Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

Tuesday Morning Political Headlines: Obama visits Rollins College on Thursday

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Hey You! This is a post from Tuesday. Today’s post (8-2) can be seen here!

Good Morning,

Today’s biggest headline involves President Barack Obama returning to Florida to finish his Sunshine State Swing. The President’s last visit was cut short due to the tragic shootings in Aurora Colorado.

Rollins College will once again be the planned venue. Prepare for long delays Thursday afternoon as the POTUS motorcade rolls down two laned fairbanks en route the College which sits in the heart of a region which can already be difficult to navigate at times.

A constant presence in Florida is absolutely essential to winning in November. The President’s campaign will have weekly visitors in the I4 corridor from now until election day and with August upon us, volunteers from both his campaign and his opponent Mitt Romney will hit the streets.

Romney’s big moment will come later in August with the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

This story leads your Tuesday morning political headlines.

CF News 13: Obama reschedules Orlando trip for Thursday

Orlando Sentinel: Obama trip to Rollins rescheduled for Thursday

WKMG Local 6: President Obama to travel to Orlando Thursday

WESH 2: Obama visit to Orlando rescheduled

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: Early voting begins in 5 counties in Fla.

WOFL FOX 35: Dems pick first Hispanic for convention keynote

The President’s return to the I4 corridor this week is necessary for victory in November

Ashton Launches TV attacks against Lamar in Orange-Osceola State Attorney Race

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2012 at 1:57 pm

It’s been the nastiest race in Central Florida this year and the attacks show no signs of stopping.

Casey Anthony Prosecutor Jeff Ashton has gone to the air in his race against longtime incumbent and his former boss, Lawson Lamar. He launched a radio ad early last week and has taken his platform and attacks to the highest level possible in American Politics. Daytime TV.

Here is Ashton’s television ad.

Let’s put it on the Aww Snap Meter.

Hold up. Is that a real courtroom? I know that place. It’s the courtroom at the Orange County History Center

We know real courtrooms are boring and voters probably won’t notice. Still.

Then we’ve got Jeff in the lab, wearing the same tie. One day shoot (not uncommon). More details, nothing big. The ad is filled with familiar talking points that we’ve heard Ashton say during debates and on the local talkers. Message discipline.

Then we’re thrown off a cliff.

We get a still of Lawson Lamar against the backdrop of something that looks like it’s from the “Saw” movies. Did Bane throw him down there? Then this electric shocking noise, as the ad spends it’s second half attacking the opponent.

Then again this is a small race it’s not suppose to be a hollywood affair and the ad accomplishes it’s mission. Barely.

The political math makes sense. Use Ashton’s name ID from the Casey Anthony trial, book deals, and movie dramatizations, throw in some tv/radio ads to remind the voters and paint an incumbent many casual voters might not remember, as the bad guy.

Is it going to work? We’ll see. The ad? Not very impressive.

Starts off with some solid talking points but the dark turn the ad takes is laughable

Monday Morning Political Headlines: Calm Before the Storm

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm

It’s Monday morning, and as far as political headlines go, a slow one.

Enjoy it, We’ve got President Barack Obama in town on Thursday, and attack ads and mailers hitting boxes this week.

All in one last effort to reach voters before early voting starts next week. We’re also going to be on Romney VP watch for the next couple of weeks. The Republican nominee is expected to announce his pick soon.

Have a great day and check back tonight. These quiet moments are going to be few over the next couple of months.

WKMG Local 6: (CNN) Possible VP picks campaign for Romney

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: Candidates look overseas for campaign cash

WESH 2: (CNN) Bill Clinton to play prominent role at Democratic Convention

CF News 13: After two years of no action, ethics complaint dropped against Rubio

WOFL Fox 35: (AP) Obama welcomes new ambassadors

Orlando Sentinel: GOP finds big spenders in legislative battles

Sunday Morning Political Headlines: More Mica-Adams, Romney in Israel, Rubio’s plane problems

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Good Morning,

Your Sunday morning political headlines lead off with Mitt Romney‘s visit to Israel. This important visit for the Republican nominee is the second part of his international swing that saw him in London for the Summer Olympics.

It’s also a two minute warning of sorts for a Running mate announcement.

One of those lawmakers in the running include Florida Senator Marco Rubio. The Senator had to stop twice while campaigning for Romney out west because of mechanical problems with aircraft. It’s a good sign that Rubio is still a possibility in the Veepstakes but can we get the man a decent airplane?

That and the Orlando Sentinel features an endorsement in the Mica-Adams race. Have a great day.

Orlando Sentinel: Double Play

Mica’s earned GOP nod

Adams-Mica primary cast as fight for soul of Republican Party

CF News 13: Political Connections- Candidates for Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey (R) and Todd Maddox (R)

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: Plane carrying Rubio makes emergency landing in NM

WKMG Local 6: (Video) Congressman John Mica appears on ‘Flashpoint’

WOFL FOX 35: In Israel, Mitt Romney stops at Jewish holy site

WESH 2: In Israel, Romney to issue Iran clear warning

Interview with Sean Ashby running for State House District 50

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm

It’s been a great election cycle for interviews and if you’re running for office, I want to talk to you!

Recently, I had the chance to ask Sean Ashby some questions about his campaign for State House in District 50. Ashby was one of the candidates that participated in the Florida’s people, Florida’s promise forum earlier this week. Here’s what he had to say

FT: How is the campaign going? What is the number one concern you’re hearing from the voters?

Ashby: The campaign is going great, largely due to to the amount of people who are tired of the current special interest driven lawmaking in Tallahassee. People continue to tell me that they are looking for representatives who are there to look out for the middle class, and not just create polices which benefit the few. So many of the concerns which I hear, focus around jobs and the economy. Voters are looking for leaders who place job creation near the top of their priorities, and vote out incumbents who have voted for job and small business killing policies such as my opponent.

FT: You’re running for State House. What did you think about the last session? What did you like? Was there a law passed or initiative that bothered you?

Ashby: The last two sessions (2011-2012) were extremely troublesome, and policies passed set the state back 20 years. Recently, Florida was ranked the #1 most corrupt state in the US. This was not an opinion poll, but a rank determined by shear numbers. This is a troubling trend, and one which is based on the extreme amounts of money flowing from special interest groups. To prove my point let’s look at two examples. The first is the push to privatize prisons. Millions of dollars have been given to candidates to vote to privatize the prisons, under the auspices that it will save taxpayers money. We only need to look to Arizona, which conducted a study a few years after prisons were privatized, and determined that it actually cost taxpayers more to privatize the prisons, and reduce the public’s safety at the same time. Fortunately the bill was voted down, but the republic leadership hid it in the budget which was passed, and now is being fought in the courts with taxpayers paying the legal bills. The second example, is Associated Industries, an extremely powerful business PAC in Florida. They are passing out millions to candidates to ensure votes in the next session. The president of AIF leading this charge is former Congressman Tom Feeney, three times voted as “one of the most corrupt politicians in Washington”. If Tom was corrupt in Washington with the nation watching, one could only wonder what deals he is making in back rooms with candidates who are accepting his money.

FT: The main reason I wanted this interview was your answer on the state of FCAT testing and education in general from “the Florida’s people, Florida’s promise forum”. You’ve got knowledge on the topic. Can you try to rebuild that answer?

Ashby: Sure, as I mentioned at the forum, standardized testing is a mainstay in education. However the FCAT takes testing to a new level, and has been a huge detriment to our education system. Standardized testing is to determine strengths and weaknesses of a student’s growth, and allow the student’s teacher and parents to craft a plan to raise the students proficiency. However the legislature over the past few years have placed a much higher emphasis on the results. The FCAT is now used many times as the sole tool to determine the effectiveness of teachers, the school, and the district. As such, the teachers, schools, and districts have been forced to emphasize the importance of it, forcing them to eliminate programs that students need to become qualified employees in the workforce. Another serious problem with the FCAT, is the changing criteria which is set after the test is taken to determine the grading scale. Is it fair to our students to require them to take a test, and tell them afterwards how they will be scored? This has led to disastrous results this past school year and must be changed. Florida’s education system needs to return to the idea that we are producing young adults to enter the real world, and at this time we are not. We must focus more on giving students opportunities to see what awaits them outside of the school house gates. Not every student can or will go to college, but we are treating them as such. Public education should be about giving kids opportunities to learn and be better adults, but sadly the current legislature feels differently, and this must change.

FT: Simple question. Why should the voters choose you and not you’re opponent?

Ashby: This election, I hope people look beyond the “D’ or “R” next to somebody’s name and vote for the candidate who is best for the district and for the state. I have dedicated my life to public service, to ensure that all people are able to accomplish their dreams. I am middle class, my opponent is anything but. I am for creating jobs, my opponent killed thousands of jobs in Florida by voting to reduce Florida’s GDP by $1.2 billion in the last 12 months, and counting. I refuse to bow to special interests, my opponent has taken thousands from these groups, including the one run by “One of the most corrupt politicians in Washington” three times running. How many favors does he have to pay off now? I am for assisting small businesses, my opponent voted for an illegal monopoly while on the Canaveral Port Authority preventing the creating and growth of small businesses ending with a $700,000 fine. And finally, I live in the district and have for many years, my opponent does not.

FT: I always like to end interviews with an opportunity to tell the voters something they may not know about you or your campaign. What might that be?

Ashby: As a native Floridian, I have always had a passion for exploring Florida’s opportunities. Whether it’s fishing out of Port Canaveral, scuba diving all up and down the Atlantic, or playing golf virtually in every corner of the state, I am ready to protect it lands and it’s citizens in Tallahassee.

Ashby faces opposition from Tom Goodson.

Saturday Morning Political Headlines: Obama in Orlando Thursday

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Good Morning. I hope you’re Saturday if off to a great start!

President Barack Obama will be in Orlando Thursday. This is a rescheduled visit from last week when the tragic shootings in Aurora Colorado occurred. The President canceled his visit Rollins College just hours before he was scheduled arrive to morn with the victims and families. Now that campaigning has resumed for both Obama and Mitt Romney, Orlando is more important than ever.

We’ve also got some coverage of Florida Jeb Bush endorsing Marco Pena in his State House Race.

These stories and advertising on school uniforms lead your Saturday morning headlines.

Have a great week!

CF News 13: Obama reschedules visit to Orlando

Orlando Sentinel: Obama back in Orlando next week

WKMG Local 6: Jeb Bush backs UCF alumnus for District 49 seat

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: (Video) Orange Co. schools consider selling ad space among budget woes

WESH 2: (CNN) White House, Republicans spar on tax cuts

WOFL FOX 35: Valencia College to open Medical City campus

The President returns to Central Florida this week.

Jeb endorses Marco Pena in State House 49

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Big endorsement news to finish a very busy week and take us into the homestretch of the primary season.

Former Florida Governor and national conservative favorite Jeb Bush has endorsed Marco Pena in his State House 49 race.

“Marco has the courage, experience and determination to confront the tough issues facing our state. His conservative leadership will well serve the people of Florida.” Bush said in the statement.

If you’re running a Republican primary in Florida there are few bigger names you want in your corner than the man many wanted to run for President. And many still wish would accept the Vice-Presidential nod. Bush however turned down any possibility of running with Mitt Romney, instead choosing to promote another Marco. That being Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

Pena has had a big week with endorsements. Earlier this week he secured the support of former Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty and before that, current county commissioners Jennifer Thompson and John Martinez. In a game of political baseball, those are singles and doubles when you look at the home run the Pena campaign hit with this announcement. And sets the stage in the homestretch many consider to be the fight for UCF in state politics.

Pena faces opposition from Rene Plasencia in the Republican primary and a showdown with either Joe Saunders or Shayan Elahi in the November general.

The former Florida Governor has endorsed Marco Pena

Friday Morning Political Headlines: Lamar, Lawson throw-down Downtown and Sign Stealing.

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Happy Friday.

You know what happens in Baseball when they catch you stealing signs?

If you’re caught stealing campaign signs, this should be your punishment

So, here is your friendly election cycle reminder. Don’t steal campaign signs! We’ve got a video story about this today.

Also, another debate in the Orange-Osceola State Attorney Race between Lawson Lamar and Jeff Ashton. Plenty of video coverage of that below. They debated at UCF earlier this week.

Those two stories lead off your Friday morning political headlines. Have a great weekend!

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: (Video) Video shows Orange Co. judge candidate’s campaign signs being stolen

WKMG Local 6: (Video) Jeff Ashton, Lawson Lamar make closing arguments in debate

WESH 2: (Video) State attorney race heats up at debate

Orlando Sentinel: Ashton, Lamar debate in downtown Orlando

CF News 13: Candidates, voters mingle at Orange, Seminole hob nobs

WOFL Fox 35: Formats announced for 3 fall presidential debates

Florida’s People, Florida’s Promise Forum, hosted by Orlando Sentinel, LWV, FOX

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2012 at 3:22 pm

On Wednesday, the folks at the Orlando Sentinel, League of Women’s Voters, and a few other organizations hosted a terrific candidate forum featuring all of the State House, and State Senate races in Central Florida.

Hosted by the Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell, and FOX 35’s Keith Landry, the forum took over 15 candidates, put them on stage in front of a full house at the Shakespeare Theater and asked them the tough questions. Education, the economy, abortion, and tourism were all covered and it produced some strong ideas, and great political theater. The format of the debate was the best part of the event. A “Royal Rumble” of politicians that had candidates moving to the microphone to push their platform to voters before their opponents. It also led to disagreements between candidates that aren’t even in the same race!.

Some highlights:

The moderators were great and have done dozens of these before. It’s tough enough to keep two candidates on track let alone 15 of them.

Got to give credit to Rep. Scott Plakon. By applause, this audience leaned slightly left and Plakon was booed often. He took the shots, didn’t fold on his platform and moved on. His opponent was a no show. If he didn’t earn any votes, he should have earned some respect.

Rep. Darren Soto was putting on a clinic at times, using his experience in Tallahassee and integrating that experience into his answers. His opponent also didn’t show.

Multiple opponents in one place. You got to see previews of Linda Stewart vs. Bob Brooks. You had Shayan Elahi vs. Joe Saunders. And you had candidates that you might not otherwise see at all during an election cycle.

Here are a couple of photos.

Thanks to the sponsors who put on this free event.

The forum was hosted by Scott Maxwell and Keith Landry

John Bush, Darren Soto, and Fritz Seide

Rosalind Johnson, Scott Plakon, Shannon Currie, Rene “Coach P” Plasencia

Sean Ashby, Ron Rushing, Linda Stewart, Shayan Elahi, Jason Henry

A one stop candidate forum

The candidates present with links to their websites (if they could be found):

Scott Plakon- State House 30
Darren Soto- State Senate 14
Rosalind Johnson State House District 46
Bob Brooks State House 47
Shannon Currie State House 45
Rene “Coach P” Plasencia State House 49
Fritz Seide State Senate 12
John F. Bush State House 28
Joe Saunders State House 49
Victor Torres State House 48
Mike Clelland State House 34
Jason Henry State House 46
Shayan Elahi State House 49
Linda Stewart State House 47
Ron Rushing State Senate 15
Sean Ashby State House 50

A great event with a format that needs to be used more often!

Thursday Morning Political Headlines: Huck endorses Mica, West stands with Adams

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Great content for you today on this Thursday morning.

We’ve got some great video footage of that great debate from the other night and some truth tests for you to check out.

We’ve also got two big endorsements in that intense Republican primary in the 7th district between Representatives John Mica and Sandy Adams.

Sandy Adams nabs an endorsement from her fellow Tea Party Freshman Allen West. West had more media appearances than any other member of congress last year and the former Army Colonel is known for his straight talk and fearlessness in Washington.

This is the 2nd endorsement in as many days for Adams. Yesterday, she earned the endorsement of the FFPC. A major social conservative group in the state.

Her opponent also made the major announcement that Former Presidential Candidate, and Conservative Favorite Mike Huckabee has endorsed the Mica campaign. Huck has his own Fox News show and is an active campaigner that is known for making appearances for his endorsees before election day.

Those stories lead your Thursday morning political headlines.

CF News 13: VIDEO – News 13 Debate State attorney candidates on Stand Your Ground law

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: (Video) Reality Check: Review of Crossroads GPS ‘Excuses’ ad

WESH 2: (VIDEO) Truth Test: Romney sings while Obama belts out sour notes

WKMG Local 6: (CNN) Obama maintains lead among Latino voters

Orlando Sentinel: Huckabee backs Mica

WOFL Fox 35: (AP) Rep. West endorses fellow GOP freshman Adams

Huck endorses Mica

Allen West endorses Sandy Adams