Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

Why Marco Must Win.

In Uncategorized on February 22, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I would like everyone right now to think about their kids; if there in the room, look at them. If you don’t have kids then dream of them, picture them playing in the living room. If you don’t want kids, then just think of someone you love. Now take the image or idea of your children, take a look at your house or job then go to a mirror and say “There is something strong in my soul, I passed that something to my kids and because we live in the greatest country in the world, my little boy or little girl can do anything”. Like in this case, be a United States Senator.

I read a great article a while back about the “other guy” running in the Republican primary for Senator here in Florida. That other guy’s name was Marco Rubio; he was a former house speaker in Florida with poll numbers in the single digits. There was a picture of an older woman, in what looked like a church handing over a crumpled $20 dollar donation with a huge smile. He was running against the powerful Governor of Florida who had no problems finding the money to fund his campaign. He had a comfortable lead in the polls and had done very little to help small businesses here in the Sunshine State. I remember feeling some hope that this Rubio guy, who came from as modest of a background as you can (his dad a bartender, his mom a housekeeper) and worked his tail off to graduate from law school; would find a way to beat Goliath and get to Washington, armed with the knowledge of what it’s like to grow up in working class Florida and to serve all of it’s people.  I set the paper down and went back to work.

One night on the way home, I saw a Rubio bumper sticker. I recalled the article I had read and the few mentions he had gotten since. His numbers climbed into double digits and I thought “Good for him”. The next morning I saw two….over the next few weeks they’re were magazine covers, news interviews and the numbers rose. There was a surge in popularity and coverage that was unbelievable. This guy was a contender; this guy was real product from real people, this guy was Rocky Balboa. Charlie Crist was confined to playing Apollo Creed, the high priced talent in his mansion, that was unaware of what was happening. His opponent, who a few months was collecting 20 dollar bills here and there, had arrived and was here to give him a fight.

He appeared at a local event a while back and there was a stampede of people to meet the man, that a few months back, no one thought had a real chance. I met him briefly, and had a few words before he was rushed away by a crazy campaign schedule.

Marco Rubio now has the lead in the polls; his fundraising has taken off with hopefully enough muscle to fight the television war with Charlie Crist. This primary will capture national television attention; it will be crazy and vicious. It will be thee race in the nation to watch.

I believe that a Marco Rubio victory will be a victory for the working class here in Florida. Contractors, Nurses, Schoolteachers, dream with me.  It’s not the amount of your paycheck, not the house you live in…It’s the strength of your values and the size of your heart that determine your child’s future. That is the great thing about living in this country.

Tiger Returns

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2010 at 12:08 pm

On Friday Tiger Woods will hold a press conference and apologize for his transgressions. He had to come back eventually and he is doing it the right way….this time.

Last November when this mess got started I was very critical about Tiger not speaking, in person to the public. Now I understand there might have been some cosmetic injuries but when you hide and don’t tell the public what happen, then your giving the public permission to speculate. His announcements should have been made by himself or a spokesperson at his home down the street here in Central Florida. A statement on a website is very weak…..unless your blogging…

The press conference is tomorrow and at Sawgrass, in front of pre-selected media, with no questions, Tiger will speak and if his people are smart he will only be saying two things. 1. How much he is sorry about how he hurt his family, his fans, and the sport. Now I say the sport because Tiger is probably the only athlete in sports that is actually bigger than the sport itself. When Tiger is gone, ratings plummet and interests drop. Every golfer that wins a tournament while he is gone has that *……which means “No Tiger Woods” and 2. Explain what he has done to get help and explain why it will never happen again and it better be sincere or else he would be better off staying away until it is. The conditions can’t be any better to apologize; His people, his time (on a Friday, when newspapers on Saturday sell least), and in the environment where he has ruled for over a decade.

I don’t condone what Tiger did, but like everyone I am tired of the tabloids and speculation. Let him talk and then let him play, so we can move on and start concentrating on what matters. The Sport.

Talkin’ To the Man (or Woman)

In Uncategorized on February 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm

One of my favorite parts of my job is getting citizens involved with communicating with lawmakers. They will bring up issues that they feel very strongly about and I will quiz them, make sure they have covered all of their bases and see if they have their facts right. Then I will ask them “Have you called your Congressmen?” or Mayor, or Commissioner, or even Senator. The look in their eyes will a lot of times be one of surprise. “Can I do that?” they will ask and my reply will be “Damn straight!” Here is the thing, a lot of times when we see our lawmakers in the paper and on the CNN or Fox News; we forget a major point. They work for us. We put them in office and we can take them out. There are a lot of citizens that are a little frightened; they have put their lawmakers on too high of a pedestal and they’re concerned that Lord Voldemort will be on the other side of the phone when they call. Now there are plenty of reasons to call a member of government but most of the time its one of these two things 1. You have a personal problem that they could help with and you would like assistance or an inquiry done or 2. You would like to voice your opinion on one of the issues affecting your district. If you’ve never called a lawmaker before here is my short how to guide of do’s and don’ts

Do: Make sure your calling the right place! Staffers get about 25 calls a day about issues in another district or an area that they have no power over

Do: Have all of your info or facts in front of you and the steps you’ve already taken.

Do: Write the name of the staffer you’re speaking to down and expect them to most likely not know every single thing about your issue.  They should be professional, they’re not always friendly, they are very busy and spend the day listening to people complain. It’s a stressful job and they get a lot of crazy calls which is why you need to be organized.

Do: Have a solution in mind. What do you want done?

Do: Be prepared to download and fill out a form for permission to use your personal info, if you have a personal claim. Ask them if you can fax it back, confirm they received it and ask for a timeline for your claim or an answer to your concerns. Its not going get done overnight, but then again if it’s a simple request it shouldn’t take months. If it’s about an issue, make sure your call is recorded and ask for a written reply.

Ok, Now the don’ts

Don’t: Be vulgar, if you are calling an office and swearing a thousand words per minute you are burning your bridge with that office. If you’re angry, wait until your not to call.

Don’t: Tolerate bad behavior from them. It doesn’t happen often but they shouldn’t lose their cool with you. Give them feedback, its public service guys.

Don’t: expect mountains moved. If it’s a national issue or a large scale problem thousands are having, then believe that they are probably already working on it a complicated legislative process is involved.

For the mid-terms I will be paying attention to constituent services. People often forget that you just don’t elect the candidate, but the people around him, as well. Peyton Manning won’t win the Superbowl if he’s playing with a high school team. Then again he didn’t win it anyways last time around, but you get the point.

Lastly, a real quick thanks to The Tea Party Patriots for letting me set up my table at their Hob Nob. I will talk about Veterans issues to anyone. Republican, Democrat, or Independent, it doesn’t matter. I am very capable of putting aside differences with the other issues to ensure the members of the armed services get the benefits and help they have earned. We are all on the same team guys.

Superbowl Ad Recap

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Quick side note, I hope to have my video blog up and rolling by this weekend. I know I personally prefer a video blog to always reading all the time. Written communication has it flaws and it can be often misunderstood. I will still write entries from time to time, but I am exited that my readers/viewers and clients will have more content to find out what I am all about and how I can help them.

Now on to the Superbowl ads…..I thought it was a pretty decent year. When I wasn’t laughing, I certainly wasn’t bored. It also didn’t hurt that the game was pretty good either, anyways here we go.

Best Ad: Snickers and Betty White. It was one of the first ads of the night and it was hilarious. Betty White is a very likeable celebrity and to use her in something as funny and outrageous as this was great. After the tackle and “that’s not what your girlfriend said last night” it won me over. It was also almost impossible not to remember that it was a Snickers commercial. Making a product likeable, makes it sell better. Terrific stuff.

Runner up: All of the Doritos commercials. I lumped them together because they were all pretty good. Talking to my friends, they seemed to like the “don’t touch my momma” ad the best. Me, I liked the craziness of the Doritos samurai. Once again the product was featured well and they were likeable.

Strangest: TruTv Puxatawny Polamalu. I couldn’t even remember what the ad was about (which for millions of dollars is a very bad thing) but, it was very entertaining and kinda scary. Polamalu is a great spokesperson for Head and Shoulders but he creeped me out there.

Worst: Boost mobile Old Superbowl Shuffle. I have been a Bears fan my whole life, so it bothered me to be reminded how long it’s been since we won the big game. I also brought it up to some of my friends and colleagues the next morning and they replied “What was that one? I didn’t remember it?” What a mess, not to mention it was hard to watch.

And now on to Tim Tebow… I respect the beliefs of both sides involved. I respect Tebow for taking a stand on what he believed in. The one thing I noticed about the ad was how delicately it handled the matter. It was not preachy, and honestly if I hadn’t been looking for it, I might not have even really picked up on it. If I was handling communications for Focus on Family, I would have respectfully given warning that it was not going to be a slap in the face of pro-choice, but an explanation of what our organization believed in. If I was working with the pro-choice side, I would have issued a stiff rebuttal and a reminder of how serious the matter is. This is a professional point of view and not a personal one. If you want a personal one, I’ll buy you a coffee and ill explain it.

I also liked the T-Pain-Budlight ad, the Simpsons Coke spot, and the Dodge Charger-Man ad that was pretty inspiring. Overall it was a very interesting year and if we didn’t have these ads, what would we watch if the game was a blow out?

The High Price of Support

In Uncategorized on February 7, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I just got done reading an article about a charity dinner to support county political party. The original price of the dinner was supposed to be $150 but because times are tough and the speaker is a celebrity it was bumped up to $250. In case you haven’t noticed, I am not wealthy. I spend most of my time advocating for Vets and I try to make my services affordable, because I want to help people. It hurts the bottom line but whatever.

Central Floridians are unemployed; they can’t afford to drop $250 bucks. Now I know what you’re saying. “Well then, just don’t go” should it really be like that though? The only certain power we have is democracy, the right to support our beliefs and elect our officials. I am one of the most politically active Vets in Central Florida but I can’t support my party because I am not wealthy. Oh, they will take my money, but sorry Frankie boy; you’re just not the kind of member we need on this particular night. Please do however remember to vote. Your still on the team, your just on the 2nd string.

I’m not unrealistic. Fundraising is the mother’s milk of politics (I’ve read over and over) and if I’m running a campaign, I’ll be collecting donations to get my person’s message out. If there is a candidate running that I like, I will do my best to give. Higher priced events like these are necessary evil and it’s Campaigning 101 to accommodate that “type” of supporter. The ones that will only eat filet mignon and drink the top shelf stuff. I don’t like it, but its reality. I will leave you with one question though.

Who wins this election? The candidate with 50 votes from the wealthy or the candidate with 5000 votes from unemployed and middle class voters?

The Tea Party Movement

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I am just going to come out and say it. The Tea Party Movement is for real…They have gotten organized and are growing by the day. They have started showing up on the radar of the media and if you’re running for office in Florida, you had better take notice because in a close race they might make you or break you.

When candidates are speaking to members of the Tea Party, they are not speaking to people that are “likely” to vote. They have Election Day circled on their calendars and are going to treat it like nothing less than their super bowl.  Shaking up political races was what an article in USA Today said and that’s exactly what they’re gonna do here in Central Florida.

They have passion, they have intensity and a little attitude mixed in for good measure. Their B.S meters are constantly on and when you’re speaking in front of these guys you had better have some real content or you’re going to lose them. The real question is how is they’re presence going to effect the races this year?

Well old school “out of the loop” Republican candidates are slowly wading into the events, a little at a time, kinda like the new guy at a party that is not sure whether they should be there or not. They have to be careful not to alienate their base, but there doesn’t appear to be any run-away primaries in the Orlando area this year so you will see them there.

If you even thought any of the government spending done this year was a good idea, even if it was a Freudian slip you had while watching the news for something you thought was completely off topic, you had better stay away.

It really is exiting stuff; it demonstrates that when a group of Americans put their thoughts and hard work together, they really can accomplish anything and by anything I mean the difference between winning and losing a Central Florida election.