Orange County District 4 and 5 Forum/Debate

On Wednesday night, I had the chance to attend Orange County District 4 (parts of Avalon Park and East Orlando) and 5 (parts of Maitland and Winter Park) forums. I’ve liked what I’ve heard from the candidates in District 4 for sometime now and I was happy, not to be disappointed on Wednesday night. This was also, my first look to see the District 5 candidates and that was…ummm, interesting. I’m gonna go ahead and breakdown the forum, by candidate and give them a free link, to their websites.

There are some quality candidates for the disrict 4 commission seat

District 4 Candidates: It was brought up during the debate, that 6 of the 7 commission seats could turnover, this election cycle. If I could I would plug 3 of 4 candidates, into them.

Peter Clark : Pete Clark is an old school, first class guy. He doesn’t attack and he doesn’t have to, his solutions deal with a rare commodity these days…common sense. Last night he told the crowd at the East Orlando Chamber of Commerce, that rail is coming, we might as well build along rail, develop small business and make it relevant. He said no, to the toxic amendment 4. He didn’t give me any sound bytes (but thats not his style) and he didn’t sling mud at anyone for the whole two hours, squeaky clean tactics and good information.

Jennifer Thompson :I told her husband last night, on my way out that they were running a great campaign and I meant it. Her website and materials are better than some state and even congressional candidates. She’s got mastery of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Viral Videos), shes a small business owner, marketing and PR guy, like me. She’s also a fighter, back for another shot after missing out in 06′. She wants rail to work hand and hand with Lynx, which is a must. She wants normal, everyday people to audit government.

My one concern was the “conditional yes” vote on the recent Innovation Way development. Thats a poorly conceived project. Are these real demands that will force developers to contribute, or “Bill Segal” demands where they will come up short on the demands and they’ll get a yes vote anyways. I didn’t get a chance for clarification with her and if I do, I will update.

She did bring water, to everyone during this marathon of a forum, which was nice of her. I’ve been to some debates where opponents wouldn’t throw water on each other if they were on fire!

“Get to know me, talk to me, hold me accountable. If you don’t like what I’m doing, then vote me out”- Jennifer Thompson

She did well and her wrap ups, was one of the best I’ve seen.

Lydia Pisano Pisano is a fireballer, she took shots at Thompson from the beginning of the forum, until the end. The Belle Isle commissioner touted her experience and accomplishments, in that position. She brought up the fact, that rail won’t run on the weekends and that without something to accompany it, its gonna be miserable (thats true). She was anti sprawl even though she’s in real estate, which is one of those “the hard right” type of answers.

“I’m the only one with exception of maybe Pete (Clark) that has not taken special interest money”- Lydia Pisano

It might be true, it might not be, I have to read their reports again. If it is, she needs to scream it from the rooftops.

Mayra Uribe : Mayra Uribe is the one candidate in this race who was really short on info last night. I admire her hard work of qualifying by petition, going door to door and her background in District 4. I like the fact she’s anti-rail and will never raise taxes, but she’s a bicycle in a motorcycle race. I even watched her Sentinel Op-ed to try to pick up something and there weren’t any strong answers in that either. This certainly was not easy for me to write.

District 5: Oh boy… You see you have Maitland Mayor Doug Kinson up against former commissioner Ted Edwards. I’m running long, so I’m only going to give you the good stuff.

Maitland is a great place to live in Central Florida, so Mayor Kinson has a lot to brag about when campaigning. He showed up with the gloves on and brought up some great points on a rental car surcharge and how eventually, yes, there will need to be quiet zones for rail (I can only imagine how people will act when that bad boy comes, rolling through). He also touted his victories in Maitland and bringing some of those ideas to county government. He had great substance and came with the glove on….

Unfortunately for him, former commissioner Ted Edwards chose to fight with the gloves off.

“I pray to god everyday, to help lead me into a better future with my wife and children”- Mayor Doug Kinson

“I prayed to god and he told me to run for Orange County Commission”- Ted Edwards

(PARAPHRASED) “I tried to get a rental surcharge, but the state led Republican legislator kept pushing it back and then when it got to Jeb Bush, he vetoed it” Ted Edwards….(Didn’t he just win a YR straw poll?)

“Rail from Orlando to Tampa? Man, I don’t know” -Ted Edwards

“You guys are the best looking crowd, I’ve seen and you stayed awake the entire forum, I didn’t see any bobbing heads or anything!” -Ted Edwards, during his wrap up.

Ted Edwards had a lot of good ideas, he wasn’t all jokes. He tried to paint Kinson as a taxer, a few times. They messed up his name (Ted Williams, Ted Stevens) about 6 times but he smiled and moved on.

It was a loooooong debate, last night but one that was important. East Orlando Chamber of Commerce did a fine job, and the turnout was pretty good for a humid Wednesday night. Visit these candidates websites and make your own decisions.

Take Care!