Orange County must have Tax Referendum on Jan 31st. Response to Orlando Sentinel Op-Ed Article

This post is in response to the Orlando Sentinel Op-Ed that can be read here..

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Hmm… Orange County Board of Commissioners or Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board?

Well, that’s easy the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board.

They provide great candidate interviews, panel discussions, and thought provoking articles. This is the newspaper of my childhood and the one I would miss when serving overseas in the military. Much to the dismay of my Republican colleagues, I’ll defend their articles if the facts add up.

The OC BCC manages to upset some portion of the community every month and are suspect to influence by wealthy lobbyist and developers, who donate to their campaigns. I’ll take in a meeting and sit through the civic theater wondering all along the way what is going through this elected body’s mind, as some of them surf the web.

The Sentinel serves as a watchdog for the community. I read this on their beginning of the year mission statement. Except, on this rare occasion the watchdog is keeping the mailman from reaching the steps and delivering relief.

Let me get to the point. Orange County Board of Commissioners voted to hold a tax referendum for expanding high tech businesses on January 31st. This is the date of the Republican primary and in the eyes of the Op-Ed board, the vote would be fixed. The heavy Republican turnout would favor the business friendly referendum.

They admit that this wasn’t done on purpose but, that “perception is reality” and that simply doesn’t cut it.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ reply: Although I fully understand their position, I supported moving forward on this date believing our whole community, Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, alike, could put politics and perception aside to focus on the reality facing too many of our citizens, the reality of high unemployment and the critical need to support job creation. At the same time, I want to ensure that we engage our citizens on the issues that impact this community.

This also prompted Mayor Jacobs to send out an email poll to gain input from the public on this decision. Following the Sentinel’s advice would set the vote back seven months and delay Mayor Jacobs from keeping a campaign promise, that delivered her a landslide victory last year.

Concerns over an uneven turnout can be solved by both bodies working together. The media notifying the public, that participation from all of the voters will be needed on Jan 31st and the BCC using social media and email listings to activate voters and get them to the polls.

I urge the Orlando Sentinel Op-Ed board and others critical of this decision, to use their resources to encourage participation on this date. We can’t afford to wait any longer.

Working together, we can make this work.