Author Archives: Tom Tillison



From the Coalition for Good Governance in Orange County:

We had a fantastic victory last November as a result of your hard work and participation, but we still have work to do regarding the weaknesses in the Orange County Charter.

We currently have a venue in which to advocate for more change because the commission to review the Orange County Charter has convened. This commission is known as the Charter Review Commission (CRC). There are many changes we could propose and support but we think the most important and productive at this time is the citizen petition process.

Our goal is to get  PETITION PROCESS REFORM on the 2016 Ballot.

On Thursday March 12, the CRC met for the second time, and a few of our friends attended. Some notes from that meeting are below; but none of these items were discussed at any length in this meeting:

The commission voted to retain Wade Vose as legal counsel, as  recommended by the Legal Counsel Working Committee. Interestingly, Commission chairman Shaughnessy argued against Vose. Instead he  supported Gray Robinson (who was the very close second place choice of the Legal Counsel Working Committee). In fact at least 2 of the 3 Mayoral appointees did not support Vose as counsel.  Because  of a motion set forth by Eddie Fernandez, Gray Robinson will be  retained in the future IF there are conflicts or if their expertise is needed.

CRC members had the opportunity to set forth possible areas of focus. Fred Brummer informally mentioned several  including limiting the frequency of CRCs from every 4 years to every 20 years,  increase the number of districts, streamline the tax collectors office into county government, change the petition process to make every signature  carry the same weight across the districts, and limit petition language to 75 words. Shaughnessy also spoke of the need to have  clear, legal initiative language. One other member put forth a couple inconsequential items.

The CRC will be meeting again in April:

When:    April 9th 2015 at 4:00PM

Where:  Orange County Administration Building

                201 South Rosalind Avenue

               Orlando, FL

Please, if able, attend this meeting and subsequent meetings. We want to continue the discussion of reforming the petition process so Orange County businesses and citizenry are protected from the influences of out-of-town special interest agendas and funds.

We need to appear and/or speak to the Commission about the need to reform the petition process. Our initial task is to urge the commission to form sub-committees to review the current problems with the petition process.

Our strategy is as follows:

Attend the CRC meeting on April 9th and possibly subsequent meetings — we need to ATTEND these meetings to show presence and interest. 


There will be some who do speak to the commission and elaborate on the citizen petition pitfalls, and explain why the petition process needs reform.

We will:

Highlight why Petition Process Reform is necessary

·        Charter’s wording of the petition process is vague and unclear.

·        During the Paid Sick Leave Petitioning, we saw confusion over  missed deadlines, misleading petition language, and multi-issue questions.

·        Unfair representation across the districts of the county. Some districts were purposely ignored by the last two petitioning campaigns.

·        Lack of transparency in the process. During last two petitioning campaigns, professional petitioners were hired by front groups funded through shadowy means by outside special interest groups.

·        Potentially support recommendations proposed by SOE Bill Cowles.  (We will attend his presentation to the CRC; we’ll announce the date of his appearance when scheduled.)

Encourage CRC to study Petition Process

·        Highlight the idea that the CRC is the proper vehicle for addressing Petition Process Reform.

·        Describe how the current petition process generates mob rule; we live in a republic, not a pure democracy.

·        The Charter is the Constitution of Orange County.

·        The Charter is a procedural document, not intended to dictate policy.

·        There is a national trend to use Charter to push an agenda driven by special interests.

Thank you, Linda O’Keefe

Orange County Now

November 5, 2014



On Tuesday, Orange County voters from both parties turned out to show that jobs and opportunity override government intrusion into the local marketplace, and that partisan politics are not consistent with good governance.

We thank these voters for standing in agreement with Orange County Now on all issues supported and opposed, with the exception of state Amendment 1. For more information, please visit our website –

Voters passed Ballot Amendment Questions A and B to strengthen the county charter to guard against out-of-state interests who seek to manipulate the citizen petition process to advance a political agenda. In addition, Question D was also approved, which establishes term limits and nonpartisan constitutional offices. At the same time, voters rejected the partisanship that Question C would have ushered in.

While opponents of good governance issued celebratory pre-election press releases touting their accomplishments, Orange County Now remained focused on educating voters on the issues and what was at stake – and we’re pleased to see that voters chose to make informed decisions.

Orange County Now congratulates voters for their common sense approach, and we look forward to the next battle to bring good governance to our community.


Vote-525x350We know monkeys are intelligent, but who could have guessed that they are able to craft ballot language for charter questions?

And use legal dictionaries and dart boards to boot!

That’s the assertion Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell made last week when he offered his folksy two-cents on four potential changes to the Orange County charter voters will be deciding on in the upcoming election.

The thought of monkeys and dart boards conjures up a vision of the columnist throwing darts at a board covered with images of the Republican commissioners as he penned his missive — better known as “the hacks on the commission,” as he labeled them in his column.

In this scenario, can there be any doubt that Commissioner Fred Brummer’s mug would be resting on the bulls eye?

Not only does Maxwell continue the myth that professional activists well compensated by labor unions and other liberal organizations are nothing more than “citizens,” he eagerly embraces the potential for them to “take democracy into their own hands.”

See Orange County Now Voting Guide Here!

In addressing Question A, he looks past our representative form of government to talk about being able to “directly petition” the commission. This is known as direct democracy, which often goes by another name — mob rule.

The expanded 150 day time limit allows locals more time to better understand how ballot initiatives may affect the community before voting on them, and for this reason alone you should vote YES on A.

He tells readers that Question B will “ban” them from addressing economic issues, which is disingenuous. These issues can certainly be addressed through those elected to represent the community — that is what they are there for. If you don’t like their decisions, vote them out.

The economic issues he speaks of — favored by labor unions — will limit local opportunity. Voting YES on B will prevent out-of-state special interests from forcing a job-killing agenda on Orange County.

Maxwell gets it right on Question C, vote NO — even a broken clock is accurate twice a day.

He ripped those behind Question D for combining two issues, but wasn’t nearly as harsh on Democrats for doing the same thing on C. In the end, this helps protect Orange County from polarizing political agendas — and establishes term limits — so voters should vote YES on D.

In baseball jargon, a great pitch is preceded by a proper setup, and in this case, Maxwell’s setup stinks. Which means Orange County residents can’t trust that he’s throwing strikes. Vote NO on C, but ignore Maxwell and vote YES on Questions A, B and D.

“There is no such thing as a Republican or a Democrat pothole.”

Orange County voters will decide in November whether to have party affiliations placed next to the names of candidates for charter offices — these offices include the county mayor and commissioners, which are currently non-partisan.

The ballot amendment would also move the county mayor’s race to the presidential-year election cycle — which means Mayor Teresa Jacobs will only serve a two year term instead of the customary four year term, and be forced to run again in 2016.

This citizen petition proposal is the product of local Democrats and professional activist allies, who are seeking one party rule — Orange County Democrats have a lead of nearly 100,000 registered voters and experience greater voter turnout in presidential year elections.

At lease $111,000 flowed into our community from outside sources, primarily Washington, D.C., in pursuit of the one party rule agenda.

Ballot language is unclear at this time:

Resolution Calling a Referendum On Petition Proposing to Move
Elections for All Charter Offices Elected Countywide to 2016 and Every
Four Years Thereafter, to Abbreviate Any Term of Office Consistent
with this Change, and to Change All Charter Office Elections From
Nonpartisan to Partisan

Day-to-day responsibilities of county government rise above partisan ideologies and center more on service, hence the saying: “There is no such thing as a Republican or a Democrat pothole.”

And for this reason, Orange County Now recommends a NO vote on this amendment. 

*A lawsuit has been filed against the legality of this ballot amendment, but it’s not expected to be resolved before ballots are sent out to voters.

Citizens for Informed Elections paid well to obtain the required number of signatures to place a citizens petition amendment on the November ballot that will, if successful, change charter office elections from non-partisan to partisan, and place the mayor’s race on the presidential election cycle.

Charter offices include the Board of County Commissioners.

These two issues will prove to be hugely beneficial to the activist-controlled Orange County Democratic Party, but the majority of financial contributions to Citizens for Informed Elections originated from sources outside of Orange County.

To help establish local one party rule, Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph, the former chairman of the local Democratic Party, gave $26,750 to Citizens for Informed Elections through a political action committee he controls.

But here is a list of “other” donors who contributed to Citizens for Informed Elections, according to records on file with the Orange County Supervisor of Elections:

DC-based Leadership Center for Common Good – $47,500

DC-based Project Vote: $19,500

California-based New Leaders Council – $9,000

Miami-based Democracy Alliance member Chris Findlater – $35,000

*Both Leadership Center for Common Good and Project Vote have strong ties to now defunct ACORN.

It's_the_Same_Old_Song_label.jpegWe have been singing the same old song for so long here at I-4 Activist Watch we’re a little surprised that people don’t mistake us for the legendary Four Tops, of Motown fame — and yes, our latest tune centers on ACORN.


Having been successful at purchasing collecting the required signatures to get a second “citizen’s” initiative on the ballot, Orange County’s progressive left community now busies itself with the task of securing the votes to get it passed.

Thanks to the efforts of Citizens for Informed Elections, voters will decide whether to change all charter office elections — see Board of County Commissioners — from non-partisan to partisan, and whether to place the mayor’s race on the presidential election cycle.

Both issues are hugely beneficial to the local activist-controlled Democratic Party, which has a lead of nearly 100,000 registered voters in Orange County. Should these two issues be approved —  legal challenges notwithstanding — it may be decades before we see another Republican on the BCC.

And as we look ahead to the November election, I-4 Activist Watch decided to examine the financial contributions to Citizens for Informed Elections, only to discover a $19,500 donation from Project Vote.

Before we take an honest look at Project Vote, here’s a list of other donors who’ve taken a keen interest in creating a Democratic stronghold in Orange County:

D.C. based Leadership Center for Common Good – $47,500

California based New Leaders Council – $9,000

Democracy Alliance member Chris Findlater – $35,000

Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph – $26,750

As for Project Vote, former left-wing radical David Horowitz’s Discover the Network identified the organization as “the voter-mobilization arm of ACORN.”

Local activists want you to believe that ACORN no longer exists, having disbanded in 2010 after being exposed as a criminal enterprise. But oddly, groups such as the above listed Leadership Center for Common Good bear a striking resemblance to ACORN.

Discover the Network also reported on a dubious connection between Project Vote and President Obama’s 2008 campaign:

In 2008, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign furnished Project Vote with a list of donors who had already contributed (to the campaign) the maximum amount of money permitted by law. Anita Moncrief, a former Washington, DC staffer for Project Vote, later revealed that her organization had contacted these big donors and urged them to give money to Project Vote — money which could then be funneled directly into the Obama campaign coffers, thereby evading election-law limits on campaign contributions.

Orange County residents will have an opportunity in November to address weaknesses in the charter that allows ideological groups such as those named here to pervert the citizen petition process to advance a political agenda and EXPAND the power of the government over our lives, property & private commerce.

Until then, don’t be surprised about ACORN’s ever present footprint on local politics — former ACORN political director Susannah Randolph calls Central Florida home.

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