Tag Archives: Stuart Chamber

Understanding C-PAC, JTL vs the Political Machine-A Retrospective, SLR/IRL

Part #3, PACS

  1. C-PAC

Today along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, I continue my series “JTL vs the Political Machine,” a retrospective for my county commission district 1 campaign loss. I find that hindsight is always 20/20, reviewing everything is helpful, and certainly understanding how things work will make me a better candidate in the future. As a teacher it is an oportunity for me to share the electoral process so others can learn too.

Yesterday we reviewed Write in Candidates, and the Firefighters Union. Today we begin with one of multiple PACs, or Political Action Committees. On the simplest level, a PAC is an organization that raises money privately to influence elections or legislation. PACs must report monies raised to election offices, and the tiers of giving are often multilayered and not easy to trace.

I am going to start with the PAC closest to home, C-PAC. C-PAC is the political action committee for the Stuart Chamber. https://www.stuartmartinchamber.org
I have a lot of acquaintances in the Stuart Chamber, but due to long-standing relationships and other factors the chamber supported my opponent Doug Smith. Thus we study his post card today.

The Stuart Chamber supported Mr Smith by sending out a post card for him. The average political postcard mailing for design, printing, and mailing runs around $15,000, so it is very helpful if a PAC sends out a postcard for you if you are a candidate because then you don’t have to raise the money yourself!

Below is the postcard C-PAC sent out for Doug Smith. Look closely on the back side bottom, it reads: “Paid Electioneering Communication paid for by C-PAC, 1650 S. Kanner, Highway, FL 34994” if Mr. Smith’s campaign had paid for this, it would say that…


For the busy and hardworking public, it is hard to take the time to find out where PACs get their money and thus who is really supporting a candidate so let’s look a bit deeper and see what we find out. It’s fun. Like being a detective!

First of all as C-PACs address is in Martin County, you have to go to the Martin County Supervisor of Election’s website and click on the COMMITTEE INFO, COMMITTEES, C-PAC, and then “Non Election Specific Reporting:”


Once clicking around one can see that in 2015 and 2016, C-PAC accepted PAC money from the following : IMG_5298.jpg

I know most of the donors in 2015, but who is Florida Jobs Pac in 2016 who gave $25,000 to C- PAC on 7/14/16? According to the StPetersburgBlog: Florida Jobs PAC is a political arm of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. That makes sense–but let’s look at the donations. As Florida Jobs Pac’s address is Tallahassee we must go to the Florida Division of Election’s website and type in Florida Jobs under “Committees:”

This is what comes up. There are many donors but some stand out like Duda and Sons Inc., Florida Crystals, FPL with so many, and United States Sugar Corporation. IMG_5299.jpgIMG_5300.jpg


So although the postcard says C-PAC. There is more to it than that. Good to know! We’ll study some more of the Tallahasse PACs in the coming days. They are very interesting too.


Learn more here: Dept of State: http://dos.myflorida.com/elections/candidates-committees/

“I can’t believe you aren’t marching in the streets with pitchforks,” AAF, SLR/IRL

Robert CrandallRobert Crandall, the chief executive of American Airlines from 1985 to 1998 and leading the fight against All Aboard Florida.
Mr. Robert Crandall, the chief executive of American Airlines from 1985 to 1998 and leading the fight against All Aboard Florida in Martin County.

“I can’t believe you are not marching in the streets with pitchforks; this is going to ruin your county.” Bob Crandall, 2016

There was something about him. Maybe it was the confidence that radiated, or the casual way he put his hands in his pockets while looking people straight in the eye…something about him let you know  that you were dealing a legend… the kind of person they don’t make anymore…

On February 24th, I attended the Stuart Chamber’s Government and Transportation Committee’s guest speaker series. On this day it was Robert “Bob” Crandall, former chief executive of American Airlines who lives in Palm City. Mr Crandall and C.A.R.E. are leaders in the fight against All Aboard Florida. (AAF)

Trying to understand All Aboard Florida is difficult. It is multi-layered and after a while its easy to glaze over. Acronyms like FDFC; EIS; ROD and the discussion of extensions and bonds can turn off even the most interested. So today I am just going to share “the simple” and “the why” of Mr Crandall’s presentation and  summarize why “we need to grab our pitchforks.”  I will end with a true quote form Martin Health System.

  1. AAF is a health and safety issue.
  2. There will be less business, period. Noise and vibration will all facilitate less business in Downtown Stuart, and cause structural harm to its businesses, and historic Lyric Theatre.
  3. Property values will decline.
  4. A train going 55 miles per hour takes one mile to stop. These trains will go faster.
  5. Pedestrians such as in Golden Gate, used to slower trains, will not correctly judge speeds. There will be accidents .
  6. The costs to Martin County is estimated to be $323,000 in 2016; $1,000,000 by 2020; and $3,000,00 by 2040. Taxes WILL be forced up.
  7. The Maritime industry will suffer greatly. Property values for marinas and homes on west side of bridge will decline. Boaters will be frustrated and leave the area.
  8. The Roosevelt Bridge is now closed 3 hours and  30 minutes a day; with AAF it will be closed 9 hours and 30 minutes a day.
  9. The 80-year-old bridge over the St Lucie River WILL get stuck…
  10. Dangerous substances will eventually be coming through. Freight is the long-term goal.
  11. We can’t win politically; we have to win legally.

For me things really set in my mind after Mr Crandall’s talk. During the question answer period the representative from Martin Health System said the following. I kid you not. He said the following: “If All Aboard Florida goes thorough, people will die.” He was speaking of ambulances stuck at tracks. Seconds count if you have a heart attack.

I thought to myself: “This is unbelievable. The most conservative of our community and the number one employer of our community just said ‘people will die.’ And the chamber has not taken a position. Why aren’t we out in the street with pitchforks?”

I think Mr Crandall is right.


Robert Crandall: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Crandall

C.A.R.E. Citizens Against the Train: https://www.citizensagainstthetrain.com

Martin Health System: https://www.martinhealth.org