Today's date is April 13, 2021

Debate Camp: Orange County Mayoral and County Commission 4 Forum Avalon Park 2010 – Frank's Notes


Today, we kick off our Debate Camp Series, where I review old debate footage and break it all down. I’m talking about technique, fact checks, and hindsight observations. This is not only useful to everyone running next year but it’s also a lot of fun.

For our first feature, we review an Orange County Mayoral and County Commission 4 Debate, that took place in Avalon Park back in 2010. Our main critiques will feature then former Commissioner and current Mayor Teresa Jacobs, her opponent, then Commissioner and current State Representative Linda Stewart. As well as then (still) Businesswoman, and Current Commissioner Jennifer Thompson, and her opponent, then (still) Health Care Exec and Current Commissioner Pete Clarke.

Perhaps the most interesting point right off the bat is that Stewart and Clarke would go on to lose to Thompson and Jacobs but are still in office today. Goes to show what a little perseverance can do.

Yes, I was actually in the audience during this debate. It was a rainy afternoon in Avalon Park.

As always, I invite you to watch along with me. The last three parts are glitchy if they clear up, I’ll update the post.

4:40: In case you forgot, D4 was actually Stewart’s turf during her two terms on the Commission. This was a home game for her.

5:05: Segal was also a Commissioner. We had 3 running to replace former OC Mayor Richard Crotty. It would have been four if Mildred Fernandez did not get arrested on bribery charges.

5:45: Here is Mayor Jacobs. She had full momentum during this debate despite being the last challenger in. It was a crowded field but no one the electorate was really excited over. I credit Fernandez dropping out and a strong Column in the Orlando Sentinel for pushing Jacobs in the race.

6:20– Jacobs touted Ethics back then and she’s still tough on regulations but “Textgate” will be a problem for her. It was also a strong point for her back then because of the “No Name Club” parties that were taking place with elected officials during Crotty’s time in office. Male lawmakers would hang out drink scotch and smoke cigars.

6:50: Oh Matthew Falconer. Guy was fearless when attacking. He actually asked Jacobs to be his Chief of Staff before she jumped in the contest

7:35– Pete Clarke would actually finish last in this 4 way. Two years later he would win in the new District 3 by walking neighborhoods until his shoes wore off. He came out of a 5 way primary and was outspent 4 times over by his opponent. I predicted he would win that contest in front of Central Florida on Television and he made me look like a genius.

840:- Commissioner Pisano was a really strong candidate. I picked her to go to the runoff with Thompson but she would finish 3rd, and once again finish there when she ran against Pete, two years later. She is still very active in Belle Isle and was a good sport to both Commissioners after the contests.

945: Some Context. It’s 2010. The Tea Party is at it’s peak and we’re still in a recession.

10:10– Thompson had big numbers on the ground back then. She was also the money leader. She was favored throughout this contest.

1040– FACT CHECK- The County has 55 Million in reserves and has not raised taxes. TRUE.

1125: Uribe would work hard on the ground and make it to the runoff with Thompson. She couldn’t match-up with her one on one though. Had false endorsements on a mailer, Thompson got an endorsement from the Sentinel, and didnt have as much policy knowledge

5:11– Stewart didn’t know it then but she’d be voting on a balanced budget in Tally few years later

6:35: I’m not sure if that Citizen’s Watchdog group ever came to be.

8:00: Not certain if GIS was ever looked at. There was talk about cutting costs by moving the Property Appraiser out of the Suntrust Tower but nothing ever came of it.

9:00: “My main focus as County Commissioner for the next 4 years is doing whatever we can to diversify our economy, and to put people to work”. D4 has added Medical, Military Simulation and Small Business Jobs, and the County as a whole has added jobs in everything from Commuter Rail Projects to the WWE. Unemployment is also lower than it was back then. She gets a pass even though it’s been a very rough road at times.

9:32– Not sure if Clarke has had a chance to do this. He’s only been in office for a year. The Sheriff’s office has reduced it’s budget but that was before he was elected.

12:00– “Our developing and permitting process takes way too long. It’s costly to the business sector and costly to the public sector. Implementing the one stop permitting stations was one of the first things Jacobs did in office. I’m a customer and employees always get my stuff done right the first time.

1230– Not sure if that study was ever conducted

1250– I miss Teresa Jacobs the candidate. As an incumbent she has to be Mayoral and can’t snap like that next year.

1350- Another mention of those high rise offices for the Tax Collector and Property Appraiser. They’re still there today.

320: Amendment 4. Yikes..Good thing that it failed

8:02– Developer Money is still huge in County Politics. It’s just not as taboo to take it anymore.

9:15: Stewart was a “Yes” on Amendment 4. Forgot about that.

13:40: Tourism Development Tax Explanation. This is what also paid for the Venues Package that included the Soccer Stadium

0:05: There isn’t a shortfall anymore

1:30- FYI, Jacobs, Thompson, and Clarke were all “Yes” votes on the Venues that came from TDT. It’s likely to be an avenue of attack for possible opponents but public opinion was behind it.

Note: This Debate style that you’re watching from everyone (except for Stewart) is very different from the style they use when sitting on the Commission/Legislature, but in front of opponents that controlled assertiveness and precision needs to return or they’ll get mowed over.

9:30- You’ve got to wonder if Stewart should try diversify TDT now that she’s a lawmaker. Her opponents should add that to their message and see if it gets any pop.

11:37: No it’s not. Right Governor Scott?

1:35– Jacobs shakes her head and nods a lot and that’s effective. I do it when I’m debating on television a lot myself. If you’re nodding it let’s the moderator and the audience know (sometimes subliminally) that’s how the conversation should be going. If you shake your head, you’re more likely to get a rebuttal from the moderator and it lets the audience know you’re challenging your opponent’s opinions.

6:50 – Thats the Candidate that won by landslide and had her race called by 8pm

8:00 – Actually, it went to California and Missouri

12:00 – The Rental Car Surcharge has been supported by not only Clarke but Commissioner Ted Edwards, and Linda Stewart was pushing it in Tally. It never goes anywhere because people think it’s a tax hike even though it would effect Non-Floridians.

15:00- There still isn’t an effective plan for commuters when they get off of Sunrail, to get them to their final destination.

That was a short clip and unfortunately there were gaps. These are old videos.

2:00 – Here we are, almost 2014 and not Veterans Hospital. This debate was 3 and a half years ago.

0:01- Closing Remarks

1:30– Commissioner Clarke had a great closing here. He was pretty laid back all of last year.

5:30– Didn’t catch that 3rd person close from Stewart when I was there. Never heard her do that before or since. That’s a good thing.

6:50– This debate was on a Saturday

2:00– This is the Mayor Jacobs we need to hear from on the trail next year. Very little political rhetoric there. It’s a story that includes every voter out there.

6:40: Also a great close by Thompson


This was a long debate but it covered just about everything. Next year it will likely be shorter. We’ve got 3 candidates for D4 and well, one candidate for Mayor at this point, it’s going to be a different environment.

There will be more Debate Camps as we move forward in other races. I know this will be useful stuff for my readers and that’s what this blog is all about.

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