Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Posts Tagged ‘scott boyd’

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.

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

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

Political Stocks: Whos Up, Whos Down in O-Town: Post Primary, Pre-Tampa Edition

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Let’s do Political Stocks! The week after primaries are always a good time to examine trends, and with the Republican convention in town next week, we can expect even more movement in the coming weeks.

Who’s Up:

The Home Team at the RNC: Rubio, Bondi, Mack IV, Jeb, and even you too Governor Rick Scott will get the opportunity to shine in the Republican event of year. Lawmakers, candidates, delegates, and everyone who is anybody will head the Tampa next week for the convention and it will be the perfect opportunity for Florida rising stars to make an impression. The convention also presents Connie Mack IV a prime chance to fundraise. He’s got the big November showdown with Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. What about Marco Rubio? Will he bring the house down and plant the seeds for a Prez run down the road?

The RNC presents a huge fundraising opportunity for the GOP Senate Candidate

Municipal Incumbents: With Ted Edwards winning re-election last week, incumbent on the Orange County Commission and the Orlando City Council are undefeated. Edwards along with fellow OC Commish Scott Boyd (unopposed), along with Orlando City Commissioners, Patty Sheehan, Tony Ortiz, Sam Ings all survived re-election. Don’t forget about Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer who beat back a trio of challengers. The power of incumbency is more prevalent than ever, especially at the local level.

Alan Grayson: For $125K he got to pick his general election opponent. Now, local favorite Todd Long will have to shout above the Grayson media hurricane (in two languages) to convince the voters in the 9th district that he’s the better choice. It’s not impossible but it’s an uphill climb.

Who’s Down?

Congressman Cliff Stearns: What the heck happened in North, Central Florida last week? The longtime incumbent was beaten by horse doctor and Tea Party Favorite Ted Yoho, and stole headlines all over the country.

Gary Siplin: For the first time in a longtime, there isn’t going to be a Siplin in Tallahassee. The termed out controversial State Senator has been under the microscope in recent weeks for mailers that may or may not have violated ethics rules with multiple photographs of his wife Victoria, who was running to replace her husband in the state senate. She lost last week to former State Rep. Geraldine Thompson.

Vice-President Joe Biden: The gaffe-prone Veep has had a rough couple of months and now there are rumors that two weeks ago, there were talks about Biden stepping down. He’s still got to debate Paul Ryan and in a tight race, can the President count on Biden to hold on to the football?

The Vice-President needs to remain error free for the remainder of the campaign

Political Stocks: Who’s up, Who’s Down, in O-Town – Campaign Kickoff Edition

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm

We haven’t done Political Stocks in a long time but, with primaries looming, and the big day less than 6 months out, it’s time to start keeping score.

Here are this weeks political stocks:

Who’s UP:

Mack IV: Connie Mack’s roller coaster campaign appears to be on the upswing. He’s opened up a big lead against his primary opponent, former Senator George Lemieux in the polls, CFO Jeff Atwater passed on standing up his own campaign on short notice and he’s was endorsed by Michele Bachmann last week. Former Attorney General Bill McCullom also appears be lining up behind Mack. That being said…

Will McCullom endorse Mack IV today?

Bill Nelson: Nelson watched his lead in the polls increase over both of his potential opponents. The Presidential rotation swinging through the state has allowed the Senator to piggyback off of their visits to get the electorate excited. And he won’t have to take his jacket off for a campaign fight for another 4 months.

Orange County Commissioner Scott Boyd: With no serious opposition lining up against the commissioner in district 1 and fundraising coming along nicely, could “the quiet guy on the left” be looking at easy re-election.

Holding Steady:

Florida Senator Marco Rubio and New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte: The two younger names in the Mitt Romney Veepstakes have both been receiving heavy media coverage over the last week.

Rubio’s unauthorized biography was well received, despite concerns that his questioned family history could spill over into consideration for the VP nod.

The issue of his age and experience has been leading the conversation recently, and that wasn’t the case a month ago. He was on Fox News Sunday laying out his legislative experience in Tallahassee but moderator Chris Wallace said he was 41 and looked 35. other critics have asked if he’s ready to step into oval office if needed.

New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte has been another name repeated by pundits. On Meet The Press she said that she believed she was more experience than Barack Obama when he took office. Is she the darkhorse?

Who’s DOWN:

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer: The Mayor has had a rough go at it since re-election. He’s been dissed for rising burglaries in the city by rivals and the media. And once again Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs has called out the city for not keeping it’s end of the bargain with Citrus Bowl renovations. These are the stories that keep a lawmaker from being elected to higher office.. like Governor

The biggest thorn in Dyer’s side is the calculator Jacobs keeps at hers.

Congressional Democratic Candidates in Central Florida: Quick! Besides Alan Grayson, name another Democrat running for Congress in Central Florida. …. exactly.

Herman Cain: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The Presidency V winner started campaigning here about a year ago and it feels like he’s never left. Now he’s awarding awkward endorsements and running a bizarre barnstorming tour.

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.