Orange County approves extra funds for higher Police presence in schools. State Government to follow next year?

This afternoon the Orange County Commission approved 3 million dollars for an increased Deputy presence in the county’s elementary school system. This action follows the tragic shootings in Newtown, CT last Friday.

Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Sheriff Jerry Demings, and Orange County School Chair Bill Sublette led the talks leading up to the unanimous “yes” vote. There were many concerns over the sustainability of the increased presence in the schools. Sheriff Demings broke down the existing level of strength in the schools (2 per high school, 1 per middle school, 1 officer per 4 or 5 elementary schools), and the different duties involved on each level of the school system, with deputies teaching anti-bullying and drug lessons in elementary schools, leading up to the more traditional law enforcement duties that are occasionally required at the High School level. He stressed an improvement of infrastructure as a more permanent solution and that existing deputies would be working overtime to fill the requests. Jacobs agreed that this measure was to “bridge the gap” until other plans were made.

Commissioners Tiffany Moore-Russell and Scott Boyd also stressed the need for longer term plans, citing that residents will insist on this becoming the standard moving forward.

With the current security conditions in schools being reviewed all over the country, can we expect action in Tallahassee next session? Or in 2014?

If the recent past is any indication, action at the state level is a strong possibility.

Unlike “Caylee’s law”, which made it illegal for a parent to ignore reporting a missing child, a state level solution would have to be a fiscally oriented one. A plan that would avoid the same obstacles the County Commission had to deal with today. The state legislature has been touting a surplus, no doubt there will be debate over existing projects or programs that would have to be cancelled or delayed to fund any improvements for school security.

The county commission approved funds for more deputies in Orange County Schools

The county commission approved funds for more deputies in Orange County Schools

WIR: Kicking Grover Norquist to the Curb, DCCC Silliness, Scott's Charm Offensive

Here is your week in review. We’re talking Grover, DCCC, and Rick Scott’s re-election headstart.

Enjoy and have a great day!


(Jeb Bush Intro)

That of course is former Florida Governor Jeb Bush talking about the Grover Norquist Tax Pledge, and that is where we’re starting our week in review. We are talking about the need for Florida Republicans to walk away from Grover Norquist. Frankly, a person who is not an elected official has no business telling our lawmakers what to do and someone 99% of the constituents don’t even know who he is. His anti-tax pledge has handcufffed our lawmakers from putting on a strong fiscal debate in Washington, I’m talking about our Central Florida delegation here, I’m talking about John Mica, Daniel Webster, Sandy Adams is on her way out be she should opt out as well. Incoming lawmakers like Ron Desantis and other Republican lawmakers who will be taking office next year. Norquist, who’s talking points hurt us in the elections this year. Frankly, he has no business telling out elected officials what to do. So, we’ll see what happens. There is a growing group of Republicans in Washington that are starting to feel the same way. There was a good question on the Sunday talkers, this morning “Who is this guy!?” It’s a valid question, it made me laugh and hopefully this anti-grover norquist trend will continue.

Here in the county, with the commission, some good news coming out, the possibility of moving the tax collector and property appraisers offices out of the Suntrust building. Moving the offices out of that expensive location into a county owned office that could save the taxpayers millions of dollars. I think it’s a terrific move by the commission, they can use the points, their still recovering from the PR disaster from the Orange County Sick Time Fight. We’re still hearing more bad press about text messages not being available to the media. Hey, you can’t go wrong saving the taxpayers money it’s a win, win, we’ll see how it goes, if it happens, now would be a terrific time to also bring up that rental car surcharge that Commissioner Ted Edwards was talking about. In another move that could be very profitable for the people of Central Florida.

On to the next subject, a sour grapes subject, out of no where, an attack email on Daniel Webster, of course Daniel Webster recently re-elected after defeating Val Demings in November out of no where an attack email from the DCCC criticizing Daniel Webster fro his potential ties with Grover Norquist, pressuring him to leave the anti-tax pledge, in that regard, now of course I just got done slamming Grover Norquist for the last two minutes, it would certainly make me happy, but lets examine what this really is. It’s an attack email 3 weeks after an election, from a 3rd party that frankly, hurt Val Demings in her election. I don’t know if this is going to be a trend, are we going to see more emails from the DCCC. I believe their message in the Val Demings campaign took over shortly after she declared, that was never truly her in that campaign, launching a negative attack campaign against Daniel Webster, someone who’s vowed never to personally sign off on a negative ad, going negative on him with the “Lobbyist Lounge” ad, as you’ll recall, those slick ads with the graphics that said he was cozy with lobbyists, it of course had video footage of Webster, not next a lobbyist but next to his son on a fishing trip. and the fact checkers took that ad apart. You’ve got to wonder what’s going on with leadership up there, are they trying to justify payroll, apparently they still want to attack Daniel Webster 3 weeks after the election with a very bizarre message.

Let’s move on to Florida Governor Rick Scott. Scott with another media sprint through Orlando, talking to as much of the media as possible. This is sorta of a revival of the “charm offensive”. I remember around this time last year during Presidency V, made himself completely available to writers, reporters, bloggers (including myself) and experienced a bump in his approval numbers afterwards. And he’s done a couple of times since, every couple of months to help his suffering approval numbers and the strategy behind that is Governor Scott needs a headstart to, in order to be competitive for re-election. He is definitely not favored against potential candidates, Nan Rich, Alex Sink, and former Governor Charlie Crist. What will Charlie do? When will he join the Democratic party and try to get his job back. Along with some popular Mayors like (Bob) Buckhorn and our own Mayor Dyer. Those rumored to be considering run. Scott has been doing well with fundraising. He doesn’t want to spend so much of his own money to get elected. So, Rick Scott has already unofficially started his re-election campaign. This is the first sprint after the Presidential election. So we’ve covered a lot for Florida Politics with Frank Torres I’ll see you ne–.

Rick Scott's best chance for Re-Election? A big head start.

Yesterday, Florida Governor Rick Scott made another media sprint through the City Beautiful. These sprints started around this time last year and were called his “Charm Offensive”. He spoke to every reporter, op-ed board, and blogger (including me). His dismal numbers experienced a slight bump and he’s been doing it about every 4 months since, using these visits to push his approval rate into the low 40′s, about 7 points higher than it’s normal home in the lower to mid 30′s

The difference with yesterday’s blitz from the others is with Presidential politics over and done with, his re-election campaign has officially began…unofficially.

Technically, re-election starts the day after you’re elected and all of that other stuff but, with an unpopular incumbent like the Governor, this head start is his best chance at surviving re-election.

It’s starts with the fundraising. Scott’s been doing it for months (He would probably prefer not spending tens of millions of his own dollars to get elected this time) and has been having some great luck, with sources reporting his war chest will be filled to the brim by the time the “Let’s Get to Work” sequel hits TV and Radio.

He also enjoys the luxury of watching what could be an entertaining Democratic primary (if the pieces line up right) his old foe, former Florida CFO Alex Sink is considering a run, State Senator Nan Rich is already in, there is the possibility of a popular Mayor like Tampa’s Bob Buckhorn or our very own Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer jumping into the Governor’s race.

Then there is “Charlie’s Revenge”. That would be former Florida Governor Charlie Crist completing his betrayal of the Republican party by going after his old job.

Charlie Crist vs. Rick Scott? We can only dream. The ultimate show down of passive-aggressive politicians.

It’s not like Governor Scott will come to the table empty-handed. Despite his low numbers, the economy has gotten better since he’s taken office. Our long, slow, slog towards job creation has resulted in small wins throughout the state. He’s also got another year and change, to make some large gains.

He’s got to start running now. His state just turned blue for the 2nd time in 3 cycles, and it’s trending blue. You can bet turnout for a mid-term contest won’t be close to what it was as the beginning of the month, but he barely won in a year when Republicans swept the cabinet and took majority of the House in DC.

The “Charm Offensive” needs to be the new normal, if this Governor wants to get re-elected.

Scott's headstart began yesterday here in Orlando

Scott’s headstart began yesterday here in Orlando

It's time for Florida Republicans to walk away from Grover Norquist.

The pledge was presented to me three times. I never signed the pledge,” he said. “I cut taxes every year I was governor. I don’t believe you outsource your principles and convictions to people – Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush

Senator John McCain
Senator Lindsay Graham…from South Carolina

They all agree.

It’s time to walk away from Grover Norquist and his pledges. The lobbyist has become an unnecessary “middle-man” between our lawmakers and their constituents. His anti-tax pledge sounds good to the average bystander, but has essentially “handcuffed” our elected officials to a one weapon economic arsenal.

Cut, cut, cut.

“What if a national disaster hit your district? Hit your state? What if you needed to revenue to ensure the safety of your constituents? Would you implement a temporary, revenue increase for aid?”

“No, Grover says I can’t” – said the former Republican lawmaker that lost in November.

For you political gamers out there, Grover hurts Republicans. He’s the weatherman that set the forecast for the President being elected and Conservatives failing to make any gains in the Senate. How? His insensitivity to the needs of all Americans tainted every candidate’s economic message who wasn’t running in a dark red district.

Let’s be clear. Dissing the pledge can’t be an excuse to go on a spending spree. There still is a deficit and while some bend in Washington could help Republicans rebound from last November, a blank check will cause a panic on Wall St. and plunge us into a second recession which we would set us farther back from recovery.

There will also be political opportunists. Those pondering a run for office that somehow believe challenging an incumbent in a primary and softening them up for a Democratic challenger helps. Those candidates will be out there, but here in Central Florida, we see right through those candidates.

It needs to start here in Florida. Mica, Webster, Posey, even the freshman DeSantis. If you’ve met the first 3, you know they’re plenty savvy enough to communicate to their voters that they don’t need a super-lobbyist to serve, they need the ideas and the opinions of the voters that sent them up to Washington to vote for THEM. DeSantis would be taking a risk, but if he folded and signed, the majority of the Central Florida Congressional Delegation, along with Jeb would send a strong message to the rest of the country.

Floridians, not a pledge from someone 99% of us haven’t heard of, are in charge of it’s future and we won’t have it any other way.

This man shouldn’t be telling our lawmakers what their economic principles are.

Week In Review: Thanksgiving, Tourist Taxes, Celebrities

Here is your Thanksgiving edition of Week in Review. I’ll see you next week!


Florida Politics with Frank Torres, and here we are, the post-Thanksgiving show, I’m hope your Thanksgiving was great and you had the chance to spend it with people you care about, eat some good turkey and do a little shopping, I hope it all worked out for you, as we move forward to the end of the year, the lame duck congress or the lame duck session, will have to discuss the fiscal cliff or sequestration, as you might have heard that was established by the super-debt committee last year, during the debt ceiling talks, what will the congressional delegation from Florida do? Will you see more teamwork on capitol hill, now that the elections are over, will the Republican house stick to their guns and be against any sort of revenue increases or what will happen on that front? It will be interesting to watch, to see what kind of how our lawmakers vote and what role they have in the discussion.

Starting out Week in Review on the entertainment kick, Florida Senator Marco Rubio was featured in an interview with GQ, where he was asked a couple of interesting questions that turned out to be controversial, he was asked about global warming, the effects on the earth, some of the quotes, he gave a longer explanation, I’ll attach those quotes to this post.

I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

He basically said that he’s not a scientist and that parents should be able to teach their kids anything they want to in this country, it was a very neutral quote, nothing very volatile, but it prompted a response from “Family Guy” creator Seth Macfarlane, who had the film “Ted” about the talking teddy bear, and will be hosting the Academy Awards, let’s put that tweet up there now and wow, a very interesting response, from Macfarlane, you see the thing about Macfarlane and other entertainers like that is that they can create content that gets the attention of the voters, we’ll we see a Marco Rubio cameo on Family Guy? We know there are bigger things in store for him, so we’ll see how that dynamic works, as you recall in that tweet Macfarlane called Rubio a “smart guy”. those interactions with celebrities matter and to keep things going, his fellow Miami resident, Pitbull, he took, not a jab at Pitbull, but when asked about his music, he called Pitbull a party musician and that he really didn’t have anything to say. When compared to Tupac Shakur and other rappers along those lines, and that maybe he’ll have something more important to say as he gets older, once again not a very violent response, but it made headlines anyways, ironically Pitbull’s new record is called global warming.

These interactions matter as you’ll recall, celebrities jumped into the elections in the last month and flooded the airwaves with their opinions of the candidates, several of them spoke at each other’s conventions, you remember Eastwood and the chair at the RNC. Scarlett Johansson, and Evan Longoria speaking at the Democratic Nation Convention. Younger voters listen to these celebrities.

Later on in the week, we moved on to a gamble that paid off for our Mayors. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, 4.8 million dollars of tourist revenue will be paid to the city, Dyer a big gambler when it comes to meeting his requirements for that big city vision, the toursim taxes were important for the venues like the Amway center, the performing arts center, and now the renovations for the Citrus Bowl, and there are suppose to be more checks coming, we all win on that front.

Then we moved on to Thanksgiving. What do our local politicians have to be thankful for? We start out with our recently elected State House Democrats, they have to be grateful for sharing a ballot with President Barack Obama. Lawmakers like Linda Stewart, Karen Castor Dentel, Joe Saunders, and Mike Clelland. They have to be grateful for being on the ballots with Barack Obama, because those were coattails guys, President Obama was able to turnout his people, gave them all the Obama for American voting guide, and those voters, voted Democrat all the way down the ballot. So they’ve got to be thankful for him. Developers have to be grateful for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, you know Orlando’s Mayor. He likes to build, condominiums, commuter trains, come on down. Even if the majority of those condominiums stay empty but hey, he won re-election by a landslide in April, and you’ve heard about the rumors of a gubernatorial run in 2014. Also Osecola Republicans have to be grateful for State Rep-Elect Mike Larosa, all Larosa had to do was drop everything in his life, his family, his business, to run for the state house, and he couldn’t even put his name on the ballot, he had to use Mike Horner’s. Horner was allegedly involved in the brothel scandal that led to him dropping out. He also had to deal with Eileen Game, a candidate that was considered a nobody by Florida Democrats and until Horner got into trouble but Larosa was able to pull it out. In a very small amount of time, a very interesting story for him. What do we have to be grateful for? Living here in the I4 corridor during an election year. 4 debates, 3 in the primary, one in the general, over two dozen visits from both tickets, some might consider this a curse but it’s a win being in the political game here in the heart of the I4 corridor, from Tampa Bay to Daytona Beach, and enjoy it because it might not be the case in 2016, we are trending blue the demographics are changing, we might not be the political battleground that we were this year.

So that’s our post-thanksgiving show. I am thankful for all of you. Those who take a minute to read the blogs, watch the videos, I’m grateful for you. We’ll continue the journey together and for Florida Politics with Frank Torres, I’ll see you next time.