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Local Govt & Politics

    Justices Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince are leaving the bench in January, ending decades of service by at least one African-American on Florida’s Supreme Court. Governor Ron DeSantis will select new justices from a list of 11 nominees, none of whom are black. The dean of the Florida A&M University College of Law finds the pending change “significant” because an all-white court will lose “the perspective of someone who can speak from” the African-American community. LeRoy Pernell calls that development “problematic” with issues expected to come before the high  court, including the death penalty, voting rights and perhaps legal challenges to the so-called “stand your ground” law. “I have no reason to believe that any justice on the Florida Supreme Court will make a ruling based on race,” he explained. “But I do think that their decisions are influenced by the experiences you bring to the court.” Dean Pernell says other states look upon Florida and the legal decisions of its high court. “Much of the country, politically, will look very carefully at what Florida does with these issues.”
  • Ride sharing services Uber and Lyft both say they will offer free or discounted rides to polling places Tuesday. As part of a larger effort 'to drive the vote' with groups like ‘Voto Latino’ and ‘Democracy works to provide free rides to the polls’  to help get undeserved communities to their polling stations. According to a Lyft blog post,  it was estimated that over 15 million people were registered but didn’t vote in 2016 because of transportation issues. Lyft is providing fifty percent off or up to $5.00 off across the country and free rides to people in under-served communities.  The uber app is also featuring a special election day button that riders can use to find their polling place and a book a ride.  Uber is also offering political groups the chance to purchase promo codes they can give to workers.
  • Telemundo is hosting the first of three debates between Democratic Senator Bill Nelson and Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott on Tuesday.  Scott is challenging the incumbent Central Florida Democrat for his Senate seat in November.   The debate will be recorded in the morning and broadcast at 7 p.m. on Telemundo stations in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Fort Myers, Tampa, and West Palm Beach markets. It is the only debate that will air in Spanish.   The one hour debate will be moderated by Telemundo 51 senior political reporter Marilys Llanos and Miami's NBC 6 new anchor Jackie Nespral.  The RealClearPolitics average of recent polls gives Nelson a slight advantage over Scott.
  • Florida voters on Tuesday selected the nominees for governor, agriculture commissioner, attorney general, and several congressional seats. Here's a selection of shortcuts to view results from Florida on Primary Election Day: Listen LIVE on News 96.5 WDBO for the latest election developments presented by Channel 9 Eyewitnesses News. Watch the team at WFTV report election results by clicking the live stream here OR read a list of elections results here.  Check out the results county by county via the supervisor of elections website. Click on your county to visit the Elections webpage: Orange County, Osceola County, Lake County, Seminole County, Brevard County, Volusia County, and Polk County. An Interactive map by the New York Times can be found here.
  • Florida’s Primary Election is August 28, when voters registered with a political party get to choose among candidates to advance to the November 6 general election. Voters who are not party-affiliated will also cast ballots, but mostly are restricted to non-partisan races like judgeships and school boards.  In the case when one political party has candidates, but other does not, then unaffiliated voters will also have a chance to vote in that race in August, since the winner will not need to be on the November ballot. In Orange County, the race for mayor is also open to non-partisan voters.  Click here to learn more about voting in Orange County. Seminole County voters are also choosing some local municipal races, in addition to the county, state and federal races in this mid-term election. Click here to learn more about voting in Seminole County. Voters in Kissimmee and St. Cloud are considering candidates to fill seats on their city council or commission. There are also several community development district elections, in addition to the major county, state and federal office races. Click here to learn more about voting in Osceola County.  There are three ways to vote in Florida: BY MAIL: Vote-by-mail refers to voting a ballot received by mail or picked up by, or for, a voter. The deadline to ask for a ballot to be mailed is 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 22. A voter may pick up a vote-by-mail ballot from the office of their Supervisor of Elections through the day before the election or, if an emergency exists, on the day of the election. Vote-by-mail ballots must be received by the Supervisor of Elections’ office no later than 7:00 p.m. on Election Day in order to be canvassed and counted. EARLY: Early voting is defined as “casting a ballot in person prior to Election Day at a location designated by the Supervisor of Elections.” The voter uses the same type of voting equipment that is used at the polls on Election Day. All 67 Florida counties will be offering early voting from August 18 – August 25.  ON ELECTION DAY: Polls will be open statewide from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Any voters waiting in line at 7:00 p.m. will have the opportunity to cast a ballot. If you do not know where your polling place is, contact your county Supervisor of Elections as some polling places have moved since the 2016 election. Voters will be asked to provide a current and valid photo I.D. at the polls.  
  • Notices are going out in the mail this week, informing voters in Orange County where they will be casting ballots in the August and November elections. For people in 20 precincts, the polling places are being moved, according to Election Supervisor Bill Cowles. Some old polling sites no longer exist, he explained. “For example, in remodeling and rebuilding an elementary school, they bought up the property next door to it, which happened to be a church and the church is now gone. So we have to find a new polling place.” In general, polling places change when the site is no longer available, or because of a shift in population that makes another site more accessible.  “Our goal is we want to get the voter to the right polling place the first time,” said Cowles. “We are a community that is changing, growing, things happen and so we just have to prepare for it and start educating voters on the change to them.” There 247 polling places in Orange County.  Polling place changes affect the following precincts:  Precinct 130 will move to Lake Whitney Elementary School at 1351 Windermere Road from Windermere Seventh Day Adventist Church.  Precinct 138 will move to Stoneybrook West Golf Club at 15501 Towne Commons Boulevard from Oasis Community Church.  Precinct 140 will move to Water Conserv II Distribution Center at 17498 McKinney Road from Orange County National Golf Center.  Precinct 215 will move to New Life Church at 3311 N Powers Drive from Orlando Baptist Temple.  Precinct 219 will move to West Oaks Mall at 9401 W Colonial Drive from New Life Church.  Precinct 220 will move to Woman’s Club of Ocoee at 4 N Lakewood Avenue from Ocoee Lakeshore Center.  Precinct 229 will move to Apopka Calvary Nazarene at 750 Roger Williams Road from Inspire Centre.  Precinct 232 will move to Grace Pointe Church at 2051 Lester Road from Apopka Golf & Tennis at Errol Estate.  Precinct 233 will move to Word of Life at 1853 Vick Road from Northside Baptist Church.  Precinct 239 will move to Zellwood United Methodist Church at 5538 W Jones Avenue from St Patrick Catholic Church.  Precinct 302 will move to Wadeview Neighborhood Center at 2177 S Summerlin Avenue from 1st Christian Church of Orlando.  Precinct 335 will move to National Guard Armory at 2809 S Ferncreek Avenue from Pershing Avenue Christian Church.  Precinct 340 will move to Union Park Church of the Nazarene at 1670 N Chickasaw Trail from Italian American Social Club.  Precinct 410 will move to Legacy Middle School at 11398 Lake Underhill Road from East Orlando Harley Davidson.  Precinct 412 will move to Stoneybrook East Fitness Center at 14351 Stoneybrook Boulevard from Stoneybrook East Golf Club.  Precinct 420 will move to Rancho Isla del Encanto at 6747 Whispering Pines Road from Worship & Praise Center.  Precinct 505 will move to Marks Street Senior Recreation Complex at 99 E Marks Street from IBEW Union Hall.  Precinct 543 will move to East River High School at 650 East River Falcons Way from Bithlo Community Center.  Precinct 548 will move to Florida Conference United Church of Christ at 9300 University Boulevard from Acacia Florida.  Precinct 618 will move to New Covenant Bible Fellowship at 1722 W Oak Ridge Road from UAW Local 788 Union Hall. 
  • The City of Orlando made a promise to help build quality affordable housing for its citizens and is willing to take a financial loss to make that happen, if it comes to that. This month, the city is taking bids to redevelop two city-owned properties along Mercy Drive, just north of Colonial Drive. It is hoped that a mixed income housing project can be built where the former Peppertree Shores and Peppertree Circle once existed. Those apartments fell into disrepair and eventually Fannie Mae took control and sold them to the city. They have been demolished. So far, the city has spent over $1 million to buy the site and demolish them, according to Economic Development Director Brooke Bonnett. “In a perfect world, the city would like to get our acquisition costs back, however we recognize that the primary goal is ensure that quality affordable housing gets built on these sites,” she explained. “It could be that we don’’t recoup 100% of our investment,” said Bonnett. The city is seeking proposals through May 31, then will look through them to find any viable ones and move forward. Orlando City Council will have to approve the land sale. “We are hoping to complete a transaction for both of these sites so the city will no longer be the property owner,” Bonnett said. Since the city is willing to sell the land for less than it cost to buy it, the hope is that the developer will pass on those savings to future homeowners seeking affordable housing in Orlando. 
  •  Mobile users can click here to see the Shaq video via youTube.
  • A group founded by former Congresswoman and shooting survivor Gabby Giffords is targeting Governor Rick Scott over gun control and ties to the National Rifle Association.  Giffords gun control non profit has rolled out a new thirty second ad that begins with video from Florida shooting vigils and  singles out a law the Governor championed in 2011 that would prevent doctors and mental health professionals from asking patients if they owned a gun. The ad says the public needs 'more than thoughts and prayers' from Governor Scott.   See video here in APP     https://youtu.be/5nmDHbNeFt8   Giffords was shot in the head during an assassination attempt on Jan. 8, 2011 when a man opened fire at an outdoor event held by the Arizona congresswoman. Six people were killed and 19 others were injured in the shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords made a miraculous recovery and later resigned from the house to focus on her health.
  • An Orlando man with a gun, hired for security was arrested Thursday on the campus of the University of Florida. Moments before the start of the controversial speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, Alachua County Sheriff Deputies arrested Sean Brijmohan, 28, on a charge of carrying a firearm on school property.  According to the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, a deputy saw Brijmohan walking with a gun on his waist and under his shirt. Brijmohan does posses a concealed carry license, deputies said.  It's not known which media organization Sean Brijmohan was hired by or what security firm he is employed by.  The streets of Gainesville were empty hours before Spencer's speech, with only media and uniformed law enforcement officers lining streets of the university.  Protesters shouted, 'Not in our town! Not in our state! We don't want your Nazi hate!