Gov. DeSantis’ Central Florida budget vetoes hit Ocoee massacre film, LGBTQ projects

July Perry Memorial Marker
Also hit were Clermont's new building, Groveland's water, Winter Park's nature trail.

Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ $1.5 billion worth of line-item budget vetoes Wednesday included nearly $4.5 million in cuts across Central Florida, affecting several infrastructure projects as well as a documentary film about the Ocoee massacre.

Also, on the second day of Pride Month, DeSantis offered the second day of unwanted news for Central Florida’s LGBTQ community, with funding vetoes for a housing program for gay youth and assistance for survivors of the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre, which marks its fifth anniversary next week. This followed his signing Tuesday of Senate Bill 1028, a bill that bans transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports.

LGBTQ projects included $750,000 for the Zebra Coalition, which offers outreach to gay youth on the streets, developing a housing project for them; and $150,000 to continue the United Assistance Center funding, which provides services through the LBGT+ Center Orlando for Pulse survivors and others affected by the June 12, 2016, mass murder.

“Let’s be clear about what this is: Gov. DeSantis has declared war on Florida’s LGBTQ community,” responded Brandon Wolf, media relations manager for Equality Florida and a survivor of the Pulse massacre.

The biggest dollar veto in Central Florida was $1 million that Democratic Sen. Randolph Bracy of Ocoee steered into the budget to help fund a documentary film through Valencia College: “July in November, The Story of the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots.”

Beyond those, Central Florida budget vetoes included:

— $921,500 for the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne for a research project on restoring Indian River Lagoon inflow.

— $900,000 for a drinking water system improvement and expansion project in Groveland.

— $500,000 for a new public services building in Clermont.

— $500,000 to help Oviedo decommission a percolation pond.

— $400,000 to aid Volusia County’s water resilience and water interconnect project.

— $250,000 in economic redevelopment money for the Gateway Orlando Economic Prosperity Initiative in southeast Orlando.

— $100,000 for Orange County’s Best Foot Forward for Pedestrian Safety program.

— $95,0000 to help Winter Park make the Mead Gardens nature trail accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].

One comment

  • betty miller

    June 2, 2021 at 4:07 pm

    Get a grip. The reality is that when one Floridian is affected by budget cuts, we are all affected, directly or indirectly. Before you start winging stones (or declaring a personal war) at budget cuts aimed at ensuring we don’t become California, let’s have a headcount of how many of us cashed our unemployment and COVID checks. Repeatedly. Read the WHOLE list. Real recovery requires something from everyone, so take off your political party hat and get your Go Florida game going.

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