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East Orlando Post's blog

Rinehart Corruption Scandal Rocks St. Cloud Mayoral Race

Developer gives $10k to Pro-Rinehart PAC, right before Rinehart votes to give the developer $200k in city property.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

The oldest adage in journalism is “Follow The Money.”

 

When a developer gets a sweetheart deal from local government, the money does not lie.

 

Margus Mahar is an Orlando developer who recently received a very lucrative deal from the St. Cloud Council.

 

Developer gives $10k to Pro-Rinehart PAC, right before Rinehart votes to give the developer $200k in city property.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

The oldest adage in journalism is “Follow The Money.”

 

When a developer gets a sweetheart deal from local government, the money does not lie.

 

Margus Mahar is an Orlando developer who recently received a very lucrative deal from the St. Cloud Council.

 

At the October 27th Council meeting, Margus Mahar was given approval for his massive project and a free piece of city property, valued at $200,000.

 

** See documents at the end of this article **

 

St. Cloud did not use any type of competitive procurement process in selecting this developer, as is customary in these types of public/private development deals.

 

This developer was hand picked by Councilman Jeff Rinehart, who brought Mr. Mahar to the city staff.

 

On October 13th, this same Margus Mahar made a $10,000 contribution to a Political Committee supporting St. Cloud Councilman Jeff Rinehart’s bid for Mayor.

 

The name of this PAC screams irony, it is called Floridians for Responsible Government.

 

What exactly is “Responsible” about developers making massive soft money donations to a shadowy PAC supporting a council member, while that developer is negotiating a deal with the City Council?

 

Another contributor to the Pro-Rinehart PAC is Sun and Moon Therapies.

 

The address listed for them is a home owned by Jeff Rinehart.

 

** See documents at the end of this article **

 

This seems to indicate Mr. Rinehart has some level of direct involvement with the PAC.

 

The next Pro-Rinehart PAC donor is former City Councilman Tom Griffin.

 

Griffin runs a charity that provides drug counseling called the Transition House.

 

The Transition House receives significant support from the St. Cloud Council.

 

Griffin and Rinehart were close allies when Griffin served on the City Council.

 

In a bizarre turn, we discovered that though Jeff Rinehart in not a client of the Transition House, he lives in a home owned by the Transition House.

 

We asked Mr. Griffin if Rinehart was paying market rent for the house or if he was getting a VIP discount, Griffin refused to answer.

 

This also seems to indicate Mr. Rinehart has some level of direct involvement with the PAC.

 

Shamrock Auto Body and The Gun Store Inc. are the other St. Cloud businesses that contributed to the PAC.

 

** See documents at the end of this article **

 

Mike Reilly, owner of Shamrock is a close friend of Rinehart.

 

Jerry Brown is the owner of The Gun Store and his company has donated directly to the Rinehart Mayoral Campaign Fund.

 

Brown admitted his involvement with the Pro-Rinehart PAC in Facebook comments on the Osceola Politics Uncensored Page.

 

The Pro-Rinehart PAC has already sent out two negative mail pieces attacking Nathan Blackwell, who is Rinehart’s opponent in his bid for Mayor of St. Cloud. 

 

With the hefty war chest the PAC has secured, several more negative mail pieces are expected.

 

We have already established Councilman Jeff Rinehart has run the dirtiest campaign in the history of St. Cloud politics, but this is a new low.

 

Using a sleazy PAC funded by his cronies, his tenant, his landlord and a hand picked developer, Rinehart is displaying his inner is Boss Tweed.

 

St. Cloud voters deserve to know... how did developer Margus Mahar’s massive donation to the PAC supporting Councilman Rinehart effect the negotiations for the development deal that richly benefited Mr. Mahar?

 

Why did St. Cloud forgo a competitive procurement process when selecting a developer for this project?

 

Did Mr. Mahar’s large donation to the PAC supporting Councilman Rinehart effect that decision?

 

This corruption perpetrated by Councilman Jeff Rinehart is a black eye to St. Cloud’s reputation and an insult to voters.

 

Rinehart Corruption Exposed by Jacob Engels on Scribd

 

 

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

 

 

Election 2016: 9th Judicial Circuit Group 4, Orange County Group 5

These two outsiders would help put an end to cronyism on the bench.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Who knew judicial races could be so interesting?

 

We have two ready-for-TV candidates duking it out for a spot on the 9th Circuit and a last stand for disgraced State Attorney Jeff Ashton.

 

Starting with the 9th Judicial Circuit Group 4, here are our endorsements.

 

9th Judicial Circuit, Group 4 - Joseph Haynes Davis

 

These two outsiders would help put an end to cronyism on the bench.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Who knew judicial races could be so interesting?

 

We have two ready-for-TV candidates duking it out for a spot on the 9th Circuit and a last stand for disgraced State Attorney Jeff Ashton.

 

Starting with the 9th Judicial Circuit Group 4, here are our endorsements.

 

9th Judicial Circuit, Group 4 - Joseph Haynes Davis

 

Two sharply dressed men are hoping to earn a seat on the powerful 9th judicial circuit, which encompasses Orange and Osceola County.

 

Joseph Haynes Davis, the younger brother to music icon Miles Davis, has a compelling life story. Cutting his teeth in the broadcast and community relations fields, Davis earned his law degree from Rutgers and became known for his legal prowess.

 

Facing Davis, is establishment insider Luis Calderon, who is supported firmly by the Downtown special interests.

 

Mr. Davis' background in media, entertainment, and community relations are exactly what we need in a judge. Now, more than ever, cases that will come before whomever wins this seat will be under intense media scrutiny.

 

We need a judge who understands those effects and the implications it could have on cases coming before the court.

 

Davis has been so busy in the community campaigning that some have wondered if he has a clone.

 

Calderon has been present, but much less aggressive.

 

The East Orlando Post enthusiastically endorses Joseph Haynes Davis, hoping he will bring a fresh perspective free from political cronyism to the bench.

 

Orange County Judge, Group 5 - Evellen Jewett

 

The last vestiges of outgoing State Attorney Jeff Ashton's failed regime are trying to snag a spot on the bench, as Ashton's office crumbles going into their final months.

 

Evellen Jewett, a respected former Public Defender with over 20 years at her back, is battling Ashton mini-me Frank George for Group 5.

 

George's record in the State Attorney's office is poor at best, with many noting penchant for coming into work late.

 

Ms. Jewett is not a political hack or sycophant to a failed prosecutor who embarrassed his constituents and community.

 

She is compassionate, learned, and fair. Jewett would bring new life into the chambers and forgo political paddy-cake in order to serve the people.

 

The East Orlando Post is firmly behind Evellen Jewett for Orange County Judge, Group 5.

 

---

 

 

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

 

 

Ted Edwards Deserves Another Term

The veteran Orange County Commissioner knows the importance of doing things for the greater good.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Like him or not, no one can deny that Ted Edwards is a straight shooter.

 

After August's 4-way primary election, Edwards emerged firmly in the lead, but without a 50+1% needed in order to win outright.

 

Shorlty after the primary, Edwards wisely courted and secured the endorsement of former opponent Gregory Eisenberg.

 

The veteran Orange County Commissioner knows the importance of doing things for the greater good.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Like him or not, no one can deny that Ted Edwards is a straight shooter.

 

After August's 4-way primary election, Edwards emerged firmly in the lead, but without a 50+1% needed in order to win outright.

 

Shorlty after the primary, Edwards wisely courted and secured the endorsement of former opponent Gregory Eisenberg.

 

This move put him back in the driver's seat for his November 8th showdown with Emily Bonilla, as Eisenberg's supporters were the most likely to embrace Ted over Bonilla.

 

Eisenberg accounted for almost 9% of the vote and contained a significant number of Democratic voters, which takes away from Democratically aligned candidate Emily Bonilla base of support.

 

Our assessment of the race for Orange County Commission, District 5, and final endorsement is below.

 

Orange County Commission, District 5 - Ted Edwards

 

The veteran Commissioner deserves a tremendous amount of credit for his negotiating skills and attention to detail when it comes to his work representing District 5 residents.

 

Edwards, has let cooler heads prevail on several hot button issues, often leading the coalition for reason among his peers.

 

While we have not always agreed with his votes or assessment on issues facing the county, it is undeniable that Edwards is a true workhorse.

 

He faces Emily Bonilla, the former leader of Save Orange County, a radical anti-growth group.

 

Her knowledge of the county budget, procedures, and what it takes to work towards a solution for the greater good are lacking... to say the least.

 

She would have been a great fit for the Soil & Water board, where she would have been the biggest fundraiser and would have been easily elected.

 

Because of Mr. Edwards history of providing out of the box solutions to complex problems, District 5 residents should send him back for another term.

 

The East Orlando Post is honored to endorse Commissioner Ted Edwards.

 

 

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

 

 

Maria Bolton-Joubert For Orange County Soil & Water District 1

The noted environmental activist is the perfect fit.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

One. Week. Away.

 

The election is almost here folks... but we still have a few races we want to highlight and share our thoughts on.

 

As always, we are not telling you how to vote, simply offering recommendations based on the facts that are available about each candidate.

 

Soil & Water, District 1 - Maria Bolton-Joubert

 

The noted environmental activist is the perfect fit.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

One. Week. Away.

 

The election is almost here folks... but we still have a few races we want to highlight and share our thoughts on.

 

As always, we are not telling you how to vote, simply offering recommendations based on the facts that are available about each candidate.

 

Soil & Water, District 1 - Maria Bolton-Joubert

 

In what is a usually sleepy campaign for a spot on the Orange County Soil & Water board, environmentalist Maria Bolton-Joubert is facing off Alan Grayson's teenage daughter.

 

This has given the race a bigger profile, as the outgoing Congressman/failed US Senate candidate pushes for a victory by electing his daughter.

 

Longtime Orange County resident Maria Bolton-Joubert is supported by Eric Rollings, the current chairman of the board, and is a true defender of Mother Earth.

 

From fracking to saving our springs to supporting a "No Foam Zone" in Orlando, Bolton-Joubert has shown that she can effectively organize and get things done.

 

While this job is mainly ceremonial and does not offer a hefty pension or government benefits, it helps shape our environmental policies locally and statewide.

 

Bolton-Joubert's main opponent is barely an adult and quite frankly, running on her father's name.

 

With leaky septic tanks polluting our water sources and natural treasures in Florida, we need someone who is seasoned and ready to fight for our Florida.

 

We hope that Bolton-Joubert, an avid supporter of community gardens, is able to use her vast knowledge of environmental issues to better Orange County.

 

If elected, she should use the East Orange community "The Grow" as a tool to evangelize for more sustainable living and expansion of community gardens in Orange County.

 

It will be one of the nation's first agrihoods, with the neighboring development "Sustany" featuring sweeping greenspace and rural integrity.

 

The East Orlando Post endorses Maria Bolton-Joubert for Orange County Soil & Water, District 1 and hope she keeps her promises of protecting the environment, supporting sustainable development, and preparing us for the future.

 

---

 

Next, we will issue our endorsement in the race for Orange County Property Appraiser, Orange County Commission, U.S. Senate, and President.

 

 

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

 

Election 2016: Our Endorsements In House District 47, 49, 50

These Central Florida and East Orange house districts are key to establishing the makeup of the Central Florida legislative delegation in 2017.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Residents of Florida's 47th, 49th, and 50th state house districts will decide who will become their next representative in less than 10 days.

 

Former legislative aide Carlos Smith is taking his first shot at political office, while freshmen legislators Rene Plasencia/Mike Miller are vying for a second term.

 

These Central Florida and East Orange house districts are key to establishing the makeup of the Central Florida legislative delegation in 2017.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Residents of Florida's 47th, 49th, and 50th state house districts will decide who will become their next representative in less than 10 days.

 

Former legislative aide Carlos Smith is taking his first shot at political office, while freshmen legislators Rene Plasencia/Mike Miller are vying for a second term.

 

Our breakdown of each race and endorsements can be found below.

 

State Representative, District 47 - Mike Miller

 

Former Rollins Executive Mike Miller has embraced equality, fought homelessness, and worked to cut taxes and build jobs in his first term.

 

Regularly taking on the party leadership to re-secure funding for our dying film and TV industry is another bright spot in Miller's first two years.

 

He is being challenged by broadcast journalist Beth Turra, who has based her campaign mainly around LGBT rights, which has been her biggest mistake.

 

With Turra running a campaign like she is challenging far right wing ideologue, she has forgotten that the district is actually more in the middle politically.

 

It stretches from Winter Park to Belle Isle.

 

Mike Miller has flexed his bi-partisan muscle by securing the endorsement of Democratic Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Republican Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs.

 

Democrats whine constantly about the need for pro-equality, pro-film Republicans.

 

Mike Miller is a new age of Republican, one that Democrats should embrace for the greater good of our state.

 

The East Orlando Post enthusiastically endorses Mike Miller for a second term.

 

State House, District 49 - Carlos Guillermo Smith

 

The UCF area seat was abandoned by current State Representative Rene Plasencia when he decided to run for re-election in the more conservative State House District 50.

 

Enter Carlos Smith, top operative for Equality Florida and legislative aide to one-term representative Joe Saunders.

 

In both of those rolls, Smith has already amassed veteran level experience in the state capitol.

 

There will be no on-the-job training or learning curve, a huge plus for residents of District 49. While he is running on the progressive-line, Republicans and Democrats locally and beyond have immense respect for his deal-making abilities.

 

Because of this, Smith has picked up support from influential groups that usually oppose Democrats.

 

His only opposition is NPA candidate and computer programmer Shea Silverman, who has raised and spent under $3,000.00, not a serious competitor.

 

Our one wish for Smith, who would become the first person of Peruvian background to serve in Tallahassee, is that he embraces new age Republicans when he is elected.

 

The East Orlando Post is honored to endorse our friend Carlos Smith in District 49.

 

State House, District 50 - Sean Ashby

 

District 50 resident Sean Ashby is making his second bid for State Representative, after nearly knocking out a well-funded GOP opponent in 2012.

 

He faces freshmen legislator Rene Plasencia, who left the district he is currently elected to in order to have a better shot at re-election in the more conservative District 50. Both men are local teachers, with a great deal of respect and admiration from their peers.

 

On the issues, Ashby is a moderate Democrat who has put forward unique ideas to reinvigorate vocational training in high school and to fix the water crisis in Wedgefield and Bithlo.

 

Plasencia has broken with conservative orthodoxy on a few key issues like sanctuary cities and health care.

 

To his credit, he pushed forward legislation to expedite rape tests and investigation methods, which was simply good government.

 

However, the fact that he made a purely political calculation to switch districts in hopes of avoiding a tough campaign is politics as usual.

 

Plasencia has out-raised and outspent Ashby, but both are running even with their ground games.

 

Ashby has won the night at the forums where both candidates have been in attendance and is more well known in District strongholds like Avalon Park and North Brevard County.

 

The East Orlando Post is going against the incumbent in this race, endorsing Sean Ashby in District 50.

 

--

 

We will announce our endorsements for the Soil and Water Commission/Orange County Commission on Monday evening.

 

 

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

 

 

Regional Affordable Housing Summit Highlights Creative Housing Solutions

Special Report From Orange County Government --

 

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs hosted the inaugural Regional Affordable Housing Summit on Oct. 20 at the Orange County Convention Center.

 

Planners, developers and local government leaders from across the region gathered to explore affordable housing solutions for Central Florida, including strategies, tools and best practices being implemented throughout Florida and across the country.
 

Special Report From Orange County Government --

 

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs hosted the inaugural Regional Affordable Housing Summit on Oct. 20 at the Orange County Convention Center.

 

Planners, developers and local government leaders from across the region gathered to explore affordable housing solutions for Central Florida, including strategies, tools and best practices being implemented throughout Florida and across the country.
 


“It’s imperative that throughout our region, we explore a variety of available housing options to encourage a more inclusive housing market conducive to sustainable communities,” Mayor Jacobs said.

 

“This Regional Affordable Housing Summit tackles a wide variety of issues and solutions, and will be followed by a number of topic -specific workshops in 2017.

 

Particularly, as our economy continues to flourish, it is vital that we take action to help support our citizens through the creation of a robust housing marketplace."


 
The goal of the summit is to utilize the community’s collective experience and knowledge to create a regional approach to address affordable housing needs.


 
The Summit featured the State of Regional Housing Outlook and two panel discussions.

 

The lineup of speakers included housing-industry experts from Atlantic Housing Partners, Florida Housing Coalition, Florida Housing Finance Corporation, Pinnacle Housing Group, Palm Beach County Planning Division, RCLCO Real Estate Advisors, University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness and the University of Florida Shimberg Center for Housing Studies.


 
Orange County Planning Manager Alberto Vargas, and Orange County Housing and Community Development Manager Mitchell Glasser, moderated the panel discussions.


 
“The purpose of the summit is to  share creative solutions that have worked in other areas in order to develop more sustainable communities in our region,” Glasser said.

 

“The summit will propel the work we have already started with our regional partners. It will move us from discussion to analysis and eventually to policy actions that encourage the housing market to include elements of affordable housing into plans and developments.”


 
President and CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition Jaimie Ross was the opening keynote speaker and discussed the affordable housing crisis on a national level.

 

The lunch keynote speaker, Andrés Duany Co-founder of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co . , is an architect, urban designer, planner and author, and has dedicated more than three decades to pioneering a vision for sustainable urban development and its implementation. He discussed innovative strategies for achieving ample affordable housing options.


 
“As a society, we have exterminated affordable housing,” Duany said. “It’s important that we train our younger generations to build affordable housing options for the future. By doing so, we can build resilient cities that can survive the bad times.”


 
Mayor Jacobs provided the opening remarks and Mel Martinez, Chairman of the Southeast and Latin America for JPMorgan Chase & Co., delivered the Summit’s opening remarks.

 

Martinez is a former U.S. Senator, former Orange County Mayor, and served as the 12th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. President of the Dick Batchelor Management Group, Inc. and former State Rep. Dick Batchelor presented introductions and the closing remarks.


 
Rising housing costs are straining budgets and placing individuals and families at the risk of homelessness. It is vital to develop and implement strategies that will result in more inclusive and diverse housing markets in order to create and maintain sustainable communities.

 

Affordable housing options might include mixed-use/mixed-income neighborhoods, transit-oriented developments and various housing prototypes.


According to the University of Florida’s Shimberg Center for Housing Studies 2016 Rental Market Study Report, the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has a deficiency of 33,577 units for very low income households.

 

This is the third highest deficiency in the state after the Miami-Dade/Fort Lauderdale MSA.

 

While affordable housing inventory remains low, population estimates continue to grow.

 

Based on projections from the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida, the population in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Sumter counties is expected to grow from 2.4 million in 2015 to 3.8 million by 2040.


 
Recognizing this trend, leaders from Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties and the City of Orlando participated in several regional affordable housing roundtable discussions last year.

 

These discussions reviewed current housing programs and incentives, their effectiveness as well as their successes in other communities.


 
The Regional Affordable Housing Summit is one of the first steps toward finding affordable housing options for the region’s growing population.

 

To increase the production and availability of affordable housing, subsequent implementation workshops will explore regulatory mechanisms, possible development or infill locations and available marketplace incentives.

 

Summit attendees, community leaders, elected officials, housing and planning experts, developers and citizens will be invited to attend several implementation workshops through 2017.


 
Orange County has allocated $5 million of local INVEST funds to be leveraged with other public and private resources in order to create new affordable units for low and very low income households.


 
“With our strong history of collaboration and a well-developed regional commitment to housing our most vulnerable citizens and families, we have an incredibly unique opportunity to explore different housing models and solutions,” Mayor Jacobs said.

 

“In the end, creating inclusive communities must be a shared goal for developers, bankers, government leaders, builders… truly, our entire community. Our affordable housing options should look just like our marketplace options, with high-quality design elements, and offering a superior quality of life.”

 

#####

 

 

Stephanie Murphy's $1Million Dollar Payday From Full Sail

The progressive candidate, funded mainly by DC special interest groups was 54 days late on her financial disclosure.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Last week, we exposed Stephanie Murphy's close ties to for-profit university Full Sail.

 

Top Democratic leaders who have been bankrolling Murphy's challenge to veteran Congressman John Mica, are firmly against schools like Full Sail.

 

The progressive candidate, funded mainly by DC special interest groups was 54 days late on her financial disclosure.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Last week, we exposed Stephanie Murphy's close ties to for-profit university Full Sail.

 

Top Democratic leaders who have been bankrolling Murphy's challenge to veteran Congressman John Mica, are firmly against schools like Full Sail.

 

Murphy serves as the schools political director and her father-in-law Ed Haddock is the founder of Full Sail.

 

After waiting nearly two months past the deadline to file her financial disclosure forms, the documents unveil her income from Full Sail.

 

Ms. Murphy has an ownership interest in FS Holdco, which produces annual income of up to $1million for her. FS Holdco is the “Holding company for investment in Full Sail.

 

Yes, Stephanie Murphy owns a piece of Full Sail.

 

What is unknown from looking at the reports is how much her family nets from the for-profit college, with estimates suggesting it's easily more than $300 million annually.

 

The costs to attend Full Sail range between $20,000 and $40,000 a year for tuition alone.

 

That is a lot of money at risk, as congress pushes toward major crack downs on for-profit colleges.

 

This is probably why Murphy's stepfather and his DC allies are spending so much to take out Congressman John Mica. Most of the college's money comes in the form of Federally-backed student loans or Federal grants.

 

In fact, 88 percent of the students who leave Full Sail have student loan debt, carrying an average debt of $61,000 before they even start.

 

Approximately, 21 percent of those students default, more than three times the national average.

 

Read about it here and here.

 

As Ed Haddock and Stephanie Murphy have been shut out of the White House, they can see their gravy train ending soon. After all, the entire for-profit industry has been under attack by the Obama Administration.

 

Obama's team has gone after the multi-billion dollar industry in a multitude of ways and for-profit colleges are seeing a potential massive shift in how they operate. Read about it here.

 

The most recent display of the effect of this attack by the Obama Administration was the shuttering of ITT Technical College. That school left more than 35,000 students without a degree.

 

Read about it here.

 

Could Full Sail be next? If Full Sail shut its doors, Stephanie Murphy herself would lose millions.

 

Her family could not continue their 1 percent lifestyle forged off of selling Hollywood dreams to unsuspecting students.

 

Is Stephanie Murphy really a wolf in sheep’s clothing, someone pretending to be a Democrat and pretending to share their values when, in reality, she’s just running to protect her lifestyle and her millions?

 

Of course, Democrats in Washington don’t seem to care.

 

They are just concerned with power, garnering a vote for their agenda and returning Pelosi to power, to hell with protecting students and providing free college.

 

 

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

 

 

Betsy VanderLey Talks About Entrepreneurial Upbringing, Plans For District 1

The small business owner has family roots in community service.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

With a little under two weeks until election day, the East Orlando Post will be bringing our readers some last minute moments with candidates for office.

 

Betsy VanderLey, who is running to replace outgoing Commissioner Scott Boyd, was kind enough to answer a few questions about herself to kick it off.

 

From her childhood to favorite film, see VanderLey's answers below.

 

The small business owner has family roots in community service.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

With a little under two weeks until election day, the East Orlando Post will be bringing our readers some last minute moments with candidates for office.

 

Betsy VanderLey, who is running to replace outgoing Commissioner Scott Boyd, was kind enough to answer a few questions about herself to kick it off.

 

From her childhood to favorite film, see VanderLey's answers below.

 

Tell us about Betsy VanderLey. Growing up, your formidable years, and what makes you who you are today.

 

I was born in Michigan and my family moved here in 1970. My dad was involved in the construction at Walt Disney World.

 

Orange County was very different then.

 

For instance, the corner of Orange and Michigan still had working orange groves and during the winter months (with your windows open) you could smell the Bluebird processing plant making orange juice. Fun was water skiing, riding bikes, going to the beach and having bonfires in the woods.

 

My parents became small business owners, so I grew up in an entrepreneurial home. I heard conversations at the dinner table about payroll, building the business and governmental regulations that directly impacted our family.

 

I grew up playing piano and singing in choral and ensemble in high school. My family always loved music and books, passions I have to this day. Dinner table conversation ranged from philosophy to music with stops at politics and religion.

 

We were strongly encouraged to advocate for things we believed in.

 

Why the County Commission?

 

I chose to run for County Commission because I have seen what happens when we plan well and when we don’t.

 

We are in a very fast growing area today. We have one shot to get it right and then we must live with the result for decades to come.

 

I watched my dad, as the Mayor of Oakland, make a huge impact, just one man with some vision and some energy help to improve our community with a town-owned charter school, a nature preserve and moving the funding for widening Hwy. 50 up a decade to plan for future growth.

 

As a small business owner, when I experienced, firsthand, government overreach which resulted in me closing my doors, I knew that I had to get involved.

 

Leadership experience. What prepares you for to help District 1 residents?

 

I have been a business owner and business leader for many years in Central Florida. I have also volunteered my time for many great not-for-profits and Orange County boards.

 

One of the things I love about local government is the ability to directly help my neighbors. While on the campaign trail, I have met several folks who were frustrated with issues in their neighborhoods.

 

One such instance was a community whose school bus stop was dangerously close to a very busy, high speed road.

 

Working with their school board member and the HOA I was able to get that bus stop relocated to a safer area. I also met a man who had dealt with his yard flooding for over a decade.

 

I worked with Orange County staff to improve his neighborhood stormwater infrastructure to correct that problem.

 

Top priorities. What do you hope to accomplish?

 

We are in one of the fastest growing areas in the State of Florida. We have to work toward providing the infrastructure needed to provide capacity for that growth by better planning for roads, parks, schools and water.

 

With the Sportsplex park in Horizon West, we have a great opportunity to design 250+ acres into the centerpiece of our community, ensuring we leverage the opportunities to provide ball fields and much more.

 

We need to think about things like outdoor concert venues, tennis courts, and equestrian trails too.

 

We also need to look at creating job opportunity that will diversify our economy in District 1. East Orange has both Medical City and the world leader in the Simulation industry; we must find our focus in West Orange.

 

Ultimately, we need to think about how people will live in the spaces being developed that will enhance quality of life, property value and job opportunity.

 

Lightning round. Favorite band, movie, book, TV show?

 

Favorite Band…. Hard one since I love such a wide range of music, Probably would have to go with The Dave Matthews Band.

 

Movie – I could watch Princess Bride over and over again, book would have to be Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Mataxas and TV show….. West Wing or Downton Abby.

 

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You can learn more about Betsy and her campaign 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

 

 

Election 2016: Osceola County Endorsements

We are proud to endorse these candidates in local area Osceola County elections.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

As promised, we are releasing our 2016 general election endorsements earlier than our primary election picks this past summer.

 

In our new coverage area of Osceola County, below are our selections.

 

Do your own research, come to your own decisions, but this will get you started!

 

 

U.S. Congress: District 9 – Wayne Liebnitzky

 

We are proud to endorse these candidates in local area Osceola County elections.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

As promised, we are releasing our 2016 general election endorsements earlier than our primary election picks this past summer.

 

In our new coverage area of Osceola County, below are our selections.

 

Do your own research, come to your own decisions, but this will get you started!

 

 

U.S. Congress: District 9 – Wayne Liebnitzky

 

Small businessman, veteran, and engineer Wayne Liebnitzky has a tough path to victory in this Democratic leaning seat.

 

However, the MAC Tools distributor has been campaigning feverishly across the district for the better part of a year. State Senator Darren Soto has taken voters for granted, rarely seen at community events or public forums.

 

In the year of the outsider, Liebnitzky’s hard work and firm relationships with the working class could be his key to victory.

 

State Senate: District 15 – Peter Vivaldi

 

Republican nominee Peter Vivaldi is probably one of the hardest working candidates in Central Florida.

 

Working his deep connections to local faith based groups and Hispanic radio, Vivaldi has outworked his opponent Victor Torres on every level.

 

Torres, like Soto, thinks this seat belongs to him, and that’s not the attitude voters should reward. If Vivaldi is elected, he would have massive power for District 15 as one of the few Hispanic State Senators in a GOP controlled legislator.

 

Those who want a seat at the table for their district should support Mr. Vivaldi.

 

Clerk of the Court – Malcolm Thompson

 

Malcolm Thompson would not be our first choice after his controversial stint as Clerk. However, the incumbent Armando Ramirez has been a flat out disaster in the role.

 

Ramirez has careened from one controversy to another placing the office’s finances and morale in jeopardy.

 

Sheriff – Dave Sklarek

 

Sklarek has spent 11 of his 32 years at the department as Sheriff Hansell's second-in-command. His peerless experience makes him our pick.

 

Russ Gibson is a quality candidate with a solid law enforcement resume but does not compete with Mr. Sklarek’s management expertise.

 

Marco Lopez appears to be running on ethnicity as opposed to qualifications.

 

Property Appraiser – Katrina Scarborough

 

Katrina Scarborough has done an outstanding job as Property Appraiser for the past 8 years.

 

Her longtime tenure as an employee in the office makes her extraordinarily qualified. By contrast her opponent Julius Melendez has no relevant qualifications.

 

After losing races for County Commission and Congress, Melendez appears to have become one of those politicians who runs for office every election for something.

 

County Commission District 1 –Peggy Choudhry

 

Osceola will be picking between two fresh faces for District 1.

 

We endorse Ms. Choudhry because of her small business background, fresh ideas and strong command of the issues. Her opponent Jed Suhl is well meaning, but needs more seasoning.

 

County Commission District 3 – Brandon Arrington

 

Brandon Arrington’s progressive values reflect his District and he has done an effective job bringing new healthcare, education and transportation options to District 3.

 

His opponents have serious flaws. Ivan Rivera is unprepared, Tony Ferentinos is under felony indictment and Julio Cesar Diaz is running on ethnicity.

 

County Commission District 5 – Fred Hawkins, Jr.

 

Mr. Hawkins has Conservative values that match District 5.

 

Hawkins has a well-earned reputation for being accessible to constituents. Fred has proven himself to be an exemplary public servant.

 

His opponent Jeffery Rivera is too liberal for District 5.

 

Kissimmee Commission Seat 1 – Olga Gonzalez

 

Olga Gonzalez has built a strong reputation as a community leader who works for people of all backgrounds. Her opponent Richard Oehler has been absent from the campaign trail.

 

Kissimmee Commission Seat 3 – Angela Eady

 

Eady brings fresh ideas and passion to her race for Kissimmee Commission. Her opponent Robert Joynes is a well meaning local engineer, but lacks Ms. Eady’s passion.

 

Kissimmee Commission Seat 5/Mayor – Jose Alverez

 

Jose Alverez has demonstrated a strong command of the issues and a willingness to work for all the people of Kissimmee. His opponent Art Otero is running a campaign based on ethnicity, instead of issues.

 

St. Cloud Council Seat 1/Mayor – Nathan Blackwell

 

Nathan Blackwell brings fresh ideas and Conservative values to his race for Mayor.

 

Blackwell vows to fight reckless growth and tax increases.

 

His opponent, incumbent Councilman Jeff Rinehart has a track record of increasing property tax increases and has been the subject of multiple employee grievances for abuse and charter violations.

 

St. Cloud Council Seat 3 – Amanda Taormino

 

Amanda Taormino brings passion and new ideas to her bid for Council. Taormino has been an effective local activist.

 

Her opponent Chuck Cooper is a former Councilman who has had his chance on the Council and it is time for new blood.

 

 

 

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

 

 

New Florida Poll Shows Trump Up

The poll was conducted by North Florida based firm Dixie Strategies, and taken yesterday.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Following a Bloomberg Poll showing Donald Trump with a slight lead over Hillary Clinton across the state of Florida, yet another poll signals good news for the Republican nominee.

 

Dialing out to both landline and cell phones, it surveyed close to 700 voters, with a margin of error of 3.71%. Voter confidence in the poll was at 95%, giving Trump the edge with 45.70% to Clinton's 42.41%.

 

The poll was conducted by North Florida based firm Dixie Strategies, and taken yesterday.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Following a Bloomberg Poll showing Donald Trump with a slight lead over Hillary Clinton across the state of Florida, yet another poll signals good news for the Republican nominee.

 

Dialing out to both landline and cell phones, it surveyed close to 700 voters, with a margin of error of 3.71%. Voter confidence in the poll was at 95%, giving Trump the edge with 45.70% to Clinton's 42.41%.

 

Only 6.30% of voters remained undecided.

 

“It appears that momentum in Florida may have shifted to Donald Trump in recent days,” said Brian Graham, Managing Partner of Dixie Strategies.

 

“Florida is still America’s largest, most diverse, and closely watched battleground state. The difference in this election will be turnout.”

 

The Dixie Strategies poll also asked voters about our contentious Florida Senate race, where Marco Rubio leads Patrick Murphy 48.64% to 43.02%, with 4.49% undecided.

 

 

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

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