I have to listen to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer talk.
Obviously, the longtime Mayor of the City your blog’s web address is named after has to play a big part in what you write. I figure if add up the amount of time I have to listen to this guy a year (events, tv, webvids), it’s probably enough to walk from one side of the City Beautiful to the other.
However, yesterday was different. It was the 2014 State of the City and it was one of the best speeches I’ve heard him give. It was better than his municipal counter-part Teresa Jacobs’ last State of the County and much better than Florida Governor Rick Scott’s State of the State. Let me explain why. (you can read my official write-up HERE)
Location, Location, Location: The weather on Church St. yesterday morning was about 76 degrees with clear skies and the sun shining perfectly on the new commuter rail system it’s named after. The crowd was arranged nicely in the square and everyone had a great view with enough personal space. Outside speech > Inside speech almost always if the conditions are right. Yesterday they were.
Buddy ate his Wheaties: The Mayor had more energy than he usually does, reserved for when he’s trying to pitch a big project. This time, he acted like many of the talking points hadn’t come to fruition. He was selling Sunrail even though the car was right behind him, he sold the Amway Center event after a successful opening round of NCAA action. He made potholes and sidewalks sound exciting. I saw more energy from his yesterday than the entire time he was running for reelection two years ago.
This Photo: He managed to talk it without disrupting the flow of the speech. You can see his City Commission on the left. Mayor Jacobs and members of County Government on the right and a full press corp with cameras on the riser. This is his now. Anyone else doing this within 75 miles from here will just be imitation.
Boldness and Bad News: Let’s be clear. Dyer was already a proud supporter of the LGBT Community in Orlando but yesterday after he said he wanted to Orlando to be the site of the first Gay wedding in the state, that won support from the LGBT community state-wide on social media. No matter your beliefs on the issue, it was dramatic, it was potent.
He was also very real
He acknowledged what many of us who follow this stuff every day knew. There are financial problems in City’s Budget. He pointed out that he hadn’t made the kind of progress he wanted to with the Homelessness problem. Most politicians would announce this through a release or during a commission meeting when the whole city wasn’t watching. Dyer did it in the spotlight. His spotlight, with friends and rivals watching. A State of the City speech is reserved almost entirely for bragging and sugar-coated explanations. There was none of that.
But you left feeling optimistic and proud:
“The great city we envisioned is in front of us.” “The State of the City is Strong and Ready to take on any Challenge”
As a frequent critic who often pokes fun at the Mayor, this was his best. Now, every speech isn’t the State of the City (with those two movie screens as prompters) and there were some factors that worked in his favor that he won’t always have control of but yesterday, he was at his best.