CF News 13: Orlando mayoral candidates spar over priorities

A CF News 13 story featuring analysis from this blog.

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By Adam Longo, Anchor/Reporter

ORLANDO –

The four candidates for Orlando Mayor told a crowd in College Park Monday why they think they are best suited to take over city hall this year.

It was the first event where all four candidates appeared together in the same room for a forum.

Third term Mayor Buddy Dyer touted his accomplishments while his opponents talked about what they would do different, and each of them said their priorities differ from the current administration.

“It’s not that he’s not a nice guy. He is,” joked candidate and city commissioner Phil Diamond. “I disagree with his priorities and the way he spends taxpayer money.”

Community and political activist Mike Cantone has been campaigning hard since announcing his run for mayor. He told the crowd he’s knocked on 20,000 doors in the city.

“I would like to shift priorities back to the people and away from big business and the chamber of commerce,” said Cantone.

Businessman Ken Mulvaney has mounted two unsuccessful bids for mayor against Dyer. He says there is a disconnect between businesses and city hall, and discussed wanting to see term limits in Orlando.

“Term limits brings new ideas and people to city hall, not leaving us with the same ole same ole,” said Mulvaney.

Dyer deflected criticism leveled at him about street projects and construction. He listed his successes in growing downtown Orlando’s tax base and helping to develop the Lake Nona medical city.

“I’m all about getting the job done,’ said Dyer, “Finishing the performing arts center, finishing the creative village.”

News 13 political expert Frank Torres says expect to hear about Mayor Dyer possibly running for Governor in two years and candidates pushing him for a four year pledge to Orlando.

Torres says financial deals with the city could be fodder for attacks on Dyer as well.

“A lot of people don’t like the deal with the Magic. Phil Diamond brought that up. All of them were trying to attack him. Buddy Dyer was the piƱata at the party tonight,” said Torres.

The candidates will meet again Wednesday night in downtown Orlando for their first of two scheduled debates.

The city of Orlando’s general election is Tuesday, April 3.

The next debate is downtown on Wednesday night.