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The best and worst of Orlando City Councilwoman Daisy Lynum

As Lynum prepares to retire, we look at the highlights and lowlights of her 16-year tenure

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In the wake of the rainbow flag imbroglio of 1998, Lynum once again came out solidly on the side of equality when the Orlando Anti-Discrimination Ordinance coalition pressed – with the assistance of Commissioner Patty Sheehan and, to a lesser degree, Lynum – for gays and lesbians to be included in the city’s nondiscrimination clause, Chapter 57, in 2002. Then-mayor Glenda Hood was stalling on the issue, even speaking out against adopting the changes, to which Lynum responded, in the Orlando Sentinel, “This is truly out of character for this woman. This is contradictory, I think, to her philosophy of trying to be fair and taking care of people. There is some reason for this that defies logic.”

She loves you not

In an unfortunate moment around 1:30 a.m. on May 6, 2006, Lynum’s son (and current candidate for her commission seat) Juan was pulled over by a white police officer. What followed was a series of calls: Juan to Daisy, Daisy to then-police chief Michael McCoy, Daisy to her police liaison and said liaison to the traffic cop. Juan Lynum’s headlight was out, but the Lynums insisted that something more racially motivated was occurring. But it was Lynum’s pulling of power strings – and later, her insistence that McCoy resign – that made the matter boil over into a public spectacle. “I just didn’t want some white boy shooting my son or tasing [Juan],” she told the Sentinel, and all hell broke loose.

She loves you

Without Lynum’s vocal defense of minority inclusion in the city’s business affairs, Orlando’s Blueprint program may never have gotten off the ground. The city established the Blueprint office not only to insure minority participation in the bidding process, but also to train and find jobs for Parramore residents who might otherwise be overlooked in the contracting scramble. Lynum, who is always quick to attach her name to the initiative, considers it one of her finest achievements.

She loves you not

But what about the things Lynum never accomplished? Woven into the nearly impenetrable web of Pathways for Parramore – Dyer’s original mission when taking the oath as mayor was to, basically, save Parramore from itself – are a series of questionable decisions and business connections with Lynum, most of which have resulted in money being spent for nothing and egg on the city’s face. Lynum takes pride in the venue development (or gentrification) of her district, but many of the housing, green-space and retail initiatives – like Otey Place, the Carver Theater, just about everything else minus some HUD projects – have rotted on the vine. She takes credit for developments on Mercy Drive, but much of that has been called into question. The Nap Ford charter school has had dubious results. She made sidewalks happen, but who wouldn’t? The Black Business Investment Fund, for which she serves as vice chair of the board, has a questionable history of shifting development funds until they disappear, as we’ve reported for years. Just last year, the state Department of Economic Opportunity complained about accountability within the organization and cut off ties.

She loves you

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