I can’t support Seminole County’s Penny Sales Tax, here’s why

Last night, in a closed meeting, I watched two very capable community leaders debate the upcoming Seminole County Penny Sales Tax, that will go before the voters on May 20th. It was a closed meeting, so I can’t provide full coverage. but after hearing both sides, I’ve made a decision.

I, personally, can’t support it.

The Voters shouldn’t have to pay for a special election: Approximately 450K to hold this special election in May, when it could easily wait until August. Supporters of the measure say it’s to ensure they have a financial plan in a place before the end of the fiscal year. They say it provides “certainty” to all parties involved. They could save the taxpayers half a million by planning beforehand and taking action afterwards, depending on the outcome of the vote.

This is the same reason Seminole’s Brothers and Sisters on the Orange County Commission put off major amendments to the charter. Big decisions like this one need to go before the voters, when maximum turnout is expected.

It saves money and it gives everyone a voice.

There are problems with the other side as well. The Speaker against the measure couldn’t explain one non-infrastructure project he did like. You’ve got to have a diverse economic plan, anchored by the essentials, but also safe initiatives that allow the area to grow.

Still, in Conservative Seminole County on a Commission full of Republican representatives, choosing to spend more before exploring cuts, and charging taxpayers to hold an election to vote on it, does anything but reflect the values of the area. It’s even become a punch-line in the media (story HERE)

Looking at the amount of literature being sent out by the county to promote this initiative, it’s probably going to pass. They’re engineering this campaign very well.

If it does, I’d like to see the voter turnout numbers. Everyone won’t be having their voices heard.

seminole county penny sales tax

Joe Kilsheimer talks Apopka’s Future and John Land on Central Florida Spotlight

The Apopka Mayor’s race was one of the most exciting races in Central Florida of the young election year. Mayor Joe Kilsheimer (sworn in today) defeated John Land, who had been the leader of that community for decades in an intense contest that pitted the older philosophies of governing the 2nd biggest city in Orange County, against a new vision for the future of that important area.

This past weekend, Kilsheimer appeared on WFTV Channel 9′s public affairs program Central Florida Spotlight. He talked about the race and his plans for a task force, supporting schools, and attracting economic development.

Joe Kilsheimer

Orlando is Best Suited to Host 2016 Democratic National Convention

This morning, it was revealed that Orlando, the City Beautiful was one of 15 cities asked to “submit a bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention (the News 13 story by way of CNN can be found HERE).

The economic benefits to the region alone, should be enough to get every lawmaker, regardless of what side of the aisle they fall on, to pick-up the phone and try to make this happen.

Other cities under consideration include Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus (Ohio), Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.

Those are all fine cities, but Orlando is the best place to host this convention and I’ll explain why.

A Long Serving, Democratic Leader and Ambassador to the city: Mayor Buddy Dyer doesn’t sleep when his city is in the national spotlight. He also has a great relationship with President Barack Obama.


The Finest Venues in America: We’ve got the best Convention Center in the country, surrounded by the most visited area in the history of human civilization. We’ve got a State of the Art Amway Center, which has already hosted national events. There is also a new MLS Soccer Stadium, and a renovated Citrus Bowl that hosts 3 Bowl Games a year.

The I4 Corridor: Is still one of the most important political regions of the world. Orlando is in Orange County and flanked by Oseceola county (both blue) which provide a friendly pocket of support in a State that is very much in play for 2016. It’s also home to a big donor who’s hosted the President a few times in the past. Looking at you John Morgan.

The Other Cities aren’t as desirable of a destination: “Welcome to Cleveland!” ..yeah okay. New York and Penn will still be blue. Las Vegas? Not unless what you want to happen there, to stay there. Phoenix and Salt Lake? Are you kidding? The home states of the two previous GOP nominees. Nashville? How many Country musicians vote Democrat? And our friends down south in Miami? *whispers* That’s where Marco Rubio is from. You don’t want to have it there. Do you?.

It only took me 10 minutes to write this and it’s a pretty good case.

Orlando should host the DNC. It should host the RNC when we’re eligible again in a few years. It should host everything.


Because we host everyone. Citizens from all over the planet and they have a wonderful time. It’s what we do.

The World Class Convention Center is the best reason we should host events like the DNC

The World Class Convention Center is the best reason we should host events like the DNC

Plakon Qualifies by Petition for State House Return Bid in District 29

Former GOP State Representative Scott Plakon took another step towards returning to Tallahassee next year, by qualifying for his District 29 showdown with Democrat Mike Clelland.

In a statement Plakon said the following.

“I am humbled and a bit overwhelmed at the outpouring of support for our campaign. Many thanks to the voters who have put their trust in me and all of those that walked, reached out to neighbors, phoned, texted, mailed and sent Facebook and Twitter messages to achieve this goal so quickly…over a month before the deadline. We believe that the incredible grassroots momentum established this early is a leading indicator that our positive, conservative message will be well received by the voters of District 29.”

The Plakon vs. Clelland match-up will be one of the most watched house races this year, despite Plakon’s sizable advantage in the red, Seminole County District. Clelland was able to pull off the biggest upset in Central Florida, during the 2012 election cycle, defeating the would-be House Speaker after the Obama for America campaign maximized Democrat turnout, and the then-incumbent got in a a war of words with the media. Plakon lost a tough contest in District 30 that same year, to avoid conflict after redistricting.

Clelland won’t go quietly. He’s got 120K on hand to make his case to the voters as a right-leaning Democrat. Plakon has a fundraiser scheduled at the end of the month (that story HERE).


Florida House 29 Changeable 10-13

I wouldn’t let Charlie Crist Debate Nan Rich Either

Articles from all over the state from the South Side (Miami Herald article HERE) to right here at home (Sentinel post HERE) are asking a very important question, that’s been asked plenty of times before but with the calendar racing towards election season, have become a very relevant issue.

Why won’t Republican Governor turned Democratic Candidate for the same office, Charlie Crist, debate former State Senator Nan Rich?

The Blogger in me would love to see this. It would be fascinating political theater. Crist essentially answering, not only Rich’s objections, but critics from the remainder of Florida Dems, that haven’t jumped on his bandwagon yet. His message would be simple enough. “I can beat Rick Scott. You can’t”.

Of course, the opposite could happen. Rich could take him to task for his “evolving” beliefs on the issues. The whole thing could blow up in his face and the Pundits will be asking “Why did he even get on stage in the first place?”.

It’s that second reason, that unwarranted risk, that I wouldn’t let Crist debate Rich.

Why? I’ll use one of the football terms, that Crist is so fond of.

You don’t play your Starters much in the pre-season, and you certainly don’t get them injured against your own second stringers in practice, when they’re playing for a Championship this year.

Don’t think Rich is a 2nd stringer?

The Florida Democratic Party wouldn’t even give her a speaking slot at their Gala, FDP Chairwoman Allison Tant has been listed on host committees at Charlie Crist Fundraisers. Here in Orlando, he’s already won over the local party leaders He’s the guy.

So, while I would love to see it. My friends in the media would love to see it. Governor Rick Scott and his team would definitely love to see it. It shouldn’t happen. It doesn’t make sense.

Don’t blame Crist. Don’t even blame Nan Rich. Blame the Florida Democratic Party, who’s already made their decision back in January over who would be their nominee.

Charlie Crist mic