by Philip Blumel, President, U.S. Term Limits
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida — In March 2018, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Joseph Curley threw off the ballot a measure to weaken the city council term limits calling it ‘vague’ and ‘misleading.’
The measure was cleverly designed by the city council majority to solicit a “yes” vote from term limits supporters, even though the actual effect of the measure, if approved, would be to weaken the existing two-term term limits already approved by voters!
Judge Curley’s final word was damning: “The failure to communicate that the amendment’s effect is to increase — rather than create — a term limit, renders the summary so misleading that it must be invalidated.”
Undeterred by Judge Curley’s admonishment, the council majority is back to its old tricks.
They reworked the ballot language to pass legal muster and placed it on the Aug. 28 ballot. But they simultaneously launched a marketing campaign that — once again — attempts to trick term limits supporters to vote for a weakening of city council term limits.
The council is using signs, billboards, robocalls, t-shirts and Facebook ads that would make Vladimir Putin blush. Their message: VOTE YES to KEEP TERM LIMITS. But what the measure actually does is to weaken the term limit from six to nine years.
Desperate to lengthen their terms in office, the council’s majority feels like they have no choice but to use deception. After all, it was as recently as 2014 that 80% of voters approved a citizens initiative to place 6-year term limits on the city council. It is pretty clear the reform is popular.
If the trick works, Palm Beach Gardens will have the weakest term limit in Palm Beach County. At nine years, Palm Beach Gardens council members will get one more year in office than the president of the United States.
Worse, the council majority — courageous Council Member Matt Lane is alone in having opposed the scheme — authorized using taxpayer money to push this lie to the taxpayers. The Palm Beach Post reports that Palm Beach Gardens paid Cornerstone Solutions $43,200 for the public education campaign before the fraudulent March vote and is planning to spend no more than about $65,000 on the current campaign. It has also solicited monies from interests with business before the council.
To put a fine point on it: The perps in this egregious misuse of public money are Mayor Maria Marino, Vice Mayor Carl Woods, Council Member Mark Marciano and Council Member Rachelle Litt.
What can citizens do? There is less than a week to expose their deception!
Fortunately, Palm Beach Gardens citizens — using their own money, rather than that of taxpayers — have quickly printed up accurate signage and are going back to court. In a new lawsuit filed on Aug. 22, resident Sid Dinerstein is again suing the city to stop the misuse of taxpayer money to intentionally deceive voters.
You can help get the word out. Please forward a link to this post to everyone you know in Palm Beach Gardens, right now. Thanks!