Orlando Sentinel Forum on Closing the Income Gap – A Snapshot of Left’s Agenda in Orange County

18 Sep

The Orlando Sentinel held a “Florida Forward” forum Tuesday in Winter Park which was a great snapshot of what is going on in Orange County and across the nation.

The progressive left in Orange County is leading the charge to change our county charter to mandate employers provide paid sick leave and higher minimum wage to their workers. This is only the beginning, folks, these activists are being paid by outside entities to push agendas of this nature through ballot initiatives, right here in Orange County.

If these initiatives pass, you are sure to see businesses leaving Orange County for friendlier turf. “Orange County is the New Detroit” might not be too far fetched. How will this help the poor?

Please watch this video and notice that economic facts are lost on the democratic activists, when they have very valid “feelings” to address. As one of the primary leaders of the progressive left, you will see how panelist Stephanie Porta — Organize Now, formerly ACORN Florida — is so ill prepared that she has to shuffle and read from note cards the entire time, with no actual economic knowledge from which to speak.

Not to go without mention, fellow panelist Val Demings, the former Orlando police chief, failed congressional candidate and short lived candidate for Orange County mayor, defends single parent homes and is against these poor communities having a choice in public schools.

Very telling that the better informed panelists, UCF economist Sean Snaith, Valencia economics Professor Jack Chambless and lawyer and commentator Tico Perez, all presented real solutions to the problems facing the poor in our community. This falls on the deaf ears of Porta and Demings, because the narrative of school choice, graduating from school, lowering-out of wedlock births, tech school opportunities and hard work, doesn’t win elections, which appears to be their #1 agenda.

Orange County Public Schools Target Chaplains

27 Aug

In an effort to appease a radical atheist group, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Orange County Public Schools General Counsel, Woody Rodriquez, issued a memorandum specific to Apopka High that will affect all public schools across the county. The letter states that Christian acts of praying, reading the Bible and playing Christian music will no longer be tolerated in connection to  high school football.

As a result, the  long tradition of football team chaplains will come to an end in Orange County.

Todd Starnes of FOX News reports that a local pastor who volunteers as chaplain at Olympia High School was told he could remain if he were to be called a  “life coach” but he could no longer preach Christianity or quote from the Bible with the players.

“I could no longer open the Bible, talk about the Bible, talk about God or pray with the team in any capacity,” pastor Troy Schmidt told Fox News. “It was heartbreaking.”

Coach Bobby Bowden weighed in on the issue of Orange County Public Schools taking faith out of football, saying he’d do it anyway.

“I don’t care about political correctness,” Bowden said. “I want to be spiritually correct.”

To access the memorandum: Religious Issues Memorandum (Final Draft)

Damron has found refuge … among those who benefited most

7 Aug

Photo Credit

By Tom Tillison

When it comes to the Orlando Sentinel, journalistic integrity seems to have taken a back seat long ago. Further affirmation of this point of view surfaced in the “quiet” news this week that reporter David Damron accepted a position with U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson‘s campaign.

It’s not much of a stretch to wonder if Damron jumping ship is a tell-tale sign of the newspaper’s financial woes, and having spent more than 16 years as a county beat reporter, you can’t fault the guy for considering a career change, but make no mistake about it, it is not by accident that Damron has found a home with the bombastic Democratic congressman.

In many ways, the institutional left in this town owes it’s existence to Susannah Randolph, a former ACORN political director. As much as local resident Bill Phillips is seen as the likely funding source for the hard left, Randolph is, almost certainly, the brain trust behind local community organizing efforts.

If Randolph had a protege, it would definitely be Stephanie Porta — the two are inseparable when it comes to local political activism. Porta is the state director for Organize Now, the de facto successor to ACORN Florida, which re-branded when the national organization was exposed as a criminal enterprise.

(ACORN is an acronym for “Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now,” hence the name “Organize Now” — simplicity at its best.)

I’ve gotten a little lost in the weeds, but the background is important because Randolph is also the “district director” for Congressman Grayson.

And Porta spearheaded the mandatory paid sick leave ballot initiative, an issue that David Damron covered extensively — at last count, he wrote more than 40 articles on paid sick leave, many of which critics would suggest bordered on advocacy.

And he quoted Porta often.

In fact, their relationship goes back to at least 2006. And while Damron frequently sought out her point of view on developments related to the issue, he never availed himself of the opinion of a leading national labor expert who personally offered to provide a countering point of view.

Damron also reported on poll results favorable to paid sick leave, to include quoting Brook Hines, the director of Community Business Association of Central Florida, without reporting that her group commissioned the poll.

Or that CBA was an entity of Organize Now.

We could go on about covert nudges and the exchange of sly smiles between Damron and Randolph when they thought no one was looking, or talk about clear efforts to intimidate opponents of the Randolph/Porta clique, but for those who were paying attention, there is little doubt he was carrying their water.

And while our persistent public criticism of the bias displayed by this reporter eventually resulted in a more balanced effort, amid all the uncertainty in an industry commonly referred to as the “dead tree media,” Damron has found refuge.

Among those who benefited most from his efforts.

Zealots on the left will defend the move, pointing to any number of media personalities who’ve gone on to work for politicians, but this is different. Never mind that it’s another black eye for an already punch drunk Orlando Sentinel, this shows the press can be compromised when ethical behavior is subservient to an agenda.

A dangerous thing indeed when considering the power of the media.

Orlando Council Votes to Help Destroy People’s Marriage Amendment

25 Jun

In 2008 election, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage. The amendment was placed on the ballot by a citizen-led initiative process. It passed by the large margin of 61.9% to 38.1%.

However, today, Orlando’s city council used the power of its office to defy the people’s will and join the sex activists’ lawsuit to overturn this vote.

In a 5-2 vote, the council approved filing the friend of the court brief in the pending Florida lawsuit threatening to redefine marriage. The two republicans on the council voted no. The mayor was among the five voting in favor.




Orlando Considers Anti-Discrimination Policy Change that could open Women’s Restrooms to Men

19 Jun

In order to achieve full recognition of civil rights of the LGBTQAI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning, androgynous, intersex, ally, or other self-identification related to gender identity or sexual orientation) community in Orlando, a citizen board, known as the Chapter 57 Review Board,  is considering amending the anti-discrimination policy to include “gender identity”.

According to an LGBT website, the amendment was drafted by the City Attorney, presented to a city review board today and if approved it will go before the City Council for its first reading tentatively July 14 with at least two public hearings before the final vote. Gina Duncan of Florida Equality is leading the push to change the policy. Duncan is a biologically-born male who underwent sex re-assignment surgical procedures.

The review board hearing the amendment is a seven-member panel of non-elected individuals, which according to the City of Orlando website reviews determinations of complaints of discrimination, conducts mediation and holds hearings when any party to a complaint violates the term of a negotiated settlement agreement.

The proposed amendment includes the following language to describe “gender identity”:

“the actual or perceived sex to include the person’s gender identity, self-image, appearance, expression or behavior, whether or not that gender identity, self image, appearance, expression or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth.”

As advocates seek equal access to public accommodations for transgenders, “bathroom battles”  have emerged reports USA Today, including women locker rooms at the YMCA. There is much confusion over this issue because of the  few legal cases that have been heard, there have been inconsistent rulings.

In addition to the new gender identity language, the proposed amendment to Orlando’s anti-discrimination policy also creates a seemingly new bureaucratic  position- “human relations official” -and gives this official the authority to initiate complaints and to “investigate” to determine whether a complaint should be filed, regardless of whether a public complaint has been filed. This would greatly expand the power of an non-elected government bureaucrat.

Citizens of the metro-Orlando area should pay attention to this proposed change and consider its consequences.


Is Scott Randolph using his Public Office for his Political Gain?

18 Jun

I am not surprised to read that Scott Randolph, the Orange County tax collector, has come under fire for questionable political maneuvers like using the resources and employees of his public office to push his radical agenda at the expense of the Orange County taxpayer.

A few years ago, his name hit the headlines during his time in the state house when he threw papers at fellow state representative Daphne Campbell, verbally threatening her on the state house floor.

“Scott Randolph is acting in a partisan way,” says WFTV political analyst Rick Foglesong about the latest events.

According to WFTV, Randolph is funding a petition push that would make county races partisan and would shorten Mayor Teresa Jacobs term. (I am not sure if it is even within the charter’s authority to shorten an elected official’s term).

Also, in making races partisan, Randolph would disenfranchise roughly 1/3 of the county voters who choose not to affiliate with the 2 major parties because they cannot participate in the party primaries.

The particular tax collector office employee in question, Amy Ritter, was recently recognized by U.S. Representative Alan Grayson when he read her name into the congressional record praising her “Pink Slip Rick” effort which included following Gov. Rick Scott around the state with a pink bed sheet that had “Pink Slip Rick” spray painted on it. It is worthy to note here that Amy Ritter’s former boss at Florida Watch Action, Susannah Randolph, now works in Alan Grayson’s office. Susannah is the wife of Ritter’s current boss, Scott Randolph, the tax collector.

With Ritter employed at the tax collector office and Susannah employed in the congressional office, it is unclear who runs the political partisan activist organization, Florida Watch Action. Current filings with the state lists Susannah Randolph as the director.

This isn’t the first time the Randolph couple has been caught up in controversy. As a Florida state representative, Scott Randolph came under scrutiny by the Tampa Bay Times for trying to direct $50,000 of public funds to the scandal-ridden ACORN where Susannah was state director.

It looks like Randolph runs a tight, secretive political circle within the Democrat county party and was not happy that WFTV reporter Lori Brown was privy to information about his petition gathering process.



Effort to exploit Orange County ballot initiatives gets new life

18 May

From I-4 Activist Watch

While the Board of County Commissioners dithers, the ongoing exploitation of the Orange County Charter by politically motivated ideologues received new life in the form of a fresh influx of sorely needed cash.

According to the latest financial statements filed with the local Supervisor of Elections, Citizens for Informed Elections received $34,500 in new contributions in April, to include $9,500 from Tax Collector Scott Randolph, the former chair of the local Democratic Party.

Having blown through a nearly $50,000 “gift” from Washington, D.C. based Leadership Center for the Common Good, the money could not have come at a more opportune time for the group, which is pushing for a ballot initiative to make all county races partisan and move these elections from August to November.

An effort that reflects the confidence the activist-dominated Orange County Democratic Party has with a lead of nearly 100,000 registered voters. But petition gathering for the ballot initiative had slowed substantially in March as money became scarce.

As for who LCCG is, Capital Research Center said the hard left 501(c)(3) nonprofit likes to focus on training local community organizers to “rage against capitalism.”

The other $25,000 Citizens for Informed Elections received came from Miami-based Democratic donor Chris Findlater, a deep pocketed favorite of Bill Phillips, the Orlando-based bag man for progressive left causes.

Findlater and Phillips are no strangers to using ballot initiatives for political gain, having been the driving force behind Fair Districts, the successful 2010 effort driven by liberal interests to affect the way congressional and legislative districts are drawn in Florida.

Interestingly, Randolph’s sizable contribution came Voters for Change, a PAC he controls. Where did the PAC receive the money? From another PAC Randolph controls, Responsible People of Florida.

While the Orlando Sentinel is quick to report on the financial activity of local Republican lawmakers, you may want to get comfortable waiting to read about this latest development in the newspaper.

Meanwhile, outside money continues to flow into Orange County to prop up the manipulation of the citizen petition process to advance an ideologically driven agenda and establish an election year infrastructure for the left — an effort that continues unabated, even as the BCC whistles past the graveyard.


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