Friday, November 17, 2017
Breaking News
Welcome To Rockville's Lineup ROCKS! Posted 7 months 4 weeks ago
Burton's Bar Will Return In Old Verde Unit Posted 8 months 3 weeks ago
Orlando To Host Brown Liquor Music Festival Posted 9 months 4 days ago
Lipstick On A Pig: Everglades SB10 Stinks Posted 9 months 1 week ago
Okeechobee 2017 - Enter The Portal Posted 9 months 2 weeks ago
Trump Advisor Releases Book On 2016 Posted 9 months 2 weeks ago
Jeff Ashton's Rejects: Let Us Be Judge! Posted 9 months 3 weeks ago
Charter Schools Approved For Avalon Park Posted 11 months 1 week ago
Be Santa To A Senior This Holiday Season Posted 11 months 3 weeks ago
The Case For & Against Adam Putnam Posted 11 months 4 weeks ago
Stardustlounge Is Going Downhill Posted 12 months 4 hours ago
Andrae Bailey Mayoral Bid: Why It Makes Sense Posted 12 months 2 days ago
Ted Edwards Deserves Another Term Posted 1 year 2 weeks ago
Election 2016: Osceola County Endorsements Posted 1 year 3 weeks ago
New Florida Poll Shows Trump Up Posted 1 year 3 weeks ago

East Orlando Post's blog

Charter Schools Approved For Avalon Park

Two charter schools are coming to Avalon Park and here is what you need to know.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Today, the Orange County Commission gave its final approval for Avalon Park Group to build the first of two charter schools planned for the Avalon Park Community. Both schools have been granted a charter by Orange County Public Schools.

 

Two charter schools are coming to Avalon Park and here is what you need to know.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Today, the Orange County Commission gave its final approval for Avalon Park Group to build the first of two charter schools planned for the Avalon Park Community. Both schools have been granted a charter by Orange County Public Schools.

 

The new school, a K-5 charter school operated by Academica, will provide a choice for up to 540 students in the south Avalon Park area. The school is a reduction in size from the original proposal after negotiations between Orange County Public Schools, Orange County and Avalon Park Group.

 

“Our goal from the beginning was to provide the residents of East Orlando the absolute best schools in Florida,” says Beat Kahli, president & CEO, Avalon Park Group. “Working with our community and our partners in this endeavor ensures, whether a parent chooses our public schools or our charter schools, our children will receive a great education.”

 

The Academica school will provide a specific focus on STEM and art education. Academica operates more than 100 charter schools across the country. U.S. News & World Report named its International Studies Charter School the top high school in Florida. Students within two to three miles of the schools will have priority enrollment at the school.

 

By focusing on elementary education, the new school has a 15 percent reduction in traffic than the original proposal. In addition, the new plans increased the number of parking spaces by 15 percent and allows for joint parking for the Avalon/Mailer Trailhead, located next to the new school.

 

“This school will be a community asset for all of East Orlando,” Kahli says. “We are committed to providing the community everything they need for all aspects of their lives.” Construction will start early in 2017 and is expected to cost approximately $8 million.

 

The East Orlando Post will provide updates on the project as it moves forward.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. His work through these publications has been showcased in hundreds of publications and news outlets in the state of Florida, the United States, and around the globe. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at info@eastorlandopost.com

 

 

Oliver vs. Ross: Who Should Lead The Orange County GOP?

Both Randy Ross and Lew Oliver bring a lot to the table... but who deserves to sit at the head?

 

By Gregory Fournier

 

With the Presidential election out of the way, Orange County Republicans will focus on the December 8th Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman. The two candidates for the position of Chairman are current Chairman Lew Oliver and Randy Ross, the Chairman of the Trump team in Orange County.

 

Both Randy Ross and Lew Oliver bring a lot to the table... but who deserves to sit at the head?

 

By Gregory Fournier

 

With the Presidential election out of the way, Orange County Republicans will focus on the December 8th Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman. The two candidates for the position of Chairman are current Chairman Lew Oliver and Randy Ross, the Chairman of the Trump team in Orange County.

 

Mr. Ross is running on increasing voter registration and having more fundraisers during the year so the committee can assist local candidates.

 

Ross also argues that his Orange County organization for Trump was the best in the state. All are true statements. His work for the Trump campaign was stellar and he did have one of the best organizations in Florida and possibly in the country.

 

As I toured North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and elsewhere, I didn’t see half the energy or organized effort that Ross had built in Orange County. With all the efforts, though, Trump lost Orange County, with 60.4% in Clinton's column and 35.7% for Trump. While stating that the numbers of registered Democrats VS Republican voters were the reason for those results is an easy route, there is much more to the story.

 

Failed targeting, messaging, and outreach with early voters are a few factors in the Trump loss for Orange County. The Democrats won races like Mica’s, Rubio (yes, Rubio also lost Orange County) and Lowe, in large part on major early voting efforts by Democrats. Republicans took YUGE losses in Orange County.

 

The Mica race alone should have been a major priority of the Republican Executive Committee in Orange County. I fail to see how anyone could argue that it indeed was. Who is to blame for all these major losses? Did Ross do enough with the Trump campaign? Where the efforts (while strong in comparison to the Democrats) misdirect efforts that did not target properly? Did Lew Oliver and OCREC fail by making the same mistakes Ross did with Trump in the other races?

 

My analysis is that it was everybodys fault. So, let’s get back to the election of OCREC chair.

 

Who is better suited to stop the bleeding of Republican losses in Orange County?

 

Randy Ross showed a strong ability to organize large groups of volunteers and get them active. His leadership in gathering like-minded people and leading them showed he has the potential to be great, but that was one race. The question has to be asked, “Can Ross get the same results with multiple candidates in multiple races. Can Ross stay neutral in primary races? Will Ross over burden OCREC by having multiple fundraising events?"

 

Ross does like a good party and is a superb event organizer. The Chairman of the County Committee takes a lot more than that though. It’s cultivating good candidates, increasing voter registration, getting Republicans elected and forging relationships in both the public and private sectors.

 

While he sometimes fails in many areas of getting Republicans elected, Mr. Oliver does have the established relationships necessary to right the ship. The OCREC and the future of it would best be served with a coordinated effort between Oliver and Ross. A change in Leadership is not going to happen.

 

Oliver will prevail based on the relationships he has made and I do not see Ross as having "stuffed" the OCREC with the members necessary to prevail. In Volusia County, Tony Ledbetter spent a few years stacking the Committee with members that would vote his way. It was a coup of epic proportions.

 

Ross is basing his run on one election and trying to rely on his success in building a strong Trump organization in Orange County. The effort that in reality failed, but again, Ross can organize and engergize.

 

Oliver will prevail in this election. He should prevail. However, he must embrace Ross and they should work together. A Oliver Chairmanship with Ross leading special events and membership would be the one-two punch Orange County Repubicans need.

 

Oliver must use better GOTV tactics and spend the next 3.5 years building the party. Oliver must change everything the Republican Party in Orange County does in candidate cultivation, and rebuild what OCREC stands for.

 

It must build on the Trump win and realize the party has dramatically changed. Orange County Republicans must also better relate to the middle and lower class voters in the County.

 

Gregory Fournier is a veteran political operative and strategiest that has worked on high profile federal, statewide, and local races across the Southeast.

 

 

Orange Democrats Should Take Their Saturday Elections Seriously

Voters deserve a good fight between Republicans and Democrats in Orange County.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

This weekend, Saturday to be specific, Orange County Democrats will hold leadership elections to determine who will helm the party going into 2018.

 

Voters deserve a good fight between Republicans and Democrats in Orange County.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

This weekend, Saturday to be specific, Orange County Democrats will hold leadership elections to determine who will helm the party going into 2018.

 

After an impressive set of wins locally with Congresswoman-elect Stephanie Murphy beating GOP veteran John Mica to Emily Bonilla's election over GOP Commissioner Ted Edwards, Democrats have much to be thankful for. However, those races were large in part determined by massive amounts of outside spending from NY billionaire George Soros.

 

If Orange Democrats wish to continue their makeover of Orange County's political landscape, they will need a competent leader on the ground who can match the effectiveness of high dollar efforts like Soros'. As someone who has held leadership positions in several local, regional, and statewide Republican groups, it's easy for me to separate the contenders from the pretenders.

 

In the race for Chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party, one candidate stands out for his decades as a party apparatchik... while the other has a tough time tying his shoes, politically speaking.

 

Lonnie Thompson, a political consultant who has been active with the Committee since 1996 has both the experience and gravitas to lead local Democrats. Having held numerous leadership positions since the early 2000's, Thompson's True Results Communications has racked up an impressive client base in the political and public relations realms.

 

His most impressive victory in recent years was the election of State Attorney Jeff Ashton after Ashton failed to convict Casey Anthony in the murder trial of her daughter. Anyone who can successfully convince the electorate to elect a man who received as much bad press as Ashton did over the jury’s tragic decision, deserves credit.

 

That shows a commanding understanding of how to package a candidate to the public, play up his strengths, and turn out votes. Thompson has the institutional knowledge, can earn a headline with ease, and actually understands the complexities of party procedures and the responsibilities of the local party to regional candidates.

 

Wes Hodge, a prominent campaign aide to newly elected State Senator Linda Stewart is also running for Chairman. Mr Hodge's resume is not only less impressive, but riddled with elections violations.

 

As the campaign treasurer for Linda Stewart, Hodge couldn't even turn in campaign finance reports on time, leading to several elections violations for his boss. His experience with the party has existed only in small outreach roles, and many elected Democratic leaders in Orange County are concerned his learning curve would be "too steep."

 

2018 is a time of re-calibration, retaliation, and revenge for Democrats across the country who are ready to fight back against President Trump's bold vision for America.

 

That battle starts on the local level. It's hard to make the argument that a person like Hodge, who couldn't even handle the role of leading a Young Democrats club with zero budget, is prepared to lead a political party in the I-4 corridor.

 

If Orange County Democrats want to be taken seriously going into 2018, they need a veteran at the helm.

 

Lonnie Thompson can lead them to victory and stability.

 

Wes Hodge can't even turn paperwork in on time.

 

If Mr. Hodge wishes to be taken seriously, he should publish a detailed vision of improvements he would make to the Orange County Democratic party and explain why he didn’t do any of those things when he was on the board.

 

As a Republican I almost want to root for the disaster that would be Hodge, but voters are deserving of competent leaders in the local Republican and Democratic Party.

 

Orange County Democrats should elect Lonnie Thompson on Saturday and avoid the feckless Wes Hodge.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. His work through these publications has been showcased in hundreds of publications and news outlets in the state of Florida, the United States, and around the globe. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at info@eastorlandopost.com

 

 

Top Trump Confidante To Release 2016 Tell-All Book

Legendary political operative Roger Stone breaks down the 2016 election cycle and how Trump started a revolution.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

In the early hours of November 9, 2016, one of the most contentious, polarizing, and vicious presidential races came to an abrupt and unexpected end when heavily favored presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton called Donald J. Trump to concede, shocking a nation that had, only hours before, been given little credence to his chances.

 

Legendary political operative Roger Stone breaks down the 2016 election cycle and how Trump started a revolution.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

In the early hours of November 9, 2016, one of the most contentious, polarizing, and vicious presidential races came to an abrupt and unexpected end when heavily favored presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton called Donald J. Trump to concede, shocking a nation that had, only hours before, been given little credence to his chances.

 

According to a new book by a decades long confidante, Trump pulled off the greatest upset in American political history despite a torrent of inventiveness and the dismissal by the mainstream media.

 

In The Making of the President 2016, Roger Stone, a longtime Trump retainer and confidant, gives us the inside story of how Trump almost single-handedly harnessed discontent among “forgotten Americans,” despite running a guerrilla-style grassroots campaign to compete with the smooth-operating and free-spending Clinton political machine.

 

Roger Stone's new book, The Making of the President 2016.

 

Stone is the NYT bestselling author of The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ, Nixon's Secrets, Jeb and the Bush Crime Family, and The Clintons' War On Women.

 

Mr. Stone worked decades to convince Donald Trump to run for president and was an early top advisor to the Manhattan billionaire businessman's upstart campaign for the GOP nomination.

 

From the start, Trump’s campaign was unlike any seen on the national stage—combative, maverick, and fearless.

 

Trump’s nomination was the hostile takeover of the Republican party and a resounding repudiation of the failed leadership of both parties, whose policies have brought America to the brink of financial collapse and endangered our national security.

 

Stone outlines how Trump skillfully ran as the anti-open borders candidate as well as a supporter of American sovereignty, and how he used the globalist trade deals like NAFTA to win more than three of ten Bernie Sanders supporters.

 

The veteran adviser to Nixon, Reagan, and Trump charts the rise of the alt-conservative media and the end of the mainstream media’s monopoly on voters.

 

This is an insider’s view that includes an examination of opposition research into Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton’s crimes; the struggle by the Republican establishment to stop Trump; and how Republicans underestimated him.

 

Stone also chronicles Trump’s triumph in three debates where he skillfully lowered expectation levels but skewered Mrs. Clinton for the corruption of the Clinton Foundation, her mishandling of government email, and her incompetence as Secretary of State.

 

In The Making of the President 2016, the inside word on Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, Clinton’s campaign chief John Podesta, Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner, “Carlos Danger,” Doug Band, Jeffrey Epstein, and the efforts to hide the former first lady’s infirmities and health problems are examined.

 

Stone promises to dissect the phony narrative that Trump was in cahoots with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin or that the emails released by WikiLeaks came from the Russians.

 

The Making of the President 2016 reveals how Trump brilliantly picked at Hillary Clinton’s weaknesses, particularly her reputation as a crooked insider, and ignited the passions of out-of-work white men and women from the Rust Belt and beyond, at a time when millions of Americans desperately wanted change.

 

Stone also enumerates how and why the mainstream media got it so wrong, including how the polls were loaded and completely misunderstood who would vote.

 

This analysis is akin to Theodore H. White’s seminal book The Making of the President 1960.

 

It is both a sweeping study of the trends that elected Trump as well as the war stories of a hard-bitten political survivor who Trump once called “one tough cookie.”

 

You can pre-order the book by clicking here.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. His work through these publications has been showcased in hundreds of publications and news outlets in the state of Florida, the United States, and around the globe. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at info@eastorlandopost.com

 

 

Nuno's Cafe In Avalon Park Experiences "Rough" Soft-Opening

If they plan on surviving the Avalon Park area, improvements will need to be made.

 

By Bridgette Bayley

 

Nuno's Cafe in Downtown Avalon Park will be the second bakery themed business to open in a single location in 2016.

 

The space was previously home to Davis Bakery, an Avalon Park staple that was purchased nearly two years ago.

 

If they plan on surviving the Avalon Park area, improvements will need to be made.

 

By Bridgette Bayley

 

Nuno's Cafe in Downtown Avalon Park will be the second bakery themed business to open in a single location in 2016.

 

The space was previously home to Davis Bakery, an Avalon Park staple that was purchased nearly two years ago.

 

For a matter of months after Davis Bakery was purchased, former executive chef Tony Cappadoro made two failed attempts as a bakery/breakfast joint and then as a higher end restaurant, with a wide selection of beer and wine.

 

He then shuddered the restaurant without notice within weeks of his grand re-opening in mid-2016.

 

The spot is now occupied by Nuno's Cafe.

 

At first glance, it's not much different from any other bakery.

 

It has some grab and go options with an additional larger sit down menu. The location was clean and the menu is what really stood out.

 

If you are from the Northeast, specifically Jersey, you'll be delighted to see Taylor Pork Roll available.

 

There is also Cannoli French Toast!

 

They boast their breakfast and lunch offerings are "scratch made."

 

To be fair, they have not had their grand opening yet and staff is "still being trained", according to the hostess.

 

That was made very clear throughout our meal, as service was extremely rough around the edges.

 

Our group mentioned at least four times that we had a party of eight, but were seated at a table for six.

 

The food took a great deal of time to come out and our drinks were only refilled once, (we had to ask).

 

I never received syrup for my pancakes, my son's fruit cup never came (ended up telling the server to just forget about it, though I think she already had).

 

It was downhill from there as member of my party was treated terribly by the cashier when it was time to pay.

 

We had requested to split the bill and this proved to be a mistake. The items were not properly divided.

 

When my friend tried to explain that, the cashier actually refused to even look at the itemization and insisted that the computer could not have made a mistake.

 

The back and forth went on until the owner himself had to come out. He was able to make the situation right by checking the bill and identifying the issue.

 

Cliffnotes: the menu has great choices, the food actually tastes great, environment is clean, owner is hands on and nice... but the staff has a lot of work to do before they open.

 

We would like to see them survive, but businesses can only be successful with polite and attentive workers in the food/beverage industry.

 

Our fingers will remain crossed, hoping that Nuno's Cafe works out the kinks. Avalon Park residents don't want to see another locally owned business bite the dust.

 

 

Bridgette Bayley is an East Orlando resident and grew up in the Central Florida area.

 

 

Be Santa To A Senior This Holiday Season

The holidays are a time to celebrate the joy and warmth of the season with friends and family.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

In Orlando, the local Home Instead Senior Care® office is inviting the community to celebrate with local seniors who may be alone during the holiday season.

 

The holidays are a time to celebrate the joy and warmth of the season with friends and family.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

In Orlando, the local Home Instead Senior Care® office is inviting the community to celebrate with local seniors who may be alone during the holiday season.

 

The Home Instead Senior Care office serving Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties is helping to facilitate Be a Santa to a Senior®, a community program that provides gifts and companionship to seniors who may be isolated from friends or family during the holiday season.

 

The program is made possible through the generous support of local businesses, nonprofit organizations, retailers, numerous volunteers and members of the community.

 

“The holidays can be a troubling time for seniors. They may feel the absence or the distance of loved ones,” said Debra Foscolo, owner of the Orlando Home Instead Senior Care office.

 

“Be a Santa to a Senior provides a ray of hope for many seniors, and it means so much for them to know that people care and value them as members of our community.”

 

The local Home Instead Senior Care office has partnered with Seniors First, Inc. and Meals on Wheels to help with gift collection and distribution. Holiday shoppers are invited to participate in Be a Santa to a Senior by picking up a paper ornament at a participating location.

 

Participating locations will display Be a Santa to a Senior trees from Monday, Nov. 14 to Friday, Dec. 9, which will be hung with ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and their desired gifts.

 

Holiday shoppers can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift and return it back to the store with the ornament attached.

 

There’s no need to worry about wrapping — community volunteers and program partners will wrap and deliver the gifts to local seniors in time for the holidays.

 

“Be a Santa to a Senior provides a much-needed boost for seniors who may be isolated, not just through gifts, but through interaction and companionship,” said Foscolo.

 

“We’re so grateful to have a community that comes together to show our local seniors they are not alone during the holidays.”

 

Be a Santa to a Senior trees can be found at the following locations:

 

In Orlando at Bealls Outlet Stores:

 

o 1728 W Sand Lake Rd

 

o 4410 Curry Ford Rd

 

o 638 N Alafaya Trail

 

o 12413 S Orange Blossom Trail

 

o 2668 E Colonial Dr

 

o 350 E Michigan St

 

Kindred at Home: 4776 New Broad St #110, Gold's Gym: 7733 Turkey Lake Rd, Home Instead Senior Care: 3655 Maguire Blvd #150

 

 

######

 

FL Ag Commissioner: Be Careful This Giving Tuesday

Florida Commissioner of Agriculuture Adam Putnam has sent out a release about Giving Tuesday, check your charity before you donate!

 

From Adam Putnam...

 

During the holiday season, many generous Floridians contribute their hard-earned money to support important causes.

 

And with tomorrow being Giving Tuesday, I encourage you to do your homework and make the most of your donation.

 

Follow these simple steps before giving:

 

Florida Commissioner of Agriculuture Adam Putnam has sent out a release about Giving Tuesday, check your charity before you donate!

 

From Adam Putnam...

 

During the holiday season, many generous Floridians contribute their hard-earned money to support important causes.

 

And with tomorrow being Giving Tuesday, I encourage you to do your homework and make the most of your donation.

 

Follow these simple steps before giving:

 

Check-A-Charity Before Donating: See how a charity might spend your donation by checking out our department’s Check-A-Charity tool.

 

This tool provides detailed financial information on charities registered in Florida.

 

Watch out for Scams: ​Don't judge a charity solely on its name and don't fall for high-pressure, overly emotional appeals.

 

Scammers often take advantage of people by pretending to be a real charity or using names similar to well-known charities.

 

Keep Good Records: Get a copy of your donation or a receipt with the amount of the contribution. And remember, not all organizations are true charities eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.

 

From food banks to hospitals, there are thousands of charitable organizations in Florida that are doing important, meaningful work.

 

Your donations to reputable, law-abiding charities will further their mission and help others.

 

So, be sure to make the most of your charitable contributions this Giving Tuesday and throughout the holiday season.

 

Sincerely,

Adam

 

 

Mike La Rosa: "We Need Swift Action To End Castro's Horrific Legacy"

Florida State Representative Mike La Rosa (R-42), the proud son of a Cuban immigrant, today released the following statement in reaction to the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro:

 

"I am hopeful that with today's good news of the death of Fidel Castro, freedom will soon come to the Cuban people.

 

Florida State Representative Mike La Rosa (R-42), the proud son of a Cuban immigrant, today released the following statement in reaction to the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro:

 

"I am hopeful that with today's good news of the death of Fidel Castro, freedom will soon come to the Cuban people.

 

As a representative of the people of Florida and of many Cuban immigrants and families here in Central Florida, and as the son a Cuban immigrant myself, I stand with all Americans and especially with my fellow Cuban Americans today as we thank God for the end of Fidel Castro.

 

For decades, Fidel was a brutal tyrant. Many Cubans were murdered, imprisoned and lost their property under his oppressive regime.

 

He was also a supporter of terrorism worldwide.

 

I am hopeful those days as now behind the Cuban people. This morning I am encouraged that liberty may once again be coming to the Cuban people so they can determine their own destiny including the rights of liberty, property, free speech and the exercise of religious freedom.

 

My family, having fled the horrible reign of Fidel Castro over 50 years ago, is eagerly waiting for the day they can freely return and reunite with family members and enjoy a free Cuba once again.

 

I know many other Cuban exiles are wishing and hoping for the same and today I recognize and join their emotional response to this historic event.

 

Together we will work tirelessly to bring about positive change for Cuba. To that end, I urge immediate and swift action by the United States government to place pressure on the remaining remnants of the Castro’s horrific legacy.

 

The Cuban people have suffered long enough. I long for the day of a free Cuba and am praying that it comes soon."

 

####

The Case For & Against Adam Putnam

The former congressman has climbed the political ladder with ease, but how easily can he become Governor of Florida in 2018?

 

By Jacob Engels

 

As you might have noted, the East Orlando Post has profiled potential candidates for upcoming offices.

 

We will do a profile on potential gubernatorial candidates for both parties soon, with further dissections of candidate record as front runners emerge.

 

The former congressman has climbed the political ladder with ease, but how easily can he become Governor of Florida in 2018?

 

By Jacob Engels

 

As you might have noted, the East Orlando Post has profiled potential candidates for upcoming offices.

 

We will do a profile on potential gubernatorial candidates for both parties soon, with further dissections of candidate record as front runners emerge.

 

For now I want to lay out the pros and cons of the man that most insiders I've contacted believe will win the GOP primary and then be elected governor in 2018.

 

On an editorial note, I'd like to say that I personally like Adam Putnam very much. I've had the opportunity to meet him a few times, and always found him to be earnest, polite and undeniably bright.

 

He always supported my efforts leading the Florida Federation of TeenAge Republicans and fundraising for the Florida Federation of College Republicans.

 

Whenever you write an article like this, you run the risk of being viewed as trying to advocated for or trash the candidate, but that is not the case here.

 

My goal in writing this is to give the reader the same insight that Tallahassee insiders have in assessing a race, and to allow the reader to use this information however they may in determining who to vote for, contribute to and support in the upcoming election.

 

This is the first article of this type but it will not be the last.

 

I will also note that you can't be both thorough and brief, so expect these articles to be longer than most.

 

So here it goes, and please know that every effort was made to make this informational and not biased one way or the other:

 

The Case FOR Adam Putnam

 

Supporters of Adam Putnam point to his deep Florida roots as the core of Putnam's appeal.

 

A fifth-generation Floridian, Putnam grew up in Bartow in Polk County, sometimes referred to as the belt buckle of the I-4 corridor.

 

Putnam attended the University of Florida, where he was a member and president of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.

 

The AGR's, as they are called, were the agricultural fraternity at UF, and it wasn't uncommon to see blue jean wearing alumni demonstrating their skills with a bull whip on the front lawn of the AGR house on football game days in the mid-90s.

 

An accomplished campus leader, he was a member of the prestigious Florida Blue Key, often referred to as the Skull and Bones Society of the state of Florida.

 

He married his college sweetheart, Melissa, and they have four wonderful children together.

 

After graduating, he waited no time in starting his political career.

 

He was elected to the state house at the tender age of 22, just months after his graduation from college.

 

Four years later, at the age of 26, he became the youngest member of the US Congress in the famous "Hanging Chad" election of 2000.

 

In congress, Putnam demonstrated a remarkable ability to move himself up the ranks. In 2006, at the ripe old age of 32, supported by the speaker (more about that later), he was tapped by his colleagues to be the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee.

 

The next year, again buoyed by the House Speaker, his colleagues chose him to be Chairman of the House Republican Conference, where he served until 2009.

 

His successor in this job was none-other than Vice-President elect Mike Pence.

 

This website from the congress shows these positions to be the fourth and fifth most powerful positions in the caucus, and Putnam had spent almost four years in them by the time he was 35.

 

By then, a combination of horrible economic events and the undeniable charisma of Barack Obama as a candidate led to massive losses, and the Republicans found themselves in a frustrating minority.

 

Putnam found his way home, getting elected to the Agriculture commissioner with a statewide vote of 55.9% in 2010 and reelected with 58.7% of the vote in 2014.

 

Supporters point to these large margins of victory as evidence of the electability of Putnam. Supporters see a man who has transcended the very heights of government power.

 

His stump speeches on the creative class leave the tongues of Chamber of Commerce types wagging.

 

A family man from the I4 corridor with a resume unmatched, with a fertile fundraising base from the state's agricultural community, who rightly view Putnam as one of their very own.

 

He's clean as a whistle with a lifetime of scrutiny to prove it.

 

A young, fresh face... with a resume that a 60 year old would love to have.

 

The nomination and governorship is his for the taking, they say.

 

The Case AGAINST Adam Putnam

 

On the subject of Adam Putnam, little is in dispute on the facts of his record. His supporters view most of the same experiences as strengths that his detractors view as liabilities.

 

On the subject of political experience, will a lifetime of service be viewed as a benefit or an albatross?

 

As one Tallahassee insider put it:

 

"Adam Putnam is the quintessential political looking glass. The guy's resume is amazing, but this is Donald Trump's Republican party and that resume is the noose his opponents will use to hang him.

 

The American people chose an outsider businessman, which let us not forget, the people of Florida did just six years before in selecting Rick Scott as the governor.

 

Will the same Republicans that bolstered 30,000+ crowds for Trump be excited about a guy who has been in elected office for all but four months of the 20 years since he graduated from college?

 

Putnam is prohibited from holding outside employment as Ag commissioner and he was prohibited from outside employment as a member of the US congress, so maybe, just maybe, he had a job while he was in the state house, but most people agree he was just tending to the family business while working on becoming a congressman.

 

It is a safe bet that a sophisticated media campaign could credibly articulate that Adam Putnam has never, in his adult life, had a job outside of politics, and these days, that's an absolute killer.

 

Call me crazy, but in today's Republican party the two worst things you can be called are 'insider' and 'career politician', and even the most ardent Putnam supporter can't argue that Putnam isn't the very definition of both.

 

I don't see how he eludes those labels, and I don't see how he wins the GOP nomination for governor if he fails to elude those labels. The fact he doesn't have an outside career to point to makes the task all the more difficult.

 

Politics is littered with the carcasses of prohibitive favorites that didn't make it over the finish-line, and my money is on Putnam being the Bill McCollum, another tenured congressman running from the cabinet defeated by an outsider, of 2018."

 

Others point to what many describe as a lukewarm record of accomplishment in the jobs he was given.

 

What are Putnam's signature issues, they ask?

 

Did he ever pass meaningful legislation in the state house?

 

In his ten years in congress, even while holding leadership positions atop the Republican caucus, what did Putnam actually do?

 

I find the best place to research this is the elected official's wikipedia page, because an ambitious candidate can add whatever issues they want to their page.

 

Two things are mentioned on his: that Putnam was the author of the Head Start Accountability Bill, requiring developmental education for low-income families.

 

The Wikipedia page also boasts of him calling for the ouster of Republican Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, which was surprising at the time. Read more here.

 

Most people I talked to acknowledged that Agriculture Commissioner is a very difficult job to earn press from. While Putnam has done what appears to be a decent job, he has had no signature issues that would spur a Republican party hungry for rebels to think of him as one of them.

 

Whoever is in charge of Putnam's Wikipedia page seems to agree, as the only mention of Agriculture Commissioner is when he was first elected.

 

Detractors might point out that the job Putnam has held for the last 6 years hasn't yielded a single event important enough for the team of communications professionals employed by the Ag Commissioner or his campaign team to list.

 

His official bio for his current job isn't much better.

 

It's long on bio and incredibly short on any sort of accomplishments.

 

The only official accomplishment he points to is a program that allowed 300 veterans to enjoy outdoor activity as part of "Operation Outdoor Freedom", which certainly seems good, but seems odd to list as the only accomplishment, legislative or otherwise, for a 20 year career in politics.

 

Some also point to the obviously icy relationship between Putnam and Governor Scott.

 

When Scott's poll numbers were sinking, Putnam privately consulted with GOP leaders and donors on a potential primary challenge in 2014. Scott's people fumed over that, and cabinet meetings have been less-than-pleasant ever since.

 

There are a bunch of little articles out there about this, but here's one where insiders debate it.

 

So, the good for Putnam is a life of service and a reputation as a good guy and loving family man.

 

The bad for Putnam is the mark of a career politician with little to show for his now 20+ years of public service.

 

To make matters worse, the man who's office Putnam covets doesn't like him.

 

And then, there's the ugly.

 

No name will be more tethered to Adam Putnam in the next two years than convicted child rapist and disgraced former House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

 

Hastert and Putnam were close.

 

By all rights, it was Hastert that elevated the 20-something from obscurity in a chamber of 435 to the pinnacle of power.

 

I took a moment to google "Adam Putnam Dennis Hastert," and the first news article to pop up was a November 7, 2005 article from Putnam's hometown paper speaking glowingly about his upward trajectory and potential both in congress and as a future governor.

 

Here's the link. 

 

The quotes in this are enough to make a campaign consultant reach for the Tums.

 

"Putnam has become close friends with and is a close working colleague of Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, according to local friends as well as observers in Washington, who spoke not for attribution."

 

"Hastert and Putnam, along with a few other members, went on an Alaskan fishing trip this summer and the speaker has been a guest at Putnam's ranch in Polk County more than once..."

 

And then:

 

"And Putnam continues to rise under a powerful mentor."

 

Unfortunately for Putnam, that powerful mentor now carries the name of "serial child molester".

 

The USA Today summarizes the spectacular fall of Speaker Hastert well here.

 

As another editorial note, I want to point out that the allegations about Dennis Hastert center around his behavior decades before, when as a wrestling coach, where he inappropriately touched and had sex with numerous high school boys he coached.

 

He agreed to pay them money to keep their mouths shut, and at the time Adam Putnam was in Congress, he was a young congressman who successfully developed a friendship with the Speaker of the House.

 

I'd bet all my worldly belongings that Putnam had no idea that Dennis Hastert had done any of this.

 

Putnam was a young congressman, and Hastert was the man that a majority of the 435 member chamber chose as its leader.

 

No sane, thinking person believes that Adam Putnam would welcome a serial child molester to his Polk County ranch, presumably near his young children, "more than once" if he had any clue about what kind of monster he was dealing with.

 

But this is politics, and while I'm doing my best to present equal, unbiased coverage of the good, the bad and the ugly of Adam Putnam's candidacy for governor, you can safely bet that his primary and general election opponents will not.

 

They will call in to question the offices that Putnam ascended to (after the Ledger article was printed no less) because of the man who supported him getting those jobs.

 

They will skewer him for the company he keeps.

 

One can only imagine that tweets fired at GOP nominee Putnam by the acerbic witted Max Steele, communications director of the Florida Democratic Party known for ripping Republican elected officials.

 

This, after what the GOP consultant class could do to him in a "family values" primary.

 

And this was overturned with the very first link of a google search, so who knows what a well-heeled opposition research team could find.

 

So you tell me -- will frontrunner Adam Putnam continue a lifetime of successful political campaigns by ascending to the highest office in Florida in what might be a pit stop to the White House?

 

OR... will disagreements with his would be predecessor, a non-existent non-political resume and a political resume rife with electoral accomplishments but short on legislative and executive branch achievements lead to his undoing?

 

The voters will decide in 2018.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. His work through these publications has been showcased in hundreds of publications and news outlets in the state of Florida, the United States, and around the globe. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at info@eastorlandopost.com

 

 

Stardustlounge Is Going Downhill

The once iconic and respected Lake Eola area bar is spiraling out of control.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

First, let me start by saying that it is sad anytime a business is in decline, especially a place like Stardustlounge.

 

For years it was a must-do when I would visit Downtown Orlando, a place that my friends and I would be excited to show off to loved ones visiting from out of town and new friends alike.

 

The once iconic and respected Lake Eola area bar is spiraling out of control.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

First, let me start by saying that it is sad anytime a business is in decline, especially a place like Stardustlounge.

 

For years it was a must-do when I would visit Downtown Orlando, a place that my friends and I would be excited to show off to loved ones visiting from out of town and new friends alike.

 

Though it's a long walk, or short pedicab ride from the main Downtown Orlando corridor... it was always worth it.

 

From the James Bond films playing on repeat to the pool tables to the great drinks, it was once a great way to start or finish a night of revelry.

 

But something started to change at Stardustlounge earlier this past summer.

 

It wasn't a new Burlesque show, or a new drink menu, or an updated layout.

 

Unfortunately for Stardustlounge and those that love it, it appears that the owners and staff just gave up.

 

Here are the 3 reasons why Stardustlounge is losing business and how they can rebound in 2017.

 

Staff Is Either Drunk, Rude, Or Not Interested.

 

My mother's background waiting tables, managing a restaurant and running a bar early on in her life have given me a unique perspective into what works and doesn't with a business like Stardustlounge.

 

Her number one factor in determining the viability and longevity of an establishment is always the staff.

 

From the bar-back to the manager, one wrong hire can derail an otherwise successful business.

 

For years, Stardustlounge seemed to have some truly talented and dedicated people holding down the fort. However, starting last summer... something changed.

 

One night, with a friend visiting from out of town, myself and a few others decided to take him to Stardustlounge.

 

He had moved to Seattle a few years prior and had been to Stardustlounge once before and was very excited to be back.

 

Our excitement quickly turned to disappointment as we attempted to order our drinks.

 

It was 4th of July, so it was understandably busy. However, the professionalism (or lack thereof) displayed by the bartender was worse than waiting 15 minutes for one round of drinks.

 

In between several rounds of shots with other guests, the barely standing bartender had to take our order of three Long Islands several times before completing it.

 

As I signed the check and left a tip, he informed us that those were "Strong Islands".

 

First-off, we didn't ask for "Strong Islands" and when I took the first sip it tasted like what I imagine nail-polish tastes like.

 

You should get what you paid for and what you asked for, not some concoction that a hammered bartender threw together on the way to ending his shift.

 

Instead of demanding a refund or the drink be remade, I simply asked for another splash or Coke in each to make it bearable.

 

After playing some pool and trying to bare the barely recognizable "Long Island", it began to smell like a crawfish boil.

 

Yes, as nearly a hundred people packed into the underground bar for the 4th of July, a group of people entered Stardustlounge with their crawfish and began their meal.

 

As you can imagine, the whole bar became consumed by the smell of not-so-good low-rent seafood and they didn't even bother buying drinks.

 

Groups began to leave and I approached the bar asking for the manager.

 

A women with brunette hair in her mid to late forties identified herself as the manager and asked what I needed.

 

I informed her of what was going on and that people were leaving and others were complaining about shellfish allergies.

 

She seemed unfazed by the craw fish boil happening in the table to the right of the bar and said the following.

 

"Who cares. People bring food in here all the time and don't buy drinks. Doesn't bother me, I don't have time for this."

 

And then I knew why an inebriated bartender was over-pouring drinks (costing the bar money) and taking shots with guests to the point of slurred speech.

 

From the barback to the manager, if your employees don't car about your bottom line, your business is doomed.

 

Quality of Drinks

 

Stardustlounge was once one of the best places to grab a dirty martini in Central Florida.

 

However, months after our visit on the 4th of July, it was clear that the downward spiral at Stardustlounge continued.

 

After ordering a dirty martini (with Tito's, of course), the drink was returned with a weird tint and the bartender informed us that sweet vermouth was all they had.

 

No refund. No apology. Just an improperly made drink, a bill, and an uncomfortable lingering until a tip was left.

 

Several other patron's at the bar mentioned they had become used to the drinks being "slightly off".

 

One gentlemen said he had made a point of asking about it a few nights prior and was told the manager was "supposed to be picking some stuff up next week."

 

First the "Strong Island" and then the "Sweet Vermouth Dirty Martini".

 

Another few months, we figured... it can't get any worse... so it must get better?!

 

Missing Eight Balls, Orgy In Progress.

 

After another prolonged hiatus from Stardustlounge, again I dragged a few friends there to give it another chance.

 

Not expecting much, our standards were very reasonable and we were ready to see if the tides had turned.

 

Within five minutes of entering, we saw a crowd of people who seemed to be enjoying their night and quick service at the bar.

 

But after ordering three margaritas, the taste of decline was strong.

 

Another simple drink with way too much Tequila, simply not enjoyable.

 

At that point we asked for the pool balls and were informed that they had no eight balls and we would have to substitute another ball in its place.

 

Again, no big deal.

 

However, what we found in the back area where the pool tables are stationed was a sight to behold.

 

At least three couples were sucking face and at least one party was starting to remove clothing and moan loudly.

 

It then became quite clear as we looked around, this was more of an underground orgy than it was a respectable bar and lounge.

 

Look, I get it. Getting a little tipsy, making out a little bit... we've all been there.

 

BUT....a little making out and attempting to hold a 1970's "Key Party" at a local bar are two different things.

 

After returning the pool balls and leaving our poorly made drinks, I saw the same mid to late forties female manager with brunette hair behind the bar.

 

She seemed quite content with wasting the owner's money on over-pouring drinks and creating an unwelcoming atmosphere for those of us who actually came to spend money.

 

It was surreal.

 

How Does Stardustlounge Recover?

 

They desperately need to become customer oriented again. No more drunk bartenders over-pouring drinks, clearly defined expectations for employees and guests, and a reality check for the management team.

 

If they can accomplish those things, Stardustlounge can once again be somewhere that people can look forward to going.

 

It can once again be that cool underground bar that plays Bond films, makes amazing drinks, and takes pride in being a welcoming atmosphere.

 

Oh and they need to fire the "Rude Brunette Bartender".

 

Yup the mid to late forties self-described "Manager of Starduslounge" seems to have had run ins with dozens of guests who have left very bad reviews on Stardustlounge's Facebook page.

 

No more poorly made drinks, no more crawfish boils, no more orgies, and no more horrendous customer service.

 

Do those things... and Orlando will be forever grateful... we will get the old Stardustlounge back and the owners will see profits increase.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. His work through these publications has been showcased in hundreds of publications and news outlets in the state of Florida, the United States, and around the globe. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at info@eastorlandopost.com

 

 

Pages

Top