HAPPYTOWN 


;Note to pro-choicers: You are boring. Someone had to say it.

;; Florida NOW types have long been pissed that the anti-choice crowd has its own state-sanctioned "Choose Life" license plate, the proceeds from which funnel money to a nonprofit that lies to women about abortion (see "Choose lies," April 17, 2003). But when NOW sued on the grounds that political statements don't belong on license plates, they lost.

;;So NOW did a very smart thing and decided to get their own plate, one that stands proudly for reproductive choice and the right to screw without conceiving a little snot monkey every time. It's an uphill fight; NOW needs 30,000 signatures and $60,000, plus the approval of right-wing legislature. Yeah, good luck with that.

;;But step No. 1 is designing the actual plate, and that part's done as of Jan. 5, albeit poorly. They came up with "United for Choice," a really boring slogan set on a really boring white background featuring a really boring cluster-of-stars thing as the graphic element.

;;The design reeks of capitulation, if you ask us. It's all about marketing, people, breaking through the clutter, getting people to pay attention.

;;Our suggestion: "SCREW PROUDLY!" No charge if you decide to switch.

;;VICTORY! Nary a week after this rag published a scathing exposé on the evils of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority ["Kill the beast," Dec. 28] OOCEA chairman Allan Keen announced his resignation. Coincidence? We'll say no.

;;In his resignation letter, Keen whined about the "false allegations" made by former PR man Ron Pecora that Keen took $2,600 in theme-park tickets from him, that Keen paid off Ax the Tax cretin Doug Guetzloe over his objections, and that the agency offered his firm a $1.7 million contract if he shut his piehole.

;;Rick Walsh, a retired Darden Restaurants vice president, is the rumored replacement. We still say the beast must die.

;;

;We called it first! Well, on Bloggytown anyway, but who cares. John Tegg, the guy who lost the GOP nomination for Orange County sheriff to Kevin Beary in 2004, is officially in the 2008 race. That's not a big shocker. Tegg, now the Edgewood police chief, has made no secret of his ambitions, and he ran a solid, if unsuccessful, campaign and exposed lots of Beary's foibles. Mad props for that. And since Tegg already has the backing of the deputies' union, expect more fireworks in the next 18 months.

;;Not to quibble, but the Jan. 6 Orlando Sentinel story announcing his run made one small, but important, error. It said that both Beary and Tegg are Republicans (the Sentinel later corrected the error online). That was true, up until Nov. 10, when Beary declared — a week after the Democrats kicked the party of Mark Foley out of Washington — that he was done with the Republicans and was now an independent. That adds an interesting element to this race, as at least one high-profile Dem is expected to get in.

;;Does Beary's new status help him next November? Was it a ploy to escape another primary? Is he even running again? He's not saying. Let the games begin.

;;

;Only two candidates are;vying for the coveted District 6 city commission seat in the Feb. 13 special election to replace the ousted Ernie Page. Not only is Sam Ings, who is currently in the seat, running (and probably winning) again, but so is the perpetually unelectable Lawanna Gelzer, who has been attempting to gain political office since the late '90s. Gelzer got only 15 percent of the vote last time she tried for the District 6 seat. In what universe does that mean "try again"?

;;We predict a dull election. So let's dream a little and come up with a few candidates we'd like to see on the ballot. No, they don't live in the district, but this is our fantasy, OK? A column can dream, can't it?

;;Dave van Gelder: A solid, hot-dog eating man (we've seen him do it) who knows everything about everything that the city doesn't want him to know.

;;Ben Markeson: Orlando's favorite anarchist needs a regular job anyway.

;;Juan Lynum: A seat right next to Mama Daisy might do him some good.

;;George Crossley: Who doesn't love a former broadcast evangelist who spent time in prison? It's all about sin and redemption in Orlando, and Crossley's got 'em both covered.

;;Rich DeVos: He runs Orlando anyway; why not just let him get up on the dais and do it in the open?

;;

;Why is hockey so cursed in Central Florida? Oh yeah, because this is Florida and hockey sucks, that's why.

;;Time once again to note that the Florida Seals are on the outs with their landlords. This time they've been shut out of the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee "because they failed to meet contractual obligations," says park general manager Robb Larson. He wouldn't elaborate.

;;In September 2004, we wrote about the Seals (then called the Orlando Seals) running afoul of the city officials, prompting city attorney Amy Iennaco to send a very nasty letter saying the team "breached and defaulted" on its lease agreement at the Amway Arena (then the TD Waterhouse Centre). At the heart of the matter then was the fact that this is Florida, hockey sucks and precious few people attended the games. Same deal in Kissimmee, where only about 1,000 souls with absolutely nothing else to do would show up on a regular basis.

;;We called Seals president Michale Watson hoping to get a comment about how the Seals will rise yet again, but the phone at the front office is disconnected. Bad sign, that.

;;

;Doug Head ruled the local Democratic Party for 12 years. Since he stepped away in December 2004, that position has been in flux. First came lawyer and school board member Tim Shea, who resigned in May 2006 to run for judge. Later last summer came Kim Bowles, the party's first openly gay chair, but her tenure was short.

;;On Dec. 18, party members elected Gray Robinson attorney Bill Robinson — the firm is named for his father — to take the helm.

;;So what happened? Bowles opted to run for vice chair on a ticket with John Ruffier, grandson of 1960s Orlando power broker Billy Dial. When Ruffier lost, Bowles was out.

;;The significance of that, Head says, is that "the money-first idea died." Since Shea replaced Head, the party has split into two camps: Those who believe that it needs to spend money to professionalize things, as Shea did; and those who think Shea wasn't paying attention to the grass roots. Robinson is somewhere in between the two philosophies. He believes in infrastructure, and doesn't think the party should take sides in Dem versus Dem campaigns. He does, however, believe that the party needs to do more to please its rank and file.

;;"Our job is to prepare the base," he says. And the base wasn't happy with a top-down approach that didn't involve itself as much as it could in the November elections: "I was not the establishment candidate."

;

;Money should be a major thing, he adds, but not the only thing. "I understand high-dollars fund-raising," Robinson says. "But that's not the whole picture."

;

; This week's report by Jeffrey C. Billman, Billy Manes and Bob Whitby.

happytown@orlandoweekly.com

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