PBG Watch Hosts Forum for City Council Candidates

Palm Beach Gardens City Council

Candidate Forum

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Join us for an evening of in-depth discussion of city issues with the candidates for the March 12th election in Group 4. The seat has been vacant since former Mayor (and current candidate) David Levy resigned to run for the County Commission.

Moderated by Daniel Martell, President and CEO, of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County.

Thursday, February 28, 2013
7:00 PM
Gardens Branch, Palm Beach County Library *
11303 Campus Drive
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410

The candidates are:

For information, call 561-972-8789

This event is jointly sponsored by:

Palm Beach County Taxpayer Action Board
Palm Beach County Tea Party
Palm Beach Gardens Residents Coalition
South Florida 912

* This program is not sponsored/endorsed by the Palm Beach County Library

Candidate Biographies

David Levy

Florida native David Levy was born in 1960 and is the owner of environmental engineering firm Southeast Remediation Technnology, and an adjunct professor in environmental geology at Palm Beach State College. He received a B.S in Geology from Florida State University, and a M.S. in Geological Services from Virginia Polytech.

He is the former Mayor of Palm Beach Gardens, and was a City Councilman from 2004 through 2012. County-wide, he chaired the League of Cities Environmental Committee, the Regional Hazardous Material Oversight Committee and the Water Resources Task Force, as well as participating with Workforce Alliance, the Biotech Land Advisory Board, and the Loxahatchee River Management Coordinating Council.

James D’Loughy

James D’Loughy, is a long-time resident of Palm Beach Gardens. A lawyer of over 17 years, James is the founder of AdvisorLaw PLLC, a legal firm that represents clients in complex business matters. He helps individuals and small businesses alike protect their assets, resolve conflicts, and plan for a rainy day.

James’s knowledge of politics is informed by a degree in political science as well as experience working on Capitol Hill. Having worked on corporate transparency and compliance issues, James seeks to bring a new level of ethical governance to the Palm Beach Gardens City Council.

James lives with his wife, Anne Louise, his two daughters, Fredericka and Wilhelmina, and his newborn son, Maximilian, in Frenchman’s Reserve, where he volunteers his time as a member of the community’s governing body.

Moderator Biography

Daniel Martell

Daniel Martell is President and CEO of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County, a not-for-profit, non-governmental, non- partisan organization established in 1975. Its members come from all geographic areas of the county, represent all major business categories and encompass all sizes of businesses. Its mission statement is simply, “Create an environment to help business prosper.”

Mr. Martell came to the Economic Council of Palm Beach County from local sugar company, Florida Crystals Corporation as Vice President of Real Estate. His responsibilities at Florida Crystals included overseeing local government affairs, corporate land development, and real estate investments.

Beginning his career as the Director of Government and Political Affairs for the Gold Coast Builders Association, he was responsible for the regulatory and political issues confronting the home building industry in Palm Beach and Broward counties. He received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Florida, Juris Doctor from the Shepard Broad Law Center at Nova Southeastern University, and obtained a Certificate of Corporate Finance from Cornell University in 2011.

PBG Legislative Agenda Discussed at January Council Meeting

The January meeting of the Gardens City Council got started with courtesy visits from newly elected district 1 School Board member Mike Murgio and district 25 Senator Joe Abruzzo, who gave a brief overview of his priorities, one of which is to stop texting while driving.

As part of the City Manager’s report, Ron Ferris recognized the award winning Fire Scouts, and showed an excellent video for employees and others in public buildings threatened by a mass shooter. Entitled “Run, Hide, Fight”, it illustrates the recommended tactics in a believable way.

During Comments from the Public, Iris Scheibl asked the Council to again consider dropping out of the IG lawsuit and removing the restrictive “waste, fraud and abuse” definitions section from the code of ordinances as the county has recently done in response to the latest grand jury report. Councilman Russo replied that WPB is leading the lawsuit and we should wait and see what happens – he has been pursuing a proposal by former county commissioner Karen Marcus to strip the IG office of their auditing function – a non-starter in the IG world. Vice Mayor Premoroso wants to better understand what the city’s cost will be. He still believes that “people didn’t know what they were voting for.” It is clear that a lot of misunderstanding about the office continues.

In other comments, Larry Casey pointed out that the “Welcome to Palm Beach Gardens” sign on the turnpike appears just as you first notice the smell of the landfill, and Kevin Easton discussed traffic problems at Sunset Drive and Northlake

In the consent agenda, approved were Resolutions 1 (authorize SOE to conduct March election), 3 (accomodate extra turning lane on Military Trail to Burns Road), 5 (accepting CPR devices through an EMS grant), and 6 (participation and sponsorship in FEMA task force on urban search and rescue).

In the public hearings, the Council approved Ordinance 1 (adjusting the 2013 budget), 3 (amending the code enforcement section of the Code of Ordinances in conformance to Florida statutes), Resolution 2 (amend signage for Tunie’s in the LA Fitness plaza), 8 (modify setbacks at Old Palm PCD) and 10 (approve phasing plan for Gorden and Doner PUD).

The planned presentation on Tri-Rail extensions to Jupiter was omitted as Kim Delaney of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council was a no-show.

Toward the end of the meeting, registered lobbyist for the city, Mat Forrest of Ballard Partners gave his perspective on the city’s legislative agenda for 2013, cautioning that actual session time is short and only about 10-13% of bills filed actually get passed. City Manager Ron Ferris touched on some of the desired items (change to city annexation, FRS for city public safety employees), but the full list is contained in the meeting agenda (see: 2013 Legislative Priorities).

They list includes:

  • City initiated annexation amendment – expand the size (above 10 acres) that a city can annex “by ordinance”.
  • Pensions plans and FRS – ease 175/185 requirements for entry of city employees into the Florida Retirement System (FRS).
  • State funding for elevation of PGA Boulevard between the C-18 canal and Beeline Highway to eliminate flooding issues.
  • Protect local business tax receipts – oppose any efforts to “repeal, restrict or place moratorium on FS Chapter 205” which would affect how the city taxes and regulates businesses in the city.
  • Effective public notice / electronic advertising – eliminate the need to post public notices in print media
  • Support FL recreation development assistance program (FRDAP) – provides state grants for park and trail development
  • Support FL Police Chiefs Association priorities – these include regulation of internet cafes, stop texting while driving, truth in sentencing, oppose the “Innocence Project” interference with police policies, oppose “open carry”, ban bath salts / synthetic drugs, oppose restriction on local conduct of employee relations – particularly imposition of collective bargaining, and maintain funding for public safety entities

Palm Beach Gardens Municipal Election on March 12

Two of the seats on the 5 person City Council are up for election this year. In group 2, current Councilman and former Mayor Joe Russo is currently unopposed. In group 4, former Councilman and Mayor David Levy will face newcomer James D’Loughy.

Qualifying by petition ends on Monday, January 14, but candidates can still qualify by paying a fee up to January 31. For more information about this election, see: Posting of Election.

It should be noted that March municipal elections in the Gardens are low turnout affairs, and a candidate typically wins with votes from about 5% of the 35K registered voters. There is typically little media attention and the City itself does not promote the elections. It is only through the actions of concerned citizens that step forward to support a candidate that our government can be representative of the citizens. Tell your neighbors to get involved and VOTE on March 12.

Group 4 Candidates

James D’Loughy, a Republican, is the founder of Gardens law firm AdvisorLaw PLLC. He has a degree in Political Science as well as experience working on Capital Hill, and has lived and worked in Europe. His law practice represents clients in complex business matters. James is active in his Frenchman’s Reserve Homeowners Association, acting as a leader of the HOA board. As a Councilman, James would focus on promoting business development in the Gardens, improving ethics and transparency, and supporting the city’s first responders. James is married to Anne Louise D’Loughy and has three children Fredericka, Wilhelmina and his newborne son Maximilian.

David Levy, a Democrat, was first elected to the Council in 2004, beating Carl Sabatello in a run-off election after no candidate in a three way race achieved a majority. He was re-elected in 2007 against Michael O’Rourke,and again in 2010 against Rob Palladino. He served for 8 years until resigning in 2012 to run for the County Commission seat vacated by Karen Marcus. Losing that race, he wishes to return to the Council.

A Geologist by trade, with an MS in Geological Services, he is the owner of Southeast Remediation Technology and an adjunct professor in environmental geology at Palm Beach State College. He has regional experience working with the League of Cities Environmental Committee, the Regional Hazardous Material Oversight Committee and the Water Resources Task Force, as well as participating with Workforce Alliance, the Biotech Land Advisory Board, and the Loxahatchee River Management Coordinating Council. He is married to Penny Levy and has two children Jacob and Gail.

Group 2 Candidate

Joe Russo, a Republican, was first elected to the Council in 1989 and has served for 24 years, many of them as Mayor. In recent years he has successfully defended his seat against Adrian Salee in 2004, and Pat Hughey in 2010 but was unnopposed in 2007 (and this year so far). Joe has a BS in Business Administration and is a self employed Certified Public Accountant and Financial Planner.