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COLUMN

Happytown: Orange County's LOLTEXTGATE

The county accidentally sends Mayor Teresa Jacobs' private texts to a 'Sentinel' reporter, then gets mad at the reporter for reporting on them

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Nothing personal!: Citizens for a Greater Orange County continue to prove that said county is only getting worse


Mayor Teresa Jacobs (and her band of county tech-minions) "accidentally" released two years' worth of texts from her personal cell phone to several media outlets, including the Sentinel, which wrote a story about them. That infuriated an inconsolable Jacobs, who demanded a retraction. The Sentinel then forced its county-beat reporter, David Damron, to pen a painful mea culpa for a couple of errors in the story (clarifying who sent what and who received what) in the interest of the paper maintaining a "relationship" with the county. Let's get this straight: Damron's the villain, and the county – with its wayward message releasing, inexcusable co-conspiring and flat-out lying – gets a pass? Come on, Sentinel.

What appears to be happening now is a new riding out of the clock: The assumption that, by dragging its feet on public records and throwing up strawman arguments, the county will survive this lashing without so much as a scratch. (That is, unless you plan on voting in 2014 when a bevvy of them will be at the other end of your ballot pen.) Still, maybe if it all gets too confusing, nobody will pay attention anymore. The show will be canceled! If only the chamber could shut up.

On Monday, Orlando's own Joe Kefauver – a managing partner at Parquet Public Affairs – penned a treatise for the choir in the Chamber of Commerce's Every Monday email blast (the same nonsense was published in the Sentinel on Friday). Titled "Sick-Leave Initiative is National Effort," the piece does what every sick-time opponent has tried to do since the advent of the initiative over the summer: Pin the push for sick time on dastardly national interests who are supposedly funding the local, grassroots campaign. Never mind that hundreds of local people sweated through sun and storms to gather more than 50,000 signatures – big unions are backing this labor nightmare on Main Street, he insists (even though labor unions have only contributed $2,000 to the local effort, according to Organize Now executive director Stephanie Porta).

"The push to mandate these added costs is part of a coordinated national strategy to impose union and their worker-center allies' agendas on communities across the nation," Kefauver writes – ignoring his own coordinated lobbying strategies – before dismounting with the following salvo: "For when labor leaders move on to the next target in their last-ditch plan for survival, it will be our economy and people who will be left to pay the price."

You know who's really paying the price, though, don't you Joe? Just check the Oct. 8 story from the Sentinel outlining Darden Restaurants' plan to keep most of its employees working under 30 hours – therefore, no insurance! – in a sort of cruel protest of the impending doom of Obamacare's insurance requirements. Then pop over to Darden's ledgers to see the 4 percent profit increase the company's suits enjoyed when first-quarter figures were released in September. That $110.8 million sure doesn't help the chambercrats (meaning, at this point, the county, too) look much like victims.

"War, in its fairest form, implies a perpetual violation of humanity and justice," wrote Edward Gibbon in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Bring on the decline, Orange County. It's fall! And this show isn't funny anymore.

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