FAU pep band to play before Trump Super Bowl watch party

President Donald Trump listens to the Palm Beach Central High School band before his Super Bowl watch party at Trump International Golf Club last year. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Florida Atlantic University’s pep band will perform for President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump this evening at Trump International Golf Club before the first couple hosts a Super Bowl watch party, according to a White House advisory.

From a White House advisory for today.


Will FAU’s marching band make Trump International Golf Club a Boogie Wonderland?

A band from Palm Beach Central High School performed for the president and first lady before the Super Bowl last year, playing Green Day’s “Holiday” and other numbers on a lawn just outside the clubhouse.

“Every year we do this,” Trump explained to the band last year. “I really appreciate it. Take care of yourselves. Go watch the game. Enjoy the game. … Good luck everybody.”

There’s been no word yet on what the FAU band will play.

A visit to the band’s website in an attempt to glean its repertoire reveals the Marching Owls performed Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland,” the late Chuck Berry‘s “Johnny B. Goode” and the FAU fight song at halftime of the FAU-North Texas homecoming game in Boca Raton in October.

Trump, who arrived at Mar-a-Lago on Friday night for the 12th visit of his presidency, is expected to leave for Washington at 9 p.m. tonight.

FAU’s band has played for Trump Super Bowl parties twice before, FAU spokeswoman Lisa Metcalf said.

Although the White House advisory lists the FAU marching band as performing, Metcalf said marching band is a fall-term class, so FAU is sending the pep band, which is about 25 musicians.

Metcalf said the FAU band was first asked to play at the Trump Super Bowl party in 2015. She said the band was invited last year but had a scheduling conflict and couldn’t attend.



Constitution Revision Commission to meet at FIU, FAU

Carlos Beruff

The Constitution Revision Commission will hold a pair of public meetings today and Friday, giving residents in South Florida a chance to weigh in on whether and how the state’s constitution should be changed.

Today’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at Florida International University’s Student Academic Success Center in Miami.

Friday’s meeting begins at 9 a.m. at Florida Atlantic University’s Acura Club, which is located in the university’s football stadium in Boca Raton.

The meetings are free and open to the public.

“We were pleased to see 400 Floridians attend our first public hearing in Orlando,” CRC Chairman Carlos Beruff said. “Given the public interest in speaking before the CRC, we have found new spaces on the FIU and FAU campuses that can hold even more participants. I encourage all interested Floridians in the greater Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County areas to come make their voices heard on April 6 at FIU in Miami and on April 7 at FAU in Boca Raton.”

Clinton still leads in Florida, while Rubio’s tie to Trump may not hurt, FAU poll shows

Democrats have already been trying to link Sen. Marco Rubio to Donald Trump, as on this Palmetto Expressway billboard.
Democrats link Sen. Marco Rubio to Donald Trump, even earlier putting up a Palmetto Expressway billboard.

A new Florida Atlantic University poll gives Democrat Hillary Clinton a within-the-margin-of-error lead over Donald Trump in Florida, rebounding from an earlier survey that showed him trailing by six percent.

Clinton has a 3 percent edge, leading Trump 46-43 percent, with six percent still undecided, according to the poll by the FAU Business and Economics Polling Initiative.

The survey of 500 likely Florida voters was conducted last weekend and has a 4.3 percent, plus-or-minus margin-of-error. An FAU poll two weeks ago had Clinton with a six-percent lead.

In Florida’s U.S. Senate race, Republican Marco Rubio holds a 4 percent lead over Democrat Patrick Murphy, 46-42 percent, with 12 percent undecided.

While Rubio’s endorsement of Trump has been used as an attack line by Murphy, the survey raises questions about its effectiveness.

When asked whether Rubio standing by his endorsement of Donald Trump would make them more or less likely to vote for him, 30 percent said more likely, 37 percent said less likely and 32 percent said it would not make a difference.

Among undecided voters, however, 47 percent said they would be more likely to support Rubio while 35 percent said less likely because of his endorsement of Trump.

Senator vying for top university job led “devious conspiracy” against Florida Constitution, league says

Sen. Don Gaetz
Sen. Don Gaetz

The latest Florida state senator making a play for a university presidency is drawing more opposition — this time from the state’s League of Women Voters.

The league, headed by Palm Beach Gardens’ Pamela Goodman, sent a letter to the University of West Florida Board of Trustees opposing Sen. Don Gaetz’s candidacy for school president.

He’s one of four finalists for the post, with a selection committee set to meet again Thursday.

UPDATE: UWF’s Board of Trustees voted 9-4 Thursday to make the school’s provost and vice-president, Martha Saunders, the school’s next president.

The league battled Gaetz, a Niceville Republican, over legislative and congressional redistricting, an effort he chaired in the Senate, before he rose to presidency of the chamber. The league then led a contentious, three-year legal battle against the boundaries set by the Republican-led Legislature.

Testimony showed that Gaetz was among lawmakers who huddled with Republican Party officials and lobbyists over how to shape districts that could assure the GOP maintained command in Florida.

The league and other groups suing claimed actions by Republican leaders violated constitutional requirements that districts not favor or hurt incumbent lawmakers, or either major political party.

Courts eventually created the congressional and Senate district boundaries being used in this year’s elections.

In her letter opposing Gaetz, Goodman said he was part of a “devious conspiracy” to sidestep the Florida Constitution’s “Fair Districts” amendments, which the league supports.

“How can you possibly consider appointing as president of your university this man who thumbed his nose at the constitution and lied about it publicly? Is this the sort of role model you want for students, faculty, families and the community?,” Goodman wrote the UWF Board of Trustees.

“This is a man who, as a Senator and Chairman of the Senate Reapportionment Committee, took an oath to abide by the laws of The Florida Constitution. As Chair of this committee, maps were passed that were drawn without transparency and resulted in complete noncompliance to the law,” she added.

Gaetz’s candidacy is already opposed by UWF’s faculty and students have started a petition drive dubbed “Argos Against Gaetz.”

Gaetz is hoping to follow in the shoes of Florida State University President John Thrasher, who was chosen to lead that school in 2014. The same year, former Senate President Jeff Atwater, who was elected Florida’s Chief Financial Officer in 2010, failed in a bid for the presidency of Florida Atlantic University.


Clinton far ahead of Trump among Hispanic voters — but maybe not far enough

Donald Trump's Cinco de Mayo Twitter salute to Hispanics had the candidate posing with a taco bowl.
Donald Trump’s Cinco de Mayo Twitter salute to Hispanics included the candidate enjoying a taco bowl.

A new national poll shows Hillary Clinton far ahead of Donald Trump among Hispanic voters — but maybe not far enough.

The Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Business Initiative survey of 500 Hispanics over the month of May shows Clinton leading Trump by 23 percent.

But only four years ago, President Obama drew 71 percent support among Hispanic voters, to 27 percent for Republican rival Mitt Romney.

“Clinton needs to shore up her support among Hispanics,” said Monica Escaleras, director of FAU’s initiative. “Nearly a quarter of them are still undecided, so she needs to win them over to come close to the margins Obama had four years ago.”

Clinton was favored by 50 percent of respondents, compared to Trump with 27 percent. Another 23 percent of Hispanics surveyed were undecided.

Clinton is winning the female Hispanic vote 51 percent to 19 percent, along with male Hispanics, who favor her 49 percent to 28 percent, the survey found.

FAU political scientist Kevin Wagner said the relatively large number of Hispanics undecided is not surprising this far away from election day. It also may give Trump some hope of further improving his numbers.

“Trump has substantial ground to make up to compete effectively for Latino voters who are a major voting block in battleground states like Florida, Nevada and Colorado,” Wagner said. “The trend suggests that Latino voters will only grow in importance in this election year and may be pivotal in deciding the winner.”

Palm Beach State College gets $9 million for Lox campus — but will it dodge veto?

Budget chiefs Rep. Richard Corcoran and Sen. Tom Lee
Budget chiefs Rep. Richard Corcoran and Sen. Tom Lee

Palm Beach State College landed the $9 million it wants for its Loxahatchee Groves campus, while a handful of county water and environmental projects were included Sunday in last-minute state budget deals.

House Budget Chair Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, and his Senate counterpart, Tom Lee, R-Brandon, agreed to $713.5 million in education building and maintenance projects, which contained PBSC’s money and $3 million for Florida Atlantic University’s Jupiter life sciences building.

The PBSC funding has been included three times in earlier years, but vetoed by Florida governors, including twice by Gov. Rick Scott. But after getting $6 million to launch classroom construction on the campus two years ago, school officials say they are optimistic that this year’s funding will dodge Scott’s veto pen.

There’s risk, however.

Lawmakers have agreed to finance the school, college and university construction, in part, through issuing state bonds – borrowing that Scott has opposed throughout the five years of his administration.

“I’m not uncorking the champagne on any of these things yet,” said Todd Bonlarron, the county’s lobbyist. “There’s plenty of work to do even after the Legislature adjourns.”

Trump holds commanding, two-to-one lead among Florida Republicans, poll shows

Trump holds a two-to-one lead in Florida over nearest rival for Republican presidential nomination.
Trump holds a two-to-one lead in Florida over nearest rival for Republican presidential nomination.

Donald Trump continues to dominate the Republican presidential field in Florida — outstripping his nearest rival, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio — by two-to-one among primary voters, a new Florida Atlantic University poll shows.

Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton has coasted to an even bigger lead, leading Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders by 66 percent to 22 percent of the vote in that party’s nomination contest, the poll shows.

The survey was conducted Sunday and Monday, in the wake of news about the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Among Florida Republican registered voters surveyed, Trump leads with 36 percent, Rubio is at 18 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 15 percent, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has 10 percent, and former Gov. Jeb Bush rounds out the field’s top five with 9 percent.

While the Republican candidates all draw strong favorability ratings among party voters, those numbers are reversed when all registered voters are surveyed.

Trump’s unfavorability rating is 51 percent to 41 percent among all voters surveyed. Rubio also is underwater at 42 percent to 47 percent among voters, the poll shows.

Faring worst, however, appears to be Bush among all voters. While 51 percent have an unfavorable impression of the former governor, only 34 percent hold a favorable opinion.

Among Hispanic voters, an important bloc in Florida, Rubio, a first-generation Cuban-American, is the favorite at 34 percent. Trump, who has made his signature campaign issue the demand that the U.S. crack down on illegal immigration and build a wall at the Mexican border, is second most popular among Hispanics.

Trump is tied with Carson at 19 percent, the FAU survey shows.

Bush, whose wife is Mexican and who is fluent in Spanish, lands fourth among Hispanics, with 13 percent saying they support him.

On the Democratic side, Clinton suffers from negative name recognition, with 41 percent of voters overall giving her a favorable rating compared to 54 percent with an unfavorable opinion.

Clinton also lags behind all her Republican rivals in head-to-head matchups. Carson holds the biggest lead at 9 percent; Trump has an 8 percent edge if he was to square-off against Clinton.

In Florida’s race for the open U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Rubio, potential match-ups surveyed show Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy holding a 9 percent lead over Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, at 39 percent to 30 percent, with Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson trailing Lopez-Cantera 38 percent to 34 percent.

Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis does better against the Democrats, trailing Murphy 38 percent to 36 percent but leading Grayson 37 percent to 33 percent.

The FAU poll included 829 registered voters and has a margin-of-error of plus-or-minus 3.3 percent. Among primary voters, 297 Democrats were surveyed, with a margin-of-error of plus-or-minus 5.6 percent and 355 Republicans responded, with a 5.2 percent margin-of-error.

Scott! Bondi! Putnam! Atwater! Florida’s Fab Four coming to Jupiter for Cabinet meeting

Your Florida Cabinet: (From left) Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Gov. Rick Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.
Your Florida Cabinet: (From left) Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Gov. Rick Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

The Florida Cabinet is hitting the road for a meeting next week at the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University.

Scheduled to appear at 8:30 a.m. next Tuesday in the Student Resource Building at 5353 Parkside Drive: Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and hometown favorite Jeff Atwater, the state’s chief financial officer and a North Palm Beach resident.

Click here for the cabinet’s full meeting agenda.