mismanagement by elected and appointed county officials and employees, county agencies and instrumentalities, contractors, and other parties doing business with the county and/or receiving county funds.”

The IG ordinance drafting committee has spent 3 meetings now debating the wording of the Inspector General’s scope. The next meeting is to be held on February 9, 2011 at 2pm.

Adopt A Soldier for the Holidays

The local teens from Teens In Action (or TIA), will be collecting, boxing, and wrapping items for about 20 US Marine soldiers that are currently on the front line in Afghanistan, and sadly will be there for the holidays. The items will be sent to the soldier in charge of the project (my son) who will hand out boxes to all of the guys that are not receiving anything from home, first. If you would like to help with this project, please bring a bag or box of suggested items to one of the following locations. A ten dollar donation to help cover shipping is also very helpful! The deadline is December 3rd.

1. NORTH –
Jupiter Pump & Motor
500 N Old Dixie Hwy
Jupiter , Fl 33458

2. SOUTH –
Master Auto Body
653 NE 5th Avenue
Delray Beach, FL 33483
– or –
4000 Thor Drive
Boynton Beach, FL 33426

Anyone who would like to send packages directly, or donate for the cost of shipping on the project, please contact me at michele@southflorida912.org.

SUGGESTED ITEMS

1. baby wipes
2. nuts (ANY KIND)
3. Slim Jims, Beef Jerky
4. cookies
5. disposable razors
6. candy, gum, mints (no chocolate)
7. hot chocolate
8. “guy” magazines (the clean kind!) or easy, quick books
9. A Christmas stocking from the dollar store filled with the smaller items
10. A picture of your family and a personal note

PRAY for these guys!

What are you waiting for? ACT NOW!

You’ve stood on corners, waved signs, called and faxed your representatives to try and have an impact.  But isn’t the upcoming Election ultimately what it’s all been about?  Electing people who understand your positions, listen to you and who will be accountable to you?

WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK!


VOTE:

Do your research, then check out our Leaders’ Picks.  Then Vote!  And take your neighbors with you!

Early voting locations are found here: Early Voting Locations.


CAMPAIGN:

Make phone calls or walk or put out signs for your favorite candidates – look at their websites for how you can help them.  Click on Elections, pick the campaign you want to work on and click on the Candidate for their website.


SIGN-WAVE AND HAND OUT MATERIALS AT EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS:

For Central Palm Beach County locations: Joe Budd, Tami Donnally and Sherry Lee campaigns are trying to maximize volunteer shift coverage by working together to cover the main locations.   Please contact any of those campaigns directly or call Melissa Nash Andrews at 561 436 5836 or melissa@tamidonnally.com to sign up to take a shift or several shifts.  The Early Voting locations are open from 10-6 weekdays and 10-2 on Saturday and Sunday.

Additionally – Allen West needs Early Voting coverage at the two northern locations – Palm Beach Gardens Library and Jupiter Library for 2 hour shifts – contact Ralph Eltringham at ralphde33@gmail.com or call 561-744-5522 and give them your polling place choice, day and time committment. 


Be a Poll Watcher – and help all of your candidates!

Some definitions first – since campaigns throw out a lot of terms that may not be ‘technically’ accurate 😉

Poll Workers are the people who check you in at the polling place;  they are paid by the Supervisor of Elections, trained and work the polls from before opening until after the polls close.  It is a volunteer job with minimal pay for hours worked.  It is also too late to apply for a position.

Poll Watchers are unpaid volunteers who are trained in how the poll operations work.  They are observers who work part or all of election day inside the polling location – looking for anything that may be ‘fishy’.  They work to ensure that all Florida Election Laws and Procedures are followied to ensure fair and unbiased election without the presence of fraud.  A few examples could include – a non-zero vote count at the start of election day, failure to check ID when checking in voters, letting people with some kind of issue (eg wrong precinct, invalid id) vote instead of creating a provisional ballot, etc.  While generally there may be a poll-watcher from each political party, technically, each candidate can have his/her own poll-watcher at each voting location.  Poll Watchers fill out an application and must be approved as valid Palm Beach County voters/poll-watchers prior to Election Day. 

Often candidates will use the term poll-watchers or poll-workers for volunteers who wave their candidates’ signs or hand out materials at the voting locations on Election Day.  That is another way you can help a specific set of candidates – but it is neither poll-working or poll-watching.

The Republican Party of Palm Beach County and the Allen West Campaign are seeking Poll Watchers for Election Day.  The deadline to submit your application is  Monday, October 18th!!

To apply for the GOP poll-watching position – fill out the application: EDO commitment form and then fax it to the number at the bottom of the application.  To apply for the Allen West Campaign poll-watching position – fill out the Allen West Poll-Watcher Application and then either email the information to Sue Snowden (email address on the application), call her with the information or fax it to the Allen West Campaign at 954-571-7833.

Note:  While sometime you may work at your own voting location – many times you will be asked to poll-watch at a location where there have been difficulties in the past.

Here’s Your Assignment for the Weekend

GET INVOLVED!

Here’s some ideas:


For Allen West:

October 9 (Sat)
Call the Victory Office at 561-744-5522

West Palm Beach Gun Show, South County Fair Grounds Expo Center.
Shifts: 9AM – 11 AM; 11 AM – 1 PM; 1 PM – 3 PM; 3 PM – 5 PM

Precinct Walk: 10 AM – 12 PM
Precinct Walk: 4 PM – 6 PM

October 10 (Sun)
West Palm Beach Gun Show, South County Fair Grounds Expo Center
Shifts: 10 AM – 12 PM; 12 PM – 2 PM; 2 PM – 4 PM

Precinct Walk: 4 PM – 6 PM

NOTE: The precinct walks will be in Jupiter and Juno Beach. The precincts will be decided based on the number of positive volunteer responses. Please respond promptly to allow us time to provide meeting places.


For Joe Budd

Go door to door, Saturday and Sunday – Click HERE for info.


For Lizbeth Benacquisto

Precinct walks in Wellington, Saturday 9-11, CLICK HERE for info.


For Sherry Lee

Make phone calls from home: CLICK HERE for the phone bank or HERE to register.

Meet Sherry at City Place – 7:00 PM.


For Tami Donnally

Make phone calls from home: CLICK HERE for the phone bank or HERE to register.
Yard Signs & Bumper Stickers Available Please call Melissa 561-436-5836
Early Voting Starts Oct 18th. We have 3 Sites to cover for TWO WEEKS. Will you schedule at least ONE – 3-hour Sign Waving at an Early Voting Location. You pick the time and locations. Call for details 561-436-5836
Walks Happening almost daily. Come out and walk a few streets with Tami.

Donate TODAY.


For Alison Rampersad

Make phone calls from home: CLICK HERE for the phone bank or HERE to register.

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