Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

Rental Car Surcharge? Yes, Sir….

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Heh, heh….I can hear the boos from the other side of my computer screen but keep reading..

Earlier this week, Orange County District 5 Commissioner and Lady Ga Ga super fan, Ted Edwards revived the idea of a rental car surcharge to help off set the costs of other transportation projects such as Sunrail. $2 dollars a day on any vehicle for hire in the State of Florida, could go a long way in doing just that.

Now, I know what you saying… A charge, a fee, a cost, whatever man! A tax is tax! We don’t play any of that nonsense here in the O.C! That’s crazy talk!

Let me finish…

What do Commissioner Edwards, and myself really care about at the end of the day? Who are we really looking out for?

We care about Orange County. If you live in Orange County, or anywhere near metro Orlando, how often do you rent a car? I care about my neighbors that are looking for work, I care about public safety and responsible growth in our community. This surcharge won’t touch you.

Selfish? Maybe, but let’s take these non-consequential measures to keep our future secure. I care about my readers and we’re not withholding life changing resources here, we’re balancing our checkbook for the kids. Let’s not forget that a lot of these tourists are foreign.

There are concerns that this tax could hurt tourism. No way, we’re the number one vacation destination in the world. We got Harry Potter baby! Accio Tourist Dollars! We are what family getaways are all about!

The average family vacation stay here in Orlando is 7 days, are you going to tell me that $14 bucks is going to make a parent deprive a house full of screaming kids of Harry Potter, Daytona Beach and Mickey Mouse?

Let’s take a good look at this surcharge. Let’s do a good job controlling the message and letting Floridians know that this isn’t a tax on them…..

It’s a tax on the French, it’s a tax on the British and if some taxing payback on the British doesn’t appeal to the Tea Party, I don’t know what will…

Edwards' surcharge push needs to be considered

Orlando Fair Districts, Redistricting Session – Photos

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2011 at 1:20 am

Today, dozens of your state legislators gathered at the performing arts center here in Orlando, to hear the public’s opinion on Fair Districts. The legislation that passed last November, that would require lawmakers to draw reasonable, compact districts, based on census results for their constituents. Dozens of Orlando citizens stood before this panel of lawmakers and gave great, rousing speeches…speeches that quoted great peacemakers and historical figures. They gave strong statistics to support their arguments for, or against it. They used their time to bring up personal experiences that brought the crowd to it’s feet with applause.

and it probably didn’t change the minds of any of the politicians that sat up there.

Guys, this is about political self-preservation. If a lawmaker doesn’t feel threatened by Amendments 5 and 6, they’re not going to do anything about it.

If they feel like they might be out of a job, come election time then, they’re going to fight with everything they’ve got. In fact, no one on that panel cared about anything you had to say…

Except State Rep. Mike Horner…

No lie, he stayed like that the entire session!

The rest of them texted, held sidebars, took breaks, and even busted out the laptops. Why? Because, it’s about getting re-elected son (or daughter), political theater like this seldom matters.

Anyhow, the turnout was about 80/20 Democrat and it was a good opportunity to see almost all of your lawmakers (Absent Dean Cannon took a verbal beating the entire time) in one place.

One more thing. A lot of you were giving credit to Congresswoman Corrine Brown for Fair Districts. Guys, she is one of the lawmakers leading the charge to overturn these amendments.

Here are some photos for you and I know I’ve sounded a little cranky during this post but, that’s reality guys. Strong candidates and strong campaigns win elections.

That’s the only fair thing about politics, let’s hope that never changes.

These were taken during the evening session

It was a long day for everyone

Rep. Burgin and Senators Margolis and Siplin, who got props on droopy drawers

Reps Campbell and Julien

Rep. Eisnaugle listening to public comment

Reps. Dorworth, Randolph, and Soto

Reps. Horner, Plakon, and Brodeur

Rep. Williams and Sen. Storms

Rep. Nelson and Sen. Gaetz

and your host... Stephennnnnnn Precorrrrrt,

Raise The Debt Ceiling Rap

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm

This is why I love the freaking internet…

“They call me cumulonimbus, cause I make it rain”
“Did I say make it rain? I said quantitative easing”
“Callin’ up China, Yo I’m straight outta 20’s”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Wow, just wow….

Obama to be reminded, you can’t please everyone, even in your own party

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Oh yeah, it’s another opinion piece on debt negotiations in Washington..

As we speed towards the August 2nd deadline, in what is feeling like the fastest July ever. Both sides are trying to grind out a compromise to keep the United States from defaulting on it’s financial obligations. If things weren’t bad enough after the failed weekend negotiations. President Obama (your boy) decided to go on prime time television and give the most partisan speech during his time in the oval office.

After Hell’s Kitchen but, before The Bachelorette, the President essentially threw gasoline on the fire by calling on all Americans to contact their lawmakers and let them know how they feel about the current situation in Washington and, the way their elected officials are communicating.

This essentially set off the biggest “phone bomb” in recent memory with emails and lines to lawmakers all over the country being flooded, beyond capacity. He used convincing language that said he, himself shouldn’t be receiving the tax breaks that other wealthy Americans are receiving and for the first time during a prime time television address pointed the finger at the other side.

This was effective strategical communication. Establish an “Us against them” way of thinking and move forward. Senate Leader Harry Reid even backed up his speech announcing that any GOP plan will be “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

If your a Liberal, you should be pleased right? Pushing back against the “Big Bad Right”. Not everyone is pleased.

Now Maher is an idiot, and a lot of reasonable Democrats won’t see this as caving. This is hardball politics with the intention of seeing their party keep the White House after 2012. You give up the revenue, tout less taxes and push the issue back, until after 2012, in an attempt to win re-election.

Morons like Maher and other hyper-lefties don’t see that, and are too busy frothing at the mouth to realize that this is one political battle in a campaign that leads to November 2012.

If political friendly fire wasn’t bad enough for the White House, the RNC pushed out this ad, this morning.

You can’t please everyone but, if the opinion leaders in your own party aren’t watching your back, then you’ve got some serious problems.

Debt Ceiling woes cast Heavy Fog over Florida Politics

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2011 at 3:09 pm

As if the hottest week of the year isn’t enough to make you angry already…

We’re suppose to be talking about candidates jumping into races, early fundraising numbers and hyper partisan political noise, geared to win primaries and later on, be denied in general elections.

But noooooo, now we’ve got to talk about one of the most important (and boring) political issues facing our country right now. The debt ceiling.

The leaders of our country sitting down to talk, mostly for the purposes of political theater, realizing that they haven’t made any progress on solving our financial crisis and then taking turns walking out of these meetings to brag to the media about, how awesome they are for walking out of the meetings.

Conservatives are done talking with President Obama, they’re going to try and get this fixed in Congress. Harry Reid and John Boehner trying to find a solution without pretending it’s about 2012 and we all know it is.

All of this with a countdown to August 2nd, it almost feels like their should be a briefcase with a digital timer counting down to the midnight of that second day in August where, we’ll default on our economic responsibilities like you would on a flat screen TV from a rent-to-own joint, like a credit card with a 43% interest rate, like that Chumbawamba CD that you bought from Columbia House back in 98′.

They tried to get a deal done over the weekend and before the Asian markets opened this morning but, it didn’t work. Both sides have different opinions over how high we should set the debt ceiling, with Harry Reid pushing for a high vaulted model that will get this out of the President’s face until he can get re-elected. Boehner is opting for a more cozier, lower limit, that will raise the ceiling but make deeper spending cuts. That will stop the timer but, have to be dealt with again before November 2012.

If we fail to reach an agreement our interest rates will spike, our triple AAA credit rating will be lowered, and the market will throw a fit.

There hoping they can hammer out a solution by Wednesday, they’d better. We’ll be down a creek if they can’t.

Our economy is down, will it ever get up again?

Is Anthony Weiner getting treatment in Orlando?

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Is former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner undergoing rehab in the City Beautiful?

The New York Post seems to think so, it published this article online, this morning.

All of you remember Anthony Weiner of course. The former controversial lawmaker, once considered a favorite to be the next Mayor of New York, was caught tweeting lewd photos of himself to several women on Twitter. He came out swinging, denying it outright and even lashing out at the media over it’s accusations. The coverage didn’t go away and what you had was this…

Anyhow, Weiner did eventually resign and vowed to seek treatment. The Post says that he might possibly be getting that help from the Leaf Center in Winter Park. Which provides outpatient therapy for sexual addictions and compulsiveness.

Imagine that, sitting at Fiddlers Green with a Guiness or having lunch on Park Ave and seeing the Anthony Wiener at the next table?

Paired with the Tiger Woods scandal, this isn’t exactly the type of coverage you want Orlando to get. Harry Potter and Mickey Mouse? Great. Military simulation and medical research hub? of course!

A sexual rehab sanctuary? No.

Anthony Weiner is seeking help and that’s all good and well but, let’s hope he’s getting this coverage towards the end of his rehabilitation.

This photo was taken on a flight from OIA to NY

Allen West Issues Verbal Smackdown to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Check this out….

“Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up.”

-Congressman Allen West in an email to Congresswoman and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

If you’re not familiar with any of these two Reps from South Florida, this behavior is nothing new. These two fireballers are right at home doing sort of thing on the hill, on television, or in front of supporters. If faced with only 10 minutes before the end of the world, they would spend it on cable TV shredding the opposite party.

To have them break the political 4th wall like this by going directly at each other is interesting. This office communication was sent with the intention of “putting someone in check”, filled with language designed to push one off of his or her perch. West goes on to add in his email “that you are not a Lady” and “shall not be afforded due respect from me!”

Are those exclamation points? In an email to a colleague? How often do we shout in written communication with language meant to maim one’s professional focus and bearing?

What set this off? Cut, Cap and Balance which is a plan supported by many conservatives and includes a balanced budget amendment like the one we have here in Florida. Wasserman-Schultz didn’t like it and issued this speech on the house floor, after West had just finished voicing his support….

Okay guys, check it… Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is an awful representative for the Democratic Party. Why she was assigned to chair the DNC? I don’t know but, she’s got issues and there are so many other liberal members of the House that can communicate better than this lady.

Col. Allen West is an old Army guy like me. Now, I was an enlisted guy so, I actually did the work while, he sat in the tent and drank coffee but, the fact that he sent the email doesn’t surprise me. We confront our enemies face to face and look them in the eyes. One could believe this communication exercised restraint. Lord knows what this email would have looked like if Wasserman-Schultz was a guy! The fact that he got channeled Churchill and insulted a woman didn’t surprise me either.

Lady Astor to Churchill “Winston, if you were my husband I would flavour your coffee with poison”
Churchill: “Madam, if I were your husband, I should drink it”

If your an everyday, moderate voter, you shouldn’t be fans of either of these two but, Allen West was right. If you’ve got something to say about someone say it to their face and not after they’ve left the room. How did West handle it? Well, I’ll leave you with that to decide.

Does this look like someone who doesn't confront his critics?

Mike Haridopolos out of Senate Race

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Here is Mike Haridopolos’s announcement that he is dropping out of the race, for the United States Senate.

Haridopolos had a rough go at it recently. The end of session meltdown, that radio show debacle, and the $152,000 dollar book deal with a local community college. Columnist have wrote that he doesn’t have the “bass” in his voice to be a major player on the hill. He was also be labeled as a special interest darling by his opponents. He did bring in major endorsements from Mike Huckabee, and Dean Cannon. Where will they’re support go?

So, we’ve got former Senator George Lemieux and former State Rep. Adam Hasner. You can throw former Ruth Chris CEO, Craig Miller, who’s got deep pockets into the conversation.

Still, Haridopolos who, lost a straw poll on his home turf a couple of days ago is making the right call. He’s still young, he’s demonstrated he can raise money, and he is the Senate President. If he shifts his position on some of the issues, exercises more poise and aggression against his critics, he can still have a long career in politics. Perhaps, in the House of Representatives?

He mentions in this video “When you do the right thing the future takes care of itself”, he did the right thing today, let’s see if he’s right.

Haridopolos still has a future in Florida politics

Sunday Funnies: Can I buy a vowel?

In Uncategorized on July 17, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Can I buy a Vowel? I'll take an I

They look like dirty kitchen magnets

The Supervisor of Elections office does a terrific job in Orange County. Can we get new letters and some pressure washing please?

Alan Grayson’s Greatest or Not So Greatest Hits

In Uncategorized on July 14, 2011 at 7:29 pm

As he announced earlier this week Alan Grayson is running for Congress…again.

The former Representative from the 8th District of Florida went to Washington and threw bombs at what ever looked or smelled Republican. He quickly became an MSNBC staple and energized the left with hyper partisan policy, that slammed conservative thinking. “Die Quickly” as you all remember was his explanation of the other sides plan for healthcare reform. He called a lobbyist a “K-Street Whore” without blinking and even pushed to have his name in lights. “Grayson” would be visible as you drove past his office on I4. He raised money effortlessly and had Hollywood celebrities endorsing him.

To Orlando Democrats he was a champion, a fire baller, who was the congressional anti-hero admired by fellow Representatives in his party. Barney Frank’s boy was to have a long career in Washington and usher in an era that would “Out Tea Party, the Tea Party”

Things didn’t work out that way…

Instead, it was the quiet Grandfather from Winter Garden, Dan Webster who, knocked out Alan Grayson last November without even putting up his guard. The long time State Lawmaker resisted all calls to run until late in the election cycle, and after being attacked, slammed by Grayson in the media and the whole “Taliban Dan” debacle, Webster beat Alan Grayson. On election night during a press conference at an establishment called “Slingapours” downtown, Grayson’s rebellious tone during his concession speech left the little doubt in anyone’s mind. He would be back.

It’s still unclear, how the district lines are going to workout but, it’s very likely that Grayson will have a primary opponent. Last night on television, I debated that he’s a very real threat to anyone that runs against him, especially in a Democratic primary with Conservative voters out of play. I said he could easily raise millions and throw half a dozen commercials at you. He’s got to be considered the early favorite.

He’s never been one to hold back on his words. Let’s have a look back.

Democrats enjoy, Republicans hold your nose or just come back tomorrow, I understand.

Here we’ve got Alan saying Republicans want you to die..

Here is the “K-Street Whore” comment

Here is “Saved our Schools” which was voted as the worst campaign ad of 2010.

It was ultimately this ad that led to Grayson’s defeat. The Webster footage was so heavily edited the ad was slammed by nationwide media on both sides.

This was the ad many Democratic strategist said Grayson should have ran in it’s place.

Alan Grayson jumping back into the game is a very real, very well funded threat. Dan Webster won by riding out the hurricane of anti-Republican political noise, a primary opponent won’t have that luxury.

Till next time.