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COLUMN

Happytown

Vouchers are like depression gift certificates, city elections are like moving goalposts and gas prices are too damn high for Brian Feldman.

Photo: , License: N/A, Created: 2011:06:30 14:02:41


Or, think about the past. You might recall that there was a big political dust-up back in 2008 when your state representatives tried to make a statement by moving Florida’s presidential preference primary up to January, thus resulting in a slap on the wristfor Republicans and halvsies delegate representation at the national convention for Democrats. Around that same time – specifically in June 2007 when they heard the news – city officials lobbied to make sure that municipal elections (which are typically held on the second Tuesday in March, about when the primaries are supposed to occur) could piggyback on the primary ballot, thereby saving the city $123,000 it would have to pay out of its general fund for a standalone election. “A higher voter turnout is likely if the city general election remains on the same date as the [primary],” the city begged in a council agenda item.

Jump forward a few years and you’ll find the city suspiciously flip-flopping to the other side of the issue, arguing that a standalone election is practically necessary and should be held on April 3 to avoid voter “confusion.” OK, we already soapboxed this in last week’s edition of “Council Watch,” so we’ll spare you too many details: Basically, it’s a sham built to favor Mayor Dyer’s reelection. On July 11, the City Council will cast a second vote on the new election ordinance, making it a firm reality. Why? Because Republicans aren’t going to let us know when the primaries are until their committee decides by Oct. 1, the city whimpers. Even then, the city expects a repeat of 2008 with the primaries cramping their way up to January.

That might not be so. According to a June 28 story in the Palm Beach Post, Senate President Mike Haridopolos is eyeing a primary date sometime between March 1 and March 3, meaning the Thursday, Friday or Saturday before Super Tuesday. As it stands, the city’s default date for municipal voting is the second Tuesday in March, so in the end this could all be redundant. And expensive.

“I think it demonstrates a real recklessness as far as wasting taxpayer dollars,” says Commissioner (and mayoral hopeful) Phil Diamond. “It certainly would be ironic if the primary would have fallen on the same date.”

Oh, irony.

Speaking of mayoral nonsense,

one of the finest traditions in Orlando’s history, the rip-off, is under attack by Mayor Buddy Dyer and City Council. The two gas stations located nearest the Orlando International Airport, Sun Gas and Suncoast Energys (sic) located on opposite sides of South Semoran Boulevard, have racked up fines of $14,250 apiece as this issue goes to press ($250 a day since May 12) for not posting their ridiculously high prices on signage visible to commuters, per a city ordinance passed last October. How high? Try $5.79 per gallon. For regular gas!

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