Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Posts Tagged ‘jennifer thompson’

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.

Sean Ashby makes it Official, will Challenge Jennifer Thompson in OC District 4 in 2014.

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2013 at 11:03 pm

In a story broken by the East Orlando Post, Sean Ashby has made it official, he will challenge Orange County Commissioner Jennifer Thompson for Orange County District 4 in 2014.

Ashby is no stranger to the political scene, the educator ran for the Florida House last year, and was defeated. He interviewed with this blog during his run and is a gifted speaker with a passion for the issues.

Thompson will have the early advantage in the race. She’ll have more resources, name ID, voter turnout probability, and experience on the commission.

It’s going to be a great race. Both of these candidates are terrific on the stump.

Here is your daily wrap up and the East Orlando Sun interviewed Ashby this weekend, you can find that video below mine. Have a great day!

Transcript of Video:

Florida Politics with Frank Torres. I’m Frank Torres and this is your daily wrap for Monday, April 8th 2013. The big news today broken by the East Orlando Post earlier, former state house candidate Sean Ashby making it official, he will run against Jennifer Thompson for Orange County Commission 4 in 2014. Ashby ran for state house last year and lost but has maintained a presence in local politics. He called for the investigation into “Textgate”. “Textgate” refers to the text messages exchanged between the Orange County Commission and lobbyist during the Orange County Sick Time Initiative fight. The Initiative would have made it mandatory for Employers to give workers paid sick time off after a certain amount of hours put in. Employees couldn’t be held accountable for taking time off even if they didn’t have the hours worked. It would have hurt hiring and possibly resulted in frivolous lawsuits. Toxic Legislation.

It’s official let’s breakdown the race right now. Jennifer Thompson will have almost every advantage early on. Let me explain. One will be the money. Thompson is a gifted fundraiser, she was the money leader in her race back in 2014. The businesses will line up behind her once again. She’s a business owner herself in the district. Plus this early message from Ashby calling for this investigation into the sicktime initiative will hurt him with any potential donors from that circle. So he’s off to a bad start with them. Another thing is it’s a mid-term. Turnout will favor Republicans. Now, I know it’s a non-partisan race but both parties still try to get their guys elected. Thompson will enjoy support from both the party and her infrastructure back in 2010.

Sean Ashby his main talking point when he ran last year was education. He speaks with genuine passion about it, he’s an educator himself but that’s out of play in this race. We have a school board in the county that tackles the majority of those issues. Ashby will have to branch out and use his public speaking ability in other issues and try to excel there. Also, he’s going to have to make this about the Orange County Sick Time Initiative and if this thing gets defeated in Tallahassee and it looks like it might, then it’s going to be hard to make this race all about that particular push with so much time before the election. He can try to extend it but if this thing gets beaten at the state level it’s going to take away his one avenue of attack against Thompson. If it doesn’t get beaten then it shares the ballot with this race and local business might look at that connection and it could reflect badly on him.

Also, it’s just those two right now but that could change down the road. Another candidate could chop-up the anti-Thompson vote between Ashby and the other challenger (during the primary). There isn’t anyone now or rumored but that could change.

So a lot of the arrows leaning Thompson’s way but it’s way too early. You can’t even say that the campaign has kicked off. So, some more candidates announcing. You can expect it to kick into high gear later in the year. For now I’m Frank Torres and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Carroll Fallout, Grayson and Desantis make Headlines, Cortes Rolls out Endorsements- Your Daily Wrap-Up

In Uncategorized on March 14, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Busy day. Legislators are taking action after Lt. Jennifer Carroll’s resignation yesterday against Internet Cafe Companies like Allied Veterans of the World, who’s racketeering charges and connections to Carroll forced her to resign.

We’ve also got two very different Congressman making headlines for different reasons. Alan Grayson and Ron Desantis featured today.

Also in what should be an exciting 2014 race for Florida State House 30, Longwood Commissioner Bob Cortes rolls out endorsements from Orange County Commissioners Pete Clarke and Jennifer Thompson.

Video Transcript:

Florida Politics with Frank Torres. This is your Daily Wrap up for Thursday March 14th, we’ve got a lot to go over let’s get started. We start today with the fallout from the resignation of Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll. She resigned because of her ties with the company Allied Veterans of the World. What this company does is operate those internet cafes that you see in shopping centers that revolve around a large sweepstakes, which is basically gambling, alot of movement from legislators, to try to stand up legislation to stop these kinds of operations, you might remember former State Rep. Scott Plakon tried passing legislation on these cafes. They’ve been a problem in the community for sometime, you might remember a shooting at the Hunt Club location here in Central Florida. A lot of lawmakers now fighting back, we’ll see where that goes.

Also state wide, Republicans and Democrats revealing the campaign donations they’ve received from this organization. Laying all of their cards on the table some very recognizable names, from both sides accepting campaign contributions from this company, so this fall out has affected everybody over this company that was suppose to take it’s profits and give them to Veterans’ charaties and instead rerouted the money to for-profit companies, there have been over 50 arrests and this is turning into the biggest crackdown you’ll see all session. We’ll continue to monitor that situation.

In other news, a Tale of Two Central Florida Congressman, both making national headlines, let’s start with Alan Grayson, he just got his job back two months ago after being elected last November, you’ll recall Alan Grayson, not afraid to let the public know how he feels. No interests in bi-partisanship whatsoever, going off on the Paul Ryan budget proposal. We’ve got a clip.

(Alan Grayson Video Clip)

Yes, as you can see, Alan Grayson hasn’t changed any, since his first term, still trying to start conflict in a congress that already has plenty of it, we’ll see where he tries to go with this, these insults aren’t going to get us anywhere, as far as this gridlock goes.

On the other hand you’ve got Congressman Ron Desantis, trying to sponsor legislation that would freeze a part of Congress’ pay, a Bi-partisan deal, with a Representative from California, we’ve also got a clip from him, let’s check it out.

(Ron Desantis Clip)

Desantis making some waves early on, in his time in Washington. That is Bi-Partisanship legislation, the kind where you could walk up to a man on the street and ask him about and he would probably agree with it. If you go to work and don’t get anything done, you don’t get paid for it, I think Congress should be the same way. Will it work? Probably not, you know how our friends in Congress are.

Next up, the future race for Florida State House 30 Bob Cortes who would be running against incumbent Karen Castor Dentel announcing two endorsements from Orange County Commissioners both Pete Clarke, who was elected last November and Commissioner Jennifer Thompson. These endorsements give confidence to donors, that allow campaigns to stand up and get moving in a hurry. You look at the layout in the district in that race and it’s going to be an exciting race, we’ll keep you posted.

A lot going on in Florida Politics with the crackdown of that company, Congress making national headlines and candidates gearing up for 2014. It’s an exciting time. I’m Frank Torres, and I’ll see you next time.

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 Sick Time Battle about Political Objectives, not Workers

In Uncategorized on September 11, 2012 at 5:52 pm

In about an hour, legions of supporters and opponents of the Orange County Employer Sick Time Initiative will fill the Administrative building to take turns behind the podium giving their opinions to the Mayor Teresa Jacobs and the rest of the Orange County Commission.

The latest county level war is waged by partisan and money-aimed organizations that apparently have nothing better to do… in an election year.

The measure would require businesses that have more than 15 workers to pay for sick time, when their employees work a certain amount of hours. Businesses with less than 15 workers wouldn’t have to pay but couldn’t penalize for time off. It sounds innocent and fair enough but let’s be honest, this is just another round in the grudge match that will gunk up the political engine we need running the cleanest at all times. County government. The level of government where the rubber hits the road. The most visited region in the world and it’s county government doesn’t have the time.

There are the groups pushing for the initiative who, didn’t meet the original petition deadline and only after granted an extension by Mayor Jacobs met the required number of signatures. They’ve been representative by attorney Scott Randoloph who was the biggest Tallahassee bomb thrower the Democrats had in the legislature, and might be seeking their State Chairman position instead of re-election to the Florida House. He’s flanked by Organized Now an activist group that champions issues that lean left. They’re goal is to get Democrats elected and prop up any cause to get that done.

Then there is the business, Chamber of Commerce type folks They’re Republicans and Democrats but don’t let that fool you, they’ve got loyalty to the dollar, the bottom line, and it doesn’t matter who or what stands in their way, they’re going to get their money. The County Commission has a stout Republican majority and those Republicans will be taking the hits in front of the cameras but, make no mistake, the opposition to this initiative is a bi-partisan one with money on their mind, and if their opponents are Democrat, Republican, or Independents, they must be dealt with.

Let’s talk about what the commission is doing. They’ll be discussing competing ballot measures, altering language, and an array of other things that could be done to halt the initiative. Save Commissioner Jennifer Thompson, who has been voicing her concerns on social media for months, the rest of the commission might not have realized how big this fight could get, and how much damage could be done. While we’re talking about damage let’s clarify.

This initiative would be bad, and would hurt hiring. Make no mistake about it.

Advocates in favor of this bill (with no ulterior political motives) forget about the measures businesses will take to preserve their bottom line. Oh, They’re gonna get their money and if it means hiring freezes, cutting back other benefits or leaving Orange County, they’ll do it. Don’t get me started on the possible frivolous lawsuits that could stem from this. They’re gonna get their money and it will be all of us that suffer from it.

Still, we can’t lose perspective over what the real goal of both sides are. On one side it’s about causing unrest to hurt Republicans in future elections and on the other side it’s about raising profits. You think it’s about supporting workers? You’re wrong.

High drama will be in store for the County Commission with the Sick Time Initiative becoming a hot issue.

Thompson, Pena, Huckeba Big Winners Tuesday. Your Primary Elections Wrap-up

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Tuesday night brought high drama with conclusions to Mica vs. Adams, Ashton vs Lamar, and just the beginning of Todd Long vs. Alan Grayson but there was a lot of other action out there.

Let’s break it all down.

Geraldine Thompson defeats Victoria Siplin.

A lot of anger over how this State Senate D12 primary contest was going. You had former State Rep. Geraldine Thompson running against Victoria Siplin, wife of Gary Siplin, the controversial termed out State Senator. Thompson was outfront in her campaign with a strong, realistic, campaign message. She won the Orlando Sentinel endorsment and made herself available at public forums, and events. Victoria ran a shadow campaign of sorts, staying away from the voters and letting direct mail do most of the work. When her husband started allegedly using his own mail resources to help his wife, it set off alarms and the local media smelled smoke. Thompson walked to a %56 to %44 victory and faces Fritz Seide in the general.

Geraldine Thompson

Marco Pena beats Coach “P” Plasencia, Joe Saunders defeats Shayan Elahi in State House 49 primaries.

In what was a tough to call race in the days leading up to Tuesday, Marco Pena beat Rene Plasencia %52 to %48 in the GOP primary. Pena trumpeted endorsements from Governor Jeb Bush and locally important endorsements from former OC Mayor Rich Crotty and Current Orange County Commissioners Jennifer Thompson and John Martinez. Plasencia ran a fine ground campaign but couldn’t make enough noise to cover the difference. He’ll be back.

Pena will face Democrat Joe Saunders in the general election. Saunders defeated Shayan Elahi %65 to %35. Saunders had more visibility on the ground and benefited from strong fundraising from South Florida.

Marco Pena

Bow-Tie Wins. Voters choose Huckeba and platform in Orange County Tax Collector Race.

Jim Huckeba defeated two other opponents on Tuesday night. Huckeba, who says he will dismantle the office if elected won with 38%. Eliminating the office has been a popular idea with the media, and apparently voters. He’s been careful to illustrate the process to voters, he won’t be able to snap his fingers and save the tax payers thousands. It would be a process possibly subjected to a vote.

Huckeba faces 96 year old Earl K. Wood who wasn’t going to run for re-election before finding out former Mayor Crotty might seek the office. Then this happened.

Jim Huckeba

Damiani and Clarke head to November Run-Off in Orange County District 3.

In the race for Orange County Commission District 3. It will be the two top vote getters Lui Damiani and Pete Clarke. Damiani holds a heavy fundraising advantage with donations from lobbyists, attorneys, and developers and has been able to afford radio ads. Clarke despite mostly walking and talking to voters was only behind %31 to %23. District 3 is looking for it’s first elected commissioner in over two years.

Pete Clarke

Edwards beats Duncan in Orange County District 5:

Incumbent commissioner Ted Edwards was able to defeat Gina Duncan in their D5 contest. Duncan had a couple of decent talking points to go after Edwards with but not enough to convince the voters they needed a change. Edwards’ constituents would be wise to convince him to try to revive the rental car-surcharge that would bring dollars into the community and put a small additional costs to tourist.

Ted Edwards

Randolph Bracy, Bruce Antone, Jason Brodeur, Kelli Stargel and future Florida House Speaker Chris Dorworth all won their respective primary or final races.

Kelli Stargel

Putnam Stands with “Q” , FFPC Endorses Adams, Crotty Picks Pena

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm

A few big endorsements over the last 36 hours.

In the Congressional District 9 race, former congressman and current Florida Secretary of Agriculture Adam Putnam has endorsed John “Q” Quinones in his Republican primary.

Putnam is a rising star in the party who’s been featured on RPOF literature frequently over the last year. While this isn’t a flashy endorsement that will throw voters off of the fence, it is the kind of endorsement that’s recognized by donors and will inspire them to pull out the checkbooks.

“Q” is currently competing in the CD 9 Republican primary against Julius Melendez, Todd Long, and Mark Oxner. The winner will face Alan Grayson in the general election.

Sandy Adams’ most recent endorsement could earn the vote of a lot of the social conservatives in Congressional District 7.

The Florida Family Policy Council announced they would endorse the freshman Congresswoman in her intense, primary against fellow House Representative John Mica. The council frequently holds events that vet the social beliefs of conservative candidates and runs awareness campaigns during election years.

This primary continues to garner national attention. Adams adds this endorsement to former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Mica holds a large fundraising advantage and hit television this morning with attack ads against Adams. We’ll put those ads on the Aww Snap meter when they’re available.

In one of the tightest State House races in the region. State House 49 Candidate Marco Pena announced the endorsement of former Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty yesterday. Pena adds the former mayor’s endorsement, to nods from current Orange County Commissioners Jennifer Thompson and John Martinez. He faces opposition from Rene “Coach P” Plasencia.

All three of these races have been competitive and are expected to go down to the wire.

Adam Putnam has endorse John Quinones in his Republican primary

Thompson, Martinez, stand with Pena in State House 49 race

In Uncategorized on July 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

As the primaries head full steam into their August 14th conclusions, elected lawmakers and political VIPs will get off of the bench and stand with the candidates they want to see elected.

Florida State House candidate Marco Pena announced the endorsements of Orange County Commissioners Jennifer Thompson, and John Martinez this morning in his competitive Republican primary in the District 49 race.

Thompson ran a great ground and social media campaign in 2010 and has strong name ID in the district. She’s quoted in the release saying “Marco’s proven leadership is what we need to help strengthen our economy, improve education, and make sure our families are safe. His experience in business and healthcare will be important as we get our economy moving forward and improve quality and access in healthcare.”

Martinez is the son of former Senator Mel Martinez and current county commissioner of the other portion of that district. “Marco is very active in the community and understands our needs. Like my family, Marco wants to give back and serve so more Floridians have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.” Martinez is quoted in the release.

Endorsements at this point of the race push undecided voters off the fence and can boost fundraising before the last batches of mail and internet ads are ordered.

Pena faces opposition from Rene “Coach P” Plasencia in a close primary. The winner will most likely face Democrat Joe Saunders in November, who’s done well in fundraising and get’s to share a ballot with Barack Obama in the UCF district.

Pena announced endorsements from Commissioners Jennifer Thompson and John Martinez this morning.

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.

Orange County Commission Candidate Lydia Pisano joins Republican Party

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Lydia Pisano announced yesterday, that she has joined the Republican Pary.

Pisano,who ran for District 4 in 2010 endorsed current Republican Commissioner Jennifer Thompson in the non-partisan race after falling short of qualifying for the November runoff. Despite the fact that Thompson’s general election opponent used fake endorsements on direct mail and wasn’t as versed on D4 issues, this angered some Democrats and critics took out frustrations on Pisano’s Facebook page. The Orange County Democratic Executive Committee asked her to resign and the relationship was never the same.

In an email with Pisano she replied with the following.

It is true, and yes, when I endorsed Thompson, I was asked to resign from the Democratic Executive Committee. I did, and I have recently started going to the monthly meetings again in January 2012. I don’t feel comfortable there, and I feel changing parties is something I should have done a long time ago, and didn’t.

I have always been conservative, and it is a non-partisan race. I am who I am, and that will not change.

My campaign platform remains the same, as do my convictions. When my parents took me to register to vote when I was just 18, I was registered as a Republican. When I got married, and registered to vote in Florida, in 1990, I chose Democrat.

The Belle Isle commissioner is known for being a straight talker. She received the Orlando Sentinel’s endorsement in 2010 and has remained active in the community.

She is running for the Orange County District 3 seat, along with Eric Lasso, Pete Clark, and Lui Damiani.

Pisano joins the Republican party heading into the OC D3 race.