State Rep. Karen Castor-Dentel D-Maitland led a slow month of fundraising in November, quietly banking just over 9k.
***************read full story here******************
State Rep. Karen Castor-Dentel D-Maitland led a slow month of fundraising in November, quietly banking just over 9k.
***************read full story here******************
Let the games begin! (actually they started with absentee ballots, anyways)
Early voting starts today throughout Central Florida and if you’re as big of a fan of this service as I am, you’ll turnout over the next few days and avoid the election day rush.
In 2008 there were many Central Florida residents that wanted to vote but discovered it was more than a lunchtime task and didn’t have the time to wait line. Take advantage of this, and you’ll never vote on election day again! Ok, that sounds strange but check it out.
We’ve got some great content that points out early voting locations.
Have a great weekend!
Orlando Sentinel: 8-day early-voting period for primary election starts Saturday
WFTV 9 Eyewitness New: (Video) Reality Check: Review of Mica’s ad attacking Adams’ voting record
Alright, let’s review Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ ethical track record.
- Within the first two weeks of office, she identified a duplication of duties and eliminated over 250 thousand from the County payroll
- She went against the political grain and called out Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer on bad book keeping with the new performing arts center.
- She kept her word. Investigated equal rights policies for the LGBT community and after investigating will be moving forward with a partner registry
- She appointed an ombudsman to serve the county and investigate complaints from citizens.
- She’s worked with County Comptroller Martha Haynie extensively last year to monitor expenses.
- She’s asked the Orlando Chamber of Commerce to clarify their use of public funding
and I could go on.
Does this sound like a lawmaker with an ethics problem? Someone who wouldn’t be aware of a conflict of interest? State Representative Mike Horner thinks so and his proposal to excuse Mayor Jacobs from the board reeks of Horner letting the wrong company steer his actions.
I say this about Mike Horner because I’ve always thought he’s been one of the more thoughtful lawmakers in the legislature. So, why this bizarre motion?
From an Orlando Sentinel article Horner said this:
“I am trying to add to the high ethical standards we have for this authority,” Horner said. “I think this is a step in the right direction.”
Rep Horner, I know you’re in Osceola county, have you been paying attention to what’s been going on with Orange County Government? I don’t think you have because, you would be well aware of this Mayor’s track record with ethics and that she can be painfully detail oriented at times.
The article also mentions that all of Jacobs’ normal opponents, those watchdogs who throw flags whenever the Mayor blinks the wrong way, have sided with her on this. Which just makes the whole scenario that much more bizarre.
What is really going on here?
Horner cites that the Osceola County Authority doesn’t have any elected officials on it.
Well, this isn’t Osceola county, Representative. What is this really about?
On this sunny but, cold morning, in front of the Orange County Courthouse, Former State and Casey Anthony prosecutor Jeff Ashton, announced his candidacy for the State Attorney’s office. Currently held by his former boss Lawson Lamar
Ashton, who gained national recognition during the Casey Anthony trial, retired immediately afterwards. He went on to write a bestseller and made the rounds on the major talk show circuit.
Surrounded by friends, family, and a strong media turnout, Ashton said he had no bad blood towards Lawson Lamar but, cited a list of deficiencies and problems with the longtime incumbent’s administration. Poor handling of cases, lack of technology, low conviction rates, and operational discipline were just some of the areas he addressed.
He was asked several times by reporters about the Casey Anthony trial, and replied that this race will not be about one case. He stayed on message for the entire Q/A.
Photos and his full speech with Q/A can be found below.
Here is the video. WARNING: It was freezing and I was shooting video, taking stills, and tweeting simultaneously. Parts of the video sound like it was shot in a wind tunnel. Make sure you take some Dramamine before viewing! I’ll try to do better the next time!
Former Orange County District 4 Commissioner and OC Mayor Candidate, Linda Stewart announced on her Facebook page that she is throwing a Campaign Committee Recruitment Event, to seek “Higher Office”.
The announcement doesn’t mention which office she’ll be running for but, there has been rumors of her considering a run for the House of Representatives after redistricting takes place next year.
Stewart came in 3rd in the Orange County Mayoral primary last year. Underfunded and running a grassroots campaign that saw her “Getting Out The Vote” on her caravan, Stewart did better than expected almost making the cut for the runoff last November.
She has been popular with the Hispanic, and LGBT communities. She has also been a watch dog protecting the Econ Trail from questionable development projects. She’s also been out front on county initiatives to bring benefits to same sex couples.
The new congressional district could potentially lean Democrat. Alan Grayson has already declared a run for that TBD, newly created seat.
The message was clear that this is not a announcement or kick-off. If she makes a formal announcement, I’ll post it here.
Heh, heh….I can hear the boos from the other side of my computer screen but keep reading..
Earlier this week, Orange County District 5 Commissioner and Lady Ga Ga super fan, Ted Edwards revived the idea of a rental car surcharge to help off set the costs of other transportation projects such as Sunrail. $2 dollars a day on any vehicle for hire in the State of Florida, could go a long way in doing just that.
Now, I know what you saying… A charge, a fee, a cost, whatever man! A tax is tax! We don’t play any of that nonsense here in the O.C! That’s crazy talk!
Let me finish…
What do Commissioner Edwards, and myself really care about at the end of the day? Who are we really looking out for?
We care about Orange County. If you live in Orange County, or anywhere near metro Orlando, how often do you rent a car? I care about my neighbors that are looking for work, I care about public safety and responsible growth in our community. This surcharge won’t touch you.
Selfish? Maybe, but let’s take these non-consequential measures to keep our future secure. I care about my readers and we’re not withholding life changing resources here, we’re balancing our checkbook for the kids. Let’s not forget that a lot of these tourists are foreign.
There are concerns that this tax could hurt tourism. No way, we’re the number one vacation destination in the world. We got Harry Potter baby! Accio Tourist Dollars! We are what family getaways are all about!
The average family vacation stay here in Orlando is 7 days, are you going to tell me that $14 bucks is going to make a parent deprive a house full of screaming kids of Harry Potter, Daytona Beach and Mickey Mouse?
Let’s take a good look at this surcharge. Let’s do a good job controlling the message and letting Floridians know that this isn’t a tax on them…..
It’s a tax on the French, it’s a tax on the British and if some taxing payback on the British doesn’t appeal to the Tea Party, I don’t know what will…
Which side are you on?
Orange TV on cable wasn’t going to cut it this time. You had to be at the Orange County Board of County Commissioners meeting to see the major players involved, in commuter rail for Central Florida.
There had already been a couple of these meetings in the region today; a tour to spread info and gauge support.
The venue was at already at capacity, and the overflow room was filling quickly as the public presentation from Governor Rick Scott’s, secretary from the FDOT, Ananth Prasad was almost underway. The crowd was growing impatient as the preceding matter lagged on, something about ethics or something, it didn’t matter, half of the people in the room don’t buy into that sort of thing anyways. Finally, it was time to begin.
Secretary Prasad’s thorough presentation covered a lot of numbers and had a cautious tone of approval. It sounded like a parent lecturing their children before buying a dog. “If I let you have him, you’ll have to wash him, feed him, and take him for walks”, except this was a money speech clearly, pointing out the responsibilities of all the levels of government, and even the private companies involved.
There were a lot of big names there. It was a site to see. Here is a rundown.
Congresswoman Corrine Brown, State Sens. Andy Gardiner, Thad Altman, former Sen. Lee Constantine, State Reps. Scott Randolph, Darren Soto, Bryan Nelson and a whole slew of Mayors on Sunrail’s planned route. The big dogs from the Lobbying firms downtown, members of the media and pundits like myself, all with entourage in tow (except me, the only Entourage I get is on HBO).
Mayor Jacobs took a moment before the public comment session to express her support for Sunrail and explained the rules to supporters and opposition. Two minutes per speaker, twenty minutes per side.
The opposition lined up and the list was displayed on the screen. Activists in red shirts that read “Derail Sunrail” were ready. There were no big names on the screen but, the opposition was passionate. One woman drove from Tampa to speak. No reaction from the capacity crowd during their 20 minutes. Several of them took the opportunity to tell Rep. Corrine Brown to her face, that they were not “Stuck on Stupid” as she’s said about commuter rail opposition in the past.
Then came the supporters… the group was twice as long and full of big names. A lot from the list, I just got done typing, Republicans and Democrats, with leadership from major organizations following them. They were all in top form addressing the board and Secretary Prasad. Then the ones that would be personally affected by the addition of Sunrail to Orange County spoke. A disabled woman in a wheel chair conveyed her support and how it could improve her quality of life, then a native Orlando college student, studying nursing in Atlanta explained the benefits of rail in Georgia and how it could help here, in Orlando.
It was time to call the fight…
The most visible support of Sunrail in Orange County didnt’ come until the end of the meeting. It was when Mayor Jacobs was wrapping things up and asked those opposed to Sunrail to stand up and be recognized.
About seven people stood up.
Then she asked those in favor to stand up and be recognized.
Virtually, the rest of the crowd in attendance rose to their feet. There were people that stood up that, I didn’t even know where there to take a side!
I still believe Rick Scott is going to put off this decision. It’s just my gut but, if he kills the train it will send shockwaves across the political landscape in Florida…again.
It’s been a political boxing match with both sides getting some big shots in and it’s going to go to the cards for a decision.
Except, there is just one card and one judge and whoever gets their hand lifted in victory, is still going to hear some boos from the audience.
This morning, I had the honor of attending the Memorial Day Ceremonies at the Orange County Courthouse. There, members of the community took time to reflect on the memory of those who, have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend freedom. It was another beautiful ceremony and you have got to be so proud and blessed to be part of this community. Here are some photos, take a moment to think of those we’ve lost, and I wish all of you peaceful and pleasant Memorial Day.
Last week, I wrote about one of the largest groups in Orange County being ignored for appointment to the county redistricting board.
[cleeng_content id="357398222" description="FPFT Premium Content" price="2.24" t="article"]It’s apparent that the exclusion of Puerto Ricans from the county redistricting board is a drop in the ocean, when it comes to questionable county appointments and,that the whole process altogether is broken.
What I witnessed this morning when I tuned into the Orange County Commission meeting on Orange TV (a wonderful service by the way) was a spotlight shined on one of the ugliest problems that I thought we had taken a step away from, with the past elections.
Board appointments used to gain favor with special interests and used as social calls to hang out with buddies.
As expected several members from the Puerto Rican community appeared before the Orange County Commission. They’re concerns were heartfelt, points valid, and they produced facts that really bothered me and lowered my confidence in Orange County Government.
Everyone on the commission had something to say. If not out of genuine concern, definitely for political survival. It’s best to go right down the line.
Mayor Teresa Jacobs:Announced that she was forming an oversight task force and that there was a Puerto Rican on that board and that one of her redistricting appointees was married to one. She brought up her campaign promises and that she wanted to work with all members of Orange County.
District 1 Commissioner Scott Boyd: He was actually prepared to move on but, had a short statement voicing his concern on the topic.
District 2 Commissioner Fred Brummer: He mentioned that it’s pretty hard to live in District 2 and not get appointed. He gave out his personal email and the name of his contacts and said that anyone that was interested would be able to serve.
This simply isn’t true.
I applied to serve, when I lived in Brummer’s district. Communication is difficult with his office. I called his office to asked about the possibility of saving a shelter, that assists battered women and his assistant didn’t take down any of my information and couldn’t sound less interested.
District 3 Commissioner Lui Damiani:The Governor Charlie Crist appointee didn’t comfort many of his constituents, providing excuses instead of solutions. “I like to work with people I know” he announced.
If you’re working with the same people all of the time, aren’t you shutting out the new voices that want to serve? Do we need to start looking at term limits, when it comes to volunteering at county government?!
District 4 Commissioner Jennifer Thompson:Someone, who I have defended on this blog before, was behind the most disturbing mistake of this entire process. District 4, which has the largest Hispanic population in Orange County had the most questionable appointees.
Not Puerto Rican? Fine, but from the largest Hispanic district in Orange, they are from the culture right?
No? Okay, well I understand. They are everyday, concerned citizens who want to make the county better right? No!? Then who are they?
Commissioner Jennifer Thompson appointed a chamber of commerce colleague and an attorney who is employed, from a major advocate of developers.
Commissioner District 5 Ted Edwards:My experience with Commissioner Edwards is that he can be very blunt and straight forward. He was actually quite concerned and touted his work with a diverse group.
Commissioner District 6 Tiffany Moore-Russell:Confessed that her appointees were African-American but was very receptive to the concerns of the speakers appearing before the board.
Mayor Jacobs closed on the issue stating that the group in attendance “should not walk away” from the process.
Well, when everyday, concerned citizens, want to serve and get pushed aside for developers and golfing buddies, that’s what they do. Good people are discouraged and ideas that make a community stronger are lost.
When they say they are concerned, I don’t believe them. Perhaps, I was naive to believe them in the first place. I hope they can prove me wrong.
My heart goes out to the speakers of that meeting today. They fought the good fight, but when the special interests pull out the checkbooks and start making lunch reservations…Well.. The battle was lost before it began.[/cleeng_content]
I’m a proud Puerto Rican.
On a lot of weekends and holidays, I’ll travel to see family and enjoy the food, music, and environment from my culture and it’s a inspirational reminder of what it’s all about. I’ll talk to family from Humboldt Park in Chicago, where they’ll be celebrating in a similar fashion. We debate sports and politics, and enjoy each others company. It’s a great thing to be a part of and I’m blessed.
I go to a lot of political events and unfortunately, I might be the only Puerto Rican there and it’s stories like Mildred Fernandez and the one I’m about to write about that frustrate the heck out of me.
300,000 Hispanics in Orange County and not one Puerto Rican. There were 3 non-Puerto Rican, Hispanic appointees. 300,000 Hispanics and not one voice from it’s largest group, that will advise in redistricting?
I’m not angry, anger does nothing. I’m disappointed and as a resident who has spent 25 years in Orange County, ashamed.
The WFTV report had video from County Commissioners Jennifer Thompson and Fred Brummer.
Commissioner Thompson gets a pass, I’ve seen her urge application to county boards through social media. The largest hispanic population in Orange, and she selects a chamber of commerce contact, and a developer darling. Very disappointing.
I honestly believe Commissioner Brummer could care less. His district has a small amount of Hispanic voters, so his political career isn’t affected; but as a conservative, he is part of the problem with minority outreach in the Republican party, here in Central Florida.
I’ve applied to Orange County advisory boards and all I got in return, was an automated reply stating that I would be considered, when a position opened up. Never mind, the fact that those were openings advertised on the website. If I can’t get a position advising on roadkill pick up, I definitely won’t be appointed to help draw district lines!
I don’t want anyone to step down from the selected board. It wouldn’t be appropriate or fair to the existing board member. Here is what I would like to see.
I would like to hear a board announcement that is louder than a whisper, mandatory qualifications integrated into the application process and a phone call follow up to each inquiry. I would also like to see mandatory notices sent out from each county commissioner to constituents on their email lists and social media networks for each opening that becomes available on a board. After this, it will be up to the public to step up and serve and there will be no excuses.
A qualified, diverse and strong body of government should be the goal.
In the end, I see this as being a good thing for the Puerto Rican community. This should be a wake up call, and ultimately bring everyone together to keep Orange County great.
There are at least 3 Hispanics on the board, and that’s what keeps this from becoming a ridiculous oversight of Orange County Government, to just plain sad.