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East Orlando Post's blog

Avalon Park Based Nature's Fuel Expanding Menu On September 7th

The popular juice and smoothie bar will soon offer wraps and quinoa bowls.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

After two years in business, entrepreneur and executive chef Alan Kleinberg is continuing his innovative approach.

 

"We have had time to refine our current menu and it was time to introduce something new," Kleinberg told the East Orlando Post.

 

Next Wednesday, customers will be able to order quinoa bowls and wraps.

 

Tuna Thai, Chick'N Salad, Southwestern. The Chick'N Salad option will be totally Vegan.

The popular juice and smoothie bar will soon offer wraps and quinoa bowls.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

After two years in business, entrepreneur and executive chef Alan Kleinberg is continuing his innovative approach.

 

"We have had time to refine our current menu and it was time to introduce something new," Kleinberg told the East Orlando Post.

 

Next Wednesday, customers will be able to order quinoa bowls and wraps.

 

Tuna Thai, Chick'N Salad, Southwestern. The Chick'N Salad option will be totally Vegan.

 

They currently offer a wide variety of juices, smoothies, hummus, Kombucha and more.

 

Learn more about Nature's Fuel 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

 

 

Primary Picks: Consider These Candidates On August 30th

Tuesday is election day. Our thoughts on top races.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Wow! What an intense, dramatic, and hardly fought primary season we have seen in Central Florida this year.

 

Races that are normally not sexy, like judicial races, have actually been quite interesting. From County Commission to Congress, here are our picks for Tuesday's primary election.

 

NOTE: These are our recommendations based on candidate platforms, media presence, public interaction, legislative history, and more.

 

Tuesday is election day. Our thoughts on top races.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Wow! What an intense, dramatic, and hardly fought primary season we have seen in Central Florida this year.

 

Races that are normally not sexy, like judicial races, have actually been quite interesting. From County Commission to Congress, here are our picks for Tuesday's primary election.

 

NOTE: These are our recommendations based on candidate platforms, media presence, public interaction, legislative history, and more.

 

CONGRESS

 

Florida's 9th Congressional District (Democrats) -

 

In what has been one of the most contentious Democratic primaries in recent memory, one candidate stands out among the rest: Susannah Randolph.

 

Mrs. Randolph is the only candidate with truly progressive bonafides, while her main competitor Darren Soto, is known as the Florida GOP's favorite state legislator.

 

He has spent years earning a reputation as a "YES MAN" for the NRA and the Chamber of Commerce crowd in the state capitol.

 

Yet, he now wants us to believe he is going to stand strong on gun-control and against big business.

 

Other candidates include Dr. Dena Grayson, Alan Grayson's newly minted wife, an accomplished researcher, and educator Valleri Crabtree.

 

With the district leaning heavily democratic, Randolph is the best choice for voters. She has a history of progressive activism, legislative experience in Alan Grayson's office, and a no-nonsense approach.

 

It doesn't hurt that she benefits from having an amazing partner in Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph, her husband and relentless advocate.

 

Florida's 9th Congressional District (Republicans) -

 

This race has been relatively quiet, with Wayne Liebnitzky taking on Wanda Rentas. Conventional wisdom says that Rentas, a Hispanic female and Kissimmee elected official, is the best fit for the multi-county district.

 

However, Rentas has been outworked by Liebnitzky on the ground. Wayne has been at almost every community event and his platform is thorough.

 

Instead of behaving like the nomination was owed to him, he has pounded the pavement and made Rentas sweat.

 

Florida's 10th Congressional District (Democrats) -

 

A lot of people wanted this race to be a fair and democratic process, but the DC insiders have made it clear that failed candidate Val Demings is their choice for the seat.

 

We think differently.

 

Businessman Bob Poe, who actually grew up in the district, has made an impressive case for himself and matched donations dollar for dollar. From immigration to gun control, Poe has assembled a serious campaign, while making headlines by paying his campaign workers $15/hour.

 

In a district where the Democrats are all but certain to win, Poe's business background and independence from Washington Elites is very appetizing.

 

ORANGE COUNTY COMMISSION, District 5 -

 

Incumbent Commissioner Ted Edwards has faced a tough challenge from several candidates, but is poised to easily fend them off in Tuesday's elections.

 

With the campaign centered mainly on the Lake Pickett developments, Edwards has been able to articulate the need for approving the project and why it makes sense for all of Orange County.

 

His top aide Edgar Robinson has done a tremendous job holding down the official end, as Edwards has been busy with public events and forums.

 

Opponents Timothy McKinney and Emily Bonilla have made opposing the plan their main campaign platforms, offering little else. McKinney's financial problems, which this publication unearthed several weeks ago, have been cause for concern among many voters.

 

Marketing whiz Gregory Eisenberg, is the only one who can hold a candle to Edwards platform and understanding of the process. The millennial first time candidate has released extremely detailed plans for Orange County, ranging from transportation to marijuana.

 

The East Orlando Post endorses Ted Edwards in his bid for another term, provided he receives counsel from Eisenberg, who is a rising star in local politics.

 

OSCEOLA COUNTY COMMISSION, District 1 -

 

Businesswoman Peggy Choudhry has mounted an impressive challenge to corrupt incumbent Michael Harford. Highlighting her business acument and ability to bring people together, Choudhry is the kind of fresh voice Osceola County residents want on their county commission.

 

With allegations of corruption, misuse of community betterment funds, and Harford's involvement in an illegally operating political advocacy, voters would be wise to give Choudhry a shot.

 

ORANGE COUNTY GOP COMMITTEEMAN & COMMITTEEWOMAN

 

With multiple candidates vying for these important party posts, two stand out clearly.

 

Businessman and former Mayoral candidate Paul Paulson is the only one competing for the Committeeman spot who has a perfect voting record in Orange County. Paulson has also been involved in GOP politics for decades.

 

From raising substantial amounts for the party and candidates to volunteering, he has done it all. His recent challenge to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer activated the most new or first-time Republican voters in recent memory, proving he is ready to expand the party beyond the country club.

 

On the Committeewoman side, early Trump volunteer and local attorney Melissa McGee is a rock solid pick.

 

She has demonstrated her organizational prowess over the past few months through her efforts for the Trump campaign, and in the process brought dozens of new members to the local GOP executive committee.

 

Like Paulson, McGee has a tangible track record of proven results... and is not part of the GOP establishment and party elite. They would be an awesome team.

 

ORANGE/OSCEOLA STATE ATTORNEY

 

Our regular readers know that we have no love for incumbent State Attorney Jeff Ashton, who we exposed last summer for browsing erotic websites on government time... using government resources.

 

More recently, we highlighted his horrid conviction rates, which have landed him the distinction of being the worst in the state.

 

Thankfully, ace lawyer and former Assistant State Attorney Aramis Ayala is hoping to rescue us from Ashton's shame. Intelligent, compassionate, and ready to clean up the mess Mr. Ashton has created, voters should be grateful she was willing to take him on.

 

Show your gratitude by casting your ballot for her on Tuesday. This is a Democratic primary, so only Democrats can vote.

 

JUDICIAL RACES

 

Orange County Circuit Court Judge, Group 1 -

 

Attorneys Roger Scott and Eric DuBois have waged a bloody campaign for the bench, with DuBois grabbing establishment support and Scott working the grassroots.

 

We like Mr. Scott for this post. He is a respected criminal defense attorney, dog-lover, and veteran.

 

The chambers at the Orange County Courthouse area already full of establishment hacks and Florida Bar backslappers. Something new would be nice.

 

I think we all would appreciate a down to earth judge who has spent time fighting for the rights of the wrongfully accused. Also, I hope he institutes a policy where judges are allowed to bring their pets to work.

 

9th Judicial Circuit Court, Group 4 -

 

The impeccably dressed and well mannered Joseph Haynes Davis is an easy choice for most. He has been crisscrossing both Orange and Osceola Counties daily, and a large number of local business owners proudly display his signs and speak on his behalf to voters.

 

Davis' experience on the Value Adjustment Board and as a respected legal analyst on MSNBC are helpful as well. His demeanor though, is his most important asset.

 

This is the type of person you want on the bench. Calm, cool, and collected.

 

****

 

There you have it! Go out and vote on Tuesday.... polls are open from 7am to 7pm.

 

 

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

 

 

Ashton's Poor Judgment Has Caused Massive Attrition & Unacceptable Results

Ashton’s Temperament Produces “Animal House” Style Office Behavior, Embarrassing Attrition Rates.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

At this point you are probably wondering what can be said about Orange/Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton that has not already been said.

 

He is a showboating and attention grabbing prosecutor.

 

Ashton’s Temperament Produces “Animal House” Style Office Behavior, Embarrassing Attrition Rates.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

At this point you are probably wondering what can be said about Orange/Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton that has not already been said.

 

He is a showboating and attention grabbing prosecutor.

 

He muffed the prosecution of Casey Anthony. His office has the worst disposition rates in the state according to official records. He browsed erotic websites while on government time, using government resources and didn't have the dignity to resign from office for doing so.

 

As the late Billy Mays would always say… “But wait! There’s more.” Indeed there is.

 

A review of Ashton’s time as a prosecutor over the past few decades reveal several admonishments and reprimands for temperament problems and a questionable professionalism displayed in and out of the court room.

 

From a managerial perspective, Ashton had no experience leading people before riding his infamous name ID from the Casey Anthony case to defeat longtime prosecutor Lawson Lamar.

 

How someone who lost the biggest case in the office’s history became it’s top prosecutor is just baffling. Ashton has yet to report his income from his book deal, where he attempted to explain away his abysmal defeat.

 

Aside from a poor temperament, his ethics in the courtroom has also been questioned multiple times.

 

He was once disciplined by the Supreme Court for withholding evidence, and a murder case was overturned as a result (State of Florida vs. Steven Huggins), which is downright shameful.

 

When it comes to payment for work rendered in his capacity as State Attorney, Ashton and his sycophantic top Lt. Linda Drane Burdick enjoy six figure salaries. Ashton actually draws two salaries because he is collecting his full retirement in addition to his 150K+ salary while he leisurely searches the internet.

 

As the Casey Anthony trial shaped up, Ashton, a serial overcharger, went for the death penalty in an effort to grab headlines even though the evidence in no way suggested how Caylee Anthony died. That again calls into question his ethics.

 

Many within the office knew this was a stretch and would likely not end in a conviction, but Jeff had to milk the case for all it was worth.

 

In addition to his high flying salary, this decision made the Casey Anthony case the most expensive case ever tried by the Orange/Osceola County SA office, costing almost $400k just for sequestering the jury.

 

Fast forward the tragic outcome of that case, and you see Ashton campaigning for top prosecutor by slamming his onetime boss for the lowest conviction rate in the entire state.

 

“When our conviction rate becomes the second lowest in the entire state, it is something we should talk about,” Ashton stated.

 

But after the East Orlando Post exposed his horrid record last week, Ashton reasoned that numbers and statistical data did not matter and voters should ignore his lackluster record.

 

Which is it Jeff?

 

Instead of providing an honest appraisial, he tried to compare the numbers of his predecessor and his own. The only problem with that? The numbers still aren’t on his side.

 

In his last year in office, Lawson Lamar’s team tried over 100 more cases than Ashton. Another lie, another misrepresentation, totally unchecked by the local media.

 

View the numbers below.

 

Circuit Criminal Overview by Jacob Engels on Scribd

 

When trying to understand the mental and numerical gymnastics that Ashton and his office are spinning to the public, you begin to realize that it’s a direct result of an office replete with cronyism.

 

According to a source within the office, Ashton surrounds himself with and appoints “YES” men and woman, who implicitly follow his orders although they don't agree with his policies and his unprofessional demeanor and behavior.

 

In doing so, Ashton broke up and actually shut down the sex crimes and domestic violence units, and merged them both together. This decision was opposed by all seasoned prosecutors, even those assembled as Ashton’s praetorian guard.

 

Ashton's decision to abandon training for new hires has had catastrophic effects in the courtroom.

 

The new setup recently lead to an easily prosecutable sexual battery trial of defendant Harold Dominique to be tossed out at trial when the judged reduced it to a misdemeanor battery, because the prosecutor failed to enter evidence: a mistake that a first year law student would not make.

 

Ashton’s decision to rearrange the office in a way that placed himself and his allies in total control of all departments resulted in an almost 80% attrition rate among the merged sex crimes division. This means less experienced prosecutors are trying the office's more serious cases.

 

Furthermore, top Ashton allies are rarely seen working in the office, For example, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick has tried only one known case in his tenure that was overturned on appeal, lending employees to wonder what it is exactly that she does there. 

 

Worst yet, Ashton’s first boss and noted curmudgeon Robert Eagen nets nearly $90k a year, although his lack of attendance at work is a constant conversation around the office.

 

When he is at work, he is so technologically unprepared that it takes several people to handle his computer and prepare his work in digital format.

 

Ashton also brought in two of his close buddies and offered them jobs at salaries significantly higher than prosecutors with similar prosecutorial experience in similar jobs.

 

Such flagrant episodes of cronyism have contributed to lack of moral which has resulted in a constant revolving door.

 

With the election for Orange/Osceola State Attorney being held this Tuesday, voters should consider all these factors when deciding to re-elect Ashton or go another route.

 

 

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

 

Harford Supporters Run Shady Hotels In Osceola

The Victory Inn Motel on US192 is an alleged hot spot for some nefarious activities.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

The East Orlando Post has learned that several weeks ago, a top contributor to incumbent Osceola County Commissioner Michael Harford, was investigated by code enforcement after complaints by multiple local residents.

 

At the same time, another supporter rushed in to remove his signs before news crews arrived on scene.

 

The Victory Inn Motel on US192 is an alleged hot spot for some nefarious activities.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

The East Orlando Post has learned that several weeks ago, a top contributor to incumbent Osceola County Commissioner Michael Harford, was investigated by code enforcement after complaints by multiple local residents.

 

At the same time, another supporter rushed in to remove his signs before news crews arrived on scene.

 

After receiving reports about illicit activities happening on the premises, local code enforcement officers dispatched to evaluate and compile a report on The Victory Inn.

 

Because of the nature of activity known to go on at the motel, sources say Code Enforcement requested protection from the Osceola County Sheriff's Office during their investigation.

 

The property proudly donned several Harford for County Commission signs, until just before officers arrived at the property.

 

According to a fellow local business owner who requested to remain anonymous, but provided photo evidence, a campaign contributor to Harford arrived early to remove the campaign sign before local media was sent to the scene.

 

"It was out of no where and like he got tipped off or something. All of a sudden, someone that looked an awful lot like Peter Sharma, uprooted the sign in time to hide the connection before any media got here."

 

See the picture here. The photo matches similar photos on Sharma's social media accounts.

 

According to a search on Sunbiz, Sharma is a fellow hotelier, running Seasons Florida Motel.

 

Countless Trip Advisor and travel rating websites described the Motel as follows:

 

"A perfect place to stay if you are a hooker or drug addict."

 

"Roach infested, disgusting."

 

You get the picture.

 

If the people running these types of establishments are the core contributors and advisors to the two term incumbents campaign, what does that say about his character?

 

Furthermore, did he phone in a tip to his pals about the tip to save himself the embarrassment of being tied to these risque locales?

 

With all of the corruption and ethics complaints lobbed at Hartford and sourced by this publication, it does not look good for Harford this primary election.

 

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

 

Our Take: State House District 50 GOP Primary

Republican voters have a very easy choice in Tuesday's primary election.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Two years ago, Freshmen State legislator Rene Plasencia was a rising star in the Republican party.

 

After knocking off a high profile Democrat in a liberal leaning district, his campaign was a success story for the new Republican voter.

 

But as the story often goes in politics, he went up to Tallahassee and pulled the infamous "Tallahassee Two-Step" on his donors, volunteers, and supporters.

 

Republican voters have a very easy choice in Tuesday's primary election.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Two years ago, Freshmen State legislator Rene Plasencia was a rising star in the Republican party.

 

After knocking off a high profile Democrat in a liberal leaning district, his campaign was a success story for the new Republican voter.

 

But as the story often goes in politics, he went up to Tallahassee and pulled the infamous "Tallahassee Two-Step" on his donors, volunteers, and supporters.

 

He quickly embraced medicaid expansion and state expansion of Obamacare, cast a vote for allowing sanctuary cities, and racked up one of the worst attendance records in the entire Florida House and Senate. Why would he betray basic core principles of the GOP so quickly?

 

The answer is simple, it was pure political calculation. He reasoned that if he were to be re-elected in his liberal leaning district, he had to go moderate on core issues.

 

Politics as usual, the same political games that he promised to stop when campaigning against Joe Saunders in 2014.

 

Then, he saw an opening when Florida House District 50 incumbent Tom Goodson switched districts, he saw a more conservative area that would be easier for him to win.

 

Unfortunately for him though, the damage had already been done and longtime East Orlando resident George Colliins had announced his candidacy for the seat.

 

Collins, a conservative firebrand and perennial candidate, said enough was enough. He immediately took a hard-line on Plasencia for being a carpetbagger and for his votes against conservative orthodoxy.

 

Now, Collins had run in the past and loaned his campaign sizeable amounts, but never opened the war-chest to compete seriously. In 2014, he made a respectable showing against former Florida House 50 incumbent Tom Goodson, so voters are more familiar with his name than they are with out-of-district Plasencia.

 

With Collins realizing his advantage on the issues and Plasencia's many weaknesses, he has been spending big to take on the district-switching legislator.

 

While Plasencia has relied on special interest and out-of-district donors to make his case to residents in the East Orange/Brevard area seat, Collins' self-funding campaign has made Plasencia explain his record time and again.

 

If you are explaining in politics, you are losing.

 

Look, I don't agree with every stance Collins takes, but I respect his independence and relentless consistency in his values and beliefs. Plasencia has tried to label him as someone who has run multiple times and lost, but that is a weak line of attack.

 

How many times did Abe Lincoln lose before he won?

 

Democrat Sean Ashby waits for whomever makes it out of the GOP primary on Tuesday, and he has had months upon months head start to knock doors and interact with voters.

 

This will be Ashby's second shot at the seat.

 

He narrowly lost against Tom Goodson in 2012, running on a shoestring budget.

 

Among his chief supporters in that race? None other than Rene "Coach P" Plasencia, who had just lost a GOP primary to Marco Pena. Violating his GOP loyalty oath, he endorsed Democrat Sean Ashby, calling him the "best man for the job," and the only one capable of taking on "the capitol insiders."

 

If GOP voters want a real shot at maintaining this seat, it's best they go with Collins. He won't have to explain his endorsement of Democrat Sean Ashby, his evolving political beliefs, or his indebtedness to special interests.

 

The last day to vote is this Tuesday.

 

 

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

 

 

Peelen's Betrayal: GOP Candidate Raised Big $ For Democrat Charlie Crist

Just days before voters cast their final ballots, Republicans are wondering about a certain candidate in Orange County.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

GOP State Committeeman candidate Scott Peelen is facing questions over his cozy relationship with turncoat Republican-Independent-now liberal Democrat Charlie Crist.

 

When Charlie Crist decided to abandon the Republican Party, there were only a handful of major fundraisers who stuck with him, in direct violation of the Republican Party Oath that prohibits supporting Democrats.

 

Just days before voters cast their final ballots, Republicans are wondering about a certain candidate in Orange County.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

GOP State Committeeman candidate Scott Peelen is facing questions over his cozy relationship with turncoat Republican-Independent-now liberal Democrat Charlie Crist.

 

When Charlie Crist decided to abandon the Republican Party, there were only a handful of major fundraisers who stuck with him, in direct violation of the Republican Party Oath that prohibits supporting Democrats.

 

Scott Peelen was one of those fundraisers who decided to join Crist in his betrayal of the GOP. Featured in an Associated Press article of July 8, 2013 said, “Peelen, who supported Crist after he left the GOP…”

 

“Those roots (with Crist) run deep.”

 

In an Orlando Sentinel article, Peelen boasted about how much he had raised for Crist as a Democrat and Independent.

 

“For me, friendship comes first, so I’ll be there.”

 

The article goes on to state: “Peelen is a Crist guy from way back. Peelen estimates he has raised $1.6 million for Crist campaigns.”

 

Peelen: Pay To Play Politics

 

As a partial reward for the $1.6 million raised for Crist, Crist appoints Peelen to the prestigious Enterprise Florida board of directors. Pay to Play politics at its worst.

 

Identified in the Palm Beach post as “former Governor Crist’s big fundraisers”, Governor Rick Scott removed Peelen immediately after being sworn in.

 

Peelen: Violates Party Oath He Now Seeks To Enforce

 

According to party loyalty oaths and guidelines, it is forbidden and a violation to support a Democrat or Independent in a race where there is a Republican candidate.

 

While Peelen says his friendship with Crist transcends politics, we need to look at his true motivations, which aren’t friendship.

 

Instead, the special access he received for his proximity to Crist was more important than standing for his party and conservative principles.

 

How many times have you told a friend: “Love you man, but just can’t get on the same page with your politics.”

 

That is what he should have done, yet he decided to pull a Roose Bolton, a la Game of Thrones, and betray his party.

 

“It’s apparent that Scott Peelen cannot be trusted to be a Republican, why in the world would any Republican vote for him as GOP state committeeman,” stated Doug Guetzloe, leader of Ax the Tax and a longtime member of the Republican Executive Committee. “

 

Just say NO to the Crist candidate, Scott Peelen.”

 

The election for State Committee positions will be held on the August 30th Primary ballot.

 

There are five candidates seeking the position, with longtime GOP leader Paul Paulson the acknowledged front-runner for the post.

 

 

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

 

 

Amendment 4 Helps Florida Become The Sunshine State

On August 30th, voters in Florida will have the opportunity to help the state takes its first step to having free market options in the energy industry.

 

By Edmund Young

 

On August 30th, voters in Florida will have the opportunity to help the state takes its first step to having free market options in the energy industry.

 

By Edmund Young

 

Amendment 4 will give homeowners and small business owners the opportunity to save money on costly bills to the power company and increase the value of their property while not being penalized with increased property taxes for the first twenty years. Opposition to the amendment has cried out about favoritism and subsidies while others have questioned if solar energy is a viable source of energy or can really impact our economy.

 

It’s time to set the record straight and answer a few questions. Why does there have to be an amendment? Can’t our elected legislature just take care of this? No they cannot. The amendment modifies Article VII, section 3 of the Florida Constitution regarding property taxes. This modification may only be done by an amendment.

 

The Florida Constitution may only be amended by one of four processes. It may be placed on the ballot by a joint resolution of the Florida legislature (which must be passed by 3/5 of the full legislature) or a citizens’ petition initiative. Direct amendments may be made by the Constitutional Revision Commission or by the Taxation and Budget Commission which meet every ten years.

 

In order for the amendment to pass, it will require at least 60% of the vote. The Florida legislature can only vote to place an amendment on the ballot, they cannot make changes to the state Constitution by legislation only the voters can. Doesn’t Amendment 4 give subsidies to the Solar Industry?

 

The verbiage of the amendment’s ballot wording is pretty clear -

 

“Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to exempt from ad valorem taxation the assessed value of solar or renewable energy source devices subject to tangible personal property tax, and to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit consideration of such devices in assessing the value of real property for ad valorem taxation purposes. This amendment takes effect January 1, 2018, and expires on December 31, 2037.”

 

You didn’t see the word subsidies or any mention of the state giving anyone money to anyone, why? Because this amendment will not give money to anyone, its sole purpose is to exempt property owners that choose to add solar equipment (whether it’s to heat the pool or power your home) from any increase to their property value due to the addition of the equipment when their property taxes (both tangible personal property tax and the real property tax) are calculated until the year 2037.

 

It’s an incentive for property owners as it temporarily eliminates one of the financial hurdles that keeps people from investing in solar energy for their home or business. In short, the amendment doesn’t give any person or industry money but allows property owners to keep their money. Doesn’t this amendment shows favoritism to one part of the energy market and gives it an unfair advantage?

 

For decades, power companies have been given tax incentives, tax free buildings, refunds (subsidies), and government-given permission to operate monopolies with little oversite by our elected officials. In recent years, some utilities have proposed rate hikes as much as 24% without giving a reason for the increase.

 

Energy utilities have used every trick in their books to hinder and hold back solar energy in the Sunshine State. At the city, county, and state level they have lobbied to put restrictions on how much of your electricity can come from solar, where they can be placed on your property (usually in a place where they get the least amount of sun exposure), and what price you must sell the excess electricity to the utility company itself (in some parts of Florida the sale price is less than 1% per kilowatt of what the utility charges customers).

 

While favoritism in the energy department may be a problem, solar is not the source of it. Can increasing our usage of solar energy improve our economy? According to recent studies by the Solar Foundation’s 2015 Job Survey, solar energy companies creating new jobs twenty times faster than the job market’s national average. One out of every eighty-three new jobs created in 2015 in the United States came from the solar industry, more than any other part of the energy market.

 

The majority of the jobs produced by solar energy are considered to pay real living wages that cannot be outsourced so the jobs and the income stays here in Florida. More individuals earning a living wage means less needing help and assistance from state and federal programs which means funding can be used for other needs of the community.

 

As property owners begin save more and more money as they switch to solar energy the money that would before be going towards their ever-growing electric bills now turns into money that can be used as discretionary spending money or money to invest. Can solar energy really provide enough electricity to power my home?

 

Yes it can.

 

Just like when you get any new feature installed in your home or business, you will need to call the professionals in so they can answer the following questions to decide how many solar panels your home or business needs:

 

• What is the property’s energy requirements?

 

• What is the target daily average? (Experts suggest a 25% “cushion” when calculating the average.)

 

• How many hours of sunlight can you expect in your area?

 

• How many panels would provide my target hourly wattage?

 

Many solar energy contractors ask these additional questions to get a better feel for what the customer wants:

 

• Do you want to minimize your carbon footprint?

 

• Maximize your return on investment?

 

• Save as much money as possible?

 

Once they have these questions answered they can tell you what your property will need. Just with like many other features to a building, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. While solar energy is still relatively the new kid on the block, one cannot deny that the doors it will open and options it will provide Floridians can no longer be ignored.

 

The advantages it will provide to our economy, environment, and pocketbook will only be limited by the limits we set on ourselves.

 

This is a chance for the Sunshine State to live up to its name. On the August 30th ballot, help Florida take the first step toward renewable energy and vote yes for homeowners, yes for businesses, yes for the economy, yes for the environment, yes for Florida, and YES 4 SOLAR!

 

 

Ed Young is a local teacher who has taught in central Florida for the last twelve years. He is a longtime Seminole County resident, financial conservative, and advocate for conserving Florida’s natural resources. He is an elected member of the Seminole County Soil & Water Conservation District where he represents Group 4 and currently serves as their treasurer. He has conducted surveys of state parks for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and presented to various community groups and organization of the benefits of solar energy.

 

 

MommyCon Natural Parenting Convention Coming To Orlando

MommyCon, a first-of-its-kind natural parenting convention, returns to Orlando with a larger than ever event at the Caribe Royale Convention Center on Saturday, September 3rd, 2016.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

MommyCon, a first-of-its-kind natural parenting convention, returns to Orlando with a larger than ever event at the Caribe Royale Convention Center on Saturday, September 3rd, 2016.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

The conference comprises a full day of educational programming on natural and organic parenting methods plus a product showcase hall of 80 exhibitors. Keynote speakers include body positive photographer Jade Beall of the Beautiful Body Project, Jessica Martin-Weber of The Leaky Boob, Jennifer Labit, CEO of Cotton Babies, and acclaimed actress and YouTube sensation Angel Laketa Moore.

 

The 2016 MommyCon builds on the success of the 2015 MommyCon, which reached an audience of 9,000 parents from 45 different states at nine sold-out conferences across the country.

 

This year, MommyCon's goals are even bigger. Xza Higgins, The company's CEO and Program Director says:

 

"In 2016 we aim to grow with our audience, just as their children have grown up with them. We will continue to offer sessions for new and expectant parents, but our goal is to provide offerings for every stage of early childhood. Our theme is aptly entitled 'Growing Together.'"

 

Highlights of the Orlando conference includes the MommyCon debut of Angel Laketa Moore, decorated actress and YouTube sensation, who will share stories about her journey as a mother of three boys, including twins. MommyCon sponsor and founder/CEO of Cotton Babies, Inc, Jennifer Labit will return to discuss the importance of cloth diapering.

 

Joining Jennifer is outspoken breastfeeding advocate Jessica Martin-Weber of The Leaky Boob. Jessica is a mom of six and is dedicated to helping mothers find the strength and courage to breastfeed in an unsupportive society. She will provide a raw and emotional look into nourishing babies, toddlers, and mothers.

 

Workshops include an expanded selection of babywearing specific seminars such as Babywearing 101, Wrapping 101, Toddlerwearing (presented by Beco Baby Carriers), and How to Ring Sling, educational symposiums on environmentally friendly menstruation products and potty training, plus sleep consultations.

 

More information on the event and how to buy tickets...click 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

 

 

Office In Shambles: Statistics Show Jeff Ashton’s Office Is Worst In Florida

Important and publicly available conviction and attrition statistics paint a very concerning picture.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Important and publicly available conviction and attrition statistics paint a very concerning picture.

 

With early voting underway, the East Orlando Post has reviewed the most recently available conviction, attrition, and other records under the regime of Orange/Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton.

 

Important and publicly available conviction and attrition statistics paint a very concerning picture.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Important and publicly available conviction and attrition statistics paint a very concerning picture.

 

With early voting underway, the East Orlando Post has reviewed the most recently available conviction, attrition, and other records under the regime of Orange/Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton.

 

Since information on this most recent year has not been made available, much to the chagrin of news outlets and community activists, we had to review the period of July 1st, 2014 to July 1, 2015, the most recent year records were made open to the public.

 

And man oh man, the numbers don't look good.

 

After rolling out his new "system" shortly after being elected, Ashton allegedly berated staff members and prosecutors for the high amount of acquittals, among other things: even calling them morons.

 

The following year statistics, showed no improvement and called into question Ashton's management style and abilities to appoint competent prosecutors. One of his first actions was to eliminate the Homicide and Sex Crimes Divisions and then he merged domestic violence into sex crimes.

 

Many Ashton allies were promoted without reason, and a source familiar with his management style told us that State Attorney's favoritism is costing conviction rates.

 

"Mr. Ashton has made this office about him and his personal friendships more than once, and sadly that has effected the work the office conducts on behalf of Orange and Osceola County."

 

Ashton's number two, Linda Drane Burdick also set up a system of management that counted and required no basic training guidelines, meaning that previous support systems for younger attorneys were simply not provided.

 

Out of 291 trials that went to trial from July 2014 to July 2015, the office had almost as many acquittals as they did convictions.

 

Easily view-able in the document below, the State Attorney's office earned 166 convictions and 125 acquittals, which Statewide puts us in a race for dead last.

 

Circuit Criminal Overview by Jacob Engels on Scribd

 

View the documents here, in particular sections 3-21 to see the sagging stats.

 

Even more interesting, the dispositions for Ashton and his office during this time period. That information can be seen on page 3-22. Orange/Osceola is a full ten percentage points below the next lowest circuit court in total favorable dispositions.

 

Total dispositions mean the end result of the filed felony counts. Our Orange and Osceola State Attorney's office has a guilty by plea or trial sits at 73.1%. Again, this in comparison to other states attorney's offices makes us the worst in the state by a landslide

 

Not a single other judicial circuit of the 20 in the state of Florida had a conviction rate lower than 83%.

 

This is part one of any ongoing investigation by the East Orlando Post into Mr. Ashton's record as a prosecutor, his managerial style, and employee training and expectations.

 

A public records request for the employee handbook and training guidelines was requested by this publication several days ago.

 

However, at this time, after being told several times the information was on it's way, we have not received it .

 

 

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

 

Frosty's Christmastime Open Now

From Orlando Weekly -

 

Rip the sleeves off your best Christmas sweater because Frosty’s Christmastime Lounge, a bar where Christmas lives forever, opened last night in downtown Orlando.

 

This new yuletide watering hole, which will feature drinks like "Craft Snow Cones," comes from Beacon Hill Group's Mark Angelo and Todd Ulmer, the guys behind bars like Stardust Lounge, Mucho Orlando, Mucho Liquor Store and Aku Aku.

 

From Orlando Weekly -

 

Rip the sleeves off your best Christmas sweater because Frosty’s Christmastime Lounge, a bar where Christmas lives forever, opened last night in downtown Orlando.

 

This new yuletide watering hole, which will feature drinks like "Craft Snow Cones," comes from Beacon Hill Group's Mark Angelo and Todd Ulmer, the guys behind bars like Stardust Lounge, Mucho Orlando, Mucho Liquor Store and Aku Aku.

 

“Who doesn’t love Christmas? It means good times. Family, and friends," said Ulmer to the Bungalower. "Orlando has a big bar market already, this is something that will help it stand out.”...MORE HERE.

 

 

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