Andrew Schaller is running for Palm Beach County Commission, District 6, as a Republican candidate. Schaller’s decision to run for the office he turned to for help, is a direct reflection on the lack of results and representation he and his neighbors received from the current commissioner. More than six years of attending the BCC meetings, meetings with individual commissioners and countless meetings with his neighbors, has compelled Schaller to run for office. His goal is to make sure other citizens seeking the representation of the District 6 Commissioner have the quality representation they deserve and positive results they desire.
In 2010, he ran for this same office as a no party affiliation candidate. This was his first venture into the political world and had never declared a political affiliation. Shortly after the 2010 race, Schaller registered as a Republican. As a result of the 2010 commission race, Schaller was sued by the winner for libel resulting from the race.
Schaller successfully defended his First Amendment right ensuring all Floridians have the right and responsibility to question the qualifications of anyone seeking public office. An appeal was made to the lower court judge who denied the motion without waiting for a response from Schaller. Another appeal was filed with Florida’s Fourth District Court and a three judge panel upheld the lower court’s jury verdict and the lower court’s ruling finding again for Schaller.
Since June of 2008, Schaller has been a semi-permanent fixture in the commission chambers attending most commission meetings, zoning meetings and comprehensive plan meetings. He has spoken more than 50 times in front of the commission on various topics. Schaller also has attended meetings pertaining to The Solid Waste Authority, the Army Corps of Engineers Lake Okeechobee project, cancer cluster meetings, livestock ordinance meetings, improvement district meetings, municipal meetings, chambers of commerce meetings and various District 6 and Palm Beach County meetings.
• 1965 – Born and grew up in Torrington, Connecticut.
• 1983 – 1987 – Saint Leo University, Saint Leo, Florida. BA Marketing.
• 1987 – Became a Palm Beach County resident and a District 6 resident in 1990.
• 1987 – Obtained Series 7 and Series 63 stockbrokers licenses.
• 1989 – Wrote a book titled, “The Penny Stockbroker’s Bible” and used it to educate his clients on the pitfalls of investing in penny stocks.
• 1994 – Present. Founded Palm Beach Financial Exchange, Inc., an electronic banking company that serves businesses throughout the United States. His company’s computer software handles the recurring billing for businesses while accelerating cash flow, reducing operating costs, simplifying accounts receivable and reducing paperwork. Nearly 600 businesses across the U.S. and Puerto Rico have utilized his company’s checking, savings and credit card debiting services.
• 1999 – Present. Purchased equestrian land in Wellington. Since that time he has designed and created Fine Equine, a dressage facility that caters to World Class riders and horses competing in the Winter Equestrian Festival. Fine Equine is a distinct and unique equestrian property that has been referred to as one the finest in Wellington.
As the elected commissioner for District 6, I will work diligently to represent all residents of Palm Beach County and gain the respect and trust of my fellow commissioners to Chair the Solid Waste Authority and the Board of County Commissioners. The Glades office will be on a regular schedule for residents to have local access to their representation.
District 6 has not had quality representation under the present Commissioner. He refused the nomination for Vice Chair of the Solid Waste Authority and has never been the Chair or Vice Chair of the BCC. The Commissioner has consistently neglected his responsibility to represent Palm Beach County in Tallahassee and is an ineffective communicator that has great difficulty garnering the support of three other votes. The Newpaper reported, “… is the first commissioner in 27 years to be bypassed for a leadership post, county officials said.” This fact means that District 6 has not had a commission board leader in the last two terms of representation.
From November of 2006 until early in 2010, the Glades regional office of District 6 was staffed by a part time $60, 000 per year employee. Since spring of 2010 to the present, the Glades office has not been staffed by a county employee at all. Residents of the Glades cannot conveniently get face to face access to a district representative.
The collection of my business experience, living in the district continuously for nearly 25 years and the knowledge I have gained by years of current community government involvement, has prepared me for the role of county commissioner on day one.
The Commission Board consists of seven commissioners. Nearly all votes require a majority while others require a super majority. A commissioner represents all people of the county and has a duty and responsibility to all residents. Each commissioner votes on every issue and therefore most have an in-depth knowledge of each agenda item.
Since the summer of 2008, I have attended or watched most every county commission meeting, planning and zoning meeting, solid waste meeting, comprehensive plan meeting, have attended the army Corps of Engineers Lake Okeechobee meetings, cancer cluster meetings, municipal and district meetings, chambers of commerce meetings and numerous regional events.
• District Representation – Personify public interests.
• District Growth – Protect lifestyle quality and property rights.
• Taxes – Safegaurd public funds and properties.
• Water – Preserve a healthy aquifer.
1. Agriculture. The greatest amount of agricultural property in the county is located in District 6. Many different crops are grown including vegetables, nursery plants and trees and sugarcane. Sugarcane is produced in Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii, and Texas. One of the nation’s largest production areas for sugar is located in the Glades area of District 6.
Agriculture in Palm Beach County
Average size of farms: 483 acres
Average value of agricultural products sold per farm: $684,565
Average value of crops sold per acre for harvested cropland: $1756.14
The value of nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, and sod as a percentage of the total market value of agricultural products sold: 21.71%
Average total farm production expenses per farm: $399,278
Harvested cropland as a percentage of land in farms: 79.98%
Irrigated harvested cropland as a percentage of land in farms: 97.45%
The percentage of farms operated by a family or individual: 66.76%
Average age of principal farm operators: 54 years
Vegetables: 58,645 harvested acres
Land in orchards: 8,656 acres
(Read more: http://www.city-data.com/county/Palm_Beach_County-FL.html#ixzz2j7lt4d4K)
“Florida’s sugarcane production has expanded significantly since the United States ceased importing sugar from Cuba in 1960. Florida is the largest cane-producing region in the United States. Most of the sugarcane is produced in organic soils along the southern and southeastern shore of Lake Okeechobee in Southern Florida, where the growing season is long and winters are generally warm.”
2. Land Use. No other district in the county offers the diversity of land amenities that District 6 does. Some of those amenities include:
Lake Okeechobee (the largest lake in the southeastern United States)
Agricultural land and businesses
Golf Course both public and private
Equestrian facilities that host international competitors and spectators
The South Florida Fairgrounds
A rural area called “The Acreage” with a population count of 38,704
Community shopping centers that include a regional mall
Healthcare facilities including hospitals and numerous medical buildings
Public and private airplane landing strips
Natural and preserve areas, parks
Residential homes, communities and apartments
A safari tourist destination
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s shooting range
Many other points of interest along with an open feel not common to other parts of the county
Unfortunately, another District 6 distinction is also that the Glades area has an unemployment rate at or above the 40% mark resulting in one of the areas of the county most in need of assistance.
“Lake Okeechobee means “big water” in the Seminole Indian language, an appropriate name for a water body whose opposite shore can’t be seen from the water’s edge. With a surface area of 730 square miles, it is the largest lake in the southeastern United States.” “… Lake Okeechobee continues to be a vital freshwater resource for South Florida, with irreplaceable natural and community values.”