Does Randolph condone shutting down Orange County businesses who don’t support $15 min wage?

29 Sep 15-MW

By Tom Tillison

It’s got to be real frustrating to be a business owner in Orange County.

On Monday, community organizers from Organize Now, acting as a proxy for Service Employees International Union, held a rally at Sedano’s Supermarket in southeast Orlando in support of a state bill that looks to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Organize Now is the de facto successor to now-defunct ACORN Florida, and there is nothing remarkable about the hard-left organization pursuing policies that are harmful to local businesses. Does mandatory paid sick leave ring a bell?

But what was rather remarkable is what the pro-union activists were chanting at the event. Video here.

“What do we want? $15! … When do we want it? Now! … If we don’t get it? Shut it down!”


Considering the success of the hate group Black Lives Matter, it looks as if civil disobedience is now all the rage.

Keep in mind a number of local media outlets were on hand at the time.

None of them batted an eye at the implied threat to local businesses… coming from the fraternity that tagged grandmothers sitting in lawn chairs radicals and extremists.

How refreshing it would have been to see them ask Democratic congressional candidate Susannah Randolph — a former ACORN community organizer well schooled in staging events of this nature — if she condones the act of “shutting down” local businesses that don’t cave to union demands.

Which would seem to be a fair question considering Randolph was chanting along with the activists.

But the local media had no such curiosity. Not of Randolph, or Carlos Guillermo Smith, a candidate for Florida House District 49 who also joined in the chant, or a number of other local Democratic elected officials who were on hand.

Including Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph, who found time during a work day to support the pro-union event.

His presence only adds to the frustrations of local business owners, as they see the man they must pay millions of dollars actively advocating against their best interests.

Meanwhile, local residents are left wondering how the hell did Orange County stray so far left.

Why is NY, DC pushing statewide paid sick leave in Florida?

25 Sep Sick Leave

By Tom Tillison

Why does a progressive advocacy group based in Brooklyn, New York, have such a strong interest in paid sick leave in the Sunshine State?

The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) is advertising for a statewide campaign manager in Florida to drive a petition effort to get a paid sick leave constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2016.


A political action committee formed by Orlando-based Organize Now, “Family Always Come First, Inc.,” filed with the Florida Division of Elections in March to get the issue on the 2016 ballot — CPD identifies Organize Now as a “state core partner” on its website. 

Miami-based activist Marleine Bastien is listed as the PAC’s chairman, and Tampa-based Timothy Herberlein is named as the co-chairman — he is also a board member of Florida Institute for Reform & Empowerment, the training arm of Organize Now. Interestingly, the PAC has only brought in $500, as of August 31.

The community organizers at Organize Now, the de facto successor to now defunct ACORN Florida, were the leading force behind a 2012 effort to introduce mandatory paid sick leave in Orange County.

At the time the constitutional amendment was filed with the state, Organize Now was advertising for a statewide campaign manager and a Central Florida field director, but it appears CPD has now taken on the task — a possible sign that things are amiss at Organize Now, which saw a key lieutenant walk away earlier this year.

The clock is ticking as they must obtain 683,149 signatures by February 1, 2016.

More background on CPD shows that the group was strengthened as a result of a successful merger with the Washington-based Leadership Center for the Common Good on January 1, 2014.

According to Discover the Network, a leading backer of that merger was AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka — AFL-CIO is identified by CPD as a “national core partner.”

“The new, expanded Center for Popular Democracy is a vitally important addition to the social justice landscape … aggressively innovating and replicating public policies that expand rights and opportunities for workers, for immigrants, and for people of color,” Trumpka said at the time.

If the name Leadership Center for the Common Good (LCCG) sounds familiar, it should.

LCCG dumped almost $100,000 into Organize Now’s coffers in support of the Orange County paid sick leave initiative, and $47,500 more in support of the failed 2014 Democrat-led effort to make Orange County commissioner races partisan — the Democrats have a lead of about 100,000 registered voters in the county. 

But why the interest from Washington and New York in Florida matters?

The most obvious connection is Brian Kettenring, the former head of ACORN Florida. He was the executive director of LCCG, and is currently the co-executive director with CPD.

But the broader answer is organized labor, which funds the never-ending litany of proxy groups in the shell game set up to push a pro-labor agenda — many of which tie back to now-defuct ACORN. The truth is ACORN never went away, they simply re-branded

In the end, Florida voters need to know that formidable outside forces continue to converge on our state, looking to push a self-serving agenda that threatens to undermine the state’s economy. As was evident in Orange County, not only will the media not inform residents of who is behind the statewide paid sick leave initiative, some will offer subtle support.

Will Floridians be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not? 

With Republicans like Martha Haynie, who needs Democrats

22 Sep ran-han


By Tom Tillison

With Republicans like this, who needs Democrats.

Not that it comes as any real surprise to anyone paying attention, but the progressive left’s favorite Republican, Orange County Comptroller Martha Haynie, has declared her support for Susannah Randolph in the Democratic primary race to replace U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, who is running for Senate.

“Susannah is in this race for the things that we both believe in,” Haynie said in a press release.

Randolph previously worked for Grayson, and it’s no stretch to say she mimics the bombastic congressman’s extreme progressive views on just about every issue.

She is a hard-left former ACORN community organizer who has dedicated her professional life working to undermine capitalism and advance “social justice” through the workings of big government. By her own admission, she played a pivotal role in trying to advance government mandated paid sick leave in Orange County — a guaranteed job killer that hurts small businesses.

“Our values click,” Haynie said of Randolph, according to the Orlando Sentinel.


As for their shared values, the two “worked closely together at Planned Parenthood,” according to the Sentinel. Haynie was board chair of Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando, and is currently listed on the organization’s website as vice chair of the restructured Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.

(Odds are, Haynie will be on hand at Saturday evening’s fundraising “gala” in Orlando — Randolph is on the host committee — where the Planned Parenthood chapter has a “fabulous evening” planned to celebrate what they describe as “an extraordinary year!” A few undercover videos notwithstanding.)


Democrats in this town applaud Haynie for being “proudly independent.”

Orlando Sentinel gossip columnist Scott Maxwell was quick to sing her praises. The left-of-center scribe has been an effective cheerleader for many of the causes embraced by ACORN Florida successor Organize Now — Maxwell has very capably filled the void left at the Sentinel when beat reporter David Damron left the newspaper to go work for Grayson, the group’s patriarch.

“Comptroller Martha Haynie an example of politics done right,” Maxwell proclaims.

In Maxwell’s eyes, politics “done right” is when Republicans move left, caving on the party’s more critical values –beginning with the right to life.

But don’t take my word for it, take a look at the Republican Party platform.

That she chose to endorse her far-left pal Randolph is likely a result of Haynie leaving public office when her term ends in 2017 — which equates to no more accountability to Orange County voters. And no need to put up a facade any longer.

With redistricting still up in the air, the field in CD9 is far from set. 

The only Republican to file is St.Cloud businessman Wayne Liebnitzky, who has made few waves since getting in. State Rep. Mike La Rosa and Kissimmee Vice-Mayor Wanda Rentas have both expressed interest in possibly running for the seat.

La Rosa and Rentas are solid choices any Republican would be proud to back… particularly when the alternative is a progressive left community organizer.

It’s all but certain I’ll be dismissed as an extremist clinging to unrealistic ideological requirements because I draw attention to the fact that Haynie has thrown in with a candidate who is an unequivocal threat to every value the Republican Party claims to represent.

Many Republicans will continue to stand by Haynie.

And in the end, that’s what this is all about — what local Republicans decide to do, or not do.

For those who believe the GOP has lost its way and stands for little more than trying to win elections, wait until you hear the deafening silence in this town from Republican leadership over this endorsement.

Orlando mayoral candidate Paulson sends out perplexing campaign letter

20 Sep aa-paulson4

By Tom Tillison

Newly declared Orlando mayoral candidate Paul Paulson sent out a somewhat perplexing campaign letter with absentee ballot requests.

In the letter, Paulson goes to great lengths to identify himself as a Republican in what is a nonpartisan race, and even includes the GOP logo.




Voter registration in Orlando leans decidedly Democratic and by identifying as a Republican, Paulson hurts his own cause — unless he was targeting Republican voters only; a likely scenario.

Either way, it appears to be a violation to imply party affiliation when campaigning in nonpartisan municipal elections.

According to the Orlando Weekly, a legal opinion from the Florida Department of State in response to an earlier Orlando mayoral race said that “…as a candidate for nonpartisan municipal office you are prohibited from campaigning based upon party affiliation. Therefore, you must be very careful that your political advertising cannot be construed as such.”

Adding to Paulson’s troubles is a possible trademark violation for using the Republican Party logo on campaign material.

So is this inexperience from a former attorney — the Orlando Sentinel reported that Paulson resigned his law license while under disciplinary investigation by The Florida Bar — unfamiliar with the laws governing campaigning? 

Is Paulson receiving dubious counseling from a source with an ulterior motive? Someone with a history of feigning support for one candidate at the behest of another? A so-called Republican not above helping a Democrat if the price is right?

(Did I mention that local political gadfly Doug Guetzloe has taken an exceptional interest in this candidate?)

Or is there something else at play here with Paulson, who is reportedly self-funding his campaign to the tune of $600,000?

Plenty of questions, for sure. What is more clear is that while Paulson has been in the race just under three weeks, there are red flags aplenty for discerning voters to wade through. 

‘Bobby’ Olszewski files for Orange County Commission D1 seat

1 Sep Olszewski OC D1 File

Winter Garden Commissioner Robert “Bobby” Olszewski filed Tuesday to run for Orange County Commission District 1.  

“I am excited to put our ‘Residents and Community First’ as I continue my passion for public service by representing our communities in District 1 as an Orange County Commissioner,” said Olszewski.

Olszewski Head Shot Print (4)“Orange County District 1 deserves genuine leadership as together we place the ‘Residents and Community First’ in Bay Lake, Dr. Phillips, Gotha, Horizon West, Hunter’s Creek, Lake Buena Vista, MetroWest, Oakland, Ocoee, Orlando, Tildenville, Williamsburg, Windermere, and Winter Garden,” said Olszewski.

“In Orange County growth is inevitable, but how you manage that growth is critical.   Look at all of the great things we have accomplished in Winter Garden with smart growth by putting our ‘Residents and Community First’ in the decisions that we made.”

Olszewski, who has lived in Orange County District 1 since 1980, was previously elected to two terms as a Winter Garden Commissioner, first elected by defeating the incumbent in a three-way race by 70% and winning his second term without opposition.   

Community Involvement:

Commissioner Olszewski has current/past affiliations as: Orange County Community Action Board Chair, MetroPlan Orlando Municipal Advisory Committee Vice-Chair, MetroPlan Orlando Regional Leadership Council, Roper YMCA Family Center Board Chair, Roper YMCA Scholarship Campaign Chair, FL League of Cities (FLC), Vice Chair-Finance, Tax, and Personnel FLC Policy Committee, Growth Management and Economic Affairs FLC Policy Committee, Advanced Institute for Elected Municipal Officials (FLC) Graduate, West Orange Chamber of Commerce Board, Full Sail University Sports Marketing & Media Board, UCF Alumni Government Relations Committee Knights Advocate, Leadership West Orange Graduate, Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) Leadership Orange Graduate, Winter Garden Citizen’s Police Academy Graduate, Tri-County League of Cities Advocacy Committee, Business Force Central FL Political Leadership Institute Graduate, West Orange/South Lake Transportation and Economic Development Task Force Board, FCSL Winter Garden Squeeze Advisory Board, James Madison Institute Central FL Board of Advisors, Tiger Bay Club of Central FL, OCPS Montessori of Winter Garden Charter School Board, Rotaract Club of Metro Orlando, Winter Garden Fire and Police Pension Board, Winter Garden Heritage Foundation Board, Florida Citrus Sports, Winter Garden Rotary, and the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando Board.


Commissioner Olszewski earned a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Northcentral University and two master’s degrees in Management (M.S.) from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Corporate Communication & Technology (M.A.) from Rollins College.  He is an undergraduate double major from the University of Central Florida in Radio/Television (B.A.) and Organizational Communication (B.A.) where he is a Knight for Life UCF Alumni Association member.  Olszewski is a product of Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) graduating from Dr. Phillips High School.  

Randolph on Planned Parenthood: ‘Don’t throw baby out with bathwater’

25 Aug randolph

By Tom Tillison

Talk about a poor choice of words.

Voters in Florida’s 9th congressional district have every reason to ask themselves if former ACORN activist Susannah Randolph is ready for the rigors of Congress following a comment she made during a recent interview with News 13.

After being asked — oh, so awkwardly — about the ongoing controversy involving Planned Parenthood harvesting human tissue from aborted babies for sale, the Democratic congressional candidate inappropriately cautioned not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.”


“We need to get at the heart of what is going on here, but we also don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak,” Randolph said.

As shocking as the comment is, her choice of words flies in the face of the position taken by supporters of Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in the U.S., that it’s a fetus being aborted, not a baby.

Randolph is running in a highly contested Democratic primary against state Sen. Darren Soto, former state Rep. Ricardo Rangel, Valleri Crabtree and Dr. Dena Minning, who is romantically linked to U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, the current CD9 seat holder running for the U.S. Senate.

On her campaign website, Randolph acknowledges that she “previously served on the board of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.”

The local Planned Parenthood organization is holding an annual fundraising event on Sept. 26., titled “Generations Gala,” believe it or not, and Randolph is listed as being on the host committee.

Grayson Planned Parenthood fundraising email shows how two-faced a politician can be

20 Aug rally

By Tom Tillison

With no prompting whatsoever, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson took cause Thursday to show how two-faced a politician can be.

Grayson sent out one of his infamous fundraising emails — see ‘Burning Cross’ — looking to raise coin off recent efforts of pro-life supporters, who he described in the email as “rabid right-winger haters.”

He was referring to wives, daughters and yes, even a priest, who turned out Tuesday at U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s Orlando office, with many later relocating to Grayson’s office, to call on the Democratic lawmakers to stop accepting campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood and to put a stop to government funding of the organization — Planned Parenthood took in $528.4 million in federal funding in FY 2014.


Protesters marching Tuesday in front of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s Orlando office.

The #WomenBetrayed rally was in response to top executives from the nation’s largest abortion provider being caught on video negotiating the sale of human tissue from aborted babies.

“You wouldn’t believe the bitter, vicious vitriol spewing out of these so-called ‘defenders of life,'” Grayson said in the email, before listing some of the G-rated chants participants were repeating.

Here’s a few samples:

1) “Pro-choice,” that’s a lie! Babies never choose to die!

2) Alan Grayson doesn’t care! Baby bodies everywhere!

3) PP, what do you say? How many hearts have you stopped today?

Grayson told potential donors “these rabid right-winger haters set their sights on defunding Planned Parenthood,” which he claimed “is saving lives, not ending them.”

But perhaps Grayson, who is locked in a tight Senate primary race with U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, forgot that his congressional office released a statement to the press following Tuesday’s protest.

Geared for more widespread dispersal, the statement to the press took on a more senatorial tone, as opposed to the zealotry on display in an email designed to separate low information supporters from their cash.

Instead of calling Tuesday’s protesters “rabid right-winger haters,” he respectful referred to them as “constituents.”

“I’m always glad to hear from constituents on key issues, even when I disagree with them,” Grayson said. “Today’s protest outside my office will not change my strong support for Planned Parenthood and a woman’s right to choose.”

As for the right to choose, Grayson may want to keep in mind that discerning voters also have a choice when casting a ballot, and hypocrites may not fare all that well in the process.


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