Seminole Elections picks Hispanic Heritage Month to unveil new outreach technology

Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel and his staff are at it again. This time reaching out to Hispanic voters. This is terrific stuff. Please, take a moment to check out this article that features next level tech in getting Central Floridians to the polls.

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The Seminole County Supervisor of Elections office is often on the cutting edge of voter outreach, and again set the pace this weekend with the first usage of a QR code that directly links to the office’s Spanish-language website, www.VotoSeminole.org. The QR code was used on the ballots for the Hispanic Chamber’s Latin Food and Wine Festival, which was attended by nearly 8,000 people, according to organizers. The office was chosen to count the votes for the festival’s “Best Of…” competition and the ballots also had the QR code directing voters to the elections office’s Spanish-language website, VotoSeminole.org, with links to information about upcoming elections, registration and absentee ballot request forms, as well as sample ballots in Spanish. (more info about QR code technology here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code).

The office, which last year was the first in the country to map its polling locations into FourSquare, launched its first QR code last month, which directed mobile phone users directly to the office’s Facebook or Twitter page, and the office website www.VoteSeminole.org. On the site, users can immediately access voter registration forms, absentee ballot request forms, information about upcoming elections and a host of other items.

QR codes are fast becoming a staple in communicating to the public, as an increasing number of newspaper and magazine advertisements are adding the little square black-and-white logo to the corner of their ads. Mobile phone users can scan the QR code and be sent directly to either a website or phone number of the advertiser. Supervisor of Elections Michael Ertel says, “Creating the QR code costs the elections office no money, but the addition of a technology many younger consumers use to interact with retailers and using it in a government setting creates a relationship with younger citizens, and lets them know the elections are efficient as well as trustworthy.”

The office took part by registering and informing voters in several other Hispanic Heritage Month activities throughout the month, including celebrations at Seminole State College and providing voter registration forms and information to attendees at the anniversary celebration of the area’s largest Spanish-language weekly newspaper, La Prensa. The office’s efforts in the Hispanic community have produced positive results for years, as in the last presidential election, Seminole County had the highest Hispanic voter registration rate among Florida’s large counties, as well as the highest Hispanic voter turnout rate. In 2012, the office will expand its scope of services to the Hispanic community by having election ballots and samples printed in Spanish as well as English at polling locations.

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Orlando Leaders not doing enough to save NBA All-Star Game

The Amway Center is currently the shining jewel of the National Basketball League. There are stretches of the newest venue in the NBA where you couldn’t tell if you were walking through a sports arena or the Millenia mall. It’s that elegant and on game nights, thousands spill out of the Amway center just in time to stimulate restaurants and night life in downtown Orlando. In a recession it’s the only hope some of those businesses have.

Those businesses are about to lose an opportunity that only comes around every 25 years.

The NBA lockout dispute between the players and the owners over league revenue has already deprived downtown Orlando of a Magic pre-season and before you know it, NBA commissioner will start cutting regular season games. There is word that all of the games leading up to Christmas are in danger of being cancelled.

Billionaires arguing with millionaires.

Even worse it’s our year to have the NBA All-Star game. The weekend where thousands would pour into downtown hotels and I-drive resorts with the intent of spending millions.

We’re about to lose it all and no one, even our elected officials are acting.

This past week Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer joined 13 other Mayors with NBA cities to Commissioner Stern with a “hat in hand” letter stressing what everyone already knows. “Everyone loses if there is no season”.

Duh,

The billionaire owners would lose much less, they are after all billionaires. They’re ready to take this NBA lockout into next season. Only players defecting to Europe and China would worry them but, the players realize that the National Basketball Association is still the greatest showcase for their ability and the only organization that delivers the multi-million dollar endorsements.

So what’s a Mayor that is about watch his city lose millions in outside revenue suppose to do?

As much as I would like to pin this all on Buddy Dyer it’s not that easy. Leaders from all levels of government in Central Florida should be polling their connections and resources to get this dispute resolved.

Too difficult or “not their battle”? That’s rubbish. Their have been far more complicated lobbying efforts.

Make the phone calls, send the emails, take the meetings.

Local businesses need to get involved as well. Pick up the phone and tell theses lawmakers what this missed opportunity means for your operations survival. It’s going to take an activist approach to get this lockout resolved.

It’s going to be a sad weekend in February if this All-Star game doesn’t happen. What are our lawmakers prepared to do? What are you prepared to do?

That letter was correct everyone will lose if the season in cancelled but, Orlando will lose the most and it’s a tragedy that might be the last that makes dozens of businesses close their doors.

No non-sense comissioner David Stern won't hesitate to cancel the All-star game in Orlando

Who won the Bloomberg, New Hampshire Dartmouth Debate 10/11/11?

The spotlight was on New Hampshire last night, as the GOP primary debate aired last night on Bloomberg. Yes, Bloomberg and it was a welcomed change of pace to watch their people zero in on politics and strategy. They’re normally analyzing the market and reading graphs.

The round table format was terrific. Charlie Rose? ehhh. During the candidate to candidate QA, he did get his letters mixed up. “R comes before S” Rick Santorum declared in what was probably his bright spot of the night.

Let’s break it down..

Winners:

Mitt Romney finally starts acting like a frontrunner: He had to field questions from several of his opponents and batted down all of them. He’s developed an agreeable reply to Romneycare. He even tossed Bachmann a softball in the opponent question segment. Romney was the pinata at the party and he didn’t crack like Rick Perry. The Ronald Reagan video question could have done serious damage but he knew his history. This performance, as well as the Chris Christie endorsement should ensure he stays out front.

Newt Gingrich- a sentimental favorite: Not much substance but a lot of charm. His stories of the good ol’ days, as well as bringing up plans that have succeeded in the past displayed him as a friendly, agreeable candidate and awarded him the first round of applause from a tough audience. He might gain a little ground in the polls but when he loses, the nominee will take a look at him for VP.

Bloomberg: Question of the night? What channel is Bloomberg on?

Holding steady:

Michele Bachmann- a rare flash of humor: Odd that Bachmann who is typically a very straight forward candidate had the best joke of the debate. Referring to Herman Cain’s 999 plan “turn 999 upside down and well, the devil is in the details”. She also flexed her tax attorney knowledge throughout the debate. We don’t see her do that enough.

Ron Paul- better but not mainstream: He’s packaged his message in a more digestible manor. He’s calm down and refined his delivery. He’s going to have to steal Iowa from Michele Bachmann to keep his campaign interesting.

Herman Cain (barely) : Boy, I wanted to put him in the loser column because we know 999 won’t pass and that it’s not feasible. He says he won’t sign another economic plan. His recoil after being accused of being soft on the fed was impressive. Cain has got a demeanor that allows him to slug it out with a tremendous amount of class. When he gets asked about 999 he pivots away from the argument and can’t offer a strong rebuttal He didn’t lose supporters tonight and he received a good amount of applause but, 999 won’t give Republicans the White House.

Losers:

Rick Perry is no Chuck Norris: He needed a breakout debate performance tonight and he didn’t bring it. While he seemed better prepared he was invisible for most of the time. This guy can’t fight! If the Texas Governor can’t mix it up, he can’t beat Barack Obama.

Rick Santorum- Attack until you hit something : I’ve come to like Rick since Presidency V. I met the man and he wants a great America but, he came out looking awkward and wild eyed tonight. “You would think a guy from PBS would know that” his jab at Charlie Rose after he put S before R in the QA last night.

Jon Huntsman looking like Gary Johnson: The 999 pizza joke broke the ice but, he’s still not a serious contender. If he can’t steal New Hampshire it’s time to drop out.

This debate won’t shift much. It’s still going to be the Mitt Romney show featuring Herman Cain. Rick Perry looked like Tim Pawlenty out there and while he’s got the money to take him to the end you’ve got to wonder what’s next. Bachmann needs Iowa or it’s over for her. The rest of the guys need to try something different.

See you next debate!

The round table finally got the candidates face to face.

Big Man Backs Mitt: Chris Christie endorses Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney who has been the plain, unwanted, frontrunner in the primary race just got a push. A big push, from a big man.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who was having to beat back supporters and the media for months before deciding not to run for President himself, endorsed Mitt Romney today. Just hours before Romney takes the stage for the Bloomberg debate on friendly turf in New Hampshire.

Romney needed this. While he’s still not the enthusiastic choice for a lot of Republicans, Christie’s endorsement should still inspire some to throw their support behind the only candidate who beats President Obama head to head in the polls.

Romney has been the lone frontrunner since the Presidency V Straw Poll after Rick Perry faltered in the debate. Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich have also gained some ground in the polls.

Late last month, former Presidential candidates and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty also endorsed Romney.

Christie's endoresment hopes to inspire confidence in frontrunner Mitt Romney

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.