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COLUMN

Happytown

We got preoccupied with the Occupation of the City Beautiful, then we snapped out of it and measured imaginary drapes with the latest mayoral contender. Orlando is on fire! Run for your lives!

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Then he said this: “We don’t need a Creative Village. We are a Creative Village!”Pbfffft. There were no whoopee cushions in sight.

Actually, as campaign announcements go, Cantone’s was pretty impressive – as long as you don’t count the absence of any television cameras to capture the not-exactly-telegenic hopeful. The 28-year-old spoke with authority and a hint of charisma, detailing small pieces of his rather exhaustive and overly ambitious platform (you can read it for yourself over at mikecantone.com) to a captive audience of supporters in “Mike for Mayor” T-shirts. If it seemed a bit like a rally, that’s because Cantone only recently stepped down from his position as political director for rabble rousers Organize Now, meaning he’s been known to dress up like a zombie for political purposes. So when he promised to “recover Orlando from the cobwebs of entrenchment,” it was especially authentic.

Not so authentic were Cantone’s repeated allusions to Mayor Buddy Dyer as a “dictator,” something he was called out for by our other Sentinel boyfriend, Mark Schlueb. After clarifying that he didn’t mean to call Dyer a dictator, Cantone went on to call Dyer a dictator again, just as Dyer walked by in the background. Then, having launched his speech on the prospective ashes of the Creative Village like it was the biggest issue in the whole world, he pulled a “let’s face it, average voters don’t even know that the Creative Village is being built” thing. Also, average voters aren’t going to know that Mike Cantone is running for mayor, we would guess. We’re not looking for average here!

Small quibbles aside, Cantone adhered pretty closely to the same sort of policies we’ve been beating our chests over for years, so it was comforting to know that somebody (maybe) reads us. He says he’s not courting the chamber donors, not planning to convince any Dyer, Phil Diamond or Linda Grund (who?) voters, not deeply in love with the DPAC ruse, not going to please everyone and he is not going to sit idly by and let his campaign run away from him without wearing out his own shoe leather first. Them grass roots ain’t gonna grow themselves.

“The only way to change course is to change the man who put us here,” Cantone declared, before trying out a chant of “enough is enough.” Will enough be enough come April? We’ll keep you posted.

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