Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

Critics should lay off of OC Commissioner’s use of Social Media.

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2011 at 11:10 pm

“Darned if I do. Darned if I don’t. Sentinel may pick up a story about me making a post about my Ma’s new restaurant in District 4. Although I routinely post re: new business openings, this one was questionable because of who it was. Funny thing is that if I didn’t totally disclose who it was that I would probably be hearing about how I was hiding something. Learning experience:)”

Darned if you do. Darned if you don’t is right…

This was a Facebook response (another story from Facebook, who says that platform is dying?) from Orange County District 4 Commissioner Jennifer Thompson regarding her post promoting a new restaurant in her district. This business happened to belong to her mother and the story was indeed picked up by the Orlando Sentinel earlier today.

Now, whether the connection was pointed out by a political enemy of Thompson’s or merely a professional doing his job, we can’t discourage the use of a powerful communication tool like social media. It’s tough enough trying to figure out what your lawmakers are thinking without it.

Punishing a lawmaker for revealing too much? Cut me a break! Ok, maybe Anthony Weiner went a little too far but, we shoot ourselves in the foot when we use access like this against the communicator.

Thompson’s made mistakes (redistricting appointments) but, if you’re calling balls and strikes, you shouldn’t hold this against her. She gives public lectures about her use of Social Media on the job and she’s the standard when it comes to using it to communicate with her constituents. There’s even a segment on accountability in her presentation.

I suppose she can be like Commissioner Fred Brummer and just have his assistant send out Nyquil laced, commentary. Seriously, You could slam 3 Red Bulls and his writing will still give you an express ticket to dreamland, he’s like the “Ben Stein” of Facebook.

LOL, that’s actually a pretty relevant lecture for today’s political climate! but, I digress…

So guys, in closing, if you want to attack a lawmaker for announcing the opening of a business in her district or worse, a Daughter supporting her mom’s livelihood through social media, go ahead. But, be warned.

This is the stuff that makes hermits out of public servants and moves us even further away from communication and improving the community.

Linda Stewart building Campaign Team for “Higher Office”

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Former Orange County District 4 Commissioner and OC Mayor Candidate, Linda Stewart announced on her Facebook page that she is throwing a Campaign Committee Recruitment Event, to seek “Higher Office”.

The announcement doesn’t mention which office she’ll be running for but, there has been rumors of her considering a run for the House of Representatives after redistricting takes place next year.

Stewart came in 3rd in the Orange County Mayoral primary last year. Underfunded and running a grassroots campaign that saw her “Getting Out The Vote” on her caravan, Stewart did better than expected almost making the cut for the runoff last November.

She has been popular with the Hispanic, and LGBT communities. She has also been a watch dog protecting the Econ Trail from questionable development projects. She’s also been out front on county initiatives to bring benefits to same sex couples.

The new congressional district could potentially lean Democrat. Alan Grayson has already declared a run for that TBD, newly created seat.

The message was clear that this is not a announcement or kick-off. If she makes a formal announcement, I’ll post it here.

The Former OC Commissioner is building her team. For which office?

Florida Senators fight to save NASA funding

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm

NASA and the Space Coast are under attack.

The OBJ reports that Senators from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama are trying to take more money from the heavy lift rocket program at Kennedy Space center.

So who you gonna call? Your favorite political, power duo from Florida, that’s who! VP favorite, Senator Marco Rubio and ex-astronaut and necktie connoisseur, Bill Nelson.

You can hardly tell it's a clip on..

Together, they’ve asked the White House to tell the other states to quit it and let a much more capable KSC move forward with it’s plans.

You guys know I’m a big fan of bi-partisanship that defends Floridians and in the bomb throwing, rhetoric infested, political landscape we live in, it’s good to know we aren’t going to let the other states from the SEC steal our cornbread.

*warning foul language*

It would have been nice for Bill Nelson to be a little more Eddie and a little less Martin, when Washington was taking apart NASA to begin with, he is after all the ex-astronaut with the ear of the President but, here we are.

So, to Senators Cochran and Wicker (Miss), Senators Vitter and Landrieu (LA), and Senators Sessions and Shelby (AL).

Leave the Space Coast alone and go get your own cornbread.

What the heck is Nelson pointing at? There's nothing out there

Greatest Generation Honored in Orange County

In Uncategorized on August 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm

This weekend RPOF hosted an event that honored the Greatest Generation of Veterans that served this country and defended freedom during World War II.

The non-political event held at the Marks St. Senior Center in Orlando featured a full program recognizing these heroes that included a big band playing music from the period, a full buffet, and items from the Central Florida World War II museum.

The featured speakers were Congressman Dan Webster and Medal of Honor Winner Col. Bud Day. Other lawmakers on hand included State Reps. Scott Plakon and Bryan Nelson.

Here are some photos from terrific event that included some great speeches and moving moments.

Provided by the CF WWII Museum

More items on display

Senate Candidate Mike McCalister

Those in attendance were well fed

A Big Band played music from the period

Medal of Honor Winner Bud Day (center) was one of the honored guest.

The Boone JROTC presenting the colors.

Congressman Dan Webster addressing the heroes in attendance.

Every hero in attendance was individually recognized and honored.

Bachmann tours Central Florida, Obama supporters open office, and the Ruth Chris Stimulus?

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm

A few odds and ends to wrap up a week where, we saw a powerful hurricane just miss us. You’ve got to feel bad for guys up in D.C where, there dealing with earthquakes, hurricanes, and worst of all the Washington Redskins which, is kinda like every natural disaster rolled together on artificial turf.

Let’s get started…

Michele Bachmann rolls through town:Tea Party leader and top tier Prez Hopeful, Michele Bachmann will be in Orlando this weekend. She’ll be in Poinciana tomorrow morning, then hit a fundraising dinner here in Orlando, later this evening.

The timing couldn’t be any better. She’s been slipping in the polls and in results released earlier this week, she placed 4th behind Perry, Romney and Ron Paul (seriously guys?). She’s got to get the crowd warmed up for the Presidency V Debate next month.

Bachmann who was subject to this controversial magazine cover will be in Orlando this weekend.

Obama Supporters Open Office on Colonial: Last night, Democrats from all over Florida gathered to open Organize for America’s Orlando office. President Obama will try to replicate his grassroots success from 2008 amidst declining approval numbers and an uncertain economy.

You can make an argument that Florida, the country’s biggest swing state will be won or loss, right here in Orlando. So, regardless of which side you’re on, you need to get off the couch.

After the office opened, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz spoke to the local media and gave several interviews on television. This of course led to the obligatory Windex run to the Publix to cleanse my television after each of her appearances.

Wasserman-Schultz was on hand to open Organize for America's Orlando Office

Bachmann and Wasserman-Schultz on the same post? Oh, but there’s more..

Craig Miller’s Ruth Chris Stimulus:

After Hurricane Katrina wiped out the Ruth Chris Steakhouse operation in Louisiana, Miller (the CEO during that time) gave 230 employees $1000 dollars each. He’s touting this on the campaign trail and to the media over the last few months. Call it generous, call it a handout, call it whatever you like, my concern is Mr Miller’s history of spending for growth, a key talking point from the Democratic majority in the Senate.

Isn’t it kind of hypocritical to tout spending during a crisis, then spin around and attack a President’s policies who’s resemble your very own.

Not convinced? Check out this “Mostly False” Politifact article about Miller’s Job Creation Numbers.

In the article Politifact’s, expert points out that aggressive, miscalculated growth, following Katrina ultimately led to falling stock prices and his dimissal in 2008.

Look at the company’s performance on Craig’s watch.

The company's value dropped by over 50% from 05 to 08'. You can go basejumping in that canyon!

It was very nice of Mr. Miller to pay his employees during a crisis. Heck, don’t we all wish we had bosses that nice? But, compare Miller’s business background and President Obama’s policies in office.

They both try to spend there way out of a problem and aren’t sure what to do afterwards.

Marco Rubio catches Nancy Reagan, National Spotlight

In Uncategorized on August 24, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Republican Senator and conservative rising star Marco Rubio spoke at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Tuesday. In his first major speech outside of the state of Florida and Washington D.C, this was suppose to be a coming out party for the Senator many believe to be the prime pick for a VP nod in 2012.

It indeed was but, it’s what he did before his speech that has caught the national spotlight. Here, check this out.

Marco Rubio catching Nancy Reagan in her husband’s library, during his introduction to Republican royalty and on national television?

I’m surprised that they didn’t ask him to pull a sword out of a stone afterwards.

You can let the spin machine weave the possibility of this being nothing short of prophetic. The underdog, son of exiles, pulling up the former first lady (who’s in her nineties). You can tell she tries to Senator Rubio that she’s going to fall but, doesn’t have the strength.

Charlie Crist would have dropped that poor woman…

but all is well and Senator Rubio gave a great speech that will allow his Vice Presidential stock to rise. You know it’s been a while since I’ve said something bad about Rubio, so I will offer this…

It’s a good thing he’s got better hands than those Miami Dolphin wide receivers he roots for!

Awkward movement among GOP Field favors late entry.

In Uncategorized on August 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Will Huckabee run? He doesn’t
Pawlenty’s in, Pawlenty’s out
What about Perry? Yeah, he’s in.
Paul Ryan? He thought about it but, not he’s not running.
Chris Christie? Yeah, there’s the heart thing but it’s not serious, he’s thinking about it.
Oh, then there’s our girl Sarah Palin…Man, Bachamann doesn’t need her jumping in. Still, that bus is everywhere!

and this indecision amongst GOP Presidential hopefuls could go on until November.

Michelle Bachmann demonstrated that it’s all about being the newest, shiniest, candidate when she officially entered the race before the CNN debate a few months back. She declared, debated well and immediately took a lead (albeit temporary) in the polls.

Then the buzz started building around Texas Governor Rick Perry. Man, those job numbers from the Lone Star State could make a great case for replacing Obama in the oval office. Is he going to run? Will he? Won’t he? Oh, he is! He wears cowboy boots and carries a gun!

Rick Perry is the Chuck Norris of American Politics!

Now, as his opponents and analyst start picking apart Perry’s history, the shine starts to wear off a little bit. Yeah, he’s still a top-tier candidate but, not even 10 days into his candidacy we’re getting bored. We want something new.

So, who’s next? Well, we’ve still got Sarah Palin and I’m gonna flip-flop here, I believe she is going to run (take that Barabara Bush) and now the buzz is building back up about Chris Christie. If this pattern continues, it favors them to wait until the last possible second to jump into the fray.

We’re starting to treat Presidential candidates like Iphones and video games. We’re in love with one candidate until the next one rolls out 3 months later.

This current buzz and late entry could swing the momentum Christie's way for the new year.

Video and Photos: Candidates for U.S Senate Debate in Orlando

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2011 at 9:35 pm

This morning, the candidates lining up to take on Bill Nelson in the race for U.S Senate debated at Howard Middle School in Downtown Orlando.

Sponsored the The Florida Family Policy Council and the Orlando Tea Party, former State Rep. Adam Hasner, former Senator George Lemieux, ex-Army Colonel Mike McCalister, and Ruth Chris CEO Craig Miller debated in front of a couple hundred conservatives on a sunny, Saturday morning.

Moderated by Keith Landry from FOX 35, the candidates debated on everything from abortion to fiscal responsibility, taking questions from a rotating panel of 6 conservative leaders. There was no mud-slinging. Organizers and participants agreed beforehand that they would stick strictly to the issues and questions presented by the panel.

That was kinda of a downer but, it was a fine debate none the less..

Let’s break it down by candidate.

Adam Hasner:It’s a good thing he was at this thing because the other guys can be a little mild. Hasner brought some energy to the table as he talked about sending Conservative reinforcements to Washington in 2012. His plans also have a little more meat to them, especially on fiscal matters.

George Lemieux:What really gives Lemieux an advantage is that he’s been there, and done that in Washington. He draws experience from his 18 months serving as one of the most junior members of the Senate and brings more operational knowledge to the table. When he’s answering questions, he brings up personal experiences in D.C during his resply. However, he must banish all mention of Charlie Crist during his introduction. That’s an uncomfortable feeling when your sitting in a conservative audience.

Mike McCalister: Ugh, notes…..Guys if you’re not sitting behind a podium and if your opponents aren’t using notes then, don’t use them. McCalister toted this oversized legal pad during the entire two hour debate. His knowledge on the issues was limited and more likely to throw some snappy backtalk to the panel than, bring a solid solution to the table. That being said…

His call to abolish the IRS and leave the U.N did receive the biggest ovation during the debate.

Craig Miller: Craig didn’t have Hasner’s energy, or Lemieux’s experience or even McCalister’s down home appeal. All he could offer was some personal experiences in the hospitality field and a couple of ideas that have been heard by other conservatives running for office in 2012.

but don’t take my word for it…I’ve uploaded some footage from the debate as well as some photos. It was great to attend a live debate again, it’s been almost a year!

Adam Hasner, George Lemieux, Mike McCallister, and Craig Miller

FOX 35 Anchor, Keith Landry moderated the Debate

Conservative Leaders and Opinionators asked questions to the candidates

From what I saw today, these two are still the best bet for Republicans

I didn't see anything from these two that would threaten Bill Nelson

Hasner brought some much needed energy to the debate

Likeable? Yes ... Versed on the issues? Suspect....

This was a home game for Miller but applause was scarce for the former CEO

Adam Hasner taking photographs with supporters

The former Senator took a slow exit speaking to every voter along the way

More to come! Please keep checking back for more photos and video footage!

Politico: The VP Field: It’s Rubio and then the rest..

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Wow, this is why America is great.

Two years ago, Marco Rubio was the longest of longshots to be a United States Senator.

Now, he’s the first choice, Vice President pick, for many of the candidates running and for the strategist steering their campaigns.

POLITICO reported this morning that in the Veepstakes (ugh, that title) “it essentially boils down to Rubio and the rest”. Now, before we all get exited and deliver Florida to the GOP nominee, it’s a very impressive field of possible choices. Some of them could actually be competitive in the GOP primary themselves. Now, since we’re obviously bias, I’ll list some of the other candidates along with a short explanation of why Rubio is the better pick.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: I dig his style but, he’s got health problems
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal: LA’s electoral votes won’t win you an election
Ohio Senator Rob Portman: Who? Plus, His Super Committee selection will dent his reputation
Rep Paul Ryan WI: His economic plan never took off and some of the details could scare off the moderates
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley: Would be great to have Female VP but, she’d get treated like Palin 2.0
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels: Have you met, Cheri Daniels?

There are others but, you could disqualify them for the same reasons listed above.

Rubio is well spoken, fast in a debate, Hispanic, and carries the great State of Florida. He’ll knock down speculation, because that’s what humble, future leaders do. There are plenty of terrific candidates out there but, line them up, side by side, and take a good look.

It would be harder to find a better choice than the Republican Senator from FL.

Study the field, Rubio is the winner's pick

The ReInventing Rick Scott Tour Sweeps through Orlando

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm

When Rick Scott’s approval rating hit 29% a while back it became clear, something had to be done.

Then he approved Sunrail and something funny happened. His approval inched up, just a bit.

“Wow, this is fun!” thought the Governor, “we should do stuff like this more often!”

You could say that green-lighting Sunrail was the beginning of the reinvention of Rick Scott.

He opened the door to his mansion, becoming more available to the media he despised, and he even took time to work at a donut shop. Similar to the one he started when he was younger. “Let’s get to work days” the campaign was called.

Then, Scott Maxwell from the Orlando Sentinel published this photo:

Florida Governor Rick Scott: Just one of the guys...

You kidding me?

Now, even more unbelievable is that Rick Scott is coming TO the media. This was the guy that once slow jogged away from a group of reporters. He’ll be stopping by a couple of television stations (at the time of this posting, he was already on FOX 35 and WESH 2) and gasp! Is this right? He’ll be in the hot seat with the Orlando Sentinel Editorial board.

Keep in mind that Rick Scott gave the Heisman to every Newspaper ed board in the state and forfeited all of their endorsements to Alex Sink.

This has got get approval up, right? It’s got to keep him out of the Scott Walker conversation as the worst Governor in the country? Well, that depends. if this kinder, and gentler Rick Scott is here to stay. If he can keep the Tea Party that got him elected satisfied while, convincing the rest of the state that he’s got us going in the right direction. If we get another repeat performance of his first 7 months in office then, all of this feel good stuff won’t mean a thing. His approval rating will fall again

and Charlie Crist, Alex Sink, and Dan Gelber will be watching.