Representative Rick Roth visits the RCNPB

“We’re the party that fights for principle, and thankfully in public”. This is Rick Roth’s answer to why we can’t all get along in Washington and Tallahasee.

Over a fine buffet brunch at Grande’s Bella Cucina, Rick touched on a range of topics from noting the upcoming 500th anniversary of Martin Luther and the Reformation, what it’s like to be a freshman legislator (speak quietly and listen), those in the legislature that he admires (Richard Corcoran especially although Rick is supporting Adam Putnam for Governor), and the importance of never giving up.

Some ideas he is advancing are intriguing.

– Noting that many graduating high school students know much less about our history and government than those achieving new citizenship status, he proposes that passing the same test required in the naturalization process be a requirement for a diploma.

– Amendments to the Florida constitution, most of which are proposed by the legislature itself, should require a 2/3 vote to pass, a higher threshold than the current 60%. Since most voters don’t read the supporting material for ballot questions – just the question itself (if that), it would require more effort by proponents to educate the voters.

– The Sunshine laws make things difficult for county commissions and city councils to efficiently govern, since they cannot talk among themselves out of the public eye. A bill Rick is proposing would allow groups of officials to perform fact finding missions together, discussing the topics freely as long as the meetings are noticed and minutes are kept.

In closing, he explained the age-old method of influencing your government officials – visit their offices to get to know the staff, and GIVE THEM MONEY. Like it or not, people do remember those on their donor lists.

And summed up his approach to legislating as “Quiet, principled, get the job done.”

Also at the meeting, Sid Dinerstein reminded us all that the term limits that was imposed on Palm Beach Gardens Council by 80% of the voters in 2014 is being threatened by the new Council elected since then. The Council is proposing to increase the limit from 2 terms to 3, and allow people to run again after sitting out a term. If they proceed, it would appear on the ballot in March 2018 (by itself as no candidate is up for election in the municipals next year). With the expectation of an extremely low turnout, several hundred voters could overturn the will of the 16,000 that voted yes in 2014. Most of the members in attendance seemed to agree with Sid that this was wrong.

Palm Beach Gardens Mayor Maria Marino, a member of the club and a driver of the changes, was present and wished to rebut Sid’s allegations, but the discussion had to be curtailed as it wandered into other areas. Maria has been invited back to the December meeting to explain why she thinks tearing up term limits is a good idea.