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East Orlando Post's blog

Central Florida's Best Political Reporters

These men and women provide insightful, well-researched, and fair coverage of Central Florida politics.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

As someone who has spent years covering Central Florida politics, I am pretty darn good at breaking news and holding elected officials accountable.

 

That being said, I have some pretty fierce competition.

 

These people have decades upon decades combined head start and have the scoops and scars to prove it.

 

These men and women provide insightful, well-researched, and fair coverage of Central Florida politics.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

As someone who has spent years covering Central Florida politics, I am pretty darn good at breaking news and holding elected officials accountable.

 

That being said, I have some pretty fierce competition.

 

These people have decades upon decades combined head start and have the scoops and scars to prove it.

 

So, let's start with Orlando Political Observer publisher Frank Torres.

 

Frank is the gold standard. He covers everything from sleepy city council meetings to prime-time election night parties, and everything in between.

 

Mr. Torres is well known for being one of the most balanced and fair scribes in Central Florida, with an appetite for covering things on all ends of the political spectrum.

 

Frank Torres, publisher of the Orlando Political Observer.

 

However, the best thing about Frank, is his consistency. He is at every single event, some have joked he has a body double.

 

You can read Frank's work by visiting orlando-politics.com or by catching him providing election coverage and predictions on Fox35.

 

Then there is Scott Powers.

 

He is the veteran gumshoe reporter, who earned his bones at the Orlando Sentinel, and recently joined Peter Schorsch's Florida Politics/Orlando Rising.

 

Scott is respected among the elected and political operative class, operating with a firm moral code.

 

Powers with his classic hat. Staff photo from the Orlando Sentinel.

 

Mr. Powers is thorough and meticulous in his work, and always gives his subjects a fair shake, no matter their political affiliation or history.

 

You can read Scott's work at orlando-rising.com or floridapolitics.com.

 

Hispanic trailblazer Maria Padilla.

 

A fixture in the Central Florida Hispanic community, Padilla is the former editor of the Sentinel's Spanish language effort El Sentinel.

 

She also worked as a regional reporter for the Sentinel prior to her leadership effort at El Sentinel, but her best work has been with her personal blog, Orlando Latino.

 

Maria Padilla, WFTV analyst and Orlando Latino publisher.

 

Focused on issues important to Central Florida's burgeoning Hispanic population, Orlando Latino is your one-stop-shop for political commentary from a well-connected and informed Hispanic writer.

 

Her efforts have earned her a primo spot on WFTV as a political commentator for the 2016 election cycle.

 

Catch up on Hispanic politics, issues, and more at orlandolatino.org - the archives reach back to last September.

 

The legendary Billy Manes.

 

When someone asks me who I formed my writing style after, one of the first people who come to mind is Billy Manes.

 

His style is more a stream of consciousness and emotion, paired with the often times ugly truth. Manes made a name for himself at Orlando Weekly and rose the ranks with over a decade of coverage and front-page stories to his name.

 

Manes, who is one of Central Florida's most well known writers.

 

From LGBT issues to poverty to county commission movements, he has covered it all. Most importantly, each story is entertaining and engaging.

 

Mr. Manes was recently scooped up by one of the Southeast's top LGBT publications, Watermark, where he now reigns as Editor-in-Chief.

 

Catch up on Billy's latest at watermarkonline.com.

 

Honorable Mentions

 

While there are many other people covering politics in Central Florida, we believe that these three are the top-tier for their primarily written content.

 

Honorable mentions in the written category include: Steve Lemongello at the Orlando Sentinel, Larry Griffin at Orlando Rising, and Martin Comas also of the Sentinel.

 

TV Commentators/TV News-Journalists

 

Michelle Ertel and Jeremiah Japson create a deadly trifecta with News 13's ace political chieftain Ybeth Bruzual.

 

All three of them have a deep history in either politics or reporting the news, and they provide the best debate night/election night coverage you can find in Central Florida.

 

Eddie Fernandez, the former Orange County Clerk of Courts, just started his political commentary this cycle, but he is a natural. His addition to WESH 2 is a huge plus for them, as his knowledge of the GOP and local party politics is extensive.

 

Mike Synan, formerly of FOX35, was dogged in his pursuit of a story and built rock solid relationships with party leaders, top-donors, operatives, and volunteers.

 

Synan's coverage of local campaigns and political groups were always spot on and accurate. His new project will be launching soon.

 

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Well, there you have it. As we get close to #Election2016, look to those listed above for your political news.

 

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. 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

 

 

Rinehart Admits He Violated City Charter

City Councilman and Mayoral candidate Jeff Rinehart breached St. Cloud’s strict prohibition against a Councilman attempting to terminate employees in secret.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

As part of Councilman Jeff Rinehart’s Facebook response to a recent East Orlando Post article he inadvertently confessed that he violated the City’s Charter.

 

City Councilman and Mayoral candidate Jeff Rinehart breached St. Cloud’s strict prohibition against a Councilman attempting to terminate employees in secret.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

As part of Councilman Jeff Rinehart’s Facebook response to a recent East Orlando Post article he inadvertently confessed that he violated the City’s Charter.

 

Rinehart admits that he met with the City Manager in private before business hours in a restricted area as far from the Sunshine as possible.

 

He states that at that meeting he advocated for an employee’s termination, which you can see below.

 

Part of Rinehart's odd social media post on his campaign page.

 

This is a clear violation of the Charter.

 

Below is the relevant excerpt from the St. Cloud City Charter:

 

Sec. 3.06. – Prohibitions (b) Appointments and removals. Neither the Council or any of its members shall in any manner dictate the appointment or removal of any city administrative officers or employees whom the manager or any of his subordinates are empowered to appoint, but the council as a body may express its views and fully and freely discuss with the manager anything pertaining to the appointment and removal of such officers and employees.

 

In his rebuttal to our article Rinehart essentially corroborated our story and verified most of the facts.

 

He admitted wrongdoing and that his behavior was completely inappropriate and that he had to “eat crow” as a result of his unprofessional behavior. Mr. Rinehart did not refute any of the facts or statements made in the complaints filed against him.

 

I encourage voters to read the complaints for themselves and make up their own minds. Read the shocking complaints below.

 

Complaints Against Councilman Rinehart by Jacob Engels on Scribd

 

What is telling is that in his response he took the opportunity to belittle the employees who blew the whistle on his behavior – questioning their motives, putting uncorroborated words in their mouths and making pejorative comments about their character.

 

This outrageous behavior is consistent with the complaints regarding his hostile treatment of employees.

 

Councilman Rinehart seems to be missing the point.

 

His profane tirades and abuse of employees are not his prime offences. Violating the City Charter is the truly serious transgression.

 

Fearful of more complaints being lodged with the city regarding his behavior, Rinehart actually made a motion to fire any employee who made a formal complaint against City Councilman in the future.

 

This ludicrous proposal did not receive a second and Rinehart’s mean-spirited motion was defeated.

 

See the meeting minutes below.

 

Fire the Employees Who Complain by Jacob Engels on Scribd

 

Jeff Rinehart appears to be obsessed with secrecy and preventing whistleblowers from exposing his misdeeds.

 

In light of his confession of guilt, perhaps the City Attorney or the Mayor should refer this clear violation of the Charter to the State’s Attorney or Florida Attorney General?

 

The three complaints combined with Councilman Rinehart’s own words surly merit and independent investigation.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. 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

 

 

Dropoff Expands Same-Day Delivery To Orlando

Dropoff, the company reinventing on-demand, same-day delivery for businesses, announced its latest market expansion with operations in Orlando and Tampa.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

This announcement follows the company’s expansion and rapid success in Miami and Fort Lauderdale in August, and brings its proprietary logistics technology and highly-rated service to more local and national businesses that call Florida home.

 

Dropoff, the company reinventing on-demand, same-day delivery for businesses, announced its latest market expansion with operations in Orlando and Tampa.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

This announcement follows the company’s expansion and rapid success in Miami and Fort Lauderdale in August, and brings its proprietary logistics technology and highly-rated service to more local and national businesses that call Florida home.

 

“Our continued expansion in Florida is a great move for our business and for our clients,” said Sean Spector, CEO of Dropoff. “

 

As we set out to become the first national same-day delivery provider for businesses, Central Florida is a logical expansion for Dropoff. Businesses throughout the state are looking for customer service-focused, professional service providers and we’re excited to be here to help their growth.”

 

Dropoff comes to Orlando and Tampa to support a variety of industries, including healthcare, retail, commercial and industrial, professional services, and food and grocery. The company has been rapidly expanding in the second half of 2016. Dropoff launched its East Coast operations in August with service in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and its West Coast operations in Los Angeles in July.

 

At the core of Dropoff’s offerings is its proprietary technology platform, which includes web and mobile ordering capabilities, real-time tracking and confirmations, a fast, scalable, 24/7/365 dispatch automation named Intelligent Dispatch, and a feature-rich API for easy integration into clients’ e-commerce sites or warehouse management software.

 

Dropoff works with leading brands across many sectors relying on last mile delivery to get items into the hands of their customers quickly and professionally, including Whole Foods, Neiman Marcus, Zazzle, Amerita Infusion Service, JW Marriott, and Cushman & Wakefield | Oxford Commercial.

 

The company will continue to expand to additional cities and states throughout the second half of the year. Learn more by clicking here.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. 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

 

 

Hillary vs. Trump: Debate Predictions

Central Florida's top leaders say their peace about tonight's presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

In one of the most anticipated presidential debates in history, America is wondering what kind of performance we will see from businessman Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

 

Will Trump come out of the gate with his signature style of debate tactics, or let Secretary Clinton draw first blood?

 

Central Florida's top leaders say their peace about tonight's presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

In one of the most anticipated presidential debates in history, America is wondering what kind of performance we will see from businessman Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

 

Will Trump come out of the gate with his signature style of debate tactics, or let Secretary Clinton draw first blood?

 

Mr. Trump's business dealings, Hillary's history of flip-flopping on key issues, and more could be high or low points depending on which side you are on.

 

One thing is for sure... it's time to bust out the booze and buckle in. Below are predictions from key members of the Central Florida community.

 

Justin York: Attorney, Young Republican, Soil & Water Supervisor

 

I predict Trump will initially attempt to strike the pose of a would-be President Trump: he'll be calm, measured, and try to stay focused on general themes and policy (the latter to the degree he can).

 

He will be pressed for details on his policies (ex: financing the Wall). What I cannot predict is whether or not he will try and "wing it" or whether he will impress us all with a surprise mastery of detail.

 

Clinton will at some point begin rattling off statistics and diving into granular policy details in paragraph-form statements. It may wear on the audience but it will be her effort (using blunt force trauma) to convey to the country that she is competent to serve as president.

 

Mayanne Downs: President & CEO of GrayRobinson, P.A.

 

The Butterfly Effect is a theory that small factors can cause large swings in predictability. The theory is associated with weather prediction, but I think it applies to tonight's debate.

 

The various issues that have been in in play this election season - desire for dramatic change, isolationism, economic equality, personal character and leadership -- together with the remarkable differences between these candidates and the huge stakes in play make prediction about which Hillary and which Donald will appear tonight impossible.

 

Only one thing is clear: there will be plenty of cringeworthy moments for all of us.

 

Doug Guetzloe: Veteran Political Consultant, Ax The Tax Founder

 

This initial debate will allow Trump to clearly have established the definitive differences between a Trump Administration and a continuation of the Obama Administration under Hillary Clinton. The differences between the two candidates is stark and I believe that voters will have an opportunity to acknowledge and to understand the differences following this debate.

 

I believe Trump will do very well in promoting his Pro-America agenda of lower taxes, increased Armed Forces, and a stronger national image throughout the world.

 

Also, I was one of the few political consultants who accurately predicted a Trump victory in the primaries and that Trump would be the Republican nominee, as published in the East Orlando Post in January of 2015.

 

Michelle Ertel: News 13 Political Analyst, President of Florida Strategic Advisors

 

If I wasn't on the air, I'd make a drinking game out of how many times Secretary Clinton says people should vote for her because she is a woman and how many times Trump calls her "Crooked Hillary."

 

Sean Ashby: Educator, Candidate For Florida House, District 50

 

This is by far the highest anticipated presidential debate during my lifetime. Just like the first television debates in 1960, Monday's debate coupled with the exploding polarization of politics via social media, the candidate who looks, sounds, and presents themselves as the most presidential will most likely be our next president.

I can't wait to watch.

 

Paul Paulson: Businessman, Orange County GOP State Committeeman

 

Trump will frustrate Clinton and cause her to be dumbfounded. He will say enough to get under her skin and put her in a daze. All of Hillary's rehearsing will be for naught, as she will get frustrated and be unable to speak from the heart.

 

Trump will be spontaneous and speak from the heart, connecting with the people. Hillary will attempt to use rehearsed lawyer mumbo-jumbo.

 

Michael Shirley: Top GOP Campaign Aide, UCF Graduate

 

The Trump campaign has been effective with lower expectations for his performance and dramatically raising the bar for Clinton. As long as Trump is not caught flat footed he should come out of this debate as the winner.

 

John Dowless: Political Consultant, Direct-Mail King

 

Hillary will be declared the winner by the pundits regardless of what actually happens. Trump will keep his cool and thus exceed expectations.

 

Joel Greenberg: Seminole County Tax Collector Elect

 

Expect Hillary to hit Trump where it will hurt the most: she will attack his wealth, portray him as ignorant, and focus on his business failures. Trump must keep his cool. If he does, it play well toward answering questions about his fitness for office.

 

It will be interesting to see billionaire Trump opponent Mark Cuban in the front row, I hope he brings his Pom Poms. Trump can control whether he wins or loses, but he must maintain his composure.

 

He must continue attacking Clinton's lack of honesty, and perceptions of her warmth. Hillary is a cold, pathological liar out for only herself. That's the narrative and it hasn’t changed for more than two decades in the public arena.

 

This debate is must see TV. I expect the viewership to top 100 million, smashing the previous record of 80 million from 1980.

 

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There you have it folks. The debate will be broadcast on multiple outlets, starting at 9PM.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. 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

 

Hillary Has Lost Her "Woman Card," Abandoned Rape Victims

While Bill Clinton mistress Gennifer Flowers may not attend Monday's debate, voters still need to be reminded the former President's sordid history.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

The conservative/liberal blogosphere has been going wild the past few days over whether Bill Clinton parramore Gennifer Flowers would actually attend the debate as Trump's guest.

 

While Bill Clinton mistress Gennifer Flowers may not attend Monday's debate, voters still need to be reminded the former President's sordid history.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

The conservative/liberal blogosphere has been going wild the past few days over whether Bill Clinton parramore Gennifer Flowers would actually attend the debate as Trump's guest.

 

News broke after it was announced that billionaire Mark Cuban was attending as Clinton's guest, and reignited discussion into Hillary's involvement in her husbands dozens of sexual assaults and rape allegations.

 

What do I mean by Hillary's involvement?

 

The self-proclaimed defender for "women and young girls", who famously said that "all rape victims need to be believed", that is of course unless you have been raped or sexually assaulted by her husband.

 

Estimates range from 16 to about 40 documented cases over his decades long time in politics, starting in Arkansas and ending in the Oval Office.

 

New York Times bestselling author Roger Stone has documented the sex crimes in his book "The Clintons' War On Women", which paints a very disturbing picture.

 

"Hillary Clinton would psychologically rape her husbands victims after the attacks, by sending heavy-handed private investigators to intimidate the victims. Family pets went missing, households were terrorized," explained Stone.

 

She would also launch into tirades against the woman and call them "bitches, sluts, and whores." Now, powerful men are accused of rape relatively often, and one could argue that a few accusations aren't necessarily evidence of guilt on Bill and Hillary's behalf.

 

However, with dozens of woman explaining how the former president would expose himself and viciously bite his victims upper lip, it is clear that Clinton is a Cosby'esque style rapist.

 

So, when Hillary attempts to posit herself as a "defender" of women, those who can't protect themselves, and those who don't have a voice... remember what she did to her husband's victims.

 

They were hopeless, without a voice, and afraid... and Mrs. Clinton intimidated them, belittled them, and "stood by her man."

 

Hillary has lost her "woman card", and here's to hoping someone calls her out about her role in intimidating her husband's sexual assault victims. It's about time...

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. 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

 

 

Second Annual Simulation Summit: Key Takeaways

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and the National Center for Simulation (NCS) hosted the second annual Florida Simulation Summit on Sept. 22 at the Orange County Convention Center.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

This year's Summit highlighted the state’s multibillion dollar modeling, simulation and training (MS&T) industry and helped identify opportunities for businesses to commercialize simulation.

 

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and the National Center for Simulation (NCS) hosted the second annual Florida Simulation Summit on Sept. 22 at the Orange County Convention Center.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

This year's Summit highlighted the state’s multibillion dollar modeling, simulation and training (MS&T) industry and helped identify opportunities for businesses to commercialize simulation.

 

“From scientific discovery to the creation of high-value jobs, the MS&T sector will provide unlimited opportunities for generations to come,” Mayor Jacobs said.

 

“We are inspired by this sector’s innovation and all of the emerging simulation technologies and applications highlighted at the Florida Simulation Summit. We’re creating a vision for the future and an environment that fosters collaboration, productivity, profitability and jobs in Orange County.”

 

The goal of the Summit is to raise awareness of the vast impact that the simulation industry has on Central Florida. From the creation of simulated cutting-edge surgical procedures to sophisticated simulated medical applications, MS&T is a catalyst for jobs and capital investment in the region.

 

“Mayor Jacobs’ Blue Ribbon Commission on MS&T created the Florida Simulation Summit to help demonstrate how the MS&T industry is vital, not only to our local defense industry, but to many industries throughout our community,” said President and CEO of the NCS, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas L. Baptiste.

 

“The commercial application of simulation technology can help grow our diverse local industry sectors in new and exciting directions.”

 

The lineup of speakers included industry experts from Florida Hospital, Orlando Health, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Veterans Health Administration, United States Tennis Association, EON, Syndaver Labs, Engineering & Computer Simulations, Guidewell Innovation, LLC, CAE Surgical, the University of Central Florida and the Orlando City Soccer Club.

 

Chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine Board Chairman Dr. Jeffrey Gold was the opening keynote speaker and discussed the use of simulation and virtual reality to educate and prepare students for real-life scenarios in the medical field.

 

Dr. Thomas Graham, Tavistock Group Chief Health Strategy & Innovation Officer and Chairman and CEO of HEMISPhere Global, shared information on health and wellness innovation strategy within Medical City during the lunch keynote presentation. He also spoke about his experience as a renowned surgeon.

 

He previously served as a hand surgery consultant and team physician for numerous major league sports organizations.

 

Chairman of Mayor Jacobs’ MS&T Blue Ribbon Commission Waymon Armstrong; U.S. Congressman John Mica and Florida Simulation Summit Chairwoman Beverly Seay provided opening remarks and introductions. President and CEO of the NCS, retired Air Force Lt. Gen.

 

Thomas L. Baptiste provided the closing remarks at the Summit. Secretary of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald was also in attendance. The robust MS&T sector contributes more than $6 billion to Florida’s gross state product and directly employs more than 30,000 Floridians with an average annual salary of almost $79,000.

 

The Central Florida Research Park, located next to the University of Central Florida, is the epicenter of the MS&T industry and fosters collaboration, cooperation and partnership between academia, industry and government.

 

By working with the County’s many industry partners, including Orange County’s MS&T Blue Ribbon Commission, the Orlando Economic Development Commission, Florida High Tech Corridor, Team Orlando, the City of Orlando, Central Florida Research Park, the National Center for Simulation, the Metro Orlando Defense Task Force and the Orange Technical College, Central Florida is investing in the future of this high-tech industry.

 

Recognizing the importance of the MS&T cluster’s presence in Central Florida, the state has appropriated $42 million over a three-year period, which will help mitigate the rental costs at Central Florida Research Park.

 

Many lawmakers championed the efforts to secure funding for this high-value, high-wage industry including Gov. Rick Scott, Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner and Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. 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

 

 

Basic Math: Quick Facts About "The Grow" Development

Heading into final approval, let's cut through the noise and look at the numbers.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

For the past several years, our publication has been concerned about the need for roadway improvements in East Orange County.

 

As someone who has been living in Avalon Park since it was founded 14+ years ago, I can tell you not much has changed and our area continues to be one of the fasting growing regions in the nation.

 

Heading into final approval, let's cut through the noise and look at the numbers.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

For the past several years, our publication has been concerned about the need for roadway improvements in East Orange County.

 

As someone who has been living in Avalon Park since it was founded 14+ years ago, I can tell you not much has changed and our area continues to be one of the fasting growing regions in the nation.

 

No matter where your going, it's going to include traffic delays. While there have been minor improvements made, the County has not had the money for the extensive improvements truly needed.

 

The lack of funds left us behind the eight ball... that was until the Orange County Commission wisely negotiated a never before heard sum from the developers of the Lake Pickett South property.

 

Dubbed "The Grow", the unique "agri-hood" themed master planned community in East Orange County, is hoping for final approval from the Orange County Commission early next week.

 

Here are the things we know:

 

*It's one of the nation's first agri-hoods.

 

*Has more green space/open space than places like Avalon Park or Stoneybrook.

 

*Provides an answer to the housing shortage in East Orange.

 

*Secures private funding to expand local roads.

 

Past the general concept and idea of "The Grow", here are some basic numbers that quantify what it could mean for East Orange County, and in turn Central Florida.

 

Travel Time -

 

While some have suggested that those facing traffic delays to get to and from UCF should just use Innovation Way or 408 to travel, a true solution is needed.

 

That path could result in almost 45 minutes each way during rush-hour traffic.

 

With the approval of "The Grow", those working in high earning positions at UCF or in the Research Parkway, people will have an opportunity to live just 2 miles from their job.

 

Based on the number of people who commute to the area from other places in Central Florida daily, that could equal a savings of almost 20 million less miles people have to drive annualy.

 

It also equals less carbon emissions from the thousands of commuters and over 500,000 more hours a year Central Floridians would have to spend with their family or being productive instead of wasting away in logjam.

 

And if you want to get really specific, according to estimated yearly traffic deaths per mile driven, providing a reduction of miles driven per year reduces the time people spend behind the wheel, meaning less risk of being in a fatal accident.

 

Infrastructure, Road Improvements

 

After starting at just several million, the Orange County Commissioners, and in particular Ted Edwards, has squeezed $26 million in road impact fees out of the developers of the Lake Pickett properties.

 

That is a record breaking number and possibly the biggest per house impact fee that Orange County has ever received for a project like this. EVER. With that money, the County and State agencies will be able to make the much needed improvements to Colonial, Lake Pickett Road, Chulota, and others.

 

Work on the roads must start before A SINGLE HOUSE is built. Again, a record breaking term and condition secured by the Orange County Commission.

 

Environmental Impact

 

One of the talking points of those in opposition to this project has been the environmental impact it could have. Again, the numbers don't lie. It has more open space than most, if not all master-planned communities in Central Florida.

 

12 miles of bike trails, a 20 acre park, a school, community farm and garden... a community like that only exists in a few places in the United States, and Orange County will be one of them if it's approved.

 

Forget driving to Winter Park or Lake Eola for the farmer's market, there will be a weekly one on the East Side supported by the community farm and garden.

 

Attracting Taxpayers

 

With UCF quickly establishing itself with it's size of enrollment and as one of the most respected colleges in the United States, "The Grow" gives us an opportunity to attract the best and brightest.

 

We could be instantly be competing for professors and administrators who were considering Stanford or NYU, enticing them with communities close to work for them like "The Grow".

 

It will show dedicated students attending UCF what it could be like for them post-graduation if they stayed in Central Florida instead of taking human capital elsewhere.

 

The same effect would occur among the top companies in the Research Park, who are looking for the best scientists, engineers, computer scientists.

 

The improved tax revenue will allow for the county to update schools, parks, and provide increased funding to police and fire departments.

 

In the end, we would have the best shot possible for attracting high-earning individuals, who will increase tax revenue.

 

Rising Tide Raises All Boats?

 

The "halo effect" in real estate demonstrates the effect that a unique community like "The Grow" can have on already established nearby residences and properties.

 

Research shows that the agri-hood will increase nearby home values by potentially tens of thousands.

 

You read that right, even if you don't live there, your property value is going up.

 

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With these numbers in mind, we hope the Orange County Commission holds the developers accountable to their promises, gives final approval, and sets us all up for the future.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. 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

 

 

Councilman Rinehart Accused Of Intimidation & Abuse

At least three different senior City of St. Cloud current and former employees have filed grievances against Councilman and Mayoral candidate Jeff Rinehart.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Questions are beginning to be raised about St. Cloud City Councilman Jeff Rinehart’s history of abusive behavior against high-ranking St. Cloud employees.

 

Recently, the East Orlando Post investigated rumors of this erratic behavior and obtained the complaints through a public records request.

 

At least three different senior City of St. Cloud current and former employees have filed grievances against Councilman and Mayoral candidate Jeff Rinehart.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Questions are beginning to be raised about St. Cloud City Councilman Jeff Rinehart’s history of abusive behavior against high-ranking St. Cloud employees.

 

Recently, the East Orlando Post investigated rumors of this erratic behavior and obtained the complaints through a public records request.

 

Three separate employees maintain that the Councilman engages in “abusive bully tactics” and throws profanity filled tirades designed to intimidate City employees.

 

One incident happened when Councilman Rinehart addressed the acting City Manager, screaming “F*ck him, I want him fired! Who the f*ck does he think he is?”

 

Apparently this type of behavior is a common occurrence for Rinehart, who according to these complaints spends several hours a day harassing City staff.

 

To use the Councilman’s own term, he enjoys “stirring the pot.”

 

The grievances were filed by St. Cloud’s Human Resource Manager Harvey Bisson, Public Information Officer Sandra Ramirez and Finance Director Craig Charrette.

 

Complaints Against Councilman Rinehart by Jacob Engels on Scribd

 

According to these senior officials, it is well known that Councilman Rinehart maintains a “chopping block” list of employees he wants terminated.

 

Rinehart was ultimately able to have Mr. Charrette fired, an individual who had consistently received positive performance reviews. This behavior is strictly prohibited by St. Cloud’s Charter and could result in Councilman Rinehart being removed from office.

 

Mr. Rinehart’s actions have createa an atmosphere of “high stress and tension," as employees fear for their jobs.

 

More recently, Councilman Rinehart has brought his abusive intimidation tactics to the campaign trail, as he runs to become Mayor of St. Cloud.

 

Rinehart has apparently recruited a slate of candidates to run for open seats on the Council and then uses these candidates to attack his mayoral opponent, Pastor Nathan Blackwell.

 

Notice the almost identical design of Hughette Crumpler's yard signs and Rinehart. Rinehart and Crumpler's campaign message even matched, with Crumpler slamming Rinehart's opponent for Mayor.

 

Crumpler & Rinehart Campaign Signs by Jacob Engels on Scribd

 

Ms. Crumpler would sent multiple attack mailers filled with false and malicious attacks on Mr. Blackwell in her unsuccessful bid for City Council, even though he was not her opponent and was runnning for Mayor against Mr. Rinehart.

 

Considered by most to be Councilman Rinehart’s more unsavory innovations is the creation of a social media “Smear Squad.”

 

This group makes multiple social media posts and dozens of comments daily attacking Rinehart’s opponent and candidates running against the mayoral hopeful’s supported slate of candidates.

 

The “Smear Squad” not only attacks targeted political candidates, but they cyber-stalk, bully and spread rumors about the personal lives of those who don’t support Rinehart and his allies.

 

They have evenly attacked the boyfriend and the parent of an individual running against one of Rinehart’s selected candidates. This forced the Facebook Page administrator of a group called “Osceola Politics” to remove the defamatory posts and comments.

 

St. Cloud Council races are typically low-key affairs that generate less than $5,000 in contributions per candidate. By contrast, Rinehart has generated over $25,000. The vast majority of these are $1,000 and $500 big money contributions.

 

Much of this loot comes from developers and vendors hoping to do business with the City. 

 

Rinehart Campaign Contributions by Jacob Engels on Scribd

 

In an act of desperation to maintain power, Rinehart is also attempting to buy the election by adding more than $10,000 of his own money.

 

On November 8th, we will see if Rinehart’s special interest money and hardball intimidation tactics will help him secure a spot as Mayor of St. Cloud.

 

We attempted to obtain comment from Mr. Rinehart throughout the weekend, but he failed to respond after saying he would on Saturday evening.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. 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

 

 

Commissioner Edwards Calls For Highway Construction In East Orange County

County Commissioner Requests State Assistance to Address Regional Traffic Problems.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

District 5 Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards sent a memo urging Mayor Jacobs to request the Florida Department of Transportation be the lead agency in the effort to extend SR 408 east to SR 520, according to a release from the Commissioners office.

 

County Commissioner Requests State Assistance to Address Regional Traffic Problems.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

District 5 Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards sent a memo urging Mayor Jacobs to request the Florida Department of Transportation be the lead agency in the effort to extend SR 408 east to SR 520, according to a release from the Commissioners office.

 

Such an extension would alleviate traffic congestion present today on SR 50, argued Edwards, who has been working to address traffic woes in East Orange County the past few years. 

 

The Central Florida Expressway Authority had proposed co-locating a SR 408 extension on SR 50 right of way. The proposed extension would have been elevated west of the Econlockhatchee River and at ground level east of the river.

 

This alignment would have required substantially less community impact than other proposed alignments.

 

However, the Department of Transportation advised Orange County in August that they would not be amenable to the proposed joint use of SR 50 right of way.

 

Read Edwards full memo below.

 

SR 408 Extension Memo by Jacob Engels on Scribd

 

“As a result, I believe the Florida Department of Transportation, if willing, should take the lead on this important project,” Commissioner Edwards said.

 

“Although I favor local control for local projects, the Florida Department of Transportation alone can now quickly deliver this extension on SR 50 right of way so desperately needed by East Orange County residents.”

 

Edwards is seeking another term on the Orange County Commission and faces one candidate in the general election this November.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. 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

 

 

Win $3,300 On National Cheeseburger Day?!

Wayback Burgers is inviting guests to go big or go home on September 18, presenting a cheesy challenge to take down its monster Triple Triple Burger for the chance to win big bucks.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

In honor of National Cheeseburger Day, America’s hometown burger joint, serving delicious burgers made from 100-percent ground beef, hand-dipped milkshakes and more, today announced that its ninth annual Triple Triple Challenge will take place on Sunday, September 18 at participating locations nationwide.

 

Wayback Burgers is inviting guests to go big or go home on September 18, presenting a cheesy challenge to take down its monster Triple Triple Burger for the chance to win big bucks.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

In honor of National Cheeseburger Day, America’s hometown burger joint, serving delicious burgers made from 100-percent ground beef, hand-dipped milkshakes and more, today announced that its ninth annual Triple Triple Challenge will take place on Sunday, September 18 at participating locations nationwide.

 

Central Floridians looking to compete would need to visit Wayback Burger's Mt. Dora location, at 17030 Highway 441,, in the Walmart shopping plaza.

 

Guests are challenged to compete against the clock to take down Wayback Burgers’ massive nine-patty burger, complete with nine slices of American cheese topped with lettuce and tomato.

 

For guests that have a colossal craving for a big-time burger, finishing off the Triple Triple in the fastest time can earn them the prestigious title of Triple Triple “Chompion” and the right to collect the $3,330 grand prize.

 

Those up to the task can visit a participating Wayback Burgers restaurant on National Cheeseburger Day or register in advance at www.tripletriplechallenge.com to sign an eligibility waiver before chowing down.

 

A Wayback Burgers team member will serve as official timekeeper to see how long it takes to clean the plate. Participants will receive a free Wayback Burgers t-shirt for competing, while supplies last.

 

Guests are encouraged to bring their stretchy pants, and use the hashtag #TripleTripleChallenge on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, according to a release from the company.

 

“We are thrilled to announce our ninth annual Triple Triple Challenge at Wayback Burgers locations nationwide,” said John Eucalitto, president of Wayback Burgers.

 

“Our nine-patty burger has become an icon synonymous with the Wayback Burgers brand, and National Cheeseburger Day is the perfect day to honor our love of burgers, with a side of friendly competition. The competition can be fierce, as last year’s winner and defending chompion, Molly Schuyler, devoured the burger in just over 40 seconds! We look forward to seeing if anyone can dethrone her record.”

 

Wayback Burgers offers delicious burgers, cooked to order, available as a single, classic double, triple and triple triple (nine) patty, and rich, thick milkshakes, served in an environment that hearkens back to a simpler place and time – when “customer service” meant something and everyone felt the warmth of the community.

 

Going “way” beyond the burger, Wayback Burgers offers crispy and grilled chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers, turkey burgers, fresh salads and delicious sides, including fries, onion rings and House-Made Chips.

 

For more information on Wayback Burgers, visit www.WaybackBurgers.com.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. 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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