Tune in tomorrow at 1 p.m. to public radio WLRN, to hear Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Tony Doris and Florida Bulldog Editor Dan Christensen — former colleagues from the Miami Daily Business Review — talk about news and issues in West Palm Beach and the State of Florida.
The Topical Currents call-in show airs at 91.3 and 101.9 FM.
It’s that time of year when campaigns grind into gear for the March 18 city commission races.
Three of the five commissioners are up for re-election: Sylvia Moffett in District 1 in the North End, Paula Ryan in District 3, which stretches roughly from the El Cid area to the Northwest, and Shanon Materio in District 5, in the South End.
So far only Moffett faces a challenge, from pastor Martina Tate Walker, who ran unsuccessfully against her in 2016.
Materio is holding her campaign kickoff at 5:30 p.m. today, June 28, at the Palm Beach Zoo, 1301 Summit Blvd.
A Treasure Coast woman who says she owes her life to the Affordable Care Act will accompany U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, to today’s Joint Session of Congress speech by President Trump.
Sherry Riggs, 55, a Fort Pierce mother of three who suffers from a life-threatening heart condition, hopes to meet with members of Congress and let them know what the ACA has meant to her and her family, Frankel said.
Trump and congressional Republicans have vowed to repeal and replace the law.
Riggs a barber, moved from Michigan to South Florida. Following her divorce two years ago, Riggs found her health deteriorating and no longer had health insurance. “Her attempts to get coverage that she could afford through the private market were unsuccessful until she discovered the Affordable Care Act Marketplace,” according to a release from Frankel’s office.
“Despite her serious pre-existing condition she was able to sign up for insurance for a small monthly payment,” the release said. “Five months after enrollment she suffered major heart attacks and underwent two surgeries, including an open-heart bypass. She is still recovering and unable to work full time. For affordable medication and continued care of her ongoing heart conditions, Riggs’s life depends on the ACA.”
Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran will join the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches to outline their priorities for the state, on Monday, Feb. 27. The noon luncheon will be held at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts’ Cohen Pavilion.
Negron, whose district includes parts of St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties, is the first Senate President from South Florida since 2008. Born in West Palm Beach, Negron has an undergraduate degree from Stetson University, a law degree from Emory University and a master’s in public administration from Harvard University. Among his legislative priorities are the budget, higher education, the environment and the protection of individual liberties.
Corcoran represents central Pasco County, having moved there when he was 11. Corcoran attended St. Leo College, where he graduated in 1989, and Regent University, where he received his Juris Doctor in 1996. He also served in the United States Naval Reserves for six years. He recently promised to make the Florida House “the most open and accountable legislature in the entire country,” implementing policies to make the budget process more transparent and limit the texting of legislators during committee meetings and floor proceedings.
There’s no city commission election this March. As previously reported, incumbents Cory Neering and Keith James went unchallenged and were automatically re-elected.
But now the March 2018 race has begun.
On Monday, District 5 Commissioner Shanon Materio sent out an email to supporters, announcing she’ll be running in 2018 for another two-year term. The South End businesswoman first took office in 2013.
She’s an active participant on the dais and has pushed for improvements to the South Olive Tennis Center and the municipal golf course. More recently she moved to undo a commission vote she’d supported — which would have allowed developer Michael Masanoff up to $114 million in tax incentives for his Transit Village project — after it became clear the public opposed the giveaway.
Materio says the top item on her priority list is to fix the city’s traffic woes. “And I mean everywhere in the city. Traffic, traffic, traffic. From the North End to the South End, east and west.”
She also wants to improve the climate for businesses small and large, but especially to make sure the city is business-friendly to mom-and-pop operations. And speaking of climate, she wants to get the city more engaged in addressing sea level rise.
ALSO IN THE RUNNING….District 1 Commissioner Sylvia Moffett said Monday she’s about to throw her hat in the ring for another term in the North End. Moffett and Neering were the only commissioners to oppose the Transit Village subsidy from the start, as too rich a deal.
She said she wasn’t sure whether to run again but started getting calls from supporters on the one hand, and from potential candidates who wanted to know if she was going to run, so she decided to go for it.
She hasn’t put in her papers yet, but figures she’d better hurry up since apparently campaign season has begun early this year. She said she faces possible opposition from Pastor Martina Walker, who ran unsuccessfully against her in 2016.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST…. Longtime community organizer and real estate developer Paula Ryan also said Monday she has filed for another term as District 3 commissioner.
Ryan, whose central district covers the Northwest, downtown and part of the South Flagler Drive area, said her top priority will be to help spur redevelopment of the Historic Northwest neighborhood, to support mobility studies to improve traffic flow and to press for roadway improvements on the South Dixie Highway corridor.
For more details, there’ll be an article in The Palm Beach Post, tentatively scheduled for tomorrow.
U.S. Rep and former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel takes issue with part-time Palm Beacher Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address.
“I’m grateful to former-President Obama, who led this country through one of the most challenging times in our history and breakthroughs for human rights,” Frankel said in a statement released after the speech.
“With all due respect to President Trump, as to his inaugural remarks today, I do not share his pessimistic view of America or his bias towards extreme nationalism. We are a nation of opportunity, a country that cherishes diversity and the leader of the free world.
“With that said, I am prepared to work cooperatively with the new administration where possible and be a force of resistance when necessary.”
Mayor Jeri Muoio won’t be slathering on the Hawaiian Tropic this week. She’s in cold, rainy Washington, D.C. for the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, looking for fresh ideas that might make sense for West Palm Beach.
She attended a presentation on summer jobs programs for youths, for starters.
She also was scheduled to attend a presentation on how cities might tap the $4 billion that Volkswagen is putting into a fund for sustainability programs, as part of its settlement of its emissions test-rigging case.
The mayor also attended a meeting of an education task force she’s on, a session on using block grants for housing and development, and a presentation on a program Wells Fargo is starting to promote home ownership for Hispanics.
She missed a talk by Vice President-elect Pence. He was more than 20 minutes late and she had other obligations.
She’ll be back in town in time to attend the Women’s March in West Palm Beach on Jan. 21.
City commissioners last week approved a tax incentive of up to $114 million over 29 years to cover the cost of developer Michael Masanoff’s Transit Village commuter garage. Mayor Jeri Muoio objected so strongly to the potential size of the tax-increment financing subsidy — her staff had recommended a maximum of $25 million — that she issued her first veto in more than five years in office.
At a public meeting at 4:30 p.m. today, the commissioners, acting as the five-member board of the Community Redevelopment Agency, have a chance to override the veto, if they can muster four votes. That means the three who voted for the $114 million last time would have to convince either Corey Neering or Sylvia Moffett to join them.
All say they want the project. It’s just a matter of how much the city should give a developer. The money would come from property tax revenues the project is expected to create by increasing the value of the land.
Supporters say the $114 million vote is needed to enable Masanoff to negotiate private financing for the project, which would create a transportation hub for the growing city. They also say he wouldn’t necessarily get that much but that the number is a starting point for negotiations over what benefits he would include for the city if he wants the project approved.
The plan calls for a 2,300-space garage, much more than Masanoff’s hotel, office and condo buildings require but which would provide many commuter spaces, which would help keep traffic off city streets, supporters say. They also question whether the mayor has the legal right to veto the commissioners’ vote.
But the mayor and her administration say that $114 million is many times more than any developer ever received, public purpose or not. And she says the strong-mayor city charter gives her the right to veto it.
Muoio, in Washington, D.C. for a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, will not be at today’s CRA meeting.
Palm Beach County Tea Party and Tea Party Patriots plan to rally in West Palm Beach today to support Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination for Attorney General.
Sessions has been nominated by president-elect Donald Trump.
The rally is scheduled outside the office of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, at 413 Clematis St., at noon.
At a Senate hearing on the nomination today, Sessions denied sympathizing with the Ku Klux Klan. The 69-year-0ld Alabaman also pledged to recuse himself from any investigation into former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to BBC News.