Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

Crist vs. Rubio Rd. 1

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I make it no secret that I don’t like what the governor has done during his time in office. He took almost a month off to chase John McCain around the country trying to get the nod for VP only to lose it to Sarah Palin. He proclaimed last November “Hire a Vet” month only to push, already existing Workforce programs that don’t work and I know if we send him to Washington he will only try to get on the bottom of the ticket again in 2012 and bolt before his term as Senator is over.

On Sunday the Governor and Marco Rubio finally got to debate and Charlie Crist’s lack of substance finally got to him. He decided not worry about those pesky issues that affect Florida, but to instead worry about Speaker Rubio’s spending……that was it…that was his attack. The football equivalent of running the ball up the middle on every play with a 90 pound running back, the Texas Hold em’ equivalent of trying to win a hand with a pair of 4’s. He got dissed on the video daily double of Jeb Bush and admitted that he would have been one of the 4 (I forget the exact number) of Republican Senators that would have voted for the stimulus.

Now let’s pause for a second, I have friends and readers who are Democrats and they probably agree with the stimulus, they were probably making faces during the entire show….that’s normal you shouldn’t agree with a lot of the things these guys were saying but this is a Republican primary. I believe that might have been the biggest blunder of the debate. This might play well during a general election but he should not have mentioned it while courting conservative votes.

Rubio didn’t exactly hit any homeruns with the issues either. He kinda sat back and let the Governor look petty. Chris Wallace must have had a bad Saturday night because he was definitely taking a lot of jabs at Crist, he even made the Governor promise that he would not run as an Independent even though he would be more competitive as one. Charlie promised after some tap dancing…makes me wonder….

There is word of a Meet the Press debate. That would be pretty cool. Say what you want about David Gregory he would hopefully push for something more than the “Slapfight” we got on Sunday. Anyways, both sides go back to the lab and try to pull words from Sunday and use them against their opponents in the future.

Going Negative

In Uncategorized on March 19, 2010 at 2:05 pm

As the year goes by and we get closer to election time, the mud is really starting to fly. It started out with little jabs and jokes here and there but now no one is smiling anymore. We have accusations about this credit card and those expenses, we’ve got spin on statements that were made by this lawmaker while getting into a car on a windy day, and we’ve got accusations of politicians partying like Jay-Z at swanky locations downtown.

I don’t like mudslinging and if it doesn’t surround the issues, I don’t pay much attention to it.

The candidate that goes off attacking another without real substance comes off looking desperate. They come off looking unfocused and were the first to flinch in the staring contest. If the attack is not done carefully, the candidate can come off sounding a little nuts (see previous post).

Alright, let’s say the campaign is not going well and you must go negative and decide to shed a little light on your opponent’s weaknesses or inconsistencies with the issues. You always attack him or her with hard, black and white facts. Undisputed to everyone regardless of what they want to believe. The best way of addressing a undecided or unfavorable crowds are with the facts. Immune to spin or excuses, you should have had these drawn out before the campaign began. Then you go with character, did your opponent fall back on his word or make a poor character decision at one point? Finally there is the TMZ and SNL stuff; comedy….. have a little fun with it, but if you decide to do this make sure it’s funny! I hate LAME soft attacks (Governor Crist I am talking to you). I believe the best soft attacks should make everyone laugh except your opponent.

If you’re being attacked I don’t believe you should just stand there. Remember that scene in The Untouchables with Costner and Connery in the church? If you don’t then go back and watch it, it’s great. Bottom line if they shoot something your way, shoot two things back there way. They say your soft with “A” you fire back that they’re unqualified to deal with “B” and “C” and last summer they…and so on. I don’t like mudslinging but I don’t think anyone should be pushed around for months leading up to an election.

If you enjoy this kind of thing then I have good news for you. The media does too….. and with Mid-terms approaching, and social media blowing up, your going to have a front seat to some of the best mudslinging this country has ever seen….just be sure you don’t get any on yourself and that it doesn’t blind you from the truth on election day.

Does your message sound too radical?

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm

An aggressive approach on a campaign can be a very volatile thing. I have seen messages that might want to come out as intense or use shock value to capture an audience, but too often come out sounding just plain crazy.  It’s kinda like throwing an audience in a freezing swimming pool in the middle of January, yeah you’ll have they’re undivided attention but you won’t see them standing next to you near a body of water again.   

When you’re crafting a controversial message for your public relations campaign, always have someone with a neutral opinion take an honest look at it. They might look at you and say “I gotta tell you man, you sound like a lunatic.” If you receive feedback like this, but you’re attached to your message try leading with some hard facts and statistics. If you have solid information on your side you’ll be able to bring your audience along slowly, let them stick a foot in the water first before wading in.

You never want to sound angry…and you never want your call to action to be too extreme. If you do you’ll be painted as the angry mob with torches and you’ll show up looking like that on TV. Your aggressive message should be able draw attention to your cause or campaign but still be able to resonate with someone who might not be informed about what you’re doing. Aggressive but rational, emotional but informed…have your facts straight but don’t yell!! OR USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS ALL OF THE TIME!! CAN YOU SEE HOW CRAZY THIS LOOKS!!? You are not a mad poster on a blog, you’re a powerful advocate for a cause or message your believe in.

A quick side note, I plan on making my decisions and deciding who I will be supporting for the upcoming elections. The field in each race is so diverse and there are a lot of great ideas and messages…any opinions? Give me a call!

Communicating with your fists

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Communicating with your fists:

One of my favorite clients is American Top Team Mixed Martial Arts in Longwood. When meeting people for the first time I enjoy being able to mention them as a client. The political nature of my work to a lot of people can either be kinda dull to someone who is not plugged in or even worse bring out hostility to someone who is unhappy with government.

Everyone loves the Ultimate Fighters though.

Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest growing sport in the world, it fills up the sports bars on Saturday night and is consistently one of the best pay-per view sellers. It’s exiting; it’s violent, and international. It’s still a mystery to most casual viewers but that’s quickly changing. If you haven’t watched a fight yet, you should it is very scientific and the fighters are some of the best athletes in the world

I try to train with American Top Team at least once or twice a week. It was intimidating to a “suit” like myself at first, but I was really happy I stuck with it. My time in the Army toughened me up, but this was one of the most challenging things I had ever done. Your sparring partner doesn’t care if he is choking out a doctor or an astronaut, the sound of someone tapping (submitting) sounds similar no matter what your occupation is. That is the aspect of the competition that I enjoy, it’s easy to be smarter than the guy across the table, but to achieve that level of physical and mental ability, to be dominant in all aspects, that is something everyone should aspire to do.

The ladies should not be forgotten either. They’re in these Mixed Martial Arts schools beating up the guys! It is not uncommon to spot women who are grasping the training and excelling in the classes much faster than their male counterparts. It sucks getting hit by a correctly thrown punch, regardless of the gender throwing it.

I always keep a standing invitation to the media personalities and journalist in Central Florida to come and train with me and even do a feature on it. There are technique classes that will not get you beat up and it’s a great time. If you’re a local celeb that wants to try it, give me a call and I will call my photographer and give it a little push at no cost

It’s a great sport and I am happy to help it anyway I can…

The consonants of doom

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm

The Consonants of Doom:

Let’s try an experiment, lets pretend I’m an elected official…. Frank Torres-R-Florida…Okay, how did reading that name line make you feel? What stuck out the most? You already knew my name, and where I’m from, so I’m sure it was the R that stands for Republican. Now if reading that letter make you grit your teeth or bring on a feeling of disappointment or make you dismiss the rest of what I am going to say, then that’s wrong. What about this? Frank Torres-D- Florida…If reading that overcame you with similar feelings then that’s no good.

If it brought on feelings of hatred, then you need to talk to someone.

If it’s the first thing you look for in an article about a politician that’s wrong.

I am a big fan of bi-partisanship. Good ideas come from both sides of the aisle and some of the best pieces of legislation have combinations of the values and beliefs that define the diversity and the brilliance of the American people. Too often do the powers that be; who bleed only red or blue and are overwhelmed with resentment frown on such ideas or teamwork. That’s unfortunate and if it’s fueled by greed or fear of losing power then those kinds of leaders need to be replaced.

I believe RINO and DINO are acronyms that inspire division and set back progress towards better government, plus it’s kinda silly. They are thrown on to the table like playing cards in a game of Spades, with snap judgment and little logic. We don’t have the ability to read minds and who are we to define an individual’s values, based on their honest decision to do what they think is right.

The bottom line is that R’s and D’s in a name line shouldn’t define the lawmaker, but only the very basics of what he or she might believe in. The truth is found in research and voting records, don’t be lazy, and don’t stereotype. I think they should get rid of the thing altogether. I promise my next entry won’t be so preachy but as we move towards the season of primaries the parties start almost eating themselves over who can out Liberal or out Republican each other. It’s important that it gets said

Blood Money

In Uncategorized on March 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm

There is a lot of controversy concerning a local blood bank executive who was collecting pay increases while laying off employees. These increases were higher than what myself or a lot of average people out there make in a year, and now the story is out in the light and it is an ugly mess.

The media is reporting conflict amongst board members, there is no issues management plan, and the only thing people are remembering when they read or hear about  this story is that infamous number, which is this executive’s annual salary. People are threatening to stop donating blood…..blood! The substance that saves lives everyday. Heck Bill McCollum would give Alex Sink a pint of blood if she needed it….hopefully.

This is where public relations and crisis communications come into play. You have to spot these problems and correct them and if these problems that are part of the nature of the job then you need to be prepared to explain yourself to the public. It is the “glass half empty” nature of my work.

There is rumor that this executive has not returned to her office in a few days. This is necessary; if she does not resign then she needs to go on an indefinite leave of absence. You have to take the source of the controversy out of the picture and take the steps necessary to right the wrongs and you need to keep the public informed every step of the way.

A super firm from Tallahassee has been brought in to help rebuild the image of the company…good. I wish them luck and I hope other companies can learn from this. If you don’t have an issues management plan in place, get an evaluation done. It might save your company’s image down the line.

Facebook and Politics

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Facebook and Politics

I remember back when Myspace started. I created a page (Its still there) and I heard some of my older friends and colleagues scoff “What are you 13!?” “Awww isn’t that cute.” “No one who is out of High School should be caught dead having one of those.” It was almost kind of embarrassing, but I kept my page because it was the best and quickest way of communicating with my old Army buddies; that was in 2005. Fast forward 5 years into the future; Facebook and Twitter has become the cornerstone of any PR campaign. We use to laugh at it and now it is one of the most valuable tools in…are you ready for this? Politics.

Think of it? Obama, McCain, Palin, almost every state and county lawmaker and every candidate running for office have embraced social media. Not because they want to, but because they must. Fifty and Sixty somethings relaying to the rest of the world what they are doing and embracing a form of communication that was only used by tweens a couple years back.

Think of it. Is there a more effective and inexpensive way of connecting with your voters?  You can push your message and increase traffic to your site. You can point out your opponent’s shortcomings. You can give the public a little insight to what your life is like and let them bond with you. You can do this all in a format that they are comfortable with; at home in the evening or weekend, on a computer screen when they are relaxing. I’ve spoken to voters who have already made their decisions based on a few posts by a candidate that has resonated with something they believe in. When you friend a voter on Facebook, you are doing just that, you are making that voter your friend and you have the opportunity to bond. If you disagree that’s fine, you can try to connect solely by shouting a few kind words, in the middle of a loud event. Social media should be working hand and hand with your appearances.  The truth is a warm and genuine personality, a strong plan and a consistent social media presence are almost unbeatable.

If you’re running for office this year it’s not too late. The train hasn’t left the station but you just have to hope your opponent didn’t take the earlier trip. Social media might still feel awkward if you’re old school but hey, you can always ask your kids for help.