Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

Memorial Day 2011 : Orange County Courthouse Ceremony

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2011 at 3:32 pm

This morning, I had the honor of attending the Memorial Day Ceremonies at the Orange County Courthouse. There, members of the community took time to reflect on the memory of those who, have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend freedom. It was another beautiful ceremony and you have got to be so proud and blessed to be part of this community. Here are some photos, take a moment to think of those we’ve lost, and I wish all of you peaceful and pleasant Memorial Day.

The Colors on display

Representatives from Multiple Organizations and Lawmakers attended

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs

County Commissioner Jennifer Thompson

Sergeant Major gave a fine speech

Honoring Those We've Lost

Attendance was standing room only, again this year

Post Ceremony

Orange County has always been great to Vets. Have a restful Memorial Day.

Governor Scott’s Bad Aim with the Veto Pen

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Yesterday, in the Villages Retirement Community, Florida Governor Rick Scott touted 615 million dollars in budget vetoes. An impressive figure that should please a lot of his supporters.

It won’t please UCF, Veterans, or the African-American Community.

We’re all aware that there is going to be fat in the budget and it’s got to go but, common sense would have spared the following projects and cut others.

Let’s start with the University of Central Florida. The 4th biggest University in the country according to enrollment. Now, looking at a list of these cuts (here) and there was some line items that could wait. One thing that couldn’t wait was the Classroom building. Have you attended UCF or know someone that does? There isn’t enough space….for anything. No parking, not enough professors, not enough classroom space. That was an item that the Governor should have left alone and in the Fall it’ll be obvious to those visiting. True, the bonuses that the higher-up administrators collect could cover the cost of that building but, don’t expect them to pony up the dough.

12 million for helping homeless Veterans gone.

We couldn’t count on Charlie Crist to help us, and now we have one of our own in the Governor’s mansion and he just took 12 million away from our most vulnerable. Vets that exit the service without skills that translate to civilian jobs, injuries and PTSD issues that prevent our bravest from starting businesses, finishing school, or getting quality medical care; they end up homeless and they won’t be getting any help from the state, this go around. Rick Scott did 4 years in the Navy, LT. Governor Jennifer Carroll did 20 and retired. This along with the other legislation that didn’t pass during the session, makes it hard to take the Governor’s intentions for helping Vets seriously.

You’re welcome.

Paramore, Pine Hills, Eatonville. All African-American communities due to receive relief to renovate areas saturated with obstacles, will not get the aid they need to improve their environment, reduce crime, and move a in the right direction to making all of Central Florida a great place to live.

The equation is simple. College kids and the African-American communities tend to vote Democrat and didn’t vote for Scott last time. The Homeless often don’t have the identification needed to register to vote. None of these groups are important for the political survival of our Governor.

Perhaps, his aim wasn’t off at all.

Rick Scott’s 29% Approval Rating

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Florida Governor Rick Scott’s poll numbers came out earlier this week and to no one’s surprise they were low. Really low. 57-29. A 29% approval rating? Let’s compare how unpopular the guv is at this point in time to, some other controversial characters currently in the spotlight.

Lebron James is still more popular in Cleveland
Sarah Palin’s numbers would be higher in Honolulu.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s approval rating would be pretty low in California, but they’d still be better than Rick Scott’s.

Here is a statement from Scott’s office.

“We are on the path to creating 700,000 jobs, but it can’t be done without making tough decisions. Governor Scott wasn’t elected to be most popular, he was elected to turn Florida’s economy around and help people get back to work. As you will see at tomorrow’s budget signing, Governor Scott will continue to do what’s right for Florida, making the tough calls and holding government accountable.”

Okay, I hear ya but, like I’ve said so many times before. Governor Scott’s inability to inform the public of how his method of job creation works will hurt him, his entire time in office.

If they can’t see you, they can’t trust you.

Tomorrow, Rick Scott is going to The Villages, a super retirement community, to sign the state’s budget. The Villages is a Tea Party Stronghold and should be a friendly audience for Scott, but what about Sunrail? If he green lights that project (and he’s hinted he might) he’ll lose a group of voters that have been with him, since day one.

He’ll get some polite applause from his opponents but, it’s not going to change their opinion on how he’s doing overall. They’ve still got that elections bill, teacher-merit pay, and high speed rail to point at.

It’s a very real possibility that being more moderate would actually hurt Scott’s approval rating. It’s not fair but, that’s the way it is.

He’s got to create some jobs in a hurry. You’ll find that when the unemployment rate goes down, your approval rating goes up.

A 29% approval rating means you're losing support from all sides

No Mitch Daniels leaves Florida GOP with little to get exited about in 2012.

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Mitch Daniels is out.

Mike Huckabee is out.

Newt Gingrich is probably wishing he stayed out. Mitt Romney still hasn’t come up with a solid reason behind “Romneycare” in Massachusetts and Ron Paul didn’t like the way we killed Osama Bin Laden.

I could go on about Sarah Palin’s faux pas, Michelle Bachmann’s indecision, or even Herman Cain, who might be one of the more popular and well spoken candidates getting called out on Fox News Sunday for having 13 dollars on hand in campaign cash.

The GOP sits ready to spring up and cheer at an out of the blue announcement from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Texas Guv Rick Perry, or Jeb Bush deciding to take the tougher road to the White House instead of waiting for 2016. Candidates that can logically attack issues like the economy, foreign policy, and energy independance and still be more like-able than a President that’s propelled by the pop culture juggernaut that turned Florida blue in 08′.

Rick Santorum? Nope. Jon Huntsman? Please, he used to work for the Obama. Gary Johnson wants to legalized marijuana. You’d have to be high to think that any of those guys have a legitimate shot.

That leaves us with Tim “T-Paw” Pawlenty. No, he’s not a missing member from the Wu-Tan Clan. He’s the former Governor of Minnesota. I explain this because they’re are poll numbers that say only 48% of conservatives know who he is. He’s boring but can actually provide a rational argument that can change minds.

Not the ideal candidate to get exited about in a Presidential race but in 2012, that might be all we can get.

The Best of whats left?

Puerto Rican Affairs Summit II

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2011 at 7:07 pm

It’s hard to believe how fast the time flies. On Friday, the 2nd Summit of Puerto Rican Affairs took place in Kissimmee. As you might recall, there was a post about last year’s summit on this blog and I’m glad they did it again this year.

The Summit covers Hispanic initiatives in business, education, and politics. Leaders from those areas host panel led discussions about what to expect, how to get involved, and how to improve quality of life for Hispanics living in Florida. Leaders from all levels of government, and yes, candidates running for office stop in and listen to the community about their concerns.

This year with redistricting and a painfully slow economic recovery awareness on the issues and gaining an audience with lawmakers is more important than ever.

Bill Nelson was the keynote speaker and he was a little more partisan than I would have liked. He used the podium to attack the controversial elections bill and criticize the Republican led house on medicare reform.

It was another terrific summit and attendance was up. Let’s hope that this summit grows and is even more successful next year.

Here are a couple of photos.

Terrific attendance this year.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs was one of the many leaders who attended the summit

Keynote Speaker Senator Bill Nelson speaking to the media

Dr. Phillps Performing Arts Center Gets Funding, Breaks ground in June

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2011 at 12:04 am

Today, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer held a press conference announcing that the funding needed to break ground on DPAC has been found. Construction starts June 1st.

Here is the press conference:

I’ve slammed this project several times over the last couple of months because of the deficiencies identified by Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. Especially, the 43 million dollar shortfall in the budget. Now, that the budget hole has been patched up she’s behind the project.

Dyer is depending on the tourist development tax. In a down economy, that money isn’t a sure thing to cover the costs. He’s also developed a “plan B” in the form of 16 million dollars of “credit letters” from donors and reserve money if needed.

Credit Letters? I guess that will have to do. I’m gonna pay my light bill with a credit letter next month. I’ll let you know how that goes.

“Your great grandchildren will walk into the @DrPhillipsCtr and thank Buddy Dyer” – Tweet from Mayor Dyer Spokesperson …really?

Also DPAC Chair Jim Pugh said that it will be a “150 year building”…hmm 343 divided by 150 is about 2.28 mil a year. What a bargain…

So, they found the funding. There are still things to be nervous about. What if tourism doesn’t fully recover? What happens if those credit letter donors can’t follow through, or withdraw their offer. It’s easy to picture a reporter standing in front of a half built project, ala the majesty building (off I4 in Altamonte), telling us how the money that was suppose to be there, is no where to be found.

We still don’t know if we can cover the operation costs.

Still, congratulations…

Rubio’s Refund Act, Newt gets Glittered, and Huntsman in Orlando

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2011 at 11:52 pm

A lot to cover, let’s get popping.

Rubio’s Refund Act:Remember when Florida Governor Rick Scott turned down 2.4 billion dollars of federal money for high speed rail? That money went to other states like, Illinois, New York, and St. Louis. We’ve got a deficit like the worlds never seen and because we chose not to take money that was awarded to us, other states got it. Instead of trying to fix the problem that effects our future.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is trying to fix that.

Rubio introduced the Returned Exclusively For Unpaid National Debt (REFUND) Act. This allows us to send money we don’t decide to use to go towards paying off the national debt. Imagine what that 2.4 billion which was ours, could have saved on a federal level.

If legislation like this would have been brought forth sooner, we might have been able to avoid national cuts to programs that affect vulnerable citizens (special needs, elderly) and services that we really need.

We need to support this.

Newt Gingrich gets glittered: Newt has had a rough week. First he catches all sorts of flak for assaulting Paul Ryan’s medicare plan and now this.

An activist threw enough glitter on Gingrich to make a piece of construction paper jealous.

Was it necessary? No. Should we care? Not really. It’s another political stunts, we just have to make sure it stays peaceful.

So ladies, when your man comes home and you find glitter on his clothes, you might think he’s partying behind your back.

Relax, he probably just got back from a Gingrich rally.

Jon Huntsman to set up Presidential HQ in Orlando: Who? You might be asking. Former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China, Republican Jon Huntsman will be setting up his Prez exploratory HQ, right here in Orlando.

Strategically, it makes a lot of sense. The middle of the biggest battleground state in the country? Why not?

He’s not well known, and he hasn’t been polling well but, you never know and if he gets hot, chances are you’ll know someone that will be working for him.

It’s been a busy day. I might take tomorrow off, we’ll see.

Haridopolos Web Ad looks great, sounds iffy..

In Uncategorized on May 17, 2011 at 11:25 pm

It’s a beautiful ad…take a look.

The director of photography should be commended, that is a real piece of Americana. The Haridopolos’ look great and the graphics are sharp.

The script….not so much. Let’s break it down by time line.

Beginning- :22: Family looks beautiful, he looks almost like a church pastor.

:23- Talking to a soldier. The State legislature wasn’t very good to us, this last session. That irks me.

:38- Menacing Statistics…

1:04- Gary?! Democrat from Orlando Gary Siplin is that you?! This is a primary, they should have used another picture.

1:12- Balanced the budget? Well, we have a balanced budget requirement in Florida. To the casual voter it sounds good.

1:30: “Passed the health care freedom act” – We’re not sure if that’s legal yet, but that’s cool.

2:02: SB 592 only provides property tax breaks for vets over 65, if they’re disabled. Not good enough.

2:16: Fought for tougher immigration reform but didn’t get it.

2:22: Yeah, he fought for that man but, he didn’t get a dime. This shouldn’t be in a campaign ad.

3:18: Great football shot, great throw. I think every candidate, man or woman should throw a football/baseball in their ad. That will prevent this from ever happening again.

I love that dog-gone video….

3:35: This is a great looking ad…..

4:08: Okay, now this is a problem. All of this legislation passed but,
– There is that balance budget again, which is a requirement
– The health care freedom act again, it won’t fly
– Support for Space Coast that has been argued as an earmark for the Merritt Island Senator.

It’s going to be effective if, the viewers aren’t political junkies like us.

He also spins the end of session “meltdown” in a positive light. “You know, I did my best but, those other guys held me back”.

Haridopolos has had a rough couple of months but, he’s raised a ton of money. We’ll see how this all shapes out.

Political Stocks: Who’s up, Who’s down in O-town

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2011 at 10:09 pm

We haven’t done political stocks in a while, let’s try to get the ball rolling on it again, especially with the 2012 GOP Presidential hopefuls turning up.

Who’s up?:

1. Mike Huckabee: Whaaaaaaat? You’re probably wondering why someone who’s announced that they’re not going to run for President might have their stock on the rise. Well, when Mike Huckabee decided that his heart just wasn’t into the idea of another run at the White House, he immediately received calls from Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, and others to offer kind words supporting his decision, not to run.

In other words, they were kissing his rear, fishing for an endorsement.

Huckabee leaves a huge social conservative void in the GOP primary. If anyone can get a picture and a kind word from Huck, they might pick up the difference they need to put them out front.

2. House Speaker Dean Cannon: The big opinion leaders in Central Florida have agreed that the Florida Speaker of the House, imposed his will with the state legislature this past session.

Need some proof? Watch this video from the St. Pete Times.
I’m convinced the guy is a Cyborg, he even snubbed the opportunity for a man who was wrongly imprisoned for 27 years to receive compensation.

Stone cold, I tell ya but, he had a heck of a session.

3. Candidate for U.S Senate Adam Hasner: You hear that buzzing noise?…….You will.

Holding Steady:

1. Candidate for U.S Senate Mike Haridopolos: The State Senate Meltdown definitely would have landed the Senate Prez in the down category but, he offered counter programming in the form of big endorsements from Mike Huckabee and Florida CFO Jeff Atwater.

2. Florida Governor Rick Scott: Sunrail, Governor. What’s it gonna be?

Who’s Down”

1. Donald Trump: Unlike Huckabee, when “The Donald” decided against running for President (again) sighs of relief could be heard across the GOP landscape. It’s been a fast downward spiral for Trump since, the President called him out at the Press Correspondent Dinner, and released his birth certificate.

2.OC Commissioner Ted Edwards: Got called out for using his Amway Center Box Seats to see Usher, Tim Mcgraw, and Lady Gaga. Wasn’t illegal but he could have done without that coverage.

3. The Barking Tree Frog: I hate when animals get dissed. Our friend was denied the opportunity to be Florida’s state amphibian.

Apparently, Dean Cannon didn't care much for our friend here either.

Sunday Funnies: Dan Adler Video

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Dan Adler is running for the house, in the 36th congressional district in California. It’s a special election and well, just have a look at these videos.

Wow….just wow….

Oh….there’s more.

Funny? Offensive? You decide.

Here’s his website. Have a look.

Have a great Sunday, I’ll be watching my Chicago Bulls take on the Miami Heat. Remeber, like Mike Bianchi says rooting for the Heat “is like cheering for the Windermere Police Department”.

See you tomorrow!