Today's date is October 23, 2020

Florida House Candidate Daisy Morales Blasts Orlando Sentinel for False Reporting

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ORLANDO, Fla. – In response to the Orlando Sentinel’s September 22, 2020 article accusing her of failing to attend Soil & Water Board meetings, Florida House District 48 nominee Daisy Morales is calling out the Orlando Sentinel once more to report accurately and stop its propaganda campaign to mislead readers in order to sway another election.

The article states in relevant part:

“…Morales, 59, has served as an elected Orange County Soil & Water Conservation District supervisor since 2014, though she was absent for meetings of the nonpartisan environmental board from March 2019 to February 2020. She has said she had tried to call into the meetings for months — even yelling into the phone —until she realized she was calling the wrong number.”

“During the time she failed to attend the Soil & Water Conservation District board’s meetings, she attended ribbon cuttings alongside Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, Hurricane Dorian press conferences and participated in holiday parades as a board supervisor.”

Morales slammed the Orlando Sentinel’s claims. “This article frames a poisonous narrative that I was absent from Board meetings for a year, and that’s an outright lie,” said Morales. “To be clear, I was present for the March 2019 meeting, because the Board needed to vote on a new Board Chair. And for the record, as Supervisor in 2018 and as Board Chair in 2019, I pushed for all supervisors to attend all meetings in person. The others voted against me to allow supervisors to also call in as an option. One careful look at the minutes would’ve confirmed that. According to state law, minutes and agendas should be available for review on the website, orangesoilandwater.org.

I was physically present during the January 2020 meeting, which an Orlando Sentinel reporter, Ryan Gillespie, was present for and covered in JanuaryFlorida National News also covered the meetingIt appears the reporter for this article, Stephen Hudak, sourced the fact that I dialed the wrong number from Gillespie’s January 17, 2020 article, and yet Gillespie’s article confirms my January attendance while this article falsely pegs me as absent. I was also present for the February 2020 meeting, so Hudak’s reporting of my absences is false.

This article also conveniently omits the fact that some meetings were canceled altogether. Again, a careful review of the minutes would have confirmed that.

The Orange Soil & Water Conservation District Board is comprised of five elected supervisors and is structured to be able to run with a three-person quorum, meaning two supervisors can be absent. Only the Board can vote on what counts as an inexcusable absence, and it hasn’t in the last six years. Supervisor Michael Barber is Board Chair and Secretary, Supervisor Dawn Curtis is Vice Chair, former Supervisor Nicole McLaren was the Public Relations Liaison, and Supervisor Tiffany Dziekan is Treasurer. Why am I being targeted by the Orlando Sentinel? I can always be reached–to the point where state government had to contact me in order to reach several other supervisors because the agencies had difficulty reaching them.

“There is no excuse for the inaccuracies in this article. I’m calling on the Orlando Sentinel to apologize to the public and correct this false and misleading piece to reflect the truth, because it’s wrongful and damaging. Readers are relying on this information as if it’s the truth. A letter has already been written to the editor and published by the Orlando Sentinel in response to this under the false impression that I was absent for a year.

“I’ll say again, the public deserves to have a news outlet that is accurate, transparent and trustworthy.”

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1 Comment

  1. Orlando resident on

    The Soil and Water Board does not have the option to allow a call-in quorum. Florida Statute requires an in-person quorum. DeSantis suspend this requirement because of the pandemic, but prior to this suspension, all public meetings that required a quorum were required to be held in person. If a member was on the phone, they did not count toward the quorum.

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