Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for June, 2012|Monthly archive page

Buddy’s Big Week: Mayor Dyer’s PR Operation Delivers

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2012 at 1:47 pm

This why people run for office to begin with.

To be an ambassador to the people, to lead the community to prosperity, to wield the power of public office to leave the district or city in a better state than when you arrived.

And all of the fun stuff that comes along with it.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer had a banner week full of spectacular photo opportunities and awareness initiatives with a the Citrus Bowl as a it’s centerpiece. All of this with a tropical storm tossing and turning in the Gulf.

Let’s start with that Citrus Bowl. Last Sunday, the Orlando Sentinel broke the story that Dyer had struck a deal with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs over renovations for the 76 year old stadium.


Everyone rolled their eyes when they heard that the Citrus Bowl needed to be renovated immediately. More money, needed right now, for the venues. Understandably, Orange County Mayor Jacobs was among the most skeptical of this request. She already had to audit the books for the new performing arts center last year, and now Dyer wanted to talk Bowl renovations. The City of Orlando couldn’t take the financial risk by itself and needed backing from the County. After the threat of losing bowl games and major events became a possibility, Jacobs finally agreed.

Orlando and Orange County will most likely keep it’s bowl games (and the millions generated) as well as remain competitive for future national events.

Mayor Dyer gets that political trophy in 2014, just in time for whatever his next political move might be.


Dyer could have called the week a winner after Monday but it was just the beginning. Tuesday brought PR gold in the form of a photo opportunity of Dyer and City Commissioner Patty Sheehan releasing Black Neck Swans into their new home at Lake Eola Park

A kinder, gentler Mayor of Orlando.


What good are venues if you can’t fill the seats year around? Dyer welcomed the new Orlando Solar Bears coach on Wednesday. The minor league hockey team is returning to Orlando and will fill those gaps between concerts and Magic road trips. If Dwight Howard leaves, we’re going to need all the help we can get.


Dyer sent out advisories on social media in the wake of scammers calling Orlando residents posing as OUC representatives in an attempt to fish credit card numbers for false purchases.

All jokes aside this initiative was terrific use of social media that could spare Orlando residents a lot of heartbreak

So, what does all of this mean?

Well, first off these events are a lot of work. So, the Mayor’s PR/Outreach teams made big plays this week. All of these events got pop in the press and all of them flex the resources of the city, from world class sporting events to keeping residents safe from cybercrime.

Except for a few grunts about the Citrus Bowl, the rest were easy political victories, all lined up, one behind the other. This is how you win re-election by a landslide.

And how you continue to fuel speculations and set the stage for any “higher office” plans….

Saturday Morning Political Headlines: Lexus Toll Lanes on I4?

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Happy Saturday.

Everyone has shut it down for the weekend after what has been a hectic few days.

Health care, Holder, Straw poll drama, and local primaries heating up.

Today, a lot of syndicated content. How do you guys feel about Lexus Lanes on I4?

It could happen and that story leads your Saturday morning political headlines.

Orlando Sentinel: I-4 toll lanes edging closer to reality

WOFL FOX 35: Fla. Gov. doubtful about expanding Medicaid

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News
: (VIDEO) Reality Check: Romney ads respond to Obama’s

CF News 13: Gov. Rick Scott visiting Pasco to tour storm damage

WKMG Local 6: (CNN) (Video) Rubio: People may have I.R.S. problem

WESH 2: (CNN) Little payoff for health care ruling ads

Will TOLL be added to this sign?

Health Care Ruling should energize GOP heading into November.

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Yesterday was epic.

While doing analysis of the Supreme Court’s ruling over the President’s health care plan or “Obamacare” I had the opportunity to speak with former Florida Attorney General Bill McCullom minutes after the decision came down 5-4 in favor of upholding the law. I asked McCullom what advice would he have for the GOP moving forward. He was obviously very disappointed, he led this lawsuit that 25 other states would fall behind and, now out of office had to watch Chief Justice John Roberts go against the grain on what was his last major push in public service.

Minutes later, current Attorney General Pam Bondi was at the podium with the same script many Republicans were running with yesterday. Disappointment but, vowing to continue the fight.

Other Florida lawmakers shot out emails and tweets, Mica, Adams, Webster then, Marco Rubio with a different angle pointing out that the court ruled it was constitutional, not that it was right.

Then came Mitt Romney, he spoke for about 15 minutes and checked every block on the list. If they wanted to repeal “Obamacare” then they would have to replace Barack Obama.

He raised 3.2 million dollars yesterday.

Locally, Republicans were rallying around the decision and if there was ever an enthusiasm gap with Romney as the GOP Presidential nominee, it was filled with the ruling that came down yesterday from the Supreme Court.

A much needed boot to the rear of sleeping supporters and donors of the Republican party.

Both sides have been scoring points. There was Scott Walker‘s win in Wisconsin, Obama’s push at NALEO, Eric Holder‘s fumbling of Fast and Furious, then finally yesterday’s healthcare ruling. The economy will win the election but, the high drama on that hectic Thursday afternoon in June will get volunteers pounding the pavement.

“Romney equals repeal!”

It will affect other races too. How will this ruling swing primaries in both parties? How will House and Senate Candidates piggyback on this decision? We’ll see.

McCullom answered my question by saying that lawmakers have a major fight ahead of them. Yesterday’s decision should add plenty of fuel to the fire.

Florida AG Pam Bondi knows the only card left to play in a repeal of the President’s Health Care plan is a Mitt Romney victory

Friday Morning Political Headlines: Health Care Fallout

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Sheesh, yesterday was something else. Only Ron Burgundy could explain it better.

What was expected to be a dull ruling that would have removed the individual mandate from the President’s Health Care Plan turned into a complete upholding of the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare”

Chief Justice John Roberts stunned the country voting in favor of the plan.

A major news outlet broke the wrong verdict too soon.

Florida CFO Jeff Atwater sent out the wrong press release and won’t be hearing the end of it anytime soon.

And poor Ann Curry.

This leads to a well deserved Friday that will hopefully lead into a relaxing weekend for everyone! Here are your morning headlines:

CF News 13: Supreme Court upholds Obama health law

WOFL FOX 35: (VIDEO) Supreme Court upholds individual mandate as tax

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: (AP) Campaign impact: Obama, Romney seize on ruling

WKMG Local 6: Dyer to give Solar Bears key to the city

WESH 2: (CNN)Health care ruling gives GOP new attack line

Orlando Sentinel: Scott Maxwell- From VA hospital to maglev train, watch what they say

Thursday Morning Political Headlines: Healthcare Judgement Day

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Very busy this morning, have a great day!

Here are your Thursday morning political headlines:

CF News 13: Doctors, public await Supreme Court health care ruling

Orlando Sentinel: Supreme Court to deliver Obama healthcare law ruling

WKMG Local 6: (CNN) All eyes on Supreme Court for health care ruling

WESH 2: Health care law: What’s up for debate

WOFL Fox 35: Judge refuses to block Florida voter purge

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: (AP) Ten Things to know for Thursday

How will the Supreme Court Rule?

EOCC East Side Hob Nob and Straw Poll Results 2012

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Tropical Storm Debby took an evening off on the East Side of Orlando yesterday and it was enough of a break from the stormy weather to allow candidates from all of the races in Orange and Seminole County to come together and meet with voters at the EOCC East Side Hob Nob and Straw Poll.

Attendees were treated to BBQ and political conversation with almost every candidate that will be on a ballot in the region. The straw poll featured races from all offices, from President, down to the lesser known judicial and commission races.

So many pictures and results, let’s get right to it!

Candidates from all races converged on Bright House Stadium last night

The catered dinner and announcement location

Thanks to the sponsors that make it possible

Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel and his team did another great job with the Straw Poll

Candidate Photos and Links to websites. If I didn’t get yours, send me an email.

Amy Lockhart Seminole County School Board:

Andy Gardiner State Senate

Sean Ashby for Florida House of Representatives, District 50

Bill Donegan Orange County Property Appraiser

Blaise Trettis for Public Defender

Brenda Carey for Seminole County Commission

Pete Clarke for Orange County Commission District 3

Andrew Cameron for Judge

Rene “Coach P” Plasencia for State House 49

Jaimon Perry for Seminole County Judge

David Simmons for State Senate

Don Epps for Seminole County Commission, District 3

Jim Earp for Circuit Court Judge 18/26

Eric Lasso Orange County Commission 3

FairTax in the House.

Franklin Perez for Florida House of Representatives, District 28

Geraldine F. Thompson for State Senate, District 12

Gina Duncan for Orange County Commission 5

Jeff Dowdy for Seminole County Judge

Jeff Ashton- Orange, Osceola State Attorney

Jerry Demings- Orange County Sheriff

Joe Saunders Florida State House 49

John Bush for Florida House of Representatives, District 28

John Tegg- Orange County Sherriff

Kathleen Gallagher McIver for Seminole County Commission, District 3

Keith White for Circuit Court Judge 9/27

Lawson Lamar: Orange-Osceola State Attorney

Lee Constantine for Seminole County Commissioner, District 3

Leon B. Cheek III for Orange County Judge

Lydia Pisano- Orange County District 3 Commission

Pedro Malaret for Circuit Court Judge 9/42

Marco Pena for Florida State House 49

John Mica for Congress

Mike Greene for Orange County Sheriff

Pete Clarke for Orange County Commission 3

Phil Archer- Seminole, Brevard State Attorney

Antoinette Plogstedt for Orange County Judge

Ken Rhoden for Public Defender, Brevard Seminole Counties

Rick Singh for Orange County Property Appraiser

Sandy Adams for Congress

Scott Plakon for Florida House of Representatives, District 30

Todd Long for Congress

Vicki Vargo for Orange County Tax Collector

East Side Hob Nob Straw Poll Winners:

Amy Lockhart wins Seminole County School Board D4 straw poll

Andy Gardiner wins Florida State Senate D13 straw poll

Belvin Perry wins Judge 9 Group 3 Straw Poll

Bill Cowles wins Orange County Supervisor of Electons (teasing) straw poll:

Bill Donegan wins Orange County Property Appraisers straw poll

Bill Posey wins Congressional District 8 Straw Poll

Bob Brooks wins Florida House District 47 Straw Poll

Brenda Carey wins Seminole County Commission Group 5 Straw Poll

Jason Brodeur wins Florida House District 28 Straw Poll

Andrew Cameron wins Orange Judge Straw Poll

Connie Mack IV wins Senate Straw Poll

Lee Constantine Wins Seminole County Commission Group 3 Straw Poll

Lui Damiani wins Orange County Commission District 3 Straw Poll

Dan Webster wins CD 8 Straw Poll

David Simmons wins Florida State Senate D10 Straw Poll

Jeff Dowdy wins Seminole County Judge Group 2 Straw Poll

Eric Dubois wins straw poll

Tom Goodson wins Florida House D50 straw poll

Fritz Seide wins Florida Senate D12 straw poll

Jim Earp wins Straw Poll

Jim Huckeba wins Orange County Tax Collector Straw Poll

John Mica wins Florida CD 7 Straw Poll

John “Q” Quinones wins Florida CD 9 Straw Poll

John Tegg wins Orange County Sheriff Straw Poll

Keith White wins Judge straw poll

Lawson Lamar wins Orange-Osceola State Attorney Straw Poll:

Marco Pena wins Florida House District 49 Straw Poll

Mitt Romney wins Presidential Straw Poll

Phil Archer wins Seminole-Brevard State Attorney Straw Poll

Scott Plakon wins Florida House D30 Straw Poll

Antoinette Plogstedt wins Judge Straw Poll

Ken Rhoden wins Public Defender straw poll

Ted Edwards wins Orange County Commission District 5 straw poll

Tim Shea wins Judge straw poll

“Abogado” William Mcbride wins Florida Senate D14 straw poll


A terrific event and I’d like to thank EOCC for the hospitality. If you’re hosting a hob nob or running for office, I want to talk to you! Send me an email.

Wednesday Morning Political Headlines: Black Swans at Eola, Orlando VA Hospital Delays lead to finger pointing

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm

This week has been PR gold for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and it’s only Wednesday.

The beginning of the week had the rumored Gubernatorial candidate coming to terms on renovations for the Citrus Bowl renovations with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs; A move that will keep the venue competitive for national events and temporarily halt questions over his ability to work with Jacobs and on Tuesday he showed his kinder and gentler side releasing two black swans into Lake Eola. A photo opportunity most politicians would shout for.

Two days, two wins.

The real credit goes to Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan who purchased the swans and has also sponsored the city’s growing Urban Chicken program that allows city residents the chance to house two “fowl” creatures (see what I did there?).

Perhaps Dyer could advise the Department of Veterans affairs and the contractors behind the delays of the Orlando VA Hospital. Today we’ve got more bad news over the finger pointing that has delayed the badly needed facility that has thousands of Veterans waiting.

In other more serious political news, we’ve got video content on poll closings in Osceola County, and poll numbers that have President Obama ahead in Florida over Mitt Romney on the eve of the controversial health care ruling.

These stories lead your Wednesday morning political headlines.

WESH 2: (VIDEO) Black swans released in Lake Eola

Orlando Sentinel: VA, contractor try to sort out Orlando hospital delay

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: (VIDEO) Some question closing of polling places in Osceola County

CF News 13: Swing state poll shows support for Obama

WKMG Local 6: Seminole County to vote on property tax increase

WOFL Fox 35: (AP) Obama to host White House picnic for lawmakers

The two swans released on Tuesday should have more freedom than this one photographed last year.

In Veepstakes, Who is Best Debate Matchup for Biden? Part I

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm

With so many names being thrown around in Mitt Romney’s search for a running mate. Even candidates with little to no chance of being selected, can’t get through an interview without answering the question “Would you run with Mitt Romney, if you were asked” and they all reply with the same answer delivered in a different fashion. From the angry “no let’s move on” from Wisconsin Rep and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to the reluctant refusal from New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte that she has a difficult time selling at times.

Still, Romney’s choice will have to stand across the stage from Vice President Joe Biden in a nationally televised debate and will be expected to perform much better that Sarah Palin did four years ago. Heck, with the race this tight they’ll be expected to argue better than John McCain who’s debate highlights in 08′ consisted of the Arizona Senator walking laps around the President.

Mitt Romney’s selection will have to be a fire-baller who can get the crowd excited and blare out any Biden rhetoric or an “Obi Wan Kenobi” type that can lull the Vice-President into a poor debate. A rational “These aren’t the economic solutions your looking for” delivery that aren’t so much a mind trick as they are a patient explanation of what Obama’s first term hasn’t done.

Let’s break it down.

Forget Jeb Bush, who doesn’t want the job and eliminated any wiggle room and Condi Rice who said “There is no way she would do it” this morning. That’s a shame they both would have done well. We’ve also got to include Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who has also pushed away all VP talk vigorously.

Poor Matchups:

S.C Nikki Haley and NH Senator Kelly Ayotte: Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a sample size of tape on these two to believe they would be better versed than Palin but, they haven’t demonstrated any strong policy knowledge to outflank the Vice-President, Biden would try to steer the conversation to Foreign Policy, a subject neither have any hard experience on.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty: This is cause for concern because some believe T-Paw is the frontrunner in the Veepstakes right now and he’s been making the rounds on the talkers as a surrogate for Romney, but do you guys remember this?

It would be easier to “throw” on the Biden but, he’s too much of a liability.

Former Senator Rick Santorum: This isn’t a primary and Santorum’s strength was social issues with evangelical conservatives. He might be the opposite of Pawlenty, too bold. And he’s got zero “pull” with independent voters and center-left Democrats. It would be good theater, he’s a hot-head like Biden but, that’s not what Romney needs.

Comeback next week when will talk about the unsure debate match-ups between VP Hopefuls and the Vice-President.

Tuesday Morning Political Headlines: Citrus Bowl Press Conference Coverage

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Has (Tropical Storm) “Debby Downer” washed out the beginning of your week?

Mine too.

Still, political events in Orlando march on and today we’ve got a complete wrap up of the Citrus Bowl press conference with Mayors Buddy Dyer and Teresa Jacobs. They reached a deal yesterday that would allow renovations to take place on the aging stadium and allow it to remain competitive for attracting national events.

That story leads off your Tuesday Morning Political Headlines. Stay dry!


WKMG Local 6: (VIDEO) Jacobs, Dyer sign deal on Citrus Bowl renovation

WESH 2: (VIDEO) Changes coming to Florida Citrus Bowl

WOFL Fox 35: New deal struck for Citrus Bowl renovation project

Orlando Sentinel: Mayors: Citrus Bowl renovation deal will help stadium compete for high-profile events

CF News 13: Get help from News 13’s Voter Helpline

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: (AP) High court limits state action on immigration

The two Mayors were able to reach an agreement that would allow renovations to take place on the aging Citrus Bowl


NBCObama heads south to raise campaign cash

WTSP 10 News10 News Investigators discover Florida Poly trustee applications with questionable ties and lies

WTVT FOX Tampa BayThe RNC’s evacuation plan

Bay News 9:-Gov. Scott declares state of emergency as Debby nears Florida


6 NBCPresident Obama in Metro Miami For 2 Fundraisers Tuesday

CBS MiamiPresident Obama Coming To Miami Beach For Fundraiser

Local 10 Issa slams Obama over Fast and Furious executive privilege

WSVN 7 NewsObama heads South to raise campaign cash


News 4 JAXImmigration reform back to square one

47 WTEV JaxRice on VP: ‘There is no way that I will do this’

FCNRomney says he wished court gave states ‘latitute’ on immigration

FOX WAWS 30: Candidate Officially Changes Name to Web Address

Monday Morning Political Headlines: Jacobs, Dyer reach Citrus Bowl Deal. Press Conference Today

In Uncategorized on June 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Happy Monday! How’s that rain treating you?

Yeah, same for me. I set records for low productivity yesterday. Let’s get going.

Today, the two most powerful political figures in Central Florida will hold a joint press conference to announce their plans for much needed renovations to the Citrus Bowl. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs have finally set the details that would keep the venue competitive in the Bowl competition process without breaking the bank.

This was reported last night by the Orlando Sentinel and it saves us from a Monday of boring syndicated content.

It’s also the only time you’ll see a Gator (Dyer) and a Seminole (Jacobs) celebrating together at the same stadium at the same time.

Stay dry, here are your Monday Morning Political Headlines.

Orlando Sentinel: Dyer, Jacobs cut deal on how to revive Citrus Bowl

WKMG Local 6: (VIDEO) Jacobs, Dyer to discuss Citrus Bowl renovations

WESH 2: Have Jacobs, Dyer reached Citrus Bowl deal?

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: Officials to announce Citrus Bowl renovation plans

CF News 13: Looking for Mitt and Rick together

WOFL Fox 35: Poll: Election winner won’t impact economy much

Construction will begin around 2014


NBCRNC might sack opening of Hillsborough football season

WTSP 10 NewsSchool closures around the area

ACTION NewsPoll: Presidential election winner won’t impact economy much

WTVT FOX Tampa BayRomney talks economy, immigration in speech to Hispanics

Bay News 9 Domestic registry applications accepted today


6 NBCObama, Congress Brace for Health Care Ruling

CBS MiamiTolls Raised On Turnpike, Other State Toll Roads

Local 10 Driving South Florida roads will cost more

WSVN 7 NewsObama to make So. Fla. stop


News 4 JAXCongress ready for health care decisions — then it gets tricky

47 WTEV JaxPoll: Election winner won’t affect economy much

FCN COJ looking at buying $19,000 in Jaguars tickets, but who will foot the bill?

FOX WAWS 30: Turkey calls for special meeting over Syria