Across Florida
What's happening on other political blogs?


Shouts and storm-outs as county Democrats discuss censuring Aaronson, Sachs, Vana

by George Bennett | December 3rd, 2010

After more than an hour of heated discussion, the Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee voted to send a “brisk” letter of disapproval to Democrats (from left) Aaronson, Sachs and Vana for endorsing Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist in the U.S. Senate race.

Carole Pollack was inducted as a Palm Beach County Democratic precinct captain Thursday night. Less than two hours later, after listening to party members shout each other down and seeing several walk out in protest, Pollack herself was storming out of a Democratic Executive Committee meeting in West Delray saying she might never return.

Pollack witnessed an intramural Democratic bloodbath over whether the party should take action against Democratic County Commissioners Burt Aaronson and Shelley Vana and state Sen. Maria Sachs for bucking the party and endorsing Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist in the Nov. 2 U.S. Senate race.

Committee members who stayed to the bitter end rejected a motion to censure the elected officials but voted to authorize a committee to send a “brisk” letter telling them of their disapproval.

Pollack didn’t stick around for the final vote.

“This is the first time I’ve been here. I’m not sure that it won’t be the last. I’m very upset by what I’m seeing here,” she told the party activists who met at Temple Emeth.

“This is not the army I joined. I don’t like it. It’s ugly and I don’t care who’s right and who’s wrong. This is a total waste of time — a total waste of my time. I just spent an extra hour here listening to this stuff, and I don’t need it. I don’t want it. Good night, I wish you well,” Pollack said before making her exit.

The melee had begun about an hour earlier when party activist Rodney Statham questioned Chairman Mark Alan Siegel on his decision to suspend a pair of Democratic zone leaders, Nate and Harriet Smith, for publicly turning their backs on Aaronson when he spoke at a recent nonpartisan Coalition of Boynton West Residential Associations meeting.

The Smiths said they were protesting Aaronson’s turning his back on Democratic Senate nominee Kendrick Meek. Siegel said the action was unacceptable “rudeness” for party leaders and suspended the Smiths from their zone leader jobs. He lifted the suspension this week after only 10 days.

Statham argued that the Smith’s silent protest wasn’t rude. He told Siegel that “you as chair feel the need to penalize us for expressing our First Amendment rights.”

The Smiths were welcomed as heroes at Thursday night’s meeting. Siegel was reelected party chairman earlier in the evening without any other nominees running. But Nate Smith received seven votes for chairman and his wife got one while Siegel got 96 and other candidates received 13.

Instead of taking action against the Smiths, many Democrats at the meeting thought the party should punish Aaronson, Vana and Sachs instead.

“We need to let our elected officials know that it is not acceptable to endorse Republicans,” said former party chairwoman Carol Ann Loehndorf.

“Turning your back on the party, which is what Burt Aaronson and the others did, is much worse than what our friends did,” said Bob Krause of the Democratic Club of Greater Boynton. “I feel strongly that those people that abandoned our party and deserted our party should be rebuked in some manner.”

Similar spleen-venting continued for several minutes.

Things started careening out of control when Siegel asked Democratic activists which candidate had won their precincts in the Senate race. Crist outpolled Meek countywide thanks to strong support from Democratic voters.

“Who won the election in your precincts?” Siegel asked

“Why did they win the election?” Krause shouted back from the audience.

“Because you didn’t do your job, that’s why!” Siegel shouted.

Much of the crowd booed Siegel’s remark and several people walked out of the meeting.

“It’s our job to win the election,” Siegel said over the uproar. “I lost my precinct too, OK? We were beaten in this election.”

“You were rude just now — more rude than turning your back on a piece of crap. How dare you!” a man shouted at Siegel.

As committee members talked of censuring the three elected officials, Siegel said that action would be too harsh.

“They have no doubt as to how the party feels. The question is, do we want to make a permanent breach with people we depend on to carry our ideals in Tallahassee and in West Palm Beach?” Siegel said.

“If we pass a resolution of censure, it will be a declaration of war on all of the elected officials as a group.”

Eventually, with only about half the original crowd still in attendance, Siegel succeeded in getting the committee not to censure the elected officials.

The “brisk” letter is to be drafted by a nine-member committee sometime in the coming weeks.

Dems might also get a chance to register their displeasure with the elected officials next month. Aaronson, Vana, Sachs and other elected Democrats have all been invited to January’s party meeting.

Tags: , , ,

35 Responses to “Shouts and storm-outs as county Democrats discuss censuring Aaronson, Sachs, Vana”

  1. Carol Says:

    What a mess! I have been a registered independent for 34 years. This fiasco is a good example why I do not participate in either of the BIG TWO parties.

  2. tommy Says:

    I personally got hundreds of petitions signed for Kendrick Meek to be on the ballot, and no one was a stronger supporter of him than I was, but a censure implies unethical behavior on behalf of an official; there is nothing unethical about endorsing someone who you feel is the best candidate. I may have strong disagreement with their determination, but that is not the proper reason for a censure.

  3. Candi Says:

    Tommy, please note it says that in the end they voted AGAINST censure. I guess after a heated debate cooler heads prevailed.

  4. JustinSnyder Says:

    I was in attendance tonight. And it made me smile as I spoke with colleagues and made the remark.. “this is why young people join the DEC, run away, and never return.” Unbelievable.

  5. JR Says:

    NO MORE BS SIEGAL, DEUTCH, SACHS, SLOSBERG, VANA, ABRUZZO, RADER.

    WE WANT LEADERS THAT STAND UP FOR US AND NOT THEIR CAREER.

    FYI I was at the meeting about a week ago when the Commissioner met with the board, Abruzzo, Sachs and Deutch in private to all agree to throw the Smiths out.

    Classy Losers…losers with Big money, Big ego and no brain or guts.

    Where was Wexler? Oh pulling the string and avoiding jail time. Rangle is waiting for a friend in jail soon….oh Bobby, Burtie…Irvy…

  6. JN Says:

    The reason why we have complete gridlock in government is because of voting along party lines rather than voting your conscience. This is ridiculous they are supposed to choose who they feel will do a better job period.

  7. Ed Says:

    Siegel threw Bill Graham, an incumbent Democrat, under the bus. What’s the difference?

  8. American Man Says:

    This is what I live for – watching grown adults that want to tell ME how to run my life. What a fiasco, is it any wonder people are leaving the democratic party in droves-is it any wonder the Republicans kicked their fannies so far and high. This is nothing but a bunch of little kids who can’t get their way – I vote to make sure their mother’s are in attendance for any further meetings. 1. to make sure they don’t get out of line and for 2. their mother’s to see what idiots they raised. Ha ha ha ha ha – oh I can’t stop, my day is made.

  9. Good Luck Says:

    At least there is an airing of thought, words. You can’t keep a group working together if there is no allowance for differing of opinions. Punishing those who demonstrate their displeasure with a course of action, is wrong.

    A change in power needs to occur. Silencing those with another idea, opinion is putting everyone on a pathway to destruction.

    Let ALL voices be heard. Don’t let a long time in power group destroy the ability of even one person to speak and demonstrate.

    Now, is the time to air out differences. And also to consider change.

    Keep talking and rid the system of those who endanger simple freedoms. The evil lurks within.

    Slowly, but surely, a new change of guard will occur.

    It is time.

  10. Puppets Says:

    Shelly Vana is an Aaronson puppet. Watch and listen to her at the county commission meetings.

    Burt is her God. Isn’t he the godfather.

    Bow down, those who disagree and kiss his ring, like the county attorney did.

  11. Seth Says:

    I don’t care who the candidate is or what their policies are, if you are an elected member of the democratic leadership you MUST support Democrats. If you feel you must vote outside party lines then KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!
    lack of support of any candidate in this past election only hurt all Democrats on the ticket.
    These leaders should be made an example of.
    Censure is too weak.

  12. Glades Freshener Says:

    “Ed,” quit whining about Democrats or the DEC not supporting Bill Graham. 78 percent, four out of 5 voters, in the 5-way September vote said no to him. That is everybody. Get it. He lost touch with his job, let Superintendent Art Johnson do as he pleased instead of overseeing, as he, Graham, was being PAID to do. He missed a ton of meetings this past year. He served long enough. 24 years. Enough. A very qualified, energetic person, Karen Brill, captured 65 percent of the vote in the runoff against Graham in November. That is more than Democrats, Ed. Time to move. Happy holidays.

  13. AmericanWithFreeSpeech Says:

    I was at this meeting also, and was one of the speakers, not shouters, as implied in this article. Yes, there was some heat as there is when differences of opinion are vented and deep rooted principles of very dedicated people are ignored by the very people who were supported previously by them.

    It’s principles that hold our party together, and if our elected officials forget those principles for position and power then it is time to move forward and seek new leaders who will honor our principles. Leaders who could not hold to the principals in the past cannot be trusted to do so in the future. Time to move forward to NEW LEADERS and not dwell in the past.

  14. Sid is a Democrat Says:

    Where is the REC when Republican elected officials openly support Democrats? He would have to censure himself.

    Sid has to go… anyone but Sid

  15. allenhip Says:

    I’m disappointed that the party discourse was the major topic in today’s press when we approved a letter that will be sent to President Obama regarding the Bush tax cuts, which was pass out at this meeting and approved with minor changes, I feel that was more important.

    As one of the nine committee members charged to write the “brisk” letter to be drafted I’m more concerned about party unity and getting this matter behind us so we can move forward.

    I do believe that all parties in this matter need to openly discuss their feelings, but to do so behind closed doors and not who said what to whom, or to see our Democratic Party and Elected Officials demeaned publicly.

    So I will be making a recommendation that for our next meeting we ask that all guests and press leave, so we can have an honest open discussion to clear air.

    I also feel we should issue an official press release on what transpired.

    PARTY UNITY IS OUR GOAL

  16. Leave Brisk to Lipton Says:

    What the heck is a ‘brisk’ letter? I thought Brisk was a brand of ice tea. Shower these traitors with cold water so they can wake up and realize their power is an extension of the people who elect them, that we are not their subjects but party activists and constituents. While Meek’s campaign never caught fire, he was right when he said he was running against TWO Republicans. Just the other day No Party Charlie said he might run again for office — as a Republican.

  17. PoliticsAintBeanbag Says:

    I was there last night. All the way to the end. I did not speak or speak out, but participated in making some of the motions.

    First of all, for those Chicken Littles who ran out of the meeting all a-flutter, please. It wasn’t that bad and if you can’t take a little heat, we’re better off without you.

    Second, Mark Segal, although a very capable leader, was completely out of line telling the Greater Boynton Beach leader that Kendrick Meek lost in Boytnon because the Greater Boynton Beach leaders didn’t do their jobs. Everyone worked very hard here. Mark got caught up in this when all he had to do was simply explain why the Smiths were suspended and leave it at that. Mark is a former parliamentarian. He should have acted like one and kept things moving along.

    Last, the Democratic Party needs to get tough. Burt, Maria, Shelly have all at one time or another taken oaths to support only Democratic candidates in contested elections. They said they looked at the numbers and tried to be pragmatic about this. Well stop looking at the numbers. If we had rallied behind Meek as a united party, maybe he would not have won anyway, but just maybe all that extra mojo would have gotten Alex Sink over the top. We as good as told anyone who might have been energized by Meek to stay home. We don’t need you.

    I thought the silent turn the back protest was right on. Nothing rude about it. And if our leadership is so off put by that to pick a fight with our most ardent activists, then we need new leadership.

    Politics Ain’t Beanbag!!!

  18. Ursula Says:

    I was at the meeting. It was like the good old days. I almost walked out when Marc yelled but I stayed and listened. My feelings are if they are going to be at the meeting next month, form a line and let the electeds know how you feel in person. Censure is too harsh and a letter is like getting a paper cut. I wanted to leave because the meeting ran too late. I don’t care if people yell and scream, that just tells me how committed they are.

  19. Turn your back on them again. Says:

    Protesters…..keep turning you chairs around when these people speak..they have never been listening to you. They don’t even stay for the whole meeting. They have always supported Republicans if they serve themselves…Why do you think Steve Abrams was unoppossed by any Democrat…Aaronson wanted him in his boys club. Too many hand jobs given out. Keep turning those chairs around.

  20. WTF Says:

    What a circus! Had the discussions happened “before the voting” I do not think Mark Siegel today would be Chair of the PBC Democratic Party … AND … it is more clear now as to exactly WHY he does not deserve to be the head of the state party either. He lost it and it came through most dramatically.

    Aronson deserves to be censured by the Dems. Same for Sachs and yes, even the lapdog Vana. They have lost their sense of identity and they need to be told that by people who both care deeply about these issues AND who worked hard for a candidate who earned his way onto the ballot via a statewide signature campaign. That fact cannot be swept under the carpet. Even more depicable are the racist overtones of the Aronson set of moves. Burtie needs to sunset; he has served many people well for many years (allegedly) however he has demonstrated recently that he has lost his sense of identity. He positions himself front and center now he needs to “take the mud” that will be slung his way.

    As to the Smiths… they are victors. Mark Siegel exceeded his authority in his treatment of these people. Check the bylaws; Siegel is / was out of order. Reason secundo he should not continue to lead. However, “the sheep” did not stand up to him with challenger candidates. Therefore, we perish with the results of our own in-action.

    Let all the Demcoratic clubs now send a signal to the county party as to what they believe. Let us see where all the committed really stand. I can’t wait to see the results.

  21. Really? Says:

    There are 3 questions I have about the meeting last night.

    1) How the is it that in an organization as large as the DEC there is NO member who would run against Seigel? As I heard someone say, “I would have voted for a sock puppet over him!” Can we do anything to remove him now that he’s continued to show disrespect and lack of leadership?

    2) The conversation started because of the Smiths. Would anyone else be in favor of a public apology to the Smiths?

    3) As far as Aronson, Sachs and Vana are concerned, I believe we need to run people against them. Who will step up to the plate? Where are you?

  22. Unreal Says:

    Now you see why the Democratic Party is in shambles. Prime time drama.

  23. Unreal Says:

    The real problem here, and covers many of the posters here is that you all sound like party members. The two parties are one in the same, and you consistently support them whether it is D or R, no matter what type of narcissist is nominated. America needs to move away from the two parties period. Both parties are corrupted by money and the people all suffer.
    The funniest part to me, an independent is that the left supported a self serving liar like Christ over Kendrick Meek. I even voted for Meek and i don’t support most of his policies. But at least the man has integrity that Charlie and Marco do not have.
    Vote your heart and not your party and maybe we will get good leader instead of the scum we have in both parties today.

  24. Danny D Says:

    TARA LAXER…She should of ran against Sachs but Deutch sold out to the crazy. She wasn’t there…maybe she knew they were crazy.

    I think we need to have Laxer run against Sachs, get someone against Slosberg, I might have someone against Aaronson..and Vana.

    Go Laxer!

  25. DD Says:

    She was smart not to run this time. Seriously though the reason why no one ran against Siegal is because you are their tools just like the rest of them.

    There needs to be a real Democratic Party that is smart on the issues. Enough with these dumb people with a lot of money.

    We have one person to blame Bobby Wexler and Deutch took over the stage but is silent in the process…minus that annoying aide the red head who is just old and annoying

  26. AmericanWithFreeSpeech Says:

    in response to ‘Really’s comment about who will step up to the plate: There has been whisper for more than a year now that someone on the Legislative Committee is going to run for Burt Aaronson’s seat.

    The time for change is coming but the time for announcements should wait until the dust settles.

  27. Congratulations! Says:

    Congratulations! Once again those of you who believe in and participate in the two party system, and passively believe it is a representative democracy, have been victimized by it because it forces you to share one of TWO monopoly parties with people you have nothing politically in common with, just to express yourselves “viably”. I think episodes like this highlight the need for electoral reforms.

  28. Oh Please Says:

    Funny how democrats will “eat their offstpring” to keep their power and ultimately their jobs while having not one ounce of repect or care for the citizens they represent.

  29. Backer of Freedom Says:

    Let’s face it, Shelley Vana and Maria Sachs are not strong women. They just follow what Big Daddy Burt Aaronson says to do.

    It’s time for change. An injection of younger blood is needed. The old guys just need to fade away.

    As for rudeness, just review tapes of Aaronson talking over public speakers during their allowed 3 minute comments. Take a look at Aaronson interrpting other commissioners as they are speaking.

    It’s not like Aaronson isn’t allowed to speak. He can speak AFTER comments from the public and AFTER other commissioners are allowed to voice their thoughts,comments.

    Aaronson is damn rude.

    Thank you to the Smiths. Let’s hope once things have settled that there is a freedom to discuss and disagree without retribution.

    Me thinks, Burt and Siegel need to go and new leadership, whomever it could be, is allowed to flower.

  30. Carol Says:

    My husband and I resigned the Democratic Committee on Thursday due to the way the party in Palm Beach County is run. The thought that Nate and Harriet were suspended for expressing their views was disgusting. I thought that there was freedom of speech in this country.

  31. Angry and Frustrated Says:

    I was at the meeting Thursday night until after it ended (stayed for the meeeting after the meeting). We are justified in our anger. The Smith’s did what they did because party leadership failed to take any action against those elected Democrats who supported a Republican against our nominee! Loyalty oath or not, these people owe their current positions to the group of people who were at that meeting and worked their collective butts off to get them elected. In the case of Aaronson and Sachs, more than once! Families fight, clear the air and then come together again. This will happen with the Dems as well. As for Aaronson, he is done anyway when his current term is up. We will fight to get anyone elected who runs AGAINST Burt’s chosen person. His influence in Palm Beach County politics ends with his term! As an aside, Ted Deutch was a STRONG supporter of Kendrick Meek, so do not include him (or his wonderful aide) in your anger.

  32. EL Says:

    Deutch publically was for Meek while Wexler’s staff was coordinating the entire campaign.

    The guy is a lapdog for Wexler, Aaronson and Obama..who was one that made the deal with Charlie.

    Deutch is just a better actor. Same scum

  33. Molly Says:

    Wexler campaign you mean Wendi Deutch’s staff.
    I heard that too from Rader after he lost.

    Who does not know that…Rader…loose lips sink ships.

  34. Diane Says:

    Angry and Frustrated.

    You one damn naive person. Are you staff for Deutch? I bet you are. Deutch is nice and I dont know if he was really helping Meek or not. Wendi is really sweet but yes I overheard…we all know she was coordinating with her boss Wexler on the Crist campaign.

    Everyone knows but won’t say outloud because we like Deutch and it makes him look…well like ..weak

  35. Signe Fralin Says:

    Simply curious once you knew practically almost anything else in regards to the good blogengine update that’s developing quickly? I’m trying to succeed in out to over webmasters to locate out what they know consequence of Google hasn’t indexed a single thing new on it for awhile.

Florida political tweeters
Video: Politics stories
Categories
Archives