The week where we were all just sayin’ NALEO, all wondering if the Citrus Bowl was going to save our lives, and all coughing at the idea of smokeless bars
Published: June 28, 2012
"He has promised to veto the DREAM Act, and we should take him at his word," Obama said. "I'm just sayin'." Bam!
Further muting Romney's credibility, his visit came on the same day that a Bloomberg report surfaced claiming that insiders in the Republican's crazy campaign had actually been encouraging Gov. Rick Scott to stop bragging about how awesome he's been at improving private sector jobs (of course, nobody's talking about the 17,000 public sector jobs he's eliminated, because those aren't jobs). To make the wound even worse, Scott hasn't even been asked to campaign for Romney in a state that Romney admits he kinda has to win. Romney's campaign has – once again – denied any allegations of fumbling on the matter, and even if it did, the Republican Party of Florida didn't care. The group simultaneously released a press release boasting that "Florida is heading in the right direction and with Governor Scott's leadership, we will be the number one state to live, work and play!"
Speaking of living, working, playing (and praying), Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer – the king of that phrase – joined Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs on June 25 to announce his jock-itch plans for funding the $175 million Citrus Bowl renovations. As expected, Dyer's big plan involves the county backing up a giant bond issuance with $12.5 million of its reserves, but it also rather obtusely suggests that the city will back the loans with various other city funds: utilities, sales tax and communications, apparently. Dyer made it clear to the Sentinel that those funds won't be used to pay back the borrowed money – an imaginary windfall is still going to come from the tourist-development tax that everybody expects to bounce right back to fabulous in no time. Hey, and even if it doesn't, the city will pay off the debt with its reserves until tourism becomes cool again. But what if that never happens? Perish the thought. Once construction starts, we're pretty much 50 percent likely to go completely bankrupt for a stadium nobody cares about. Flip a coin!
Or, put out a cigarette on your arm. Last week, we saw a strange Facebook posting from everybody's favorite purveyor of hops, Will Walker from Will's Pub. In his status update (which he has since removed because of the controversy it stirred), Walker said that he had just been telephone-polled by "the county" about whether he'd be interested in turning his beloved beer-and-smoke house into a smokeless beer house. No!
We did a little research and ended up on the horn with Orange County Health Department spokesman Dain Weister. Now, you may recall that the health department had received a $6.6 million grant to push ahead its "All In" anti-smoking campaign, babies in gas masks included. This particular initiative utilizes $7,000 of that grant to pay the nonprofit Center for Change for "polling, creating reports, researching which bars to contact, creating the survey, conducting the survey" and stuff, according to Weister, and it involves some 200 area watering holes. The goal, of course is to sort of pressure bar owners into making the change themselves, as there's no way in hell Big Tobacco is going to allow municipalities to override the state's smoke-'em-if-you-got-'em laws. So it's "education," not "lobbying."
Whatever it is, it's stupid, according to Walker. "She didn't even know how to ask the questions most of the time," he says of the pollster. "The last four questions were in the vein of, 'If you found out that bartenders are 50 percent more likely to get cancer after working in your bar for five years, would that influence your decision?'" In other words, "pussyfootin'," Walker says.
On the upside, Walker says he was promised a $50 Publix gift card for his troubles. On Saturday night (at his smoky bar), we confirmed with him that he would indeed be using that $50 for smokes. Everybody wins!
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