Christie: Um… so what’s going on with these rising gas prices?

MIAMI — Customers pump gas into their vehicles as reports indicate that the price of gasoline continues to rise. AAA forecasts the national gas price average will be as much as $2.70/gallon this spring and summer. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

For the last few weeks, there has been an elephant in the room of the (sort of) daily White House Press briefing.

As of Monday’s gaggle, no White House reporter has asked Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about what the president plans to do about rising gas prices. Not one word. Nada.

That’s kind of glaring given the fact that anyone who drives a car, truck or lawnmower  has felt some pain at the pump as gas prices have spiked the last several weeks. Again, as of Monday, the average price per gallon for unleaded gas was $2.73 in Florida and $2.85 right here in in Palm Beach County, according to AAA.

RELATED: Spring runup in gas prices has begun

Prices for gas are running at their highest in at least three years, and are expected to go even higher as Memorial Day kicks off the summer driving season. And AAA warned of potentially higher oil prices this week if President Donald Trump pulls out of the nuclear deal with Iran and imposes sanctions on that oil producing nation.

Usually, this would be fodder for Washington reporters to pound the current White House occupant on the issue, asking: “What’s the president going to do about this issue that affects literally every American household?”

Fair or not. Ever since the Arab Oil Crisis of the 1970s, no American president has been immune to this baseline pocketbook issue. Well, it seems, until now.

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The White House Press Corps can be forgiven for being a little distracted.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls on reporters during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Let’s see: there has been serious stuff like the above-mentioned blowing a hole in the Iran Nuclear deal and further de-stabilizing the Middle East. There’s setting up a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to broker a peace on the Korean Peninsula. There has been the less serious comedic takedown of Sanders by Comedy Central’s Michelle Wolf at the much-maligned White House Correspondents Association Dinner. And of course, the daily drumbeat of developments on the Stormy Daniels’ front — which has reached a new octane level under Trump’s new lawyer, bombastic former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Wait… what were we talking about again? Oh yeah, higher gas prices.

To be sure, the White House has continued to trumpet other (positive) economic news. On Friday, the president made sure to mention the latest jobs report that showed the unemployment rate dip below 4 percent to 3.9 percent — technically a sign of full employment.

Although it would be nice, as economists note, to see workers’ wages finally show a substantial increase as a result of that much-ballyhooed $1.5 trillion Republican tax cut.

Gas pump prices have been heading upward for months, about 50 cents more on average than a year ago. But is that enough reason for consumers to be concerned?

Could it be that higher gas prices are not as a big a deal as they were in the past?

What’s paying 50 cents more per gallon than you were a year ago mean anyway? Well, if you have a 20-gallon tank, that’s $10 more per fill-up. Average two fill-ups a month and that’s $240 more you’re paying a year. And if you still haven’t gotten rid of that big sport-utility vehicle, God help you.

There are also plenty of small businesses that depend on gas to run their operations. Pizza and other food delivery, retail florists, landscapers and those now-ubiquitous food trucks, just to name a few.

Take our poll here, and tell us what you think about rising gas prices. Are you concerned, changing any travel plans, etc.?

Should the U.S. rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

WEST PALM BEACH: President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump arrive with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe on Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport for a weekend together at Mar-a-Lago resort on Feb. 10, 2017. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

With Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, coming back to Palm Beach for talks with President Trump Tuesday, it’s a good time to ask if the U.S. should rejoin the multi-country trade agreement.

In a head-spinner of a reversal, Trump on Thursday said he was looking into rejoining the TPP. Tearing up the pact was one  of his bedrock campaign promises and first acts as president.

Back then, he denounced the deal as “a rape of our country.” But now many farmers, business people and Republican lawmakers are worried about threats of tariffs and trade barriers.

Trump made the comment to a gathering of farm-state lawmakers and governors, so maybe this was mind-boggling idea that evaporates as soon as the intended audience leaves the room, like the time he seemed to side with Democrats on DACA or that moment when he embraced universal background checks on gun purchases.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, forged during the Obama administration, was to unite 12 countries,  representing 40 percent of the world’s economic output, in a trading bloc. The hope was to strengthen economic ties by slashing tariffs and writing policies and regulations — and to counter China’s dominance in Asia.

Critics on the left, as well as Trump-supporting nationalists, assailed the pact as costing U.S. jobs and said it was developed with too little transparency.

So what do you think? Is the U.S. better off outside the TPP? Or should we get back in?

Goodman: GOP’s split on Trump forgotten when it comes to coddling financial firms

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., left, and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., right, neither running for reelection, have lashed President Donald Trump with scorching criticism. Here they are in 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

 

Disarray? What disarray?

Yesterday, political reporters and pundits were panting over the bare-knuckled, full-throated criticisms of President Donald J. Trump by two Republican senators: Bob Corker, of Tennessee, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and Jeff Flake, the junior senator from Arizona whose political idol is conservative icon Barry Goldwater.

It was unprecedented to have two Republican stalwarts lambaste a Republican president in such dire terms, especially on the same day.

Corker: Trump has “great difficulty with the truth” and “the debasement of the nation is what he’ll be remembered most for.”

Flake: “Reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as telling it like it is, when it is actually just reckless, outrageous and undignified.”

This all points, the pundits said, to a great schism between the Trumpists who hold the party regulars in fear, and the liberated few who have been freed to speak against the unclothed emperor because they have opted out of re-election.

And yes, it does speak to a great split between those willing to denounce the danger of Donald Trump’s “reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior,” as Flake called it, and the many toadies who may shudder in private but who shut up in public for the greater cause of passing big tax breaks for the wealthy.

But just hours after Corker and Flake enunciated these noble and necessary statements, they joined with 48 of their fellow Republicans for a nighttime debate and vote to repeal a banking rule that would let consumers band together to sue their bank or credit card company to resolve financial disputes.

Or as it’s also called, GOP business as usual.

A vote from Vice President Mike Pence shortly after 10 p.m. broke a 50-50 tie to strike down the new rule, a major effort by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help consumers fight back against god-awful practices of financial institutions. The bureau is the watchdog created by Congress after the 2008 economic crisis.

One more legacy of the Obama years gets reversed.

The New York Times explains:

The rule, five years in the making, would have dealt a serious blow to financial firms, potentially exposing them to a flood of costly lawsuits over questionable business practices.

For decades, credit card companies and banks have inserted arbitration clauses into the fine print of financial contracts to circumvent the courts and bar people from pooling their resources in class-action lawsuits. By forcing people into private arbitration, the clauses effectively take away one of the few tools that individuals have to fight predatory and deceptive business practices. Arbitration clauses have derailed claims of financial gouging, discrimination in car sales and unfair fees.

The new rule written by the consumer bureau, which was set to take effect in 2019, would have restored the right of individuals to sue in court. It was part of a spate of actions by the bureau, which has cracked down on debt collectors, the student loan industry and payday lenders.

The vote was a big gift to that credit card company that’s hitting you with hidden charges. As the Washington Post put it:

The rules would have cost the industry billions of dollars, according to some estimates. With the Senate’s vote, Wall Street is beginning to reap the benefits of the Trump administration focus on rolling back regulations it says are strangling the economy.

Richard Cordray  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“Tonight’s vote is a giant setback for every consumer in this country,” Richard Cordray, the director of the consumer bureau, said in a statement. “As a result, companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax remain free to break the law without fear of legal blowback from their customers.”

The only two Republicans to join Democrats in voting against the measure were Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Kennedy of Louisiana.

Every other GOP member of the Senate, however they feel about Trump, fell in step when given the chance to coddle Wall Street. That includes Sen. John McCain, who made thinly veiled criticisms of Trump in a speech on Oct. 16 that warned against “half-baked, spurious nationalism.”

John McCain (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

 

You can be sure they’ll do the same thing when it comes to serving up big tax cuts to corporations and rich individuals (unless the so-far-unseen tax legislation contains details unacceptable to some members, as happened with health care).

The Consumers Union and several veterans groups, including the American Legion, lobbied to keep the rule. As well they should have, because class-action lawsuits are a way of putting a spotlight on misdeeds by businesses that would otherwise get little attention. They also allow groups of people to reclaim small amounts of money they otherwise wouldn’t have the time or money to go after.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader in the Senate, is not the most articulate of politicians. But he hit the nail on the head as the Senate neared its vote:

“Once again, we’re helping the powerful against the powerless.”

Munoz: Teens taking fewer summer jobs, but don’t call them lazy

Palm Beach Skate Zone employee Heather Shapiro, 18, of Loxahatchee, carries ice cream to a freezer on Saturday, May 25, 2013. Shapiro said this was her first job. (Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post)

By Valeria Munoz

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Fewer teens are working summer jobs. Although it’s easy to assume that teens are lounging by the pool rather than filling out applications, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Teens are finding other ways to achieve personal growth. The majority are sacrificing their summer plans to volunteer, intern, or further their academic studies.

According to a report from CBS News, the number of teens in the workforce has decreased, with only 36% of teens working in 2016. Manager of Cannoli Kitchen’s east location in Boca Raton, Connie Smith agrees. Compared with last year, she has noticed fewer teenagers in this summer’s interviews.

It’s clear to me though, that, despite not serving tables or ringing up customers’ purchases, they still have their priorities straight.

In fact, the CBS report shows teens and parents see the value in pursuing higher education; 42% of American teens are enrolled in summer classes. Schools have become more competitive and students are taking note and stepping up their game.

University of Central Florida student, Kelly Furbish,18, is a perfect example. She is spending the summer getting a head start on college and becoming familiar with the campus before the flood of fall students. She says that attending classes with a smaller roster has its benefits.

“The professors are more personal which makes it easier to learn and get help, along with having a manageable course load. In the summer, you have the option to take two to three classes,” she said.

While some would rather hit the books, a lucky few manages to snag a job prior to summer.

One of those teens is Lauren Pires, 17, a Cannoli Kitchen employee, who thought acquiring a job was a productive use of her time. Not only has she accumulated work experience, but she’s learned to deal with people of different personalities.

“I wasn’t particularly interested in any sports or clubs at school,” Pires said. “But I wanted to spend my time wisely on an activity that would help me in the future and not sit around at home,”

Thus, it’s not that teens don’t recognize the importance of a summer job. More often than not, businesses have already filled spots with older workers or even teens themselves, during the school year to pay for the many costs connected to public school particularly senior year.

From honor society fees to sport team dues to prom, teens have to find a way to fund for these events sooner rather than later. This, in turn, forces businesses to be more selective of who they hire during the summer.

Whether they book a 9-to-5 shift or school becomes their full-time job, teens deserve more credit. They are certainly thinking ahead and past their summer bucket lists.

Valeria Munoz, a recent graduate of Boca Raton High School, is majoring in journalism in college and is a summer intern at the Palm Beach Post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodman: 1.5M Floridians could lose coverage, but Obamacare foes forge on

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks to reporters as he walks toward the Senate floor on Capitol Hill, July 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The healthcare replacement bill that Senate Republicans are intent on pushing toward a vote this week, despite being declared dead a few days ago for lack of support within their own party, would mean the loss of health coverage for almost 1.5 million Floridians.

And if the GOP succeeds in repealing Obamacare without enacting a replacement, that number of newly uninsured Floridians would rise to about 2.3 million. So say estimates from the Urban Institute.

Those figures match up with Congressional Budget Office analyses showing that, nationwide, the Senate bill would strip coverage for 22 million Americans by 2026; 32 million, if the Affordable Care Act is repealed with no replacement.

No wonder the Republicans’ bumbling efforts to fulfill their most fervid promise of the Obama years are going so badly. The Senate replacement bill is so unpopular that only 12 percent of voters in key Trump counties think it’s a good idea, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows.

Yet Gov. Rick Scott still sees political gold in attacking Obamacare tooth and claw. The Senate 2018 hopeful said in  Boca Raton this week, “I think you’ve got to understand Obamacare’s been a disaster. It’s caused health care prices to skyrocket.”

As if the problem of soaring healthcare costs didn’t exist before the ACA went into effect five years ago.

And Florida’s Republican U.S. senator, Marco Rubio, was ready last week to vote to repeal Obamacare without replacement, saying the health care law “has been bad for our country” — until that notion collapsed for lack of votes within a single day.

Rubio has hardly bathed himself in courage in this debate. Claiming to be undecided for weeks, he has refused to hold face-to-face town halls because, he said, activists will “heckle and scream at me.” And it appears he won’t meet with constituents who want to see the present law improved instead of voted or sabotaged into extinction.

Florida Voices for Health, a coalition of about 25 advocacy groups for expanded access to healthcare, has repeatedly sought to meet with Rubio, spokeswoman Louisa McQueeney told the Palm Beach Post Editorial Board. They’ve visited all his offices around the state. “The staff is very, very nice,” McQueeney said. “They take our materials. And then it just goes into a black hole.”

So Voices for Health proposed a “tele press conference call” and offered to give him written questions in advance. No response.

They sent Rubio a letter on July 10, asking that he commit to making sure that no Floridians lose coverage, that there are no cuts or caps to Medicaid and that no one is denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. They say he hasn’t answered.

The foes of the Affordable Care Act have done all they could over the past five years to badmouth the law. Scott, like other hardline Republican governors, refused to take advantage of the chance to expand Medicaid. Nevertheless, almost 1.5 million Floridians bought policies on Obamacare’s healthcare.gov marketplace — many of whom were going without insurance before.

Even if the Senate bills fail again this week, President Trump could fulfill his predictions of Obamacare’s death spiral by withholding the money to subsidize insurance companies to help sign up low-income customers. Just the uncertainty of future funding has caused some carriers to drop out of marketplaces.

And depending on what the Senate comes up with, Medicaid could be in for diminishment, either through cuts or caps or a restructuring to block grants. That’s a cloud over 4 million Floridians, including one half of the state’s children and 60 percent of seniors in nursing homes.

It’s bizarre that America is in this position. According to a Fox News poll last week — yes, Fox News — 60 percent of Americans want to keep Obama and for lawmakers to fix it. Seventy-four percent want Republicans to reach out to Democrats and find a compromise. That includes 59 percent of Republicans.

Yes, you read that right.

The public wants common-sense solutions, but the political system — wrapped up in tribal wars, ties to campaign contributors, the burning desire to score political wins … you name it — looks incapable of providing them. The very real danger is that millions of people will get hurt in the wreckage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christie: Will Gov. Scott tear down Florida’s ‘liquor wall’?

Little package stores like The Beer & Liquor Store in western Lake Worth could be run out of buinsess by a controversial “liquor wall” bill if it’s not vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott today. (Kevin D. Thompson/The Palm Beach Post)

UPDATE: Pointing to concerns about preserving small-business jobs, Gov. Rick Scott late Wednesday vetoed the so called “liquor wall” law, which requires hard spirits to be sold in separate facilities from most retail goods. The veto was a victory for independent liquor-store owners, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits and Publix Super Markets, which fought the bill during the legislative session that ended May 8.

Would you be okay buying your Johnnie Walker Black whiskey in the same Target store as your Wheaties cereal?

How about the convenience of picking up your Don Julio tequila while you grab your diabetes medicine?

Does the thought of BOGO-ing your bourbon raise your, ahem, spirits?

Or does the thought of mixing hard liquor with family food shopping make you a bit queasy?

These questions will be settled for you today. Because today is the deadline for Gov. Rick Scott to sign a controversial “liquor wall” bill (SB 106) passed by the legislature that would a repeal a decades-old law requiring hard spirits to be sold in separate facilities from groceries and other goods.

It’s anyone guess whether Scott will sign, veto or let the measure become law without his signature; the bill is backed by retailers such as Target and Walmart.

Members of the Florida Independent Spirits Association, which, along with Publix Super Markets and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, opposed the repeal, have stepped up the pro-veto movement since the House narrowly signed off of the measure — in a 58-57 vote — on April 26.

Meanwhile, Floridians For Fair Business Practices, which includes Walmart and Target, has urged to urge Scott to sign the bill.

The governor’s office as of last Friday had received 2,674 emails, 570 letters and 235 calls in opposition to the bill since lawmakers gave approval, according to Scott spokeswoman Lauren Schenone. Another 3,245 names were submitted via petitions collected at independent liquor stores.

The governor’s office during the same period had also received 434 phone calls, 320 emails and seven letters that voiced support for the bill.

PALM BEACH GARDENS — In recent years, supermarkets like Publix have been opening up separate liquor stores next to their grocery stores. (Taylor Jones/The Palm Beach Post).

Here’s the skinny: Opponents argue the change would hurt small liquor stores (also called “package stores”), eliminate jobs, result in a greater ability for minors to get liquor and lead to more impulse-buying of alcohol.

You can see that argument. After all, Walmart has a competitive edge because they buy in big quantities. How can a little mom-and-pop franchise of one or two stores liquor stores compete with them price-wise.

On the other side, proponents counter that the policy promotes a free market and provide more convenience to shoppers. They also dispute the argument about minors getting access to liquor, saying minors are more likely to get alcohol at home.

That may be true, also, as studies have shown that kids raid their parents liquor and medicine cabinets for alcohol and drugs, respectively.

Sen. Anitere Flores, a Miami Republican who sponsored the bill, said the existing law is “antiquated.”

“The current alcohol separation law in the state of Florida is outdated and creates an uneven playing field for retailers,” Flores said in a statement earlier this month.

The measure got through the Senate in a 21-17 vote on March 23.

The issue has been heavily lobbied in the Capitol in recent years. If approved by Scott, the bill would affect the business models of retailers on both sides of the debate.

Along with the independent liquor stores and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Publix has been involved because it operates stand-alone liquor stores in many of the same shopping centers as its grocery stores. Meanwhile, retailers such as Target, Walmart and Costco want to be able to sell liquor in the same stores where shoppers pick up groceries and other goods.

Tell us what you think by taking our poll here.

Christie: All Aboard Florida trying to keep Brightline’s future from dimming

Mike Reininger, Executive Director of Florida East Coast Industries (left) and Dennis Grady, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches (right) speak with the Post Editorial Board this morning. (Joseph Forzano / The Palm Beach Post)

UPDATE, March 28, 11:40 a.m. — This morning, the state House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee pulled HB 269 from its meeting agenda. The committee gave no explanation for the last-minute decision to not discuss the House companion to state Sen. Debbie Mayfield’s Senate bill proposing new regulations on high-speed passenger rail in the state of Florida.

Here’s a statement released from All Aboard Florida:

“The fact that the bill was pulled from the committee agenda today means the overwhelming input from groups such as the Florida Chamber and Florida TaxWatch, elected officials from key cities and newspaper editorial boards is making an impact.  We have been saying this bill is not about safety but an attack against private property rights and is targeting our company.  Legislators are comprehending these facts, and we are appreciative.” – Rusty Roberts, Vice President of Government Affairs for Brightline

RELATED: House committee postpones vote on high-speed rail bill

And here’s excerpts from the response released Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida (CARE FL) to this morning’s developments:

“I want to once again thank Representatives MaryLynn Magar and Erin Grall for filing legislation this session to protect citizens from subsidizing high speed rail projects that pose risks to public safety.  We are disappointed that the subcommittee did not debate the bill today, but we respect the legislative process, and look forward to more dialogue about this important legislation in due course.

“All Aboard Florida (AAF) is taking a victory lap today in its public statements, but its latest actions are nothing more than a special interest group flexing its political muscle in a desperate attempt to protect its profits which are reliant on taxpayer subsidies. 

***

All Aboard Florida is up against it these days.

Right… So what else is new? The proposed high-speed passenger rail line that’s expected to have 32 trains running between Miami and West Palm Beach daily later this year has been fighting opponents since it was first announced four years ago.

And it’s mostly those folks north of West Palm Beach — in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties — that have declared war on the proposed Brightline service. They have mounted a well-funded group to fight it — Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida (C.A.R.E.), based in the Treasure Coast.

But AAF officials met with the Post Editorial Board today because of a new, and potentially bigger threat — a bill proposed recently by Sen. Debbie Mayfield, a Vero Beach Republican.

A bill that, if passed, could halt the much-ballyhooed Brightline in its tracks.

Listen to audio of the meeting here:

The proposal (SB 386) would place regulations on passenger rail service. It was passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee — and sent All Aboard Florida into a tizzy, warning that the bill’s ostensible concern for safety could actually derail plans to link Orlando and Miami.

“The goal here is to mask this whole proposal in safety,” Mike Reininger, Florida East Coast Industries executive director, told the board. “Right?… Who doesn’t like puppies and bunnies?

“But that’s not what this bill is,” he added. “This is bill is simply another attempt to stop All Aboard Florida, specifically, and kill further passenger rail expansion, generally.”

Reininger, joined by Brightline general counsel Myles L. Tobin and Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches President Dennis Grady, added that passing the bill would certainly result in years of legal and administrative challenges. Not to mention having an impact on FEC’s schedule to begin offering service north of West Palm Beach.

(By the way, Reininger let it be known that All Aboard plans to propose opening a train station north of West Palm Beach “everywhere we believe is financial viable”.)

But Mayfield, at the March 14 Senate hearing, contended the proposal doesn’t target any particular rail service.

“This is about setting a framework so other high-speed rail companies that come in, we have that framework set into place,” said Mayfield of the measure, which would give the Florida Department of Transportation oversight where not preempted by federal law.

The measure also would require private passenger rail to cover the costs of installing and maintaining safety technology at crossings unless such contracts are agreed to by local governments.

“It’s not fair, and it’s certainly not legal,” Reininger said today. “We’ve already exceeded federal regulatory requirements in terms of upgrades to our tracks and crossings. So why do we need another law?”

A good question. Take our poll and tell us what you think:

 

Trump voters tell Post they look forward to change — and why

“Maverick.” “Change.” “Doer.” “Different.” “Smart.” “Enterprise.” “Doesn’t Owe Anybody.” “America.”

Those were some of the words used by 10 local people to describe Donald J. Trump, the unconventional candidate they helped elect to the presidency.

Republicans, Independents and one Democrat, they came to The Palm Beach Post last night to explain why they helped put the brash billionaire, builder, brand name and reality-TV star into the White House.

We had put out an appeal to Trump voters to speak to us. More than 200 replied. Though we didn’t get the racial or ethnic diversity we would have liked, we narrowed the group to a manageable size to hear from voters who said that they had been largely ignored during the long presidential campaign.

Rick Christie and Howard Goodman of The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board talk with ten area voters who cast their ballot for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election during a Facebook Live event, on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 in The Palm Beach Post auditorium. (Joseph Forzano / The Palm Beach Post)
Rick Christie and Howard Goodman of The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board talk with ten area voters who cast their ballot for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election during a Facebook Live event, on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 in The Palm Beach Post auditorium. (Joseph Forzano / The Palm Beach Post)

“During the campaign I found that the mainstream media was so one-sided that I just couldn’t believe it,” said Michael Harvey, 66, of Boynton Beach. “I thought this would be an opportunity educate you as to why people don’t listen to you anymore.”

Alan Huber, 59, of Boynton Beach, said he was tired of the mainstream media portraying “anybody who was against Barack Obama’s policies is a racist, or Donald Trump is a racist.”

“We don’t have horns. We’re not racists. We’re actually among the most informed people there are,” Huber said.

They expressed deep concerns about jobs leaving America, illegal immigration and Obamacare. And they said they had great confidence that Trump would make inroads in these areas, and others, where other political leaders have failed.

They said they weren’t disturbed that Trump is shifting on some of his campaign promises — the border wall that’s now perhaps a fence, the 11 million deportations that might not occur, the reluctance to prosecute “crooked Hillary.” They view Trump as a master negotiator and his boldest campaign statements as opening gambits: he’ll attain his goals, even if it takes some modifications from his initial positions to get there.

“He’s the fastest learner I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Lee Roggenburg, 58, a financial adviser from Boca Raton.

“Donald Trump is going to run the country the way we need to run our businesses or our households,” said Patrice Boyland, 54, a self-described stay-at-home mom from Palm Beach Gardens. “In government, when something fails, they put more money towards it. He’s looking at things differently, on how to fix it — and it’s not always adding more money to the problem.”

It’s clear from these supporters that Trump will be entering the White House with a great deal of political strength — a big chunk of the American public that’s eager for him to shake things up and trusts that whatever surprises he springs on the political and media establishment, they’ll be for the better.

Take a look, then take our poll here…

Letter: Good-paying jobs? Florida Gov. Rick Scott, GOP said no

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

“Where are the good-paying jobs?” angry Americans ask. There were 250 of them at Disney World, but then the American workers were fired and required to train their lower-paid replacements. This happened in Florida, so surely Gov. Rick Scott knew about it.

It seems thousands of those H-1B visas are snapped up by big outsourcing companies as soon as they are available, and companies like Disney hire them to replace whole departments.

Then there are the high-tech medical jobs that could be created in Florida, with federal money to give health insurance to 800,000 low-income Floridians. But Scott and the Florida House of Representatives have been saying “no” for three years now, all the while proclaiming to be pro-life? What happens to the babies, when they come out, into a state with 2.8 million people uninsured?

The American Association of Manufacturers says that our aging infrastructure hurts business. Yet Scott said no to $2 billion from the feds for a high-speed train from Tampa to Orlando. But didn’t he then give over $1 million of state funds to build an All Aboard Florida train station up there?

You know, those trains that will be trundling over 90-year old-drawbridges along what was supposed to be then-Gov. Jeb Bush’s “Research Coast”?

HELEN R. FRIGO, JENSEN BEACH

Letter: County’s priorities not same as Braves’

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran throws in the first inning against the Houston Astros in a spring training baseball game, Friday, March 25, 2016, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

I was reading the April 9 Local section, and two stories caught my eye: one concerning the proposed sales tax (“Gardens officials vote to oppose hike in sales tax”) and the other on building another spring training stadium for baseball (“Braves want county’s largest park”).

Where it got interesting were the numbers. Using the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches as a template, let’s take a look: $113 million from the state bed tax, $50 million from the state (for a $144 million complex, by the way). One of the principals involved estimates 144,000 fans attending over the course of a year.

So we are spending $163 million in state money for 144,000 to watch spring training baseball. I’m sure “jobs creation” would be the rebuttal here, but some will be temporary workers … you know, spring training.

We have a lot more than 144,000 people involved in the school system and using infrastructure in Palm Beach County. So before you ask for more tax money to fix these problems, I suggest people in government start drawing the right priorities.

I’m sure the money is earmarked for certain items. However, like the Atlanta Braves lobbyist said concerning the stadium: It might be time to get “very creative” with our tax dollars, as far as how we’re spending them.

MIKE HUNDLEY, WEST PALM BEACH