Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Posts Tagged ‘fred brummer’

Rubio pushes Immigration deal on every Sunday Morning Talker, Scott signs Internet Cafe Ban, Orange Commission greenlights Universal Bridge – WIR

In Uncategorized on April 14, 2013 at 11:04 pm

It’s your Week in Review and the big news was Florida Senator Marco Rubio‘s media blitz this morning on all of the Sunday talk Shows. He was on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week, State of the Union, Fox News Sunday, and Al Punto.

His main message was aimed at fellow Conservatives. That message? This is not amenesty and will be the toughest immigration laws we’ve seen.

He also talked gun control and plans for 2016. An effective slew of appearances for Rubio, who many believe is the future of the party.

We’ve also got Rick Scott and Tim Tebow and the Orange County Commission gives Universal Studios their pedestrian bridge.

This is your Week in Review

Video Transcript:

Florida Politics with Frank Torres. This is your Week in Review. Now normally, we start from the beginning of the week and move forward to Sunday but this week we’re doing it in reverse. That is because the big new took place this morning. I’m talking about Florida Senator Marco Rubio making his big immigration media blitz, hitting every Sunday morning talker discussing the agreement on sweeping immigration reform from the bi-partisan “Gang of Eight”. Rubio appeared on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week, State of the Union,…Am I missing any? Fox News Sunday and Al Punto on Univision. Rubio’s big message was that this was not amnesty. This talking point was to try to calm some of the more Conservative opinion leaders that any path to citizenship that did not require the undocument or illegal immigrant to return to his country was amnesty.

Immigration wasn’t the only issue Rubio discussed. He was asked several times about Gun Control and the push behind the legislature for mandatory background checks. This was complicated, several of the moderators stretched back to Rubio’s time in the Florida House when he supported background checks. Rubio had to differentiate the two circumstances before moving on. He stressed that Violence was the problem, not the procedure so many Americans go through to purchase firearms.

He was also asked several times about 2016. Rubio deflected by saying that he was in Washinton to solve problems and that’s where his head was. This was similar to what he did last year when he was getting the same kind of questions.

All in all a good round of appearances for the junior Senator from Florida. Not as strong as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who did the same a few weeks back but, Rubio was talking about gun control and specific immigration points. Bush was promoting a book and the only obstacle he had was his changing mindsets on the path to citizenship.

One problem Rubio had was the lighting at his location. His people need to learn how to handle the lighting. It looked at times like Rubio was melting and was about 3 shades redder than he had to be. He literally was in the hot seat. For a second, I thought we were going to get a repeat of the State of the Union Republican response.

We move on to Florida Governor Rick Scott. Scott quietly signed the bill banning internet cafes this week. Those are illegal, although some are being defiant and staying open until being asked to close. This could have been a bright photo op for the Governor. He could has sent a message by saying he wasn’t going to tolerate companies like this one stealing millions from veterans. He could have had the department of law enforcement, maybe AG Pam Bondi, but instead he chose to sign the bill without any cameras present. This could be because of the connections of former Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeniffer Carroll had with one of the companies that forced her to resign.

Also earlier this week. The Orange County Commission approved the Universal Studios pedestrian bridge that would link the park to one of it’s resorts. This bridge will be payed for entirely with tax payer dollars. The “Yes” votes were Scott Boyd, Fred Brummer, Tiffany Moore-Russell, and Jennifer Thompson. All of those commissioners except Thompson are termed out. The “No’s” were Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Ted Edwards, and Pete Clarke. Those commissioners questioned why they couldn’t split the tab of 9 million dollars with the park that will seen increased profits. Advocates for the bridge will argue that, the more successful the park is, the stronger the profits will be for the surrounding smaller businesses.

Finally, we return to Governor Scott. Scott appeared with Tim Tebow this weekend. It benefits Scott greatly to stand next to a guy like Tebow. As popular as Tebow is, that’s how unpopular Rick Scott is. It certainly doesn’t hurt. Right now Scott at odds with the legislature, this delay additional dents his reputation might have to endure.

That’s your Week in Review, I’ll see you next time.

Orange Commission greenlights Universal Bridge, Scott to signs cafe ban quietly, and Rubio and Gang of 8 to announce immigration deal soon

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Big day involving the Theme Parks and local politics. The Orange County Commission greenlit the tax dollars to build the Universal Pedestrian Bridge that would connect the resorts to it’s park. The vote went 4-3 in favor of the 9 million dollar project.

Today, it was announced that Florida Governor Rick Scott will not have any public signing of the internet cafe ban bill. This is due to the connections between an investigation that found one of the cafes allegedly funneling non-profit dollars into for profit companies which resulted in almost 60 arrests. Former Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll resigned because of ties her old PR firm had with the company.

Finally, it was also announced that the “Gang of 8” Senators would announce a deal on immigration next week. The bi-partisan panel including Florida Senator Marco Rubio have been working on a solution for one of the year’s biggest issues on the hill.

This is your daily wrap up

Transcript of Video:

Florida Politics with Frank Torres and this is your daily wrap for Tuesday, April 9th 2013. The big news today was the Orange County Commission approving the pedestrian bridge that would connect the Universal Studios park to the resort. 5 million dollars on the bridge 9 million dollars on the entire package. The vote passed 4 to 3, your “Yes” votes were Commissioner Thompson, Scott Boyd, Tiffany Moore-Russell, and Fred Brummer, those were the votes in favor of the Tax Payers picking up the tab for this bridge for the park. Your “no” votes were Mayor Teresa Jacobs and commissioners Ted Edwards and Pete Clarke. We’re always looking at elections here and the political equity involved and those 4 commissioners with the exception of Jennifer Thompson are termed out. Moore-Russell, Scott Boyd, and Fred Brummer are termed out. Very little to be gained from opposing Universal on this. Jennifer Thompson, we spoke about her new opponent yesterday in Sean Ashby. She’ll be on the ballot next year. Still, very little involved when you add up the reasons to oppose it. Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Ted Edwards and Pete Clarke questioned why the taxpayers should have to pick up the entire tab but, the vote passed and the vote will be passed entirely with taxpayer money. Wow! What a victory for Universal, whoever worked out this bill really did well. This bridge will increase the overall satisfaction of their guests and increase the chances for repeat business. Which have had a big couple of years with the Harry Potter expansion and other attractions. They’ve done really well in the region over the last few years and when they do well. The revenue trickles down to the smaller businesses.

Other news, it was announced that Governor Rick Scott would not have a big public signing of the bill that would ban internet cafes. It was a curious move over why they wouldn’t want to make a signing out of this, it would have been a great photo op for him and State Attorney General Pam Bondi and sent the message that they weren’t going to put up with it. Most recently the group Allied Veterans of the World which allegedly was caught stealing millions. Reasons almost definitely relating to Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll who’s old PR company did business with Allied. It was recently revealed over the weekend that she didn’t volunteer to resign. She was asked to. So, a complicated situation for the Governor. I think the Publicity would have done him well. A public signing would have sent a message that Florida will not put up with this kind of operation. But, there are positives and negatives to both choices.

Finally, late this afternoon Politico broke the news that the Bi-Partisan Gang of 8 will announce a deal at the beginning of next week for sweeping immigration reform. Of Course Florida Senator Marco Rubio has been strongly featured in this group of lawmakers from both sides including John McCain, Chuck Schumer, and Lindsey Graham. It also means that the deal might include tougher rules on worker visas and border security. We’ll see.

Another big day in Florida Politics and we’ll keep rolling along. I’m Frank Torres and I’ll see you next time.

Brummer’s Bashing of Jacobs Text Plan Hurts Entire Orange Commission

In Uncategorized on January 10, 2013 at 11:51 pm

The Orange County Commission has had a tough couple of months. Several of the county commissioners have been targeted by activists and the subject of electronic communications during meetings has come up. Orange County Teresa Jacobs has vowed to crackdown on communications between the board and lobbyists during the meeting. District 2 Commissioner Fred Brummer had feed back that hurt his fellow commissioners.

Video Transcript:

Florida Politics with Frank Torres, and today we are talking about Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ crack down on the use of electronic devices during meetings. This has been a hot topic over the last couple of months. What should the rules be when using these devices during meetings? Who should they be communicating with? What should be the rules for reporting it? What should the guidelines be? Mayor Jacobs came up with a set of guidelines in response to the controversy, trying to solve the problem, and trying to offer more transparency, and a field of vision over how the commission communicates. That’s very good, that’s a step in the right direction. Trying to solve the problem and directly addressing her critics. Unfortunately, it got a very poor response from one of her peers. One of her termed out peers. who has been in office apparently too long, and just no longer cares. That would be commissioner Brummer, Commissioner of District 2. Who called this crackdown, this push, this plan for a more ethical government, crap. He called it pandering.

Are you serious Commissioner?

Are you really, really criticizing, your Mayor’s push to bring more honesty to county Government. I find this absolutely difficult to believe. It’s an absolutely wrong move. If he disagreed with it, he should have been more professional about it. But no, we got this snide remark, from a commissioner who is constantly seen with reflection of a laptop screen bouncing off his glasses, while ignoring issues that matter to the county.

I know this a very edgy political commentary but, you look at the political math here. Fred Brummer has nothing to lose, even if he wasn’t termed out, he would still be safe in that conservative district. He’s the most conservative member on that board, and to address a potential solution to the problem this way is childish and unprofessional.

There are other solutions brought forward. I agree with the suggestion from Commissioner Ted Edwards who said devices should be banned altogether. I think that’s a step in the right direction. You should paying attention to public comment, you should be paying attention to citizens, not what’s on your laptop at the moment.

Decades have lawmakers have done it before, this group can do it now.

A very positive move by Mayor Jacobs, adding transparency, and more disclosure of information during these meetings, but a terrible, terrible response by commissioner Brummer one her peers, that probably set the process back and opens another avenue for opponents of the commission to enter. Hopefully we can move forward towards a solution everyone can be happy with. I’m Frank Torres, I’ll see you next time.

Brummer Bashing solutions hurts all of his peers

Brummer Bashing solutions hurts all of his peers

What the Commission and Activists Did Wrong (and Right) during Orange County Sick Time Fight.

In Uncategorized on September 19, 2012 at 3:53 pm

In what was the most bitter county level government battle we’ll see this year, The Orange County Commission and Paid Sick Time Advocates limped away with plenty of bumps and bruises, that will leave plenty memorable scars for the next grudge match on Rosalind Ave.

The paid sick time initiative would have force business owners with more than 15 employees to pay for sick days away from work, after the employee worked a certain amount of hours. Businesses with less than 15 workers wouldn’t have to offer pay but couldn’t take action for any sick time the employee would take. Whether it was the flu, or a 3 alarm hangover.

Anyhow, the initiative finally fell after every possible avenue of attack last night, when a judge declined to intervene with another judgement made by a 3 judge panel on Sunday that sided with the activists. But gave the county 20 days to act. This would soar past the deadline, the County Supervisor needs to print the ballots. So, now this measure isn’t going to see a vote until 2014 or an expensive special election.

This measure was bad news. And the worst part? It was never about workers. If that’s what you thought, I’m sorry you got played.

Both sides have plenty to learn from this public confrontation that was on the top of newscasts and the front page of newspapers. Let’s break it down by Activists vs. Commission, what they did right and what they did wrong.

The Paid Sick Time Activists

Leadership got it wrong: Whoever was “outfront” for this group, really got it wrong. They missed the original petition deadline and had to be granted an extension by Mayor Jacobs. They didn’t examine the factors that affect legislation. If they did, they would find that emotional appeal takes not just a backseat, but a trunk, to re-election, and money. That’s just naive.

They sued the wrong person: The attorney for the group, State Representative Scott Randolph, sued Mayor Jacobs, not the commission and had to refile the suit. This costs the group valuable time. Randolph is declining a run for re-election for the state house and playfully hinted a run at Mayor Jacobs in 2014, to Orlando Sentinel reporter David Damron (who did a great job with story). He’s pondering a run for the Florida Democratic Chairman position but applied for a county commission spot before Charlie Crist appointed Lui Damiani. If he was suing Jacobs to make a point (which is my speculation only) then it hurt the movement.

Theatrics over Logistics and Burning Bridges: One productive phone bank or letter writing campaign is worth 6 streetside protests. There numbers also dwindled after the commission took that 4-3 vote that delayed the measure. Imagine if that crowded commission chamber of activists would have been working the phones for support, and parlayed that into political pressure on the commission?

Then there was the funeral at the commission meeting yesterday.

An hour of public comments saturated with snarky insults, and veiled threats. A procession of flowers thrown at the feet of the commission by activists dressed in black. It was like a Goth Bullfight.

Not how it’s done guys. You’re going to have to go before the commission again.

They did raise awareness: The County Commission’s stock is at an all-time low and a Chamber of Commerce that’s been using tax payer dollars to fund it’s activities is once again on notice.

This will effect future races and that was their main goal: This was about swinging positions on the board and generating disdain for candidates with strong business support. Every potential opponent of the commissioners will have this issue to ink on mailers.

It was never about supporting workers. Maybe the activists succeeded after all?

The Orange County Commission:

They were caught off-guard: Only Commissioner Jennifer Thompson had eyes on this issue as it grew. She was talking to voters and voicing her position weeks before the petitions were done.

The rest of the board? Not so much.

They let this issue get big and should have had a dozen other solutions than the 4-3 vote that set off a media firestorm. and by the way….

That vote to delay the measure WAS wrong and they “hustled” the activists: Yeah, it was dirty politics, and I haven’t seen that kind of hustling since Cruise and Newman in “The Color of Money” or for younger readers, Snipes and Harrelson in “White Men Can’t Jump”. Look at the political breakdown of the “Yes” votes.

Fred Brummer: Termed out, won easy re-election in 2010, the most conservative district in the county.

Scott Boyd: Re-elected with no opposition this year. Termed out

John Martinez: Appointed. Not Seeking Re-election.

Jennifer Thompson: She was the only one talking about this. Remember?

Yeah, it was wrong, really wrong, but it worked and the other commissioners that voted “no” can say they tried to stop it.

Mayor Jacobs. Too Nice?: If you’re blaming her for this you’re wrong. She granted the extension that allowed this petition drive to survive, only to be attacked by dozens of those same activists, just a couple of weeks later. She could have denied the extension and I’d be blogging about the Romney tape right now.

Then after “the funeral” Jacobs addressed those in attendance, who spent the previous hour bashing her, despite having a stellar bi-partisan resume, stared all of them down, and told them exactly why the action was being taken. Commissioner Edwards tried doing the same but refused to continue, after being heckled.

Bashing a Mayor who’s done as much as she has, working with so many different groups? Man, I don’t know.

Conclusion: Both groups did wrong, both groups did right. Ironically, I believe both groups are unhappy. This Measure was bad news. Sugar coated, poison that would have hindered hiring, led to cut backs in other areas of companies forced to adapt, and brings the possibility of many frivolous lawsuits. But the board didn’t have to move the way it did, and activists didn’t have to respond in a fashion that makes them look unstable.

The County Commission will have to work hard to restore it’s reputation after this hard fought battle

Orange County Commission doesn’t need to Expand

In Uncategorized on March 9, 2012 at 11:09 pm

It needs easier access to information.

There, this post could end right now and the problem would have been solved but, I’ll explain anyways.

Thursday the county charter review commission voted against expanding the current 6 member county board to 8 members. And it was the right call. The current size is exactly where it needs to be.

You see, there has been a lot of controversy in county government over the last year. No one liked the county redistricting appointments, negotiations for a domestic partnership registry were tense at times, and the Sunrail debate went right down to the wire.

But during those debates the problem was never with the size of the county commission it was the availability of the information to the community.

Unless a resident of Orange County puts aside a portion of their day to aggressively seek out information about the issues, they’re going to have a hard time finding what they’re looking for and when important and potentially controversial issues come before the Commission. Then you have residents feeling like they’ve been duped and that the political process is taking place behind closed doors, instead of out in the sunshine.

Not to mention additional costs to the taxpayers. More commissioner salaries, more resources needed to serve constituents and more confusion over who’s in who’s district.

Oh, but Orange County Government isn’t off the hook, they must do a better job of making announcements and information easily accessible.

Look at the County Website….. see all that empty real estate on the lower half of the screen. There should be an aggressive listing of open board appointments.

Every member must be using social media correctly. Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Only two members use it effectively on a regular basis. One doesn’t use it at all. This is a must! Put the widgets on their County profile page.

Return phone calls! Commissioners don’t do it. Instead phone calls are vetted through staff and don’t always get through (I know firsthand).

Both sides have work to do. The county has to eliminate excuses that have caused these problems and if activists and adversaries still aren’t happy, they need to find better leadership and mobilize on the campaign trail.

The size of the Orange County Commission is fine.

Far from perfect but the size of the County Commission should stay where it is.