Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

Naples Daily News: Connie Mack jolts two races with Senate bid

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Morning guys! I’ve been working more and blogging less (sorry about that). I had the chance to speak with the good people at the Naples Daily News about Connie Mack’s entrance into the GOP Senate primary to challenge Bill Nelson.

I haven’t decided who I’m going to support in this race.

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News that Rep. Connie Mack is running for the U.S. Senate rocked the Republican field Thursday and ignited local speculation over his abandoned congressional re-election bid.

Mack’s office confirmed his Senate ambitions Wednesday night, and by Thursday morning Tammy Hall, the District 4 Lee County Commissioner, declared her candidacy for the 14th congressional district. Two other area political figures said with Mack gone they were considering jumping into the race, and rumors circulated that others could join.

So far, incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has led all of the Republican challengers for Senate in the polls. Analysts say the entry of an experienced elected official with high name recognition could change that.

“A lot of voters are just unexcited about the current crop of candidates that we have,” said Frank Torres, a political strategist in Orlando.

In March, Mack said he would not seek the Senate seat for family reasons but changed his mind and began making phone calls for support and assembling a campaign team, said his spokesman, David James.

“Connie has been committed to beating Bill, and no one had emerged who could do that,” James said. “You can expect a more formal announcement from Connie in the weeks to come.”

Mack joins Republican contenders including Army Col. Mike McCalister, former state Rep. Adam Hasner, former Ruth’s Chris Steak House CEO Craig Miller and former Sen. George LeMieux.

If Mack’s entry shook up the statewide race, it deeply transformed the race for his district, which covers Fort Myers and Naples.

The four-term congressman was the clear front-runner for re-election in 2012 — despite criticism for opposing the Arizona immigration law and complaints that he spends too much time in California where his wife, Mary Bono Mack, is a U.S. congresswoman.

Only three others had filed to oppose him: Naples attorney Joe Davidow, former small business owner Timothy Rossano and Democratic businessman James Roach, who failed to unseat Mack in 2010, earning 27 percent of the vote.

“It wasn’t something that I anticipated,” Davidow said. “I think it’s something that’s going to change the nature of the election, but it’s certainly not going to change my platform.”

Hall’s proclamation came quickly. She said she had stewed over the decision since May when she formed an exploratory committee and began meeting with constituents.

“There’s a frustration with the direction Washington is going in,” Hall told the Daily News.

In Hall’s official announcement, the seven-year commissioner boasted $90 million in cuts to Lee County government in the last three years and pledged to bring a similar less-government philosophy to Washington.

Burt Saunders, a former state senator who has challenged Mack for his congressional seat, and former state representative Dudley Goodlette said they were now seriously considering a bid.

“I’ve had some people call me today, and when I’ve had some spare minutes, I’m making some calls,” Goodlette said. “We’ll make a decision in the next few days.”

He acknowledged that as the Legislature redraws Florida’s political map in redistricting, where exactly the 14th District will fall is a “moving target” until next year’s lawmaking session ends in early March.

“Until then it’s really difficult for someone from Collier County to really know what they’re running for,” said Saunders, who ran as a no-party candidate in 2008 and fell about 170,000 votes shy of Mack’s 225,000 votes.

Earlier this year, other high-profile Republicans in Collier and Lee counties were said to have floated the idea of replacing Mack — among them, Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah, Naples City Councilman Gary Price and Chauncey Goss, son of former U.S. Rep. Porter Goss.

Price said Thursday he will not run. Judah and Goss could not be reached.

State Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, and Tom Grady, the commissioner of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, each said they will not run.

But Grady told the Daily News he would endorse Mack for Senate.

“Connie brings a decided experience and fiscal conservative flavor to the race,” Grady said.

Reaction from the field of current Senate candidates ranged from welcoming to critical to indifferent. McCalister acknowledged Mack’s experience in Washington while LeMieux chided that “he voted to raise his own pay several times” and “joined Bill Nelson in voting for a highway bill that contained 6,376 earmarks.”

Nelson’s office steered clear of the fray.

“We have no reaction,” spokesman Bryan Gulley wrote in an email to the Daily News. “Nelson remains focused on his work in the Senate. As he’s said many times, if you do your job, then the politics will take care of itself.”

By Ben Wolford

Connie Mack jumped into the Senate race on Thursday

Rick Perry’s Last Hope? Do Better than 999.

In Uncategorized on October 23, 2011 at 5:11 pm

“I’ll bump plans with you brother”

That was Rick Perry at last Tuesday’s CNN Las Vegas debate and that’s exactly whats going to happen this week when the Texas Governor reveals his recovery this week.

He needs a win and he can get one if he delivers a real economic plan that appeals to conservatives.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen Rick Perry stammer and stumble through debates. He can’t attack, he can’t defend and he let Mitt Romney put his hand on him. This isn’t what supporters were expecting when they were calling on him to run. His campaign threw the “We’re electing a leader, not a debater” line at us.

The next debate isn’t for another month and Perry has watched his supporters flock to Herman Cain. This is going to be his chance to regain some support and get back in the conversation. He can do that by trumping 999 this week when he rolls out his economic plan.

999 is a liability. Cain supporters know this in their heart of hearts and if he gets the nomination, he can’t get to the White House with it. Economic professors, Bloomberg, and other number crunchers have said it could shortfall the government anywhere from 200-400 billion dollars and add a sales tax to states that don’t have one. It’s catchy, it’s fun to talk about. It’s the squeaking, stuffed animal he’s waving to his supporters to get them smiling for the photo ops.

Rick Perry has the chance to reveal a plan that’s got the flash and doesn’t have the battery of problems that Cain’s 999 has.

It’s rumored to revolve around a flat tax and feature a balanced budget amendment that so many Conservatives has craved. It’s expected to have the simplicity of a 999 plan with the key points of a Paul Ryan plan that was kicked around during the debt ceiling debate.

It has the potential to be the plan that carries him back into contention. He’s still the money leader so he can afford to get it in front of the viewers and it has to deliver South Carolina for him or he’s finished.

Herman Cain’s plan is too simple and leaves a lot of questions. Mitt Romney’s plan is too complicated and he can’t even recite it.

Rick Perry has the opportunity to find the right pitch and score points with voters on the issue they care about the most. The economy.

Perry must impress with his economic plan.

Who Won the CNN Las Vegas Debate 10/18/11?

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Wow, forget Tyson-Holyfield or Trinidad-De La Hoya…

Tonight was Romney-Perry and it was the slugfest in Vegas, that the bookies didn’t have an eye on.

Winners:

Mitt still a level above the rest: He showed some style dissing 999 (Cain compared tax plans to apples and oranges, Romney called them a bushel, both still taxes) and beat back Santorum when asked about Romneycare. He’s got the most poise folks. He thinks quickly has a solid message and knows the game inside and out.

Romney's apples and oranges return on 999 and calling them two different taxes gets a 3 out of 5

He owned Rick Perry. Watch the video coverage. Forget Perry’s Texas Swagger. He put the Vulcan nerve pinch on the Texas Governor and you saw the energy drain out of him. The most intense part of the debate…

What kind of message does this picture send to the voters?

Newt for VP?: Gingrich continued to play nice with the candidates and looks like a warm pick for VP. There were times when he sounded like the most rational guy in the room but…he’s not electable. I like him across the stage from Joe Biden on a VP debate stage.


Didn’t Win or Lose:


Bachmann plays to strengths:
She’s been sounding smarter, sticking to her tax law strengths and social issue hot spots. She’s not a winner because she’s not going to gain any ground with this message and it’s not evolving or rolling out fresh talking points. She thinks Iraq should pay us back for their conflict.

Has Ron Paul found the right tone? He’s getting better. What was once completely bizarre is now a little more agreeable with the average conservative.

Cain can’t talk 999- Mr. Cain , don’t give a national audience a reading assignment on your economic plan. If it’s so simple then explain it. He also owned up to TARP. He needs to walk back 999. I don’t think he expected this much ridicule over the plan and its got loopholes you could drive a dump truck through. The only reason you’re not in the loser column is because you’ve still got a lot of people fooled.

Herman Cain can't give you straight answers on 999 because there aren't any

Losers:

Perry tries to muscle up and gets beat down: The Mitt Romney exchange was painful to watch. No one puts their hand on a debate opponent. Perry has been criticized for being timid and when he tried to be tough, he was pushed back. He still stumbles during his delivery and at times doesn’t sound like a Governor let alone a President. He’s gone from sketchy to reckless.

Santorum shows some life but no traction: Santorum brings up good points from time to time but the guy isn’t gaining any ground. You could blame it on the debate order, his position in the polls that forces him to constantly attack, or you could blame it on not having a resume big enough to talk about his achievements. He’s always on his heels.

Jon Huntsman’s no show unnoticed and move debate pace along nicely: What his campaign considered a defiant move did more damage than good. In the last month he’s ditched Olrlando and put all of his hope in NH. He’s going to have to battle Romney and even if he can steal New Hampshire, he doesn’t have a chance anywhere else.

Thanks for stopping by guys!

CNN Las Vegas Debate 10/18/11 Blogged Live

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Here we go another slugfest between GOP Presidential Hopefuls. Glad to have you aboard!

7:53-
The color guard has just left the stage and the warm up guy is speaking to the audience. Some basic notes, Romney and Cain will be the targets as the other candidates try to knock the front runners down a peg. Jon Huntsman will NOT be here tonight. Which at this point might help his campaign.

8:01- Montage baby! Very effective with the playing cards and the reshuffling. Coolest opening to a debate so far? Aww they didn’t even call Rick Santorum a wild card? C’mon man!

8:03- Anderson Cooper…don’t mess this up man. You’ve got to be better than your boy John King. We have the candidates walking out. No complimentary peck on the cheek from Bachmann for Gingrich. Cain Struts out, Ron Paul does whatever the opposite of strutting is.

8:06- National Anthem. Santorum singing. Didn’t see Paul or the others…

8:07-
Cooper announces he’s the moderator…really? These look like Jeopardy podiums..We get candidate intros. Santorum’s daughter had surgery today (bless her), Ron Paul just called himself the champion of liberty! Rick Perry declares himself an authentic conservative. Newt kisses up to Vegas. Bachmann does the same.

8:11– Kevin from The Office asks a question about taxes.

8:13-
999 is under attack. Cain insists on reading analysis. This is a deflection. Why doesn’t he just explain it? Santorum follows. Bachmann flexes tax knowledge and calls up value tax. Rick Perry brings up no sales taxes in NH (he’s right) and plugs his plans. Cain insists that 999 and the current tax code is apples and oranges. Ron Paul calls 999 regressive. Cain insists that none of the other candidates know the plan.

8:20- Romney pins Cain down with a direct 999 question. Cain deflects…Romney fires that he’s gonna get a bushel of tax oranges and tax apples and springs into a stump speech. Point to Romney

8:22– Gingrich sticks up for Cain but, backs up Romney. He’s jockeying for a VP nod. Bachmann says that every American needs to contribute and pay taxes. Applause

8:26– We’re talking energy. Romney deflects, goes into repealing Obamacare. Santorum talks about bringing the poor up through a Western Europe model. Santorum calls out Mitt on Obamacare and his Romneycare. Romney fires back.

8:31- Cooper asks about capital gains. Newt ignores Cooper and wants to talk about healthcare. Gingrich goes after Romney. Romney says he got the idea from Newt. Newt says he got it from the Heritage Foundation. Romney nails him down. Bachmann barges in and brings up a part of Obamacare that has already been taken down.

8:35- Commercial

8:38-
We’re back….Twitter question any parts of Obamacare to keep? Paul says no. Cain says no too. Rick Perry call Romney a hypocrite and accuses him of hiring illegals.

A shouting match ensues Romney and Perry. Romney puts his hands on Perry (oh hell no…) and if it was me it I wouldn’t have it. The two slug it out and Romney takes control. Perry admits amnesty. Romney admits that his lawn service had illegals and they were fired. Romney puts Perry in check again!

8:46- Cain is asked about electrified fence to keep out illegals. Cain needs to clarify. Cain won’t back down. Cain says empower states and gets applause. Perry brings up logistics and cost. Bachmann brings up Obama’s Aunt and Uncle being illegals. Perry cites experience with the border and attacks Bachmann for criticizing him. Romney unites the group by saying everyone agrees.

8:53- Latino man asking about immigration- Gingrich answers strong. Paul pushes for the economy. Cain asked about 14th amendment, he deflects and pushes economy and plugs 999. Perry asked and he’s soft on the 14th and won’t support repealing it. Bachmann wants the issued of anchor babies addressed. Santorum brings up family and values.

9:00- Candidates are asked about nuclear waste.

9:04- Real Estate bubble question: Santorum brings up TARP and gets interrupted by Perry, Cain. Nevada has the worst market in the country. Worse than Florida. Perry, Romney deny Santorum. Cain admits to supporting an early version of TARP. Bachmann dials up Mamma Grizzly and nesting. She’s found the camera and keeps pushing past cooper.

909- Cooper asks about Occupy Wallstreet: Cain backs up his Occupy Wallstreet statement “They ought to be in front of the White House”. Paul asked about it and fires on the FED. Romney goes after Obama.

9:15- Commercial

9:20- Talking candidates’ religion and specifically about Romney’s faith. Santorum says it’s about the values. Gingrich says faith matters, cites wise opinions. Great answer. Rick Perry kinda denounces cult comment from a religious supporter.

9:26- Talking foreign policy and Bachmann lays into Obama over Iran, Iraq and says we need to stand up. Bachmann says defense spending is on the table but reinforces the liability of multiple conflicts. Gingrich brings up supercommittee and that it’s a bad concept. Cooper brings up the multiple departments Paul wants to eliminate and he smiles wryly and gets applause. Paul brings up examples of fallen empires and says we could be next. it’s time to come home

9:31- Cain is asked about negotiating with terrorists and that he needs to examine the whole situation, finally says we can’t. Santorum says no and he won’t cut defense. Paul says we have enough weapons to blow up the world 20 times and wants to hear someone finally say they will cut something.

9:34- Talking foreign aid. Perry wants to defund UN. Romney lays out a whole slew of places to cut the budget. Bachmann tries to jump Cooper but doesn’t get in. Paul says cut all aid even Israel and that foreign aid make them dependent. Bachmann won’t cut aid to Isarael. Ron Paul asks candidates if they would trade hostages for weapons and cites example of Reagan doing so. Santorum beats him down. Gingrich says that Reagan thought it was a horrible mistake

9:42– Commercial! I’m not missing Jon Huntsman

9:45- Cooper talks about who beats Obama. Santorum is asked about his 1%. He says he wins the tough races. He too has found the camera. Romney touts his experience. Perry goes after Mitt and Texas job creation. Mitt fires back and says those jobs were created for illegal immigrants. Cain say he should be President.

9:51 Cooper says the debate needs to end? Bizarre. Bachmann jumps on the stump and says Obama will be a one term President. Gingrich says bickering doesn’t win and wants 7 Lincoln-Douglas debates with Obama.

9:53: Cooper talks over the candidates as they discuss not having the chance to close.

The circus is over guys. We almost had a physical altercation. I will have a full recap in the morning.

Sigh….

Seminole Elections picks Hispanic Heritage Month to unveil new outreach technology

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel and his staff are at it again. This time reaching out to Hispanic voters. This is terrific stuff. Please, take a moment to check out this article that features next level tech in getting Central Floridians to the polls.

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The Seminole County Supervisor of Elections office is often on the cutting edge of voter outreach, and again set the pace this weekend with the first usage of a QR code that directly links to the office’s Spanish-language website, http://www.VotoSeminole.org. The QR code was used on the ballots for the Hispanic Chamber’s Latin Food and Wine Festival, which was attended by nearly 8,000 people, according to organizers. The office was chosen to count the votes for the festival’s “Best Of…” competition and the ballots also had the QR code directing voters to the elections office’s Spanish-language website, VotoSeminole.org, with links to information about upcoming elections, registration and absentee ballot request forms, as well as sample ballots in Spanish. (more info about QR code technology here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code).

The office, which last year was the first in the country to map its polling locations into FourSquare, launched its first QR code last month, which directed mobile phone users directly to the office’s Facebook or Twitter page, and the office website http://www.VoteSeminole.org. On the site, users can immediately access voter registration forms, absentee ballot request forms, information about upcoming elections and a host of other items.

QR codes are fast becoming a staple in communicating to the public, as an increasing number of newspaper and magazine advertisements are adding the little square black-and-white logo to the corner of their ads. Mobile phone users can scan the QR code and be sent directly to either a website or phone number of the advertiser. Supervisor of Elections Michael Ertel says, “Creating the QR code costs the elections office no money, but the addition of a technology many younger consumers use to interact with retailers and using it in a government setting creates a relationship with younger citizens, and lets them know the elections are efficient as well as trustworthy.”

The office took part by registering and informing voters in several other Hispanic Heritage Month activities throughout the month, including celebrations at Seminole State College and providing voter registration forms and information to attendees at the anniversary celebration of the area’s largest Spanish-language weekly newspaper, La Prensa. The office’s efforts in the Hispanic community have produced positive results for years, as in the last presidential election, Seminole County had the highest Hispanic voter registration rate among Florida’s large counties, as well as the highest Hispanic voter turnout rate. In 2012, the office will expand its scope of services to the Hispanic community by having election ballots and samples printed in Spanish as well as English at polling locations.

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Orlando Leaders not doing enough to save NBA All-Star Game

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm

The Amway Center is currently the shining jewel of the National Basketball League. There are stretches of the newest venue in the NBA where you couldn’t tell if you were walking through a sports arena or the Millenia mall. It’s that elegant and on game nights, thousands spill out of the Amway center just in time to stimulate restaurants and night life in downtown Orlando. In a recession it’s the only hope some of those businesses have.

Those businesses are about to lose an opportunity that only comes around every 25 years.

The NBA lockout dispute between the players and the owners over league revenue has already deprived downtown Orlando of a Magic pre-season and before you know it, NBA commissioner will start cutting regular season games. There is word that all of the games leading up to Christmas are in danger of being cancelled.

Billionaires arguing with millionaires.

Even worse it’s our year to have the NBA All-Star game. The weekend where thousands would pour into downtown hotels and I-drive resorts with the intent of spending millions.

We’re about to lose it all and no one, even our elected officials are acting.

This past week Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer joined 13 other Mayors with NBA cities to Commissioner Stern with a “hat in hand” letter stressing what everyone already knows. “Everyone loses if there is no season”.

Duh,

The billionaire owners would lose much less, they are after all billionaires. They’re ready to take this NBA lockout into next season. Only players defecting to Europe and China would worry them but, the players realize that the National Basketball Association is still the greatest showcase for their ability and the only organization that delivers the multi-million dollar endorsements.

So what’s a Mayor that is about watch his city lose millions in outside revenue suppose to do?

As much as I would like to pin this all on Buddy Dyer it’s not that easy. Leaders from all levels of government in Central Florida should be polling their connections and resources to get this dispute resolved.

Too difficult or “not their battle”? That’s rubbish. Their have been far more complicated lobbying efforts.

Make the phone calls, send the emails, take the meetings.

Local businesses need to get involved as well. Pick up the phone and tell theses lawmakers what this missed opportunity means for your operations survival. It’s going to take an activist approach to get this lockout resolved.

It’s going to be a sad weekend in February if this All-Star game doesn’t happen. What are our lawmakers prepared to do? What are you prepared to do?

That letter was correct everyone will lose if the season in cancelled but, Orlando will lose the most and it’s a tragedy that might be the last that makes dozens of businesses close their doors.

No non-sense comissioner David Stern won't hesitate to cancel the All-star game in Orlando

Who won the Bloomberg, New Hampshire Dartmouth Debate 10/11/11?

In Uncategorized on October 12, 2011 at 12:11 am

The spotlight was on New Hampshire last night, as the GOP primary debate aired last night on Bloomberg. Yes, Bloomberg and it was a welcomed change of pace to watch their people zero in on politics and strategy. They’re normally analyzing the market and reading graphs.

The round table format was terrific. Charlie Rose? ehhh. During the candidate to candidate QA, he did get his letters mixed up. “R comes before S” Rick Santorum declared in what was probably his bright spot of the night.

Let’s break it down..

Winners:

Mitt Romney finally starts acting like a frontrunner: He had to field questions from several of his opponents and batted down all of them. He’s developed an agreeable reply to Romneycare. He even tossed Bachmann a softball in the opponent question segment. Romney was the pinata at the party and he didn’t crack like Rick Perry. The Ronald Reagan video question could have done serious damage but he knew his history. This performance, as well as the Chris Christie endorsement should ensure he stays out front.

Newt Gingrich- a sentimental favorite: Not much substance but a lot of charm. His stories of the good ol’ days, as well as bringing up plans that have succeeded in the past displayed him as a friendly, agreeable candidate and awarded him the first round of applause from a tough audience. He might gain a little ground in the polls but when he loses, the nominee will take a look at him for VP.

Bloomberg: Question of the night? What channel is Bloomberg on?

Holding steady:

Michele Bachmann- a rare flash of humor: Odd that Bachmann who is typically a very straight forward candidate had the best joke of the debate. Referring to Herman Cain’s 999 plan “turn 999 upside down and well, the devil is in the details”. She also flexed her tax attorney knowledge throughout the debate. We don’t see her do that enough.

Ron Paul- better but not mainstream: He’s packaged his message in a more digestible manor. He’s calm down and refined his delivery. He’s going to have to steal Iowa from Michele Bachmann to keep his campaign interesting.

Herman Cain (barely) : Boy, I wanted to put him in the loser column because we know 999 won’t pass and that it’s not feasible. He says he won’t sign another economic plan. His recoil after being accused of being soft on the fed was impressive. Cain has got a demeanor that allows him to slug it out with a tremendous amount of class. When he gets asked about 999 he pivots away from the argument and can’t offer a strong rebuttal He didn’t lose supporters tonight and he received a good amount of applause but, 999 won’t give Republicans the White House.

Losers:

Rick Perry is no Chuck Norris: He needed a breakout debate performance tonight and he didn’t bring it. While he seemed better prepared he was invisible for most of the time. This guy can’t fight! If the Texas Governor can’t mix it up, he can’t beat Barack Obama.

Rick Santorum- Attack until you hit something : I’ve come to like Rick since Presidency V. I met the man and he wants a great America but, he came out looking awkward and wild eyed tonight. “You would think a guy from PBS would know that” his jab at Charlie Rose after he put S before R in the QA last night.

Jon Huntsman looking like Gary Johnson: The 999 pizza joke broke the ice but, he’s still not a serious contender. If he can’t steal New Hampshire it’s time to drop out.

This debate won’t shift much. It’s still going to be the Mitt Romney show featuring Herman Cain. Rick Perry looked like Tim Pawlenty out there and while he’s got the money to take him to the end you’ve got to wonder what’s next. Bachmann needs Iowa or it’s over for her. The rest of the guys need to try something different.

See you next debate!

The round table finally got the candidates face to face.

Big Man Backs Mitt: Chris Christie endorses Mitt Romney

In Uncategorized on October 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Mitt Romney who has been the plain, unwanted, frontrunner in the primary race just got a push. A big push, from a big man.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who was having to beat back supporters and the media for months before deciding not to run for President himself, endorsed Mitt Romney today. Just hours before Romney takes the stage for the Bloomberg debate on friendly turf in New Hampshire.

Romney needed this. While he’s still not the enthusiastic choice for a lot of Republicans, Christie’s endorsement should still inspire some to throw their support behind the only candidate who beats President Obama head to head in the polls.

Romney has been the lone frontrunner since the Presidency V Straw Poll after Rick Perry faltered in the debate. Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich have also gained some ground in the polls.

Late last month, former Presidential candidates and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty also endorsed Romney.

Christie's endoresment hopes to inspire confidence in frontrunner Mitt Romney

Orange County must have Tax Referendum on Jan 31st. Response to Orlando Sentinel Op-Ed Article

In Uncategorized on October 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm

This post is in response to the Orlando Sentinel Op-Ed that can be read here..

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Hmm… Orange County Board of Commissioners or Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board?

Well, that’s easy the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board.

They provide great candidate interviews, panel discussions, and thought provoking articles. This is the newspaper of my childhood and the one I would miss when serving overseas in the military. Much to the dismay of my Republican colleagues, I’ll defend their articles if the facts add up.

The OC BCC manages to upset some portion of the community every month and are suspect to influence by wealthy lobbyist and developers, who donate to their campaigns. I’ll take in a meeting and sit through the civic theater wondering all along the way what is going through this elected body’s mind, as some of them surf the web.

The Sentinel serves as a watchdog for the community. I read this on their beginning of the year mission statement. Except, on this rare occasion the watchdog is keeping the mailman from reaching the steps and delivering relief.

Let me get to the point. Orange County Board of Commissioners voted to hold a tax referendum for expanding high tech businesses on January 31st. This is the date of the Republican primary and in the eyes of the Op-Ed board, the vote would be fixed. The heavy Republican turnout would favor the business friendly referendum.

They admit that this wasn’t done on purpose but, that “perception is reality” and that simply doesn’t cut it.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ reply: Although I fully understand their position, I supported moving forward on this date believing our whole community, Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, alike, could put politics and perception aside to focus on the reality facing too many of our citizens, the reality of high unemployment and the critical need to support job creation. At the same time, I want to ensure that we engage our citizens on the issues that impact this community.

This also prompted Mayor Jacobs to send out an email poll to gain input from the public on this decision. Following the Sentinel’s advice would set the vote back seven months and delay Mayor Jacobs from keeping a campaign promise, that delivered her a landslide victory last year.

Concerns over an uneven turnout can be solved by both bodies working together. The media notifying the public, that participation from all of the voters will be needed on Jan 31st and the BCC using social media and email listings to activate voters and get them to the polls.

I urge the Orlando Sentinel Op-Ed board and others critical of this decision, to use their resources to encourage participation on this date. We can’t afford to wait any longer.

Working together, we can make this work.

Carole Crist joins Democratic Party

In Uncategorized on October 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Say what you like about former Governor Charlie Crist, and you can say plenty.

He flip flops like a freshly caught trout on the issues.
He treats each term of public service as a rung on the ladder to the White House.

and then they’re is always this….(this blog’s favorite clip…ever)

That will never get old.

As much as you can tease Charlie Crist about those things and the fact that if he would have stepped aside for Marco Rubio last year and stayed in the Republican party, he might be ahead of Bill Nelson in the polls. Instead, he’s currently an Independent and working for one of the biggest Democratic fundraisers in the country. So, yeah there’s a lot. One thing he did do right?

He married his wife Carole.

Former Florida First Lady Carole Crist

She looks like a movie star and she’s also the latest high profile addition to the Democratic Party. Her explanation? She feels more comfortable with them. That’s fine, gotta follow your heart but her transition leads to the next question.

When will Charlie Crist switch to Democrat? After he does, will he take on current Governor Rick Scott in 2014?

It all makes sense on paper. Send the spouse in to do a little networking, some recon, gauge the mood and report back. Governor Scott is vulnerable and Charlie Crist would be a better candidate for the Democrats than say former Florida CFO Alex Sink who was caught in “textgate” and voted the worst candidate in the country. Crist would also be able to raise more funds than former AG candidate, Miami attorney Dan Gelber.

Make no mistake, this is the first step Charlie Crist is taking to run for office again.