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Orange County takes another shot at charter amendments

Commissioner Fred Brummer's power grab is back, only now in separate pieces

Photo: Photo by Meredith Hill, myfloridahouse.gov, License: N/A

Photo by Meredith Hill, myfloridahouse.gov


JUST THE STATS

 

784

Number of petitions required to be obtained daily for a citizens’ initiative to make the Orange County ballot under the latest proposal by Commissioner Fred Brummer. The people behind the earned sick time initiative had to collect 245 petitions daily to get their initiative on the ballot, an action notoriously shut down – at least temporarily – by the commission during Textgate.

 

5.5

Number of petitions a candidate for Orange County Mayor is required to collect daily over a 3.5-year period to get on the ballot, resulting in approximately 6,000 petitions to run for mayor. County commission candidates need 1,100. Brummer is asking to reduce the petition period for citizens’ initiatives from 180 to 90 days, while increasing petition requirements.

 

$792.90

Amount the county is charging Organize Now for public records regarding Commissioner Fred Brummer’s communications on his proposed charter amendments – amendments he has admitted were co-written by outside lobbying groups.

Total Brummer: part deux

While we were busy clutching our pearls and watching last week’s Medicaid expansion story go national [“Falling into the gap,” April 9], that old idiom about all politics being local or whatever took on a new, carnival fun-house mirror hue as the Orange County Board of County Commissioners – via fading clown Commissioner Fred Brummer – went ahead and resurrected its attempt at a charter amendment to ruin democracy, only this time in smaller, more digestible chunks.

You’ll likely recall that Brummer was effectively laughed out of the chambers a few weeks ago for bringing up an omnibus ordinance that would make virtually all elected local offices nonpartisan, eliminate the tax collectors office, all but erase the ability of citizens to use petitions to get issues on the ballot (because sick time got him in trouble via Textgate), set up some term limits, add two “Hispanic” districts (because that’s legal) and get rid of chocolate milk in the cafeteria. He was on a rampage! Anyway, the student council – er, county commission – wasn’t having any of it, because basically Brummer was pulling a giant and obvious Republican power grab and trying to force a special election in May which didn’t make any sense at all.

But, like most poisonous meals, this one has come back up in chunks. Although, from what we’re hearing, only one of those chunks has the actual velocity to achieve anything, and that’s the one that would make it harder for you, dear citizen, to petition your government. We thought Brummer’s bummers were dead in the water, but at the April 8 gathering of county commissioners, which was being, somewhat blatantly, controlled by tourism lobbyists, some of his proposed changes were reanimated. Mostly because tourism interests want to keep employing housekeepers without having to give them time off for being sick or for taking care of their kids. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce (“very happy” about all of this, reportedly), the West Orlando Chamber of Commerce and the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association were minding the strings this time, fighting against what they continue to call “outsiders” trying to mess with their exploitative bottom lines.

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