Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

Top Political Quotes from Central Florida in 2012

In Uncategorized on December 28, 2012 at 6:23 pm

It’s time for the best Political Quotes from Florida Politics over the last year. It’s been a busy year with a lot of zingers. With so much at stake and with Presidential politics spilling over into the smaller races, you get a lot of that influence.

You can just shut up..Todd Long to Alan Grayson during the Tiger Bay Congressional Debate

“I will destroy you”- John Mica (allegedly) before his primary to fellow Rep. Sandy Adams

“I believe that we’re operating under a case of mistaken identity that the fourth is the first”– Former Senator George Lemieux attacking Connie Mack the IV after he entered the GOP Senate Primary

“I’m not signing any pledge. That’s a gimmick of my opponents but, I plan to serve four years.”- Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer during his re-election campaign.

“John Mica is a personification of all that is wrong in Washington“- Congresswoman Sandy Adams referring to her fellow House Rep. during their grueling primary.

“You didn’t build that” – President Barack Obama. Yeah, I know, I know, you can interpret it any way you like but this was Obama’s “47%” moment

“If you use their playbook to get elected, when you get there, your number 1 agenda from day 1 is getting reelected.” Congressman Daniel Webster

“The people of Florida hear you saying one thing to them and then voting with Barack Obama” Connie Mack in his lone debate with Senator Bill Nelson.

“Is that the only line you memorized?“- Bill Nelson, 10 seconds later in that same debate.

3, 4, 5 years from now, if I do a good job as Vice-President.. I’m sorry.“- Florida Senator Marco Rubio

“I’m your best cheerleader”– Congressman John Mica to President Barack Obama on the house floor. Shown in an attack ad by Sandy Adams.

Please disregard previous healthcare statement.“- Florida CFO Jeff Atwater after releasing an email congratulating the Supreme Court for striking down the President’s Healthcare plan (Obamacare). They held up the plan in a historic ruling.

“He made money off of Casey Anthony”– Former State Attorney Lawson Lamar during his debate with Prosecutor Jeff Ashton.

“Look, I hope it’s not a deal maker but my playlist starts with AC/DC and ends with Zepplin” From the RNC in Tampa. GOP VP nominee Paul Ryan

“Here’s looking at Christie/Rubio 2016!”– Frank Torres minutes after President Barack Obama won re-election

“Who the heck is Frank Torres?”– Anonymous Political Operative. I ask myself that question every morning and then I work harder.

Till next time!

These two will be producing memorable quotes for years to come

These two will be producing memorable quotes for years to come

Fiscal Cliff will be a scary fall for Floridians

In Uncategorized on December 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Rumors have surfaced from the nation’s capital that a deal on the “Fiscal Cliff” is a “virtual impossibility” before the January 2nd deadline.

If you haven’t heard, the “fiscal cliff” is a combination of massive budget cuts and tax increases, created by the Debt Supercommittee last year, during the debt ceiling negotiations (we’ve also hit that same debt ceiling again by the way). These triggers were put in place to force us to overcome political gridlock and find more permanent solutions to reduce the deficit. We’re talking tax increases for all Americans and massive cuts to the national budget, with defense spending taking the majority of the damage. One official called it a “Self-Amputation” for the industry.

It’s financial crash dieting. Oh, you’ll reduce the deficit but it’s going to be unhealthy and painful (especially on Wall St.).

What about here in Florida? How will Washington’s failure to reach a compromise affect us here in the Sunshine State?

We all know tourism is our main industry here, we’re the biggest vacation destination on the planet. As the business world adjusts to the tax increases, they’ll start laying off workers. These layoffs will take place all over the country and families that had planned on using their savings to go see Mickey at the Magic Kingdom, or visit Harry Potter at Universal Studios, will have to be used to fill the gap between jobs.

This could also endanger the chances of repeating our Tourist Tax windfall from a couple of months back, that are helping to renovate the Citrus Bowl and other venues. This should make Mayors Buddy Dyer and Teresa Jacobs a little nervous. Dyer was part of the Mayoral delegation that spoke to President Obama earlier this month.

All of know someone who currently, or at some point worked for defense contractors like Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grunman right? Each of those companies have already laid off thousands over the last few years but, going over the cliff will open the flood gates. Many more skilled, educated workers could join the unemployed. These operations are all over the state, and could cause a mass migration of talent to leave and go to Texas where the recession hasn’t been as harsh.

What about you and me? What about our neighbors?

Well, all of our taxes are going up. It could be anywhere between 2400 to 3600 individually. It will also cause layoffs at the community level. Businesses in Orlando are especially quick to reduce the workforce, after tax hikes or large policy changes, that affect the bottom line. An example are the layoffs at Orlando Health caused by changes being implemented with the President’s Health Care plan.

There is a strong possibility you’ll see more of those kind of “adjustments” by regional businesses to stabilize their bottom line.

This is scary stuff. That’s why we’re calling it a cliff, and for Floridians like you and I, already dealing with unemployment higher than the national average, the fall will be much more frightening.

There could be some dark days for tourism if we go over the fiscal cliff

There could be some dark days for tourism if we go over the fiscal cliff

Merry Christmas from Buddy Dyer, Teresa Jacobs, Marco Rubio, Rick Scott,….and Charlie Crist?!

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Here is hoping that you find peace, relaxation, and happiness this holiday season. That you put aside politics (especially at the dinner table with the in-laws), and focus on what really matters during this special time of year.

Merry Christmas from me to you! I’ll be back on Wednesday when we’ll be preparing to fly full speed off the fiscal cliff.

Take care and here are some holiday greetings and pictures from your lawmakers.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs

Jacobs holiday

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Florida Governor Rick Scott (with a dash of self-promotion)

Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist (Why would a former Governor put out a holiday message? You know why. Hey it’s the holidays!)

Orlando’s Top Ten Political Rivalries 2012: #1 The “Casey Race” Lawson Lamar vs. Jeff Ashton

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Here we are, and we’re going to finish our rivalry series at the end of the year, with the announcement that kicked off Orlando Politics at the beginning of the year. The “Casey Race” for Orange-Osceola State Attorney between longtime incumbent Lawson Lamar and Casey Anthony Prosecutor Jeff Ashton.

Transcript:

Florida Politics with Frank Torres. And here we are, the number 1 political rivalry here in Orlando from 2012 and this one got started very early in the year. It started with a cold declaration on a freezing January morning in Downtown Orlando. It also involved the backdrop of a national story. A story that had the nation in front of it’s television for hours a day. The number political rivalry of 2012 is The “Casey Race”, the race for Orange-Osceola Attorney between incumbent Lawson Lamar and Casey Anthony Prosecutor Jeff Ashton. A bitter race, a race that ran high on emotions, alot of what happened behind the scenes of the biggest trial the nation has scene over the past few years and some finger pointing over the outcome of the trial. You’ll remember, Anthony accused of killing her young daughter. The trial landed right here in Orlando, you had new trucks parked on Orange Avenue for months covering this trial. And after the race was over Ashton retired. Then he announced he would run against his former boss Lamar on that January morning.

A lot of interesting angles in the race besides the Casey factor. You had one of Lamar’s own guys coming after him, after Ashton retired, he wrote a big and did the talk show circuit, “The View” and things like that. And the book sold well. He was everywhere. A movie was made after the book and he was casted by Rob Lowe. The movie comes out next month, check the dates, it’s around the anniversary of when Ashton announced.

More subplots. There were two other candidates. Defense attorney Yoerg Jager and fellow attorney from the state Attorney’s office Ryan Williams. They both jumped in the race, both ended up dropping out and each lined up behind opposing candidates. Williams behind Ashton, Jager behind Lamar. It also came down to a discussion over the efficiency of the office. Was the technology outdated? Were the attorneys overworked? Should the State Attorney try cases? Or was the role of the State Attorney to be a manager and administrator? And it would come down to that discussion.

Well who won? Well, Jeff Ashton won, but the story that makes this the number 1 rivalry isn’t just the fact that it’s the “Casey Race”. It wasn’t over the duties of the office. It was actually one of the events that happened the night of the election. After Ashton was the announced winner, Casey Anthony’s father George went to congratulate Ashton on his victory. I remember when I saw Anthony making his way to the party. No one knew what he was going to do. He actually arrived to the party and embraced Ashton. In a truly dramatic conclusion to the year’s biggest rivalry.

I wrote a blog post about this race. Did Jeff Ashton plan it all out? Did he know from the day he retired that he was going to challenge Lamar? And if he did, how carefully was it planned? From the media tour to taking the profits of that media tour and using it in the campaign. I believed he benefited from the celebrity status he got from the trial. But was it planned? Only he would be able to tell you. That’s why it was the biggest rivalry of the year and Jeff Ashton came out the winner.

It’s been great being able to deliver this rivalry series to you. Over the year, there are so many races, so much negative dialogue it’s difficult to pull them apart. These were the top races I believe were the biggest rivalries of the year, that had the most tense exchanges between candidates, and negative messages. I enjoyed bringing it to you. It’s been a great series. Before the year is over we’ll have our “Year in quotes” for Florida Politics with Frank Torres, I’ll see you next time!

LINKS TO THE REST OF THE TOP TEN:

10. Buddy Dyer vs. “The Field”
9. Connie Mack vs. Charlie Sheen
8. John Tegg vs. Jerry Demings
7. Scott Plakon vs. Karen Castor Dentel
6. Orange County Activists vs. The Orange County Commission
5. Charlie Crist vs. The Florida GOP
4. Chris Dorworth vs. The Media
3. Alan Grayson vs. Todd Long
2. Sandy Adams vs. John Mica

The race for Orange-Osceola State Attorney was the biggest political rivalry of the year

The race for Orange-Osceola State Attorney was the biggest political rivalry of the year

Scott’s Biggest potential GOP Rivals have been standing next to him the entire time.

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm

When Quinnipiac poll numbers were released this week and Florida Governor Rick Scott’s approval numbers were suffering, no one thought twice. The Governor’s poll numbers have been dismal since taking office almost two years ago. He’s still got time to turn it around before his November 2014 general election showdown with Charlie Crist or Alex Sink right?

That’s if he makes it to the general election.

The numbers that jumped off the page, and should have Scott’s team worried were the 53 percent of GOP voters that would like to see Scott compete in a primary. 53%. It’s safe to say those looking for another Republican option, would prefer Scott not being the ambassador of their party.

Ironically enough, Scott’s biggest threats have been in this state’s cabinet the entire time, and with these recent numbers and Scott’s overall approval rate failing to break 40% in almost a year, the state’s CFO, Attorney General, and Secretary of Agriculture would have to consider rushing Scott and taking his place in the general election.

It’s about keeping the Governor’s mansion in the GOP after all right? After President Obama was elected and Democrats made massive gains in the state house? Rick Scott jumped into the GOP primary late in 2010 and overthrew longtime favorite Bill McCullom before barely beating a weak Alex Sink. These three lawmakers would be doing what’s best for the party. What’s best for the state of Florida.

Let’s take a closer look at potential Scott rivals in the cabinet.

CFO Jeff Atwater: The former Senate President and current Chief Financial Officer isn’t done. We know that. He shortly considered a run for Senate before declining (a decision that in hindsight was the right one) and is always making the rounds. He’s got the experience in the state legislature and has already easily won a state level campaign. If he’s not done, and if he’s not interested in the Senate (until Nelson retires) then he’s got to be looking at Governor. If not now, then in 2016.

Attorney General Pam Bondi:The rising star on the national level for the the Florida GOP is it’s AG, Pam Bondi. She’s been doing television analysis for years on Cable TV. She was one of the moderators for a primary debate this year and spent the majority of the cycle campaigning with Mitt Romney. Her attractive appearance and that long blonde hair makes her easy to spot in the crowd. It’s easy to see her taking the Tea Party thunder from Scott. She’s been outfront fighting the President’s healthcare plan or “Obamacare”, even after the Supreme Court made it’s ruling. Like Atwater, it’s hard to see Bondi retreating after her stay as Attorney General.

Secretary of Agriculture Adam Putnam: Bondi and Atwater are both popular picks but, the insiders I’ve spoken to, like the young AG secretary. Yeah he’s young but he’s got to experience. He was elected to Congress in his 20’s and is the only one in the group (including Scott) with DC experience. You don’t hear much about him because, well, he’s the Secretary of Agriculture. When Florida Republicans get to know Putnam, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to move up. And he’s younger so, he can wait out Bondi and Atwater.

The big three factors? The ones working against Scott.

None of them had to hide during the recent elections from fear of hurting candidates.
There all adored by RPOF. (Putnam and Bondi are on the party’s literature)
They’ve all got charisma for miles longer than Rick Scott.

So, when Florida Republicans are polling that they would like to see Governor Scott win a primary, he would be best off taking notice.

And creating a little more space between the members of his cabinet, he knows in his heart of hearts could beat him in 2014.

With Florida Republicans open to a Rick Scott primary challenge, Bondi would be a possibility

With Florida Republicans open to a Rick Scott primary challenge, Bondi would be a possibility

2012 Lawmakers we’ll see run again in Central Florida

In Uncategorized on December 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm

In every election there is a winner and a loser. The loser often re-evaluates their goals and decides whether or not they should run again. If they “give it another go” they’ll start planning for their next opportunity. The winner immediately starts planning for re-election with fundraising and sprinkles in a little public service, here and there.

These are lawmakers from 2012 that either lost (or in one case, sat out) their elections but still have the opportunity to win a race in the future.

Sandy Adams: Just because her colleague and longtime Congressman John Mica easily beat her in their nationally watched GOP primary, doesn’t mean she’s done with public service. The termed out former State Representative and lame duck freshman is still viewed favorably by the GOP. She’s only 56 and touts a perfect voting attendance record in Washington during her term.

When and for what?: When Mica retires, Adams will get phone calls from the party and in the red 7th district, would be in terrific shape to return to Washington.

Phil Diamond: It’s important to point out that Diamond was a strong candidate to take on Buddy Dyer, in the Orlando Mayor’s race. The former Orlando Commissioner scored a lot of points being able to match, and in some cases best the Mayor’s knowledge of city issues. The Dyer fundraising juggernaut didn’t give Diamond any daylight to be competitive, and with popular big city projects recently completed or under construction, the voters didn’t believe a change was necessary.

He was a popular name for Tax Collector after Earl K. Wood passed but wasn’t selected.

When and for what?: Diamond is the kind of candidate you can plug into any race and compete in. There is a movement to make county races partisan. Could Diamond be drafted by Orange Democrats for a municipal race in the future?

Eric Eisnaugle: In what was considered one of the most selfless acts in local politics, Eisnaugle decided not to run for re-election against his colleague and friend Rep. Stephen Precourt, after redistricting matched them against each other. Eisnaugle was popular while in office, and had a reputation as being one of the more thoughtful lawmakers with advocates from both sides. He instead, dedicated the election cycle to support grassroots efforts for the Mitt Romney campaign in Orange County.

When and for what?: Florida State House 44 in 2014 with the support of Precourt and almost everyone from the local and state GOP.

There were other names you could have added to this list, but political geography creates challenges for them. It’s true that mid-term elections could give Republicans a fighting chance against some Democratic incumbents, but it’s far from a sure thing to speculate that they’ll run.

We’ve got plenty of time to see who else will throw their hats into the ring.

Eisnaugle sat out 2012 to help the team. They'll rally behind him in 2014.

Eisnaugle sat out 2012 to help the team. They’ll rally behind him in 2014.

Orange County approves extra funds for higher Police presence in schools. State Government to follow next year?

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm

This afternoon the Orange County Commission approved 3 million dollars for an increased Deputy presence in the county’s elementary school system. This action follows the tragic shootings in Newtown, CT last Friday.

Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Sheriff Jerry Demings, and Orange County School Chair Bill Sublette led the talks leading up to the unanimous “yes” vote. There were many concerns over the sustainability of the increased presence in the schools. Sheriff Demings broke down the existing level of strength in the schools (2 per high school, 1 per middle school, 1 officer per 4 or 5 elementary schools), and the different duties involved on each level of the school system, with deputies teaching anti-bullying and drug lessons in elementary schools, leading up to the more traditional law enforcement duties that are occasionally required at the High School level. He stressed an improvement of infrastructure as a more permanent solution and that existing deputies would be working overtime to fill the requests. Jacobs agreed that this measure was to “bridge the gap” until other plans were made.

Commissioners Tiffany Moore-Russell and Scott Boyd also stressed the need for longer term plans, citing that residents will insist on this becoming the standard moving forward.

With the current security conditions in schools being reviewed all over the country, can we expect action in Tallahassee next session? Or in 2014?

If the recent past is any indication, action at the state level is a strong possibility.

Unlike “Caylee’s law”, which made it illegal for a parent to ignore reporting a missing child, a state level solution would have to be a fiscally oriented one. A plan that would avoid the same obstacles the County Commission had to deal with today. The state legislature has been touting a surplus, no doubt there will be debate over existing projects or programs that would have to be cancelled or delayed to fund any improvements for school security.

The county commission approved funds for more deputies in Orange County Schools

The county commission approved funds for more deputies in Orange County Schools

Clinton fall should worry all Dems, especially here in Florida

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm

When former First Lady and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton fainted from dehydration over the weekend, she sustained a concussion from the fall. She is expected to fully recover and get back to work in a few days. During this time, John Kerry will get the opportunity to rehearse for what many believe will be his next position.

A 65 year old woman suffering a concussion is a serious matter, even for a “superwoman” like Clinton who, otherwise is in good health.

She’s going to run for President in 2016. No one tries to discount or disguise this. Democratic Strategist and Author James Carville says, “Everybody wants her to run and nobody wants to run against her”. Fair enough, but if she can’t run, if for health reasons or lack of fire in the belly she declines, what’s next for Democrats? Who else can run?

There is our gaffe-prone VP. Joe Biden could run but, his reputation as a loose cannon has been more of a punch-line for late night television, than a running start into a Presidential campaign but okay, we’ll put him out there. Your Presidential talent pool consists of two lawmakers in their late 60’s with more miles on them, than an 83′ Corolla. Who else?

There isn’t anyone else. No one that can beat a Chris Christie, no one that can beat a Marco Rubio or even a Jeb Bush, who’s name brand should have healed enough by then, to contemplate running.

No one else can win Florida except for Hilary Clinton. If Rubio or Jeb decide to run, the Sunshine State, which has gone blue in 2008′, last month, and is trending Democrat for 2016, will be up for grabs. Heck, the Bi-lingual former Governor or the Senator that’s outfront on Immigration would have to run if Clinton couldn’t go.

If that doesn’t terrify Florida Democrats, it should. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo can’t win down here, Maryland Governor Bob O’Malley can’t either. Kirsten Gillibrand who’s often referred to as “Hilary-light” might be their best chance but, she can’t stand across the stage from any of the three “R’s” mentioned in this post.

Hilary would be 69 years old when sworn in. She shouldn’t be dealing with the same injuries that keep NFL Quarterbacks on the sidelines. If Democrats need to hire an entourage to carry around a Gatorade cooler and a wagon of throw pillows, to follow her around with, they need to do it.

Because right now, no one else from her party can win the Sunshine State.

If Clinton can't run in 2016 Gillibrand could be an alternative

If Clinton can’t run in 2016 Gillibrand could be an alternative

Thoughts and Prayers to the Victims and Families of the Newtown, CT Shootings

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2012 at 10:50 pm

It’s a tragic day for the country.

The needless violence today resulted in the deaths of dozens of teachers and students, who just wanted to do what millions of us do everyday. To learn, spend time with peers, and help build better futures for our families.

Please take a moment to reflect and pray for the victims and families of today’s shootings at the elementary school in Connecticut.

Prayers Newtown

newtown conneticut

Orlando’s Top Ten Political Rivalries 2012: #2 Sandy Adams vs. John Mica

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2012 at 4:23 pm

The number 2 rivalry in our rundown of the Top Ten Political Rivalries in Central Florida is the primary that split the Republican Party. Two popular fellow Representatives who were forced to face each other after redistricting. It was the Freshman Tea Party Favorite Sandy Adams vs. the long time establishment favorite John Mica.

Transcript:

Florida Politics with Frank Torres and we are down to #2. The number 2 political rivalry here in Central Florida this year. The biggest political primary here in the region. I’m of course talking about the race between Representatives Sandy Adams and John Mica. There was a lot of sizing each other up before the campaigned kicked off, did one want to run in another district. There was an argument over who should really be running in the district. Redistricting threw everyone off, so the campaign started over “Who’s district was it really?” with both campaigns throwing there talking points out there.

Another aspect was the division in culture. You had the Tea Party favorite, Adams a former law enforcement officer, against the establishment and longtime favorite Mica. And those two cultures clashed at different points throughout the campaign with other various lawmakers and candidates lining up behind Mica or Adams.

A very violent campaign. Sandy Adams started going negative, very early on, over John Mica saying he was too moderate with the culture in Washington. The results to those negative attacks did work in Adams’ favorite but it did produce one of the best ads of the year. It’s an anti-mica ad and we’re gonna run it right now.

(Mica Best Cheerleader Ad)

Perhaps, the ad of the year. It’s definitely up there. A well done ad, a funny ad from the reserved Congresswoman but it didn’t work. Which brings us to Who Won? That would be John Mica. This would be the toughest part of Mica’s re-election campaign but it really wasn’t even that close. It demonstrated that she could compete on some levels but she never got as close as she needed to. They debated once that was it. She turned down the other requests and she wanted to see if her Tea Party support could overwhelm Mica, like the race up north with long time Congressman Cliff Stearns losing to the Tea Party Favorite, Ted Yoho but it didn’t work. Mica won the race and this matchup and this very intense race is number 2 on your list. Only one left. Who could it be? It definitely took the city by storm but for now #2 Sandy Adams vs. John Mica. I’m Frank Torres, I’ll see you next time.

One of the biggest GOP primaries in the country takes the no. 2 spot

One of the biggest GOP primaries in the country takes the no. 2 spot