Orlando Archives - Page 2 of 123 - Florida Politics

Pete Clarke raises $9,300 in Orange County mayor’s race, while Jerry Demings, Rob Panepinto now top $240K

Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke reported raising $9,301 in his first month of campaigning for the Orange County mayor’s job in 2017.

That starts him off well behind the two leading candidates in the money chase so far, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and Rob Panepinto, president of Orlando Inc., the Orlando-area chamber of commerce. They each announced or posted their campaign finance numbers early last week. Yet Clarke said he has not begun serious campaign fundraising yet, and has several major events set before the end of the year.

The October reports for the fourth major Orange County mayoral candidate, Orange County School Board Chairman Bill Sublette, have not yet been posted on the Orange County Supervisor of Elections website.

In October, Clarke picked up 20 checks, including a $1,000 donation to himself, and five other maximum-amount checks from businesses and individuals. He also received about $900 in in-kind contributions. He spent just $80, leaving him with $9,220 in cash at the start of November.

By contrast, Panepinto raised nearly $240,000 in the month of October, including $100,000 he donated to his own campaign. About $172,000 of that went into his official campaign fund, and another $69,000 went into his independent political committee, Vision Orange County. His big checks to Vision County included $10,000 from banker Sal Nunziata of Orlando, $9,000 from health care professional Davian Santana of Clermont, $8,000 from businessman David Carmany of Winter Park, and $7,000 each from Shawn Bush of Orlando and the 2013 Leford Revocable Trust.

Demings, who entered the race in July, maintains a slight edge in the money chase. He reported raising $60,676 in his official campaign fund and another $55,000 in his political committee, Orange County Citizens for Smart Growth, in the month of October. Between them, he has raised $251,412. His biggest checks to his independent committee were $25,000 apiece from the Colonial Medical Center and Mauricio Chiropractic Group, both of Orlando, and $5,000 from the Community Leadership PAC of Arlington, Va. He has spent $19,000 from his campaign committee.

Like Clarke and Panapinto, Sublette just entered the race, and did not file any previous campaign finance reports.

Dorothy Hukill raises $30K, Dennis Baxley $33K, in Florida Senate re-election bids

State Sen. Dorothy Hukill reported raising more than $30,000 in October toward her 2018 re-election bid in Florida Senate District 14 in the northern Space Coast.

Hukill’s haul was her biggest one-month total yet, and brings her contributions to $84,700. After expenses the Port Orange Republican had $57,400 in the bank at the end of October, according to reports posted on the Florida Division of Elections website.

Her opponent, Democrat Melissa Martin of Cocoa had a decent month herself, but remains far behind in the money chase. Martin reported raising $2,900 in October, bringing her three-month total to $8,300. After expenses, she reported having just under $8,000 in the bank.

The big difference thus far has been that virtually all of Martin’s contributions have come from individuals. She has collected but one $1,000 maximum donation, and only another 10 checks for more than $100, among her 105 donations. Meanwhile, all but a dozen or so of Hukill’s donations have come from political action committees, corporations, and lobbyists. Of Hukill’s 92 campaign donations, 47 were for the $1,000 maximum, and only one was for under $100.

Similarly to Hukill, state Sen. Dennis Baxley reported raising more than $33,000 in October, virtually all of it from political action committees, corporations and lobbyists. That brings the Ocala Republican’s fundraising total to $65,350 in his 2018 Florida Senate District 12 re-election campaign, leaving him with about $49,800 in the bank.

His Republican primary opponent, Keasha Gray of Ocala, has not reported raising any money since entering the field five months ago.

In other Central Florida state Senate contests, State Rep. Jason Brodeur‘s 2020 bid to succeed state Sen. David Simmons in Seminole County’s Florida Senate District 9 seat continues to roll three years out from the election, with another $17,150 raised in October, the most he’s collected in a month since his big start early this year.

That gives Brodeur, the Sanford Republican, $177,125 raised in his official campaign fund for the 2020 election, and he has another $1 million raised in his Friends of Jason Brodeur political committee. After expenses, Brodeur has $70,000 in his campaign fund and about $270,000 in his unofficial political committee.

The SD 9 race has one other candidate, Democrat Frederick Ashby of Oviedo, who reported raising no money last month. He’s raised $425 total since filing for the seat in May, and has lent his campaign $1,100.

State Sen. Victor Torres reported raising $6,500 in October giving him a donations total of about $31,000 for his 2020 Senate District 15 re-election campaign. Torres has about $23,000 cash on hand. He does not yet have an opponent.

State Sen. Randolph Bracy’s campaign finance reports for the month of October have not yet been posted in Florida Senate District 11. He also does not yet have an opponent. Neither state Sen. Linda Stewart nor anyone else has yet filed paperwork for the 2020 election in her Senate District 13.

 

Expressway Authority deal allows E-ZPass use from Northeast on Central Florida toll roads

The Central Florida Expressway Authority has approved a deal with a consortium of northern toll agencies that will allow their customers to drive Central Florida toll roads, paying tolls with their hometown transponders.

The deal, approved Thursday by the CFX Board of Trustees, is with the E-ZPass group representing 37 toll-road and toll-bridge agencies in 16 northeast states from Maine to North Carolina, and as far west as Illinois. The arrangement will become operational sometime next spring.

The immediate impact is that, among the tens of millions of visitors to Central Florida each year, anyone who drives into town and has a local toll road agency’s transponder won’t have to worry about going through the cash-only lanes on CFX toll roads. They’ll be able use the local express-pass lanes as if they were locals with E-PASS transponders. Their hometown transponders also will work on other E-PASS locations, such as the parking garages at Orlando International Airport.

The deal’s not quite reciprocal yet, though.

E-PASS users in Central Florida won’t be able to use their transponders in the E-ZPass system in northeast states, at least not right away. However the Central Florida Expressway Authority is working out details on a plan that would allow E-PASS users to eventually trade in their existing transponder cards for new ones that would work on the E-ZPass system. It’s not clear yet whether there will be a fee for that, or when the new transponder cards would become available.

The deal also does not affect other toll roads in Florida, including those of Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, run by the Florida Department of Transportation, or users of their transponders, such as SunPass. E-ZPass transponder cards won’t work on those roads, and SunPass users won’t be able to use their transponders on E-ZPass roads.

That makes things a little complicated on Central Florida expressways, because some are split, with portions owned by the Central Florida Expressway Authority and using E-PASS equipment, and portions owned by the Florida Department of Transportation, using SunPass equipment. The dual-governed expressways include State Roads 417, 429, and 528.

CFX and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise have a reciprocal, interoperability agreement for E-PASS and SunPass, allowing their users to drive those roads and other roads seamlessly, with their transponders working anywhere. But that interoperability doesn’t extend to the E-ZPass deal.

Still, officials insist the deal, the first in Florida with the E-ZPass group, is the next step, and a big one, toward a vision of coast-to-coast interoperability of toll-road transponders.

“By joining the E-ZPass group, CFX is furthering the conversation toward seamless travel on all toll roads regardless of where you live, work or play.” CFX Executive Director Laura Kelley stated in a news release. “Our collaboration is another example of CFX’s commitment to putting our customers first.”

The Central Florida Expressway Authority operates a 118-mile system of expressways in Metro Orlando while serving Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, and more than 80 percent of CFX drivers use transponders.

The E-ZPass system is in operation for all toll roads and bridges in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.

“Expanding our network into Florida is wonderful news for E-ZPass customers who count themselves among the estimated 68 million annual visitors to the Orlando area,” E-ZPass Group Executive Director P.J. Wilkins stated in the release. “One of our main objectives is to improve the ease and uninterrupted travel that E-ZPass customers enjoy, and portability to the Sunshine State is certainly a common request.”

The Central Florida Expressway Authority already has an interoperability deal with toll road agencies in Georgia and North Carolina.

Longwood city election spurs bill to strip cities of control of cardroom gambling

The results of Tuesday night’s elections for the Longwood City Commission – with three new commissioners elected to office – has spurred state Reps. Scott Plakon and Bob Cortes to file a bill that would strip cities from having any approval of cardrooms at pari-mutuel facilities such as dog tracks.

Longwood is home to the Sanford Orlando Kennel Club, a dog track that has been pushing for years for the opportunity to open a cardroom, but which has been rebuffed by the Longwood City Commission. The Seminole County Board of Commissioners also is on record opposing any expansion of gambling in the county.

Tuesday’s election brought Richard Drummond, Matthew Morgan, and Abigail Shoemaker to the five-member Longwood City Commission. Drummond is security manager at the dog track, and both he and Morgan received $1,000 checks from the Central Florida Greyhound Association for their campaigns.

Drummond said Thursday that he ran with no intent to push for gambling expansion, has made no promises he would support it, and would not advocate it to other commissioners, yet he is open to the prospect, saying it should be up to the citizens of Longwood. He supposed he would have to recuse himself if the matter came up to the commission, though he said that would ultimately be up to the city attorney. He also said if it does come up, he would like to see the issue put before voters in a referendum.

Plakon and Cortes filed House Bill 6029 late Wednesday, which would require the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to require an approving vote of the county commissioners, rather than of a municipal commission, before issuing a cardroom license.

Plakon, of Longwood, Cortes, of Altamonte Springs, and another Seminole County Republican state representative, Jason Brodeur, of Sanford, all openly backed the losing candidates in the three Longwood races, City Commissioners Mark Weller and John Maingot, and Michael Dodane.

Plakon said Thursday he is concerned that, unlike previous Longwood commissioners, Drummond’s Morgan’s and Shoemaker’s positions on gambling expansion are not publicly known.

But Plakon said the point of his and Cortes’s bill is the concern that any new gambling has impact far beyond a specific city, and should have at least county-wide review before the state would issue a cardroom license. Currently Florida law allows the division to issue licenses from pari-mutuel facilities if they get approvals from their city commissions, unless the locations are in unincorporated areas, when the law requires approvals from the county commissions.

Drummond said the bill is pay-back for his, Morgan’s and Shoemaker’s victories over the candidates that Plakon and Cortes backed.

“This needs to be decided at the city level, not at the state,” Drummond said. “The only [place] this [bill] is going to effect is the city of Longwood. … I’m very frustrated that they’re going to continue to get back at us after their candidates lost the election. It’s just sad they want to step in and then use their power and their authority to interfere with local politics.”

There are only two pari-mutuels in the entire state that do not have card rooms, The Sanford Orlando Kennel Club and Orlando Live Events, formerly known as the Orlando Jai Alai Fronton, which is in unincorporated Seminole County, in Cortes’s district.

“The previous [Longwood] commissioners, to us, had stated very clearly their opposition to expanding gambling in the dog track. But during the election it wasn’t entirely clear to us, the now new commissioners, what their position is,” Plakon said.

“The well-known deleterious affects of [gambling expansion] go well beyond the borders of that,” city, Plakon said. “So we filed this legislation thinking it’s more appropriate to empower counties to make this decision since it will likely have an impact on their constituents as well.”

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, wife Karen Dyer divorcing

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and his wife Karen Dyer are divorcing after a a 29-year marriage, Dyer’s office confirmed Thursday morning.

News of the breakup broke through the Orlando Sentinel, which reported that the Dyers are seeking an amicable split after separating for some time.

In a statement issued by his office, Buddy Dyer stated, “After being separated for some time, Karen and I are divorcing. This was a mutual and amicable decision. We hope to continue to handle this in a private and dignified manner that can be an example for others who face this difficult decision.”

The Sentinel reported that Buddy Dyer, mayor for 14 years, filed for divorce in Holmes County on Sept. 1, describing their marriage as “irretrievably broken.”

Karen Dyer is a lawyer with Boies Schiller Flexner.

Florida Hospital Association lauds Stephanie Murphy’s ‘Disaster Displacement Act’

The Florida Hospital Association is expressing strong support and “deep appreciation” for a bill by U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy that would make Puerto Rican evacuees almost immediately eligible for full Medicaid coverage by the federal government if they have to evacuate to Florida.

The hospital association praised Murphy’s “Disaster Displacement Act of 2017,” House Resolution 4249, introduced last Friday by Murphy, a Winter Park Democrat, and co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, an Orlando Democrat, and which is an identical companion to legislation introduced in the Senate by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat.

The bills are in response to the influx of Hurricane Maria victims evacuating the island because their homes and communities remain unlivable, and in many cases their jobs are gone. Estimates run as high as 120,000 who already have arrived in Florida, and estimates go as high as 300,000 who might eventually arrive. Many are arriving with little documentation and no insurance, relying on Medicaid for health care issues that include cancer treatment and chronic illnesses.

Murphy’s and Nelson’s bills would enroll evacuees arriving in Florida in Medicaid through an expedited process, and have federal government cover the full costs of their care for at least 24 months. In the absence of this legislation, the state of Florida would be required to pay nearly 40 percent of the cost of care, straining the state’s budget.

Nelson’s Senate Bill 2066, which, like Murphy’s was filed late last week, has already received endorsements from several local officials, including: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Osceola County Commissioner Fred Hawkins and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava. The measure now heads to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

Murphy’s bill has been assigned to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the House Financial Services Committee.

“On behalf of the Florida Hospital Association’s over 200 organizational members, I am writing to express our strong support and deep appreciation,” FHA President Bruce Rueben wrote.

“In all cases, Florida’s hospitals will help everyone and anyone in need. The displaced residents of Puerto Rico are not exceptions. Our mission is to care for everyone and we will gladly meet this new challenge just as we stepped up to help our own communities during and after Hurricane Irma. This vital legislation will go far to help ensure that Florida’s hospitals continue to have the necessary funding to fulfill our mission to care.”

Murphy said the bill is modeled after a similar law passed to assist states such as Texas that took huge influxes of migrants displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Her and Nelson’s bills also would allow local housing authorities to access additional federal funding to help provide housing for Puerto Rico evacuees.

“Florida is doing the right thing by taking in thousands of our fellow American citizens whose lives were uprooted as a result of Hurricane Maria, and the federal government should have our state’s back,” Murphy stated in a news release . “Just as we did after Hurricane Katrina, we should give states who receive hurricane victims the resources they need to provide for their current and new residents. Central Florida has received a significant percentage of the Americans leaving Puerto Rico, creating greater demand for health care services and quality, affordable housing

Puerto Rico leaders say evacuees’ needs may last years; Adam Putnam pledges help

The influx of Puerto Rican refugees to Florida may reach the hundreds of thousands, many might stay, and the need to help them recover from Hurricane Maria and assimilate could take years as the commonwealth slowly recovers from the devastation, a group of Central Florida Puerto Rican leaders told Adam Putnam Wednesday.

And the Republican gubernatorial candidate pledged them his help.

Meeting at the Puerto Rico Family Response Center in eastern Orange County, LatinoLeadership Executive Director Marucci Guzman, her husband state Rep. Rene Plasencia, Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Julio Fuentes, Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke, and others, Putnam commended Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts to help Puerto Rico, but added that “we have a whole new crisis that needs to be dealt with right here in our backyard in Central Florida.”

The center, established by LatinoLeadership, is providing first-contact responses for Puerto Rico evacuees arriving in Central Florida, either through its desk at the airport or its East Orange location, to help them connect with housing, food, clothing, education, health care and other needs. Estimates offered now top 120,000 Puerto Ricans who have arrived since Oct. 1, mostly in Central Florida, and Guzman, Plasencia, and Fuentes offered that this is only the beginning.

“We need to keep in mind this is an issue that’s ongoing. It’s not just a month ago, it’s not just right now, but it’s going to be a three or four or five year-long process. We don’t know how long it’s going to take Puerto Rico to rebuild, but we do know is we have hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans who are looking to us here in Florida, to possibly call this their new home,” said Plasencia, a Republican from Orlando. “And we have to make sure we’re doing everything we can both as communities,whether  as community leaders, as faith leaders, or as just regular citizens who are opening our homes, but also as political leaders who have the power to make things more efficient and the transition more fluid.”

Putnam, Florida’s agriculture commissioner and Republican gubernatorial candidate, toured the center, and praised the volunteers “who are working tirelessly to welcome our neighbors and fellow Americans who are at one of the darkest points in their lives.”

With state Sen. Jack Latvala‘s gubernatorial campaign and legislative career in jeopardy due to sexual misconduct allegations, Putnam is currently the only major Republican running. Democrats running include Gwen Graham, who last month had volunteered to help with Puerto Rican assistance at another center, the Acacia Florida Puerto Rican Center about a half-mile down the street, Chris King, Philip Levine, and Andrew Gillum.

Putnam promised to take the concerns he heard at the Puerto Rico Family Response Center, and the model of non-profit assistance he observed, back to the state Capitol.

“This is ground zero. This is the Puerto Rican embassy in Central Florida,” Putnam said of the center. “The word is out. This is where people come when they come to Florida. They come straight here. This is not a glitzy, high-profile government agency. There’re no acronyms. They’re not worried about what their reimbursement rates will be from the Stafford Act [which created FEMA.] This is food goes on the pantry, and the next morning a family goes in and gets the food to feed their family, which they haven’t done in 48 days…. That’s the beauty of what’s going on here: this is really charity in action. This is faith in action. And this is Americans doing what we do best, which is look out for our fellow neighbor.”

He urged people to bring donations over, or to volunteer.

And Putnman said he expects the Florida Legislature to take up the Puerto Rico evacuees’ cause in the upcoming Legislative Session. Among others, state Rep. Bob Cortes, a Republican from Altamonte Springs, is writing a bill to address housing needs for evacuees, as well as the broader shortage of affordable housing in the state.

Putnam said the affordable housing issue predates the hurricanes, and noted places in Florida such as Everglades City and the Florida Keys have major housing shortages now.

“As a state I think it’s important for us to continue to remove any obstacles or red tape that would prevent families to adapting to the new normal in their time of crisis,” Putnam said. “If you have a professional license in Puerto Rico there ought to be minimum interference to using a professional license in the state of Florida. “So I think it’s important that as a state we not allow disaster fatigue creep into our mindset, because there still are thousands of families seeking shelter in our state.”

Fuentes said the estimates of Puerto Rican evacuees could range up to 300,000, representing a true crisis. “Whatever that number is, it’s a lot,” he said. He said Orlando is the center for Puerto Rican migration, but “we are seeing this now in other parts of the state, in Miami, in Tampa and in Jacksonville.”

 

Bobby Olszewski files bill to restrict hunting of mother black bears

The hunting of black bear mothers of cubs under 100 pounds would be banned in Florida under a bill filed Wednesday by state Rep. Bobby Olszewski.

House Bill 559 also makes harvesting of saw palmetto berries, the primary food of Florida black bears, to be declared petit theft of the second degree.

Olszewski, a Winter Garden Republican who took office last month after a special election, stressed the point that bill would reduce the need for black bears to wander from their habitat into human-occupied areas, including parts of northwest Orange County where black bear-human encounters have been on a steep rise in recent years.

The bill also forbids prescribed burns in known black bear habitats during certain times.

“Central Florida has seen an increase in black bears becoming more prevalent in our residential communities,” Olszewski stated in a news release issued by his office. “This bill will ensure saw palmetto berries, the main staple to a bear’s diet, are not harvested on preserved state lands in addition to protecting young cubs and their nursing mothers. With these additional protections, we can reduce the need for bears leaving their natural environment to search for food.”

The bill is a companion to Senate Bill 156 introduced earlier this year by state Sen. Linda Stewart, an Orlando Democrat.

Jim Gray, Robert Stuart, Regina Hill all re-elected to Orlando City Council

Orlando is virtually a boomtown city and voters are seeing it that way, returning all three incumbent city commissioners, Jim Gray  Robert Stuart and Regina Hill to new terms on the City Council.

With all but provisional ballots counted, Gray easily won a second term, strongly defeating challenger Tom Keen in District 1, 53 percent to 40 percent.

In what turned out to be an expensive, high-profile battle that has drawn a huge voter turnout in their district, Orlando City Commissioner Stuart squeaked to victory  over challenger Asima Azam, 51 percent to 49 percent, a difference of 122 votes.

Hill had the biggest lead over any individual challenger but needed to win 50 percent plus one vote in a crowded field of seven. She did so, barely Tuesday, grabbing 50.2 percent of the vote, well ahead of second-place Ericka Dunlap who drew 25 percent.

Stuart and Gray ran campaigns touting that the city was doing well and their districts were doing well, and they deserved re-election. Both of their opponents had charged that the incumbents had not been responsive, and the districts needed new ideas and new commitments.

Voters agreed with the incumbents.

“I’m excited about it. I think it sends a signal that our community is going in the right direction and we’re thrilled about it,” Stuart said. “We asked our citizens to remember the things that are important to our community and how we move them forward. I think that’s important.”

Hill’s return to office was in a race that involved strong opinions about how the low-income, largely African-American District 5 should respond to development and gentrification issues, as downtown Orlando creeps westward.

Voters gave Hill a vote of confidence, with only Dunlap, a former Miss America who runs a public relations firm, able to break double percentage figures. Among other challengers, Sarah Elbadri, Cynthia Harris, and Jabreel Ali, all grabbed 7 percent; Betty Gelzer, 3; and Ondria James less than 1 percent.

Teresa Jacobs tells Richard Corcoran Orange County, Visit Orlando working on transparency

Orange County and Visit Orlando are working on new rules to open the convention and visitors bureau’s business to more public scrutiny, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs told Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran in a letter sent Monday.

“We believe that the additional transparency measures we plan to implement will greatly enhance the transparency and accountability of VO while still preserving their ability to operate successfully on behalf of our community in a global tourism marketplace, as well as supporting our robust tourism industry and protecting jobs,” Jacobs wrote.

Her letter is in part a response to Corcoran’s ongoing crusade to make Florida’s convention and visitors bureaus and other quasi-public private corporations working for government stop shielding much of their activities and spending with public money from scrutiny. Last Legislative Session, Corcoran led an effort that nearly defund Visit Florida, and this year he’s turned more attention to the local organizations. In August he sent letters to 12 local tourism development councils, and followed up with a second letter in early October to Visit Orlando, demanding accountability and open records.

Visit Orlando, which last year had an $80 million budget, including $51 million that came from Orange County’s tourist development tax, is by far the largest local tourism bureau in the state.

Jacobs earlier responded, in late August, that she was also insisting on new restrictions on Visit Orlando including a requirement that the organization list all its vendors on-line, and another that its sponsorship contracts over $500,000 be reported quarterly to the county.

Now, she wrote, Orange County and Visit Orlando are in talks to push through more reforms. Visit Orlando’s last full contract expired Sept. 30, and the county agreed to a one-year extension including the changes she cited in August. The current talks are on adding more public scrutiny to Visit Orlando’s books and operations, to be incorporated in the next, long-term contract, she assured Corcoran.

Visit Orlando Chief Executive Officer George Aguel confirmed in a statement Tuesday that his corporation was working with Jacobs and her team. Aguel wrote they “have developed even more enhanced measures for 100 percent transparency of all [Tourist Development Tax] funding that Visit Orlando manages.”

“Visit Orlando has a long history of complying with all of the accountability requirements of our contractual relationship with Orange County, and we welcomed the opportunity to work together to further expand our high level of transparency with TDT funds,” Aguel stated. “After extensive research into the competitive landscape as well as collaboration with our business partners, we have carefully developed these additional measures with the mayor and her team that will ensure every dollar of TDT funding to Visit Orlando is transparent. We are optimistic that these measures will still preserve the organization’s ability to operate and market our destination, in what we know is a highly competitive tourism marketplace, so that we maintain Orlando’s critical position as the number one travel destination.”

Jacobs letter to Corcoran, and Aguel’s statement, did not specify all of the “several” changes she said are being pursued. However, Jacobs did delineate one of the problems she wants to address.

“As a regular practice,” she wrote, Visit Orlando spends money on advertising and media through agencies, and only the payments to the agencies are publicly disclosed. So there is no information released showing how the agencies spent the money on Visit Orlando’s behalf, so there is no public disclosure of where the money ultimately winds up, or what it ultimately pays for.

One change she did announce is a new requirement that Visit Orlando contracts be provided to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners, so that they can be publicly posted on the Orange County Comptroller’s website.

She also referred to a specific sponsorship contract that she has raised concerns about previously because details have not been released, a contract between Visit Orlando and the United States Tennis Association. That pact included a confidentiality clause that Corcoran, Jacobs, and open-government advocates have charged has been used routinely by quasi-government agencies to shroud how public money is spent and what it buys.

“Additionally, before the end of the year, VO is planning to provide a full analysis of the benefits and costs of the USTA sponsorship agreement, which we will make publicly available,” Jacobs wrote.

She also acknowledged that Corcoran and the Florida Legislature are likely to push for and possibly pass legislation requiring organizations like Visit Orlando to open their books more, and she wrote, “we will ensure that our contract complies with any additional transparency measures that may be forthcoming in the 2018 Legislative Session.”

Then she added, “I would ask for your support in ensuring that whatever additional requirements are placed on VO, also be required uniformly of all CVBs throughout the state.”

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons