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Orlando grapples with Airbnb, other rental networks

When Randall Baker began renting out a pair of College Park cottages through Airbnb, he says he thought he had done everything right. He had a business license through the state and tax receipts from the city and county.

But after a neighbor complained, Orlando code enforcement determined Baker was violating zoning rules. Though he boasts a perfect five-star rating through the online rental hub, he has since accrued more than $4,000 in fines, records show.

“I’m not the guy that went underground and tried to do this without (approval),” said Baker, 49, who lives next door to the rentals. “I’m the guy that did it right, and they’re messing with me like this. That makes me mad.”

Orlando is one of many cities across the country grappling with how best to regulate services such as Airbnb, HomeAway and FlipKey, which help homeowners rent out their property on a short-term basis to travelers seeking an alternative to traditional hotels.

Though there are hundreds of local listings on these sites in the Orlando area, the city and Orange County consider short-term rentals a code violation in the large majority of residential areas.

Both governments currently cite short-term renters only after receiving complaints. Coming up with a policy to more specifically govern these services is complicated by a 2011 state law that restricted cities’ abilities to regulate vacation rentals, officials say.

“The unintended consequence was that it ties the cities’ hands from passing new short-term rental ordinances,” said Orlando’s chief planner, Jason Burton. “… We can’t even have that conversation because the state has preempted us.”

In a statement, spokesman Ben Breit said Airbnb has “a very positive and productive working relationship with policymakers” in Orlando and Orange County, citing the company’s recent pact with the county to collect hotel tax from its users.

“About 110,000 people have been able to visit Orlando through our home-sharing platform over the past year, and we look forward to partnering with the community to continue catalyzing the local tourism economy,” Breit said.

Currently, city code defines leases of less than 30 days as vacation rentals, a commercial use banned in all but a few of Orlando’s residential districts, such as Lake Eola Heights, which permits them as bed and breakfasts, but only if the owner lives on-site.

Orange’s rules are similar; short-term renting is allowed in about 4 percent of the county.

The city and county have received about 15 complaints each in the past six months. Gripes include cars parked along roadways, noise or lost renters arriving at the wrong door. Baker said a noisy food deliveryman prompted the complaint against him.

During a City Council workshop Nov. 14, Burton recommended to commissioners that the city maintain its current approach while seeking clarification from the Legislature on whether and how it can regulate short-term renting.

After the presentation, District 3 Commissioner Robert Stuart said he wasn’t comfortable with punishing only those renters who aren’t able to fly under their neighbors’ radar.

“It just seems to me that it’s kind of unfair that we’re putting all that burden on a complaint-driven system,” Stuart said.

Other cities across the state and country have taken a variety of approaches to regulating short-term renting. Last month, New York state passed one of the nation’s toughest laws, including $7,500 fines for some rental-service users.

In Florida, Jacksonville prohibits short-term renting in residential areas, while Key West limits it to certain districts, Miami Beach bars it for single-family homes, and St. Petersburg prohibits it entirely.

Meanwhile, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Flagler County and Panama City Beach have recently passed ordinances placing standards on vacation-rental services such as occupancy limits, parking standards and inspection requirements.

At a recent HomeAway conference in Orlando, the company’s government relations manager, Ashley Hodgini, encouraged vacation-rental owners to communicate with local officials in their communities.

“They don’t always understand that you are good stewards of the house and the community,” she said.

Hodgini said her office was tracking regulations in about 60 cities five years ago. Now, she said, they track about 400 cities.

“The demand for this type of travel is so huge, you cannot stop it,” she said.

Celebration real estate agent Victor Nawrocki, who helps buyers purchase short-term rental properties, advises buyers to find a community popular with vacationers and read the homeowner association documents carefully.

“People who are flying under the radar are going to crash,” he said.

“People think they can get away with it, but people come into these places every weekend, and they’re usually not quiet about it … Of course neighbors are going to complain.”?

Baker, a landscape architect who has appeared before the City Council to plead his case, says all he wants is to rent his property under fair and consistent rules. Rather than wait for complaints, the city should embrace uniform regulations, he said.

“Something needs to be done, because the bad players need to be regulated,” he said. “Everybody needs to be regulated, but the bad players need to be dealt with and gone.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Orlando’s cornucopia of thanks runneth over for area leaders

As Orlandoans gather round dinner tables with family and close friends, let us start by being thankful that those of us who can be are there to gather.

Let’s give thanks for a community that found comfort, faith, and strength in each others arms during the dawn following our darkest day, and for the commitment that we all meant what we said when we pledged unity.

This year, 2016, has been one to test our strength and faith and it’s not over. Pulse. The rash of shootings and senseless murders on Orlando’s west side. Zika. The continued demise of Puerto Rico. The gator attack on the little boy at Walt Disney World. The heroin epidemic. The murder of Christina Grimmie. The harsh, divisive election campaigns.

So it’s a mixed cornucopia we see on the table this year, filled with abominations, but also with blessings. Central Florida’s political leaders will see the same, as they sort out who or what to really be thankful for.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer should give thanks to both the city’s rich and powerful and the un-rich and un-powerful advocates who do so much good through passionate determination, and all the close relationships he’s built with all of them over the years. With those bonds he was able to leverage a beyond-expectation community response to the Pulse nightclub tragedy; and put the focus on the proper aspects, law enforcement, fire fighters and paramedics, medical professionals, service providers, healers, hope. The more tedious road to longterm recover lays ahead, so he’s got to continue leveraging those ties. Meanwhile, he must give thanks for the increasing coolness of central Orlando and big projects going forward like Creative Village, the Lake Nona sports centers, and the airport expansion.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs should give thanks that she and this community share a heart and soul, even if they might not share every political agenda. She battled all year to maintain control of the tourist development tax and ultimately prevailed against some powerful players. And she took a hardline approach to the legal profiles of county offices, and a softer opposition approach to sprawl in east Orange County, with mixed results on both. But when she needed to call for the Central Florida’s heart and soul to respond to Pulse, they did, and created an astonishing alliance of communities uniting for peace, love, and support.

State Attorney Aramis Ayala and Orange County Commissioner-elect Emily Bonilla need to give thanks for George Soros, the New York billionaire Democratic rainmaker who financed shadow campaigns that helped them get elected. Bonilla might have won anyway. But Ayala went from unknown to household name in the weeks that Soros’ TV commercials and mailers ran, and she toppled a celebrity, Jeff Ashton.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and Orlando Police Chief John Mina should give thanks, first to the men and women on the front lines who performed heroically, and then that Pulse shooter Omar Mateen’s death made the Pulse investigations clean, and overshadowed any uncertainties about exactly what was happening in those early morning hours. To some extent it also created an atmosphere of shared purpose in Orlando that has softened public outrage over the heroin epidemic and murder spree in other parts of town, allowing them to address those without much harsh second-guessing.

Lawyer and medical marijuana champion John Morgan must give thanks that the Amendment 2 campaign was actually bigger than just him. Floridians resoundingly rejected the old pot-candy-being-sold-across-the-street-from-every-elementary-school fear mongering because they believed the potential benefits, which may still be debated, outweigh any alleged risks, which they mostly rolled their eyes at.

Congresswomen-elect Val Demings and Stephanie Murphy, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, should give thanks to The League of Women Voters and everyone else who had a hand in congressional redistricting that made the Florida’s 7th and 10th Congressional District seats theirs for the taking. Both worked their tales off campaigning and Demings might have taken CD 10 even as it was. Murphy, as fine a candidate as the Democrats have produced in 20 years in CD 7, must also thank Washington Democrats for underwriting most of her campaign.

Meanwhile, Congressman-elect Darren Soto must give thanks for U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson’s ego, as the incumbent stepped aside to make a quixotic run for an office he couldn’t win. Soto also should give thanks that his primary opponents were both Susannah Randolph and Dena Grayson, who split the progressive vote allowing him to become what the district was drawn for, a voice for the Hispanic community.

UCF President John Hitt needs to give thanks for his long-time strategy of nurturing the area’s political leaders. As always, it worked as he got full support for the university’s downtown campus, a relatively small but fairly expensive cornerstone to Orlando’s Creative Village concept.

Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis, Universal Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Williams and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment President Joel Manby should give thanks that the Zika virus has not reached Central Florida and so far visitors don’t seem to care anyway. Tourism and attendance are booming. Even the horrific, fatal gator attack on little Lane Graves seemed to have only momentary affect, while the parks have invested heavily in new attractions that should – and will need to – keep the gravy planes coming.

Andy Gardiner, Linda Stewart arrange moments of silence for Pulse victims

As one of his last acts on behalf of the state of Florida, outgoing Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner arranged a moment of silence Tuesday for those killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting just outside his district on June 12.

Gardiner, the Orlando Republican who now is a private citizen, did so on the request of his successor, now state Sen. Linda Stewart, the Democrat from Orlando, who also arranged for a moment of silence at the Democratic Caucus organizational meeting Monday night.

Gardiner did so, in a highly unusual move, just before the 2017 senators were sworn in, he said, “Because it is the right thing to do.

“I took the presidential privilege to do a moment of silence. You know, we lived — all of us — through it, and the impact of it. And certainly in my role at Orlando Health … we were there,” Gardiner said.

Gardiner’s day job is as senior vice president of external affairs and community relations at Orlando Health, the parent company for the Orlando Regional Medical Center. A few blocks away from Pulse, the facility treated most of the 53 wounded survivors and other victims from the massacre played out by the gay-hating, ISIS-pledging mad gunman Omar Mateen. Forty-nine people were killed before police killed Mateen.

So on Tuesday, after the invocation prayer, Gardiner called for the senators to please remain standing.

“I would like to ask my colleagues and the individuals in the gallery, a lot has happened since the last time we met,” he told them. “And for my community and for the country and state we faced one of the worst tragedies that you can ever imagine in the Pulse nightclub. Forty-nine individuals lost their lives. And for those of us that were there shortly after, it has made a huge impact on our future. And for those in the Orange County delegation it would mean quite a bit to us for a moment of silence.”

Stewart said a similar moment of silence was requested in the House of Representatives, but was not held.

She said the moment in the Florida Senate meant a lot to her, as did the moment — 49 seconds long — that she arranged in the Democratic Caucus meeting the night before. Pulse now is in her district, thanks to last year’s redistricting, which expanded Senate District 13 farther south from the area that Gardiner represented.

“Twas a moment in time where I wanted to make sure that every day that representatives of the state of Florida remember that this tragedy happened,” Stewart said.

 

 

Pulse 911 calls: ‘I’m shot!’ Then silence.

A woman hiding in a closet described gunman Omar Mateen spraying bullets throughout a Florida nightclub during the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history, according to 911 call transcripts released Friday.

The transcripts were the last batch of 911 calls from last June’s massacre at Pulse to be made public by the city of Orlando, and they cover calls made during the first several minutes of the massacre.

In one call, made three minutes after the shooting began, the caller reports hiding in a bathroom with others as Mateen appears to be going in and out of the bathroom.

“They are away from me,” the caller says, referring to the shooter. Then, a moment later, the caller says, “They are in here. They are in here. They are in here.”

Gunshots can be heard in the background, and the caller says, “I’m shot!”

The operator tells the caller, “That’s OK. Help is coming.”

More shots are fired and the caller screams, “I’m shot!” Another voice says on the call, “Please stop. He’s bleeding.”

When the operator asks if the caller is still there, no one answers.

A judge ordered the city to release the 911 calls after a court fight with media companies, including The Associated Press.

Audio recordings of 911 calls made 10 minutes after the shooting began were released earlier this week.

Circuit Judge Margaret Schreiber deemed calls made in the first 10 minutes of the shooting too graphic and said they could be released only as transcripts.

In another call, a man who has been shot three times in the chest tells an operator he’s hiding in a bathroom under a pile of bodies. “We’re dying,” he says.

“No, no, no. Don’t say that,” the operator says. Loud noises are heard in the background, and when the operator asks if he is still there, the caller doesn’t respond.

In some calls, the callers didn’t speak but just left an open line so 911 operators could hear what was going on. In other calls, operators told callers to tap buttons on their cellphones to tell them how many shooters are in the club so they don’t have to talk or make noise.

Mateen was the only shooter, and by the time a three-hour standoff at the club ended, 49 patrons were killed and another 53 people required hospitalization.

Mateen was killed in a shootout with SWAT team members.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Airbnb to add ‘Trips,’ curated local tours, experiences

Home-sharing company Airbnb announced Thursday that it would start adding “Trips” – bookable, curated experiences – to its platform.

“Until now, Airbnb has been about homes,” said CEO Brian Chesky. “Today, Airbnb is launching Trips, bringing together where you stay, what you do, and the people you meet all in one place. We want to make travel magical again by putting people back at the heart of every trip.”

Right now, Trips experiences are available in a dozen cities worldwide, including Miami. Guests can pick from an extensive list of curated options, such as a three-day camping and surfing expedition in Los Angeles, an immersion into the equestrian culture in Paris, or biking through the hidden sights of Tokyo.

Chesky said the goal of Trips is to draw travelers away from touristy areas and into local communities, where they can have a more authentic experience.

The potential for Florida experiences, especially for outdoorsy travelers, is limitless. Trips could include Florida cave diving, biking, hiking, airboat rides, and even gator hunts for the more adventurous.

The addition has the potential to bring tourism revenue all over the state, instead of just the Orlando and Miami areas, and the best part is most of these experiences wouldn’t cannibalize the Florida tourism industry.

The Disney or Universal customer is most likely not the kind of person interested in a cross-state bike tour.

Trips could also make some of Florida’s most interesting people the face of tourism for a new generation of visitors, putting a new spin on what travelers think of when they think of the Sunshine State.

And unlike home rentals, which have come under fire from many local communities, there’s no questionable legality when it comes to guided tours and experiences.

Trips, like Airbnb’s original product, puts more of the profits from tourism into individual’s pockets, rather than funneling it into a handful of major companies.

At second day of Republican Governors Conference, innovation and free-market are the key words

At the second day of the Republican Governors Association Annual Conference in Orlando, a slew of governors from across the nation talked in detail about the policies that led their states to prosperity — among them free market entrepreneurship, education in practical fields, innovation, and more.

The panel included Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia, Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, and Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah.

According to them, their states all are doing very well because of less regulation and less burdensome rules from the federal government — both of which they hoped would happen even more under a Donald Trump administration.

Ducey, who served as CEO of Cold Stone Creamery before becoming governor, said they had expanded it to multiple other states and even other countries — and that couldn’t have been done with government overreach that “criminalized risk-taking,” as he put it.

Martinez said as a prosecutor, she based her decisions off reason, science, and evidence — and, then, if regulations were only hurting businesses, why have them?

“What do you get from it?” she asked. “If it makes things more expensive, and is harder to apply for — get rid of it. We’ve done that. We’ve been very successful in getting rid of a lot of them.”

Deal talked about Georgia’s booming infrastructure and prosperous airport, and Abbott said Texas was fast-becoming a hub for naked technological innovation. Innovation was touched on by many of the speakers, usually in the context of “releasing the power” of American entrepreneurs, unleashing them from the proverbial shackles of government regulation.

They also talked about the “clouds on the horizon” America still faces, even with a Trump administration they hope can fix all their woes of the past eight years. Those clouds included kids who had embraced Bernie Sanders‘ ideology of Democratic socialism and drugs.

“What we saw with Bernie Sanders, with some of our young people feeling the Bern,” said Herbert. “They reject capitalism, and embraced a self-proclaimed socialist. We need to educate our young people, put a section in our schools that talks about free market capitalism, and how it’s the best service to the most people at the lowest prices. I’m very concerned about our young people. They need to know economics.”

“The amount of citizens addicted to drugs, abusing drugs, is very troubling,” Ducey said. “They’ve made themselves unemployable. I got involved with politics because I wanted to give people a better opportunity, a better chance. But with drug legalization, and the number of people addicted, checked out, it’s unprecedented. Governors need to understand what you need in terms of education and industriousness. I know people see it as a social issue; I see it as an economic issue.”

He said leaders have a responsibility to push for better education so young people and their parents can make the right choices.

Attractions Expo gives a glimpse of the future of entertainment

Nine miles of aisles of rocking rides, super-sized inflatables, and a preview of the future through virtual reality goggles are just some of the enticements at the 98th annual Attractions Expo.

More than 30,000 buyers and engineers from amusement parks, water parks, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums, and resorts jammed the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo at the Orange County Convention Center, which runs through Friday.

Grown men took off their suit jackets to climb ropes courses and women kicked off their heels to dance in an inflatable disco with neon lights and surround sound. Both the north and south concourses of the convention center and an outdoor area were packed with amusement park rides and the latest technology that keeps luring visitors back to theme parks.

“What makes IAAPA unique is that competitors have a willingness to share their practices and make this industry stronger across the entire world,” said Greg Hale, a Disney engineer who created the FastPass system and was named IAAPA’s 2017 chairman of the board.

IAAPA, which promotes the $39 billion attractions industry, is relocating its headquarters from Alexandria, Virginia to Orlando next year. Their annual event, with more than 1,000 exhibitors from 100 countries — 150 of those from the Sunshine State — is expected to generate $51.3 million for the Central Florida area.

“We’re excited IAAPA chose Orlando and Orange County for their home,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “The average person like me, who visits a theme park with four kids, walks away with a lifetime of memories but does not know what goes into the development of such an important fabric of our lives.”

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A happy group of Republican governors promises action and a bright future for America at conference

The Republican Governors Association Annual Conference at the Hilton Orlando Resort had a very positive vibe Tuesday afternoon, with the party coming off the high of a Donald Trump win and the impending all-Republican government.

Now, they think, they may actually get things done as a country.

Their agenda at the conference, aside from a few opening jabs at the media’s initial assumption that Trump couldn’t get so far by host Bill Bennett of radio fame, was kept to a pretty straightforward Republican narrative — now they could return control of things to the states, end government overreach, create jobs, and build trust among the American people.

Speakers Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, and Doug Ducey of Arizona all sounded placated and elated at the recent news, saying it was now possible for a real road forward as a nation that would produce results to convince even the most skeptical of critics.

Walker said they now had “good representation” everywhere, what with Trump’s win and the number of Republican governors that got elected, and now it was time for them to go big, go bold, and do it early on enacting policy.

“Both Florida and Ohio, swing states, went red this year,” he said. “It wasn’t just a theory. The people had seen Republican policies work. The left can say all they want, but people all across America have seen our reforms work.”

Haley said the Trump win was proof working-class parents, who may not have time to watch TV, sure did have time to balance their budgets and saw that the current way of things wasn’t working.

Hutchinson said because Trump is an independent and an outsider, people would be “pulling for him” to succeed, which he thought would create an even better country in the long run.

Walker said he hoped at the end of Trump’s first four years, there would hopefully be “no person not working” in America.

At a press conference after the session, Haley and Walker joined Gov. Rick Scott and New Mexico’s Gov. Susana Martinez. They answered questions from the media that mostly focused on the incoming Trump administration and all its uncertainties.

In response to a question on Trump’s hiring of Stephen Bannon — who some say is a white supremacist — for a top position in the White House, Walker sidestepped it and talked jobs instead.

“The measure of results is what they produce, not what people say may or may not happen,” Walker said. “In our state, we have the highest number of people employed in years. I’m not going to look backwards, I’m going to look forward. I’m excited not just about the president, but also about the House and Senate.”

Haley took a slightly more nuanced approach.

“Communication matters, the power of words matters,” she said. “The second we get elected, our job is to lift up everyone. If people are sad about the election, what you’re going to see is action coming out of the administration.”

This came in spite of her own comments from earlier in the election cycle, in which she disagreed with some of Trump’s comments. She said one didn’t have to agree with everything a fellow Republican said in order to support them— and, besides, she had vowed to support the Republican nominee, no matter who it was.

“We hold everyone together, by community, by understanding, by discipline,” she said. “The Republican party means talking to groups we haven’t talked to. We shouldn’t tell them to be Republicans — we should listen to the issues they care about. Trump is talking about inclusion. He’s talking to everybody.”

Martinez issued a sort of blanket response to every criticism of something Trump said on the campaign trail: “That was the campaign; it’s time move forward. He chooses who he wants to surround himself with. We need to worry about, is he going to deliver the jobs, a better economy, and make sure kids are getting a better education?”

Regarding questions on the Affordable Care Act’s future, Martinez said it was prudent to let the states decide how to administer health care, as every state has different needs and different circumstances.

Scott was vehemently against the ACA and said the road ahead wouldn’t be without its lingering challenges.

“They’ll fight us every step,” he said. “They want to keep Obamacare, the Iran deal. There will be pushback from other side … but we all know it hasn’t been working.”

Protesters storm downtown Orlando after Donald Trump election to show solidarity with the marginalized

A small group of people met up at the edge of Lake Eola bordering Rosalind Avenue, all carrying signs and ready to protest Donald Trump‘s presidency Friday afternoon — though, his name was not mentioned at all by many protesters on purpose, so as not to give him credit for their passion.

They were few in number at first, all confused as to where the protest was supposed to take place. One young girl, Alex Mist with online group Anonymous, said she was there to “start a revolution.”

“We have elected a fascist, a bigot, a sexist man,” she told FloridaPolitics.com. “That is not our country. It’s not democracy. We want to start a revolution and overthrow the oligarchy of America.”

Few others had come with such ardent goals — others, like LGBT resident John Palys, came simply to show solidarity and unity with their fellow Orlandoans who had vowed not to give into hate.

“People think they can get away with things now,” he said. “The KKK and Neo-Nazis. I was already called an [anti-gay slur] walking home from work yesterday. I want to show them I will fight, I will be strong, I will not back down.”

The protest swelled at the other end of Lake Eola, where crowds nearing a thousand people chanted in unison: “Not my president!” They switched it up later, with the women in the audience first shouting “My body, my choice!” and the men following with “Her body, her choice!”

Protest organizer City Tucker with the Black Lives Matter movement emphasized throughout that this was to be a peaceful protest, to unify people and to show solidarity with minorities that were worried Trump and vice president Mike Pence could pass laws infringing upon their rights as Americans.

“We are the City Beautiful,” Tucker said. “Why should we act like anything but?”

Tucker spoke with some of his fellow organizers, saying this couldn’t just be the end. They would have other, future plans.

“Any time he passes a bill, we’ll do something,” Tucker said. “We’ll start an organization, start scholarships. We’ll take this love and put it back in the city.”

All around, people had conversations with one another, at Tucker’s request that they get to know one another and love one another. They bonded over their heritages and common beliefs.

“The U.S.A. is made of multiculture from every culture in the world,” said resident Debra Smith. “Not just people born here. People come here for a better life, to live free, for a better chance for their children.”

“Read about the Gadsden Purchase, and the Treaty of Guadalupe,” said Nancy Gutierrez. “Half of this land used to belong to Mexico. People died so these people can have a country. I am not an illegal alien. I have not been on Mars. I was born on this planet.”

The march then moved through the streets of downtown Orlando, with protesters of every color, race, creed, sexuality, and religion waving signs and shouting slogans of solidarity.

They arrived at City Hall and stood packed in a stadium-like circle around Tucker and other activists, including Equality Florida Transgender Inclusion Director Gina Duncan and Debbie Deland with Planned Parenthood, who made short speeches on the purpose of their rally.

“We have been through so much,” Tucker shouted, straining his voice without a megaphone. “We are not going to succumb to the hate of one person. People try to tell us we are a divided country. Well, we look pretty united to me.”

Duncan vowed to take equality bills to the highest levels of government locally, then to Tallahassee and to Washington, similar to how it had been done in Orlando.

“We will make sure everyone is finally treated fairly,” she said.

U.S. Marine Corps. veteran Stephen McKnight took the stage and harshly indicted the new president.

“My brothers and sisters did not serve to put a fascist in the president’s office,” he said. “We fought and served for each and every one of you, and for the Constitution. Not to allow fascists to discriminate against everyone in the country. We support black people, Latino people, and female people — some of the best Marines I knew were women.”

Deland said she was there as “Jane Q. Public,” saying they would all stand together as one public.

“We will tell everyone not white, that you’ll be safe, we’ll have your back,” she said. “We will not accept intolerance. We have to support women and tell them ‘you can’t be grabbed.’ I’ve had such a long career with sexual harassment. We won’t stand for it.”

At times, the chants of “Black Lives Matter” dwarfed the speakers, and Tucker had to calm them down to continue the presentation.

Deland closed out with, “Do we still believe in Barack Obama?”

At that, the crowd let out a roar of approval.

Then, they continued their march down Orange Avenue.

Rick Scott, Scott Walker, Nikki Haley headline GOP governors’ meeting

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will headline the annual conference of the Republican Governors Association in Orlando next week.

Scott will host the event that will have two major sessions, “Republican Governors: Leading The Charge,” on Tuesday, and “Best States For Business: Behind The Headlines,” on Wednesday, at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek resort. The conference is not open to the public.

The Leading The Charge session will be moderated by Bill Bennett, host of “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America,” radio show. It will feature Walker, Haley, Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas.

The Best States session will feature Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Ducey, Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia, Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, and Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah.

 

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