Registration Deadline October 7 for Orlando Elections

October 3, 2019 (Orlando) — With national news bombarding headlines and TV news, residents here who want to vote in next month’s city elections have to refocus on what’s happening in town: First, the deadline to register is Monday, Oct. 7, for the City of Orlando’s General Election in November. In addition, Early Voting starts a few weeks later on October 28.

If you live in the city limits of Orlando and you’re already registered, great! You may want contact all of your family members and neighbors to remind them about the registration deadline and early voting. Orlando is the only city in Orange County that has an election in November. It is set for Tuesday, November 5.

Voters will either keep current Mayor Buddy Dyer or elect a brand new mayor. (He has competition from District 6 Commissioner Sam B. Ings and Aretha Simons, who filed her intentions to run back in November 2017.)

Also, city commission seats 2,4 and 6 are up for grabs. District 2 Commissioner Antonio (Tony) Ortiz has no competition for his seat. Corey DeVogel recently joined the District 4 race against incumbent Commissioner Patty Sheehan.  Three candidates: Gary Siplin, Lawanna Gelzer and Bakari Burns are vying for the District 6 seat. (Vicki-Elaine Felder withdrew from the race.)

You can register or update your existing voter registration online at:, at a driver’s license office, at a public library; at the Center for Independent Living, WIC/DCF offices and at any elections office. You can also register to vote in person at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office: 119 W. Kaley Street, Orlando, FL 32806. (407) 836-2070.


Orlando Community News, 2019



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Back to School: Sales Tax Holiday Starts Friday, Aug. 2

In addition to the numerous Back to School giveaways throughout the Orlando area where parents can get free school supplies for their children, the State of Florida kicks off its Back- to-School “Sales Tax Holiday” Aug. 2-6, Friday- Tuesday, when parents can also save some money/don’t pay taxes when they go out and buy certain school supplies. Everyone would agree: every little bit helps and the savings can add up especially if there is more than one school age child in a household.

Common items parents, guardians and village supporters can save tax monies on include: qualified school supplies ($15 or less), qualified computers and accessories ($1000 or less), as well as clothing, footwear and some accessories ($60 or less).  You can find a complete list on the state’s Department of Revenue website:






Posted in Community news that can help

Local Elections Today

March 12, 2019, Orange County, FL – Don’t say you didn’t know! Mailings have gone out, candidates’ signs are on the sides of main streets and you’ve read about it here: Local elections for mayor and city commissioners are today in Ocoee, Winter Park, Belle Isle and Windermere. So if you live within your city limits and you are an eligible voter for today’s elections, do your civic duty – go to your polling place and vote! Go Belle Isle: You all are voting for a MAYOR!  Go Ocoee: Some of you all have an opportunity to make history by electing a second Black person to your city council.

If you’re not sure if you’re in a district that has an election today or you’re not sure where your polling place is, contact the Orange County Supervisor of Elections  office or your city clerk’s office. Supervisor of Elections: (407) 836-2070,


Orlando Community News, 2019


Posted in Community news that can help

City Elections: Early Voting Now Through Friday


March 5, 2019 – Early Voting has started and will run through this Friday for city elections throughout Orange County.  Four cities in the county have elections a week from today, on Tuesday, March 12, including Ocoee and Windermere here in west Orange County.

If you live within one of those city limits and you are an eligible registered voter, you should have gotten a sample ballot in the mail from the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office. (Or a vote-by-mail ballot, if you requested one) Sample ballots include details about your polling place, the public offices up for grabs and the candidates wanting to represent you in those public offices.

Early voting has become more and more popular for registered voters because they can vote when it’s convenient for them, not just on Election Day (typically on Tuesdays when people work).

While some voters like to mail their ballots, they may have had a change of heart, especially in Florida, after the Mid-Term Election last November. Some people who voted by mail found themselves researching their ballot online and/or by making phone calls, days after the election to make sure their vote actually counted. With crucial races being decided on, such as Florida governor, there was widespread concern over ballots not signed, signatures on the ballots not matching signatures on file at elections offices and ballots not delivered to the elections office on time.  

Voting early or on election day may be the better options. 

For details on upcoming city elections, contact your city clerk’s office or go to the county Supervisor of Elections Office website: or call (407) 836-2070. 

Orlando Community News, 2019



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City Elections Straight Ahead on March 12

BD6B95E0-1E76-4575-B083-DC01CA93AA84February 11, 2019 (Orange County, Florida) — They are just as important as state and national elections but people often forget about them: city elections. If you live in the city of Belle Isle, Ocoee, Windermere or Winter Park, you may have an opportunity to vote for a new mayor or other public officials in your town on Tuesday, March 12.

It all depends on whether you live in a district that has open public positions and whether your city votes at large or in single member districts.   (At large means all registered voters elect their public officials citywide and in single member districts, registered voters elect public officials within established city districts.)

In Belle Isle, voters will elect a new Mayor and District 3 Commissioner. Holly Bobrowski, Nick Fouraker and Rick Miller are vying for the mayoral seat, while Karl Shuck and Ben Bateman are seeking the District 3 seat.  The incumbent candidates in District 2 and District 4, Anthony Carugno and Mike Sims, ran unopposed, respectively. Council members and mayor are elected at large and serve three-year terms.

Ocoee had three open positions, including incumbent Mayor but Mayor Rusty Johnson and incumbent District 3 Commissioner Richard Firstner both ran unopposed. The city could make history again with the election of Larry Brinson, Sr. to its commission.  Brinson, who is running against incumbent John W. Grogan for the District 1 seat, would join George Oliver III, as the city’s second African-American elected to council in the city’s history.  Oliver won his District 4 seat in 2017 by only 41 votes and became the city’s first African-American to get elected to the council. Ocoee’s Mayor is elected at large and city commissioners are elected from single member districts and serve four-year terms.

In the Town of Windermere, incumbent Mayor Gary Bruhn ran unopposed to fill the remainder of an one-year term. Three council seats, elected at large, are up for grabs. The candidates are: Liz Andert, Mike Hargreaves, Bob McKinley (incumbent), Bill Martini, Richard Montgomery (incumbent) and Dina Pryor. The three winning council members will serve a two-year term.

In Winter Park, long-time City Commissioner Carolyn Cooper ran unopposed for her District 3 seat, while three candidates vie for the District 4 seat: Barbara Chandler, Todd Weaver and Pete Weldon (incumbent).  Council members are elected at large.

There will be a run-off election April 9 in the cities of Belle Isle and Winter Park, if needed.

The City of Orlando’s General Election is set for Tuesday, November 5. Voters will elect a new mayor or re-elect Buddy Dyer and pick from candidates vying for commission seats in districts 2,4 and 6.

Orlando Community News, 2019
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Amendment 4: Registration Opens Today for Many Ex-Felons

January 8, 2019 (Orlando) – When voters in Florida overwhelmingly voted Yes on Amendment 4 last November, they spoke loud and clear: People convicted of certain crimes who have done their time and fulfilled their responsibilities to the court should have their voting rights restored immediately.

Today, in Orange County and every county in the state, registration opened for new voters, including former convicted felons who are eligible to vote pursuant to the terms of the enacted amendment (from the county’s elections office website.)

Anyone affected by the amendment may want to register TODAY. The urgency is because incoming Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had said recently in news reports that Amendment 4, which was approved by 64.6 percent (or 5.2 million) of Florida’s voters, shouldn’t go into effect until state lawmakers pass some type of “implementing language” in a bill that he would need to sign (Tampa Bay Times). That could delay the registration process by at least two months (when the legislative session starts). The domino effect: It may prevent many people from voting in city elections.  City elections normally take place in the first quarter of the year. (For example: Some cities in Orange County have their elections in March.) 

Ex-felons who qualify based on the amendment can register to vote today at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office: 119 W. Kaley Street, Orlando, FL 32806. Phone: (407) 836-2070.

An elections office spokesperson said anyone who believes they have met the requirements of the amendment can come down to the office and complete the registration form with their signature, which will be kept on file.

The new voters can also download the application from the elections office website – –  complete it and return to the elections office or obtain and complete a form at their local library. Forms may also be returned to the library.

Online registration is available through a State of Florida website. The website requires state drivers license or identification card information, as well as other personal information. Note: the signature on the I.D. provided online will be kept on record, the county elections office official said. (

So if you obtained your driver’s license or I.D. card years ago – as a teenager for example, your signature is probably outdated. (Just like your picture!)

It’s best to go the elections office so your current signature is on file. Signatures matter during elections, mainly for mail-in ballots (formerly known as absentee ballots). Voters signatures on their election ballot must match their signature on file with the elections office or there’s a chance their vote won’t count.


Orlando Community News, 2019


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CFABJ Celebrates 35 years and Inducts Six Into its Hall of Fame


CFABJ Hall of Fame Inductees from left: Monica May Ashford, Mark McEwen, Kena Lewis, Gail Paschall-Brown, CFABJ President LaFontaine Oliver, Drs. Florence and Stanley Alexander.  (Photo: NancyJo Brown, 106Foto)

Giving honor where honor is due, members of the Central Florida Association of Black Journalists (CFABJ) on Dec. 1 named six esteemed journalists, media personalities, philanthropists and reporters to their Hall of Fame. They are: Dr. Florence Alexander and her husband, Dr. Stanley Alexander, Kena Lewis, Monica May Ashford, Mark McEwen and Gail Paschall-Brown.

They joined a group of 25 people named to the group’s Hall of Fame. This group, according to CFABJ President LaFontaine E. Oliver, “have all represented us well and left their indelible marks on our community and this organization.”

The honor was bestowed during the organization’s 35th anniversary celebration held at the World Showcase at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center.

After two tables of hearty appetizers and an open bar, the Hall of Fame ceremony, pictures with Disney’s Princess Tiana and a table full of scrumptious desserts, more than a hundred CFABJ members and guests walked to a special seating area around the Epcot showcase lagoon and watched the IllumiNations laser and fireworks show. 

“I had an awesome time!,” said Willie Clark, CFABJ Hall of Fame member and longtime media professional/radio personality. “The folks at Disney really know how to host a party!”

During the Hall of Fame ceremony, recipients talked about their journey and experience in their prospective fields and how the organization often played a part in their success.

Dr. Alexander, who was honored alongside his wife, basically said Black Americans own and run operations in fields such as entertainment and professional sports (like the NFL), but not in the media. He said we have to work together, to help each other in order to change that. Dr. Alexander and his wife have provided thousands of dollars in scholarships to youth attending historically Black colleges and universities through their National HBCU Scholarship Foundation, Inc. (Founded in 2005). She has served many years as President and Director at the Ebon Productions Studio where they recently produced a film about Harry T. Moore. She said the film is due to be released in January 2019.

Kena Lewis, who started her career as an on air radio announcer and morning reporter, switched gears after covering the 1986 space shuttle Challenger explosion. She moved into Public Relations and is currently the Director of Public Affairs and Media Relations for Orlando Health. Her efforts in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting were recognized nationally.

Monica May, well-known for her work with on the Tom Joyner Morning Show on Star 94.5 FM radio, has been in the radio and television field for 40 years. She started a non-profit organization and a series of workshops called Let’s Spill the Tea, to help improve communication between mothers and their teenage daughters. During the ceremony, May talked about leaving the Orlando market several years ago to focus on helping people, especially the homeless. May said the award that she received from the CFABJ was noticed in her Houston office and shortly after that she was offered another opportunity in radio broadcasting.

Mark McEwen, upon receiving his award, said he started his TV career with a national network (CBS in 1987). “They said can you do weather,” he said and he jumped on the opportunity even though he had not done weather. His advice to anyone interested in television: “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Keep asking. Do your research. Be prepared.” Over the years, he served in a variety of high-profile positions including anchoring “CBS This Morning,” corresponding for “48 Hours” and doing entertainment news for “The Early Show.”  In 2004, McEwen, became the anchor for the morning and noon news for WKMG in Orlando. Him just being at the event was a miracle because shortly after taking the job at the Orlando TV station, he suffered a stroke. He’s since written a book and has worked as an ambassador for the American Heart Association.

“This is such an honor, being a part of this,” McEwen said. “I thank God, especially for my mom and dad” for stressing the importance of getting a good education.

Gail Paschall-Brown said she loves what she does. With four decades of TV reporting and anchoring experience under her belt, she talked about her humble beginnings – raised by her grandparents in rural North Carolina. (She even mentioned working in tobacco fields as a young girl.) Some of her most memorable stories were the first Gulf War, the Grenada Invasion and Susan Smith who drowned her two sons in Union, South Carolina. Brown is celebrating 21 years at WESH-Channel 2 News, where she has worked in several different positions including anchor. She currently works as a general assignment reporter.

Other treats from the event: two powerful and uplifting songs by Sisaundra Lewis and a moment of silence for members who have passed in this life, including a NABJ Founder, Vince Sanders, who spent 40 years in the broadcast industry with ties to Chicago and New York City.  Sanders retired and moved back to the Orlando area in the late 1990s. (Courtesy of  the National Association of Black Journalists – NABJ, website)

Hats off to CFABJ leaders, organizers and volunteers, as well as WDW officers and cast members on hand for an amazing evening to celebrate the work of the organization over the years and to honor some well deserving media/broadcast/public relations professionals. Kudos also on your announcement of “full commitment to grow and engage with Disney’s Dreamers Academy.” (-CFABJ president LaFontaine Oliver.) 


(Random photos from the event by: Trish Martin)

Orlando Community News, 2018
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For the Last-Minute Voters: Recommendations for Today’s Election


November 6, 2018 (Orlando) — This is for the last-minute voters. But the rest of you all can read on too! 

This is one of few occasions when I’ve shared my recommendations for elections. But because this mid-term General Election is so important, especially for Florida, I am posting my recommendations for today’s historical election.

A little background for your consideration: I typically vote on the issues and attend candidates forums-debates to meet the people who are running for key positions, listening to how they answer questions and watching their demeanor.  I also attend community meetings on the 12 amendments on the ballot. (also further research and ponder them.) It so happens that where I stand on issues mostly align with the Democratic Party. 

Here’s another thing: While the current President of the United States has been campaigning since the summer for his followers running in key states, he is NOT on the ballot for this election.  Still, he continues to tweet online and talk at rallies, making negative personal attacks against candidates who’re running against his fellow Republicans.

Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams are running for governor of their perspective states. Gillum would be the first African-American elected as Florida governor if he wins and Abrams would be the first African-American woman elected as Georgia governor if she wins. I mentioned those two because they are southern states and their names are being drug through the mud, just because of who they are.

New faces around the country (especially women) are in the race for Congress. Long-time U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is a fight for his seat with Rick Scott, current Florida governor who has reached the term limited for the position. 

Lastly, on the proposed amendments to the state constitution, if there are way too many questions in one proposed amendment, I vote “No.” Those are the ones which are often confusing and contradictory.  Proponents of Amendment 4 (Voting Restoration Amendment) worked hard over the past few years to educate people about the disenfranchisement of over a million people who were convicted of crimes, did their time and fulfilled all requirements of their sentence but had to wait for years to go before a state board that determined whether their voting rights should be restored. In Florida, a convicted felon (of any crime), can not vote, serve on a jury; hold public office until his or possess a gun until his or her civil rights have been restored. Board members includes the governor and two cabinet members who are statewide elected officials. It’s ridiculous! My recommendation is to vote “Yes.” Note: The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sex offenses. 

We will never totally agree on candidates nor on amendments but we can gauge our own values and interests with what that candidate has to offer and make a choice! Vote!

Now for the recommendations!

United States Senator - Bill Nelson

Governor/Lieutenant Governor - Andrew Gillum and Chris King

Attorney General - Sean Shaw

Chief Financial Officer - Jeremy Ring

Commissioner of Agriculture - Nicole "Nikki" Fried

Special Election, Orange County Sheriff - Joe Lopez

Yes to Retain State Supreme Court Justice - Alan Lawson 

Yes to Retain Judge, District Court of Appeals - Eric Eisnaugle

Circuit Judge, 9th Judicial District, Group 41 - Dean Mosley

Board of County Commissioners, District 2 - Patricia Rumph

Special Election, School Board Member, District 7 - Melissa Mitchell Byrd

Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor, Group 2 - Daisy Morales

Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor, Group 4 - Dawn Curtis


State Amendments:

Vote NO on All EXCEPT
#4 - Vote YES 
#9 - Vote YES

-Trish Martin, Publisher & Editor 
Orlando Community News 2018




Posted in Community news that can help

Off the Sidelines and Into the Game: The General Election is on Nov. 6

October 31, 2018 (Orlando) – The signs are everywhere. On the side of the road, on cars, on highway overpasses and on billboards everywhere. Candidates signs. Signs about some of those long-winded state amendments, signs about  Early Voting (which ends in Orange County this Sunday) and signs about the big day – Tuesday, Nov. 6, Election Day.

You can say this is Round Two of the election season (Round One was the Primary Election in August) and the results of the upcoming election will be historical, especially here in Florida.

We will elect a new governor in Florida and there’s a chance the state will get its first African-American governor. That’s right, Andrew Gillum could be the first if he’s elected by voters, since Florida became a state in 1845. (He will join a select few of African-Americans who have served as governor in the United States.)

Florida voters will also either re-elect United States Senator Bill Nelson or elect Rick Scott to take Nelson’s seat in Congress. Florida is one of the key states in determining whether Congress will maintain its Republican majority rule (maintain a majority of seats in the Senate and House of Representatives) or if Democrats will win more seats to gain majority in the Senate or House or both.

So to say that the upcoming General Election is important and every vote matters would be an understatement.

On the state level, Democrat Gillum, current mayor of Tallahassee, is running against Republican Ron DeSantis, a former U.S. representative in Florida. Gillum has the endorsements of Sen. Bernie Sanders and former president Barack Obama while DeSantis has the endorsement of President Donald Trump.  DeSantis was accused the day after his primary win, of using an insensitive and derogatory statement about Gillum:  “The last thing we need to do is monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state,” according to news reports (Tallahassee Democrat newspaper online). The statement was made a day after DeSantis won his primary election in August – on FOX News, reports said.  Gillum has maintained his support of some sort of healthcare for all, increase of the minimum wage and increases in education. 

On the local level, Orange County voters have another play to run – select a new sheriff. One of the three candidates vying the seat held by Sheriff Jerry Demings, will fulfill the remaining two years of his term. (Demings, recently elected as county mayor, will be sworn into his new role in December.)

The candidates are: Joe Lopez (former troop commander with the Florida Highway Patrol), John Mina (City of Orlando Police Chief) and Darryl Sheppard (small business owner/investor).

The race has gotten a lot of attention with one candidate with no law enforcement experience, who has an arrest record (Sheppard) and Chief Mina getting criticism for the handling of excessive force cases during his tenure.

So every registered voter in the county should pay close attention and vote. This is not the time to stand on the sidelines. We all have to get into the game and exercise our right to vote. Not only that, but every registered voter should research the candidates, judges and all, as well as the state amendment questions (all 12 of them), before casting their vote.

We have to know and not just vote based on name recognition (seeing a sign) nor party affiliation (voting solely along political party lines). Wrong is Wrong, no matter what party a candidate belongs to. (Shout out to my momma for that reminder recently!)

If you have any questions about the status of your vote-by-mail ballot (also known as absentee ballot), about early voting or about your polling place (as many polling places changed earlier this year), contact the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Offices: (407) 836-2070 or

-Trish Martin, OCN Publisher & Editor,
Orlando Community News, 2018
Posted in Community news that can help | 1 Comment

Orange County Sheriff: Candidates on Issues Important to Community

Editor’s Note: It is our goal to provide good news and information to lift the community we serve Higher. We publish many articles during the election season because improving the community depends heavily on its leadership – the people who make important decisions that affect residents’ livelihood. One key leadership position in the county, Orange County Sheriff, is up for election in the Nov. 6 General Election, replacing Sheriff Jerry Demings who got elected to be our next county mayor. Demings will remain in the position until December 4, when he is sworn into office as county mayor. The new Sheriff will serve a remaining two years. The Sheriff is our top law enforcement officer. Gun violence has reached unimaginable heights and locations. Over the next two years (the reminder of Demings’ tenure), whomever gets elected to the office will have to work effectively with state and county officials, as well was school district officials to make sure children are safe in school – for example. 

We asked the three candidates vying to be the next Orange County Sheriff to complete a questionnaire to help our readers who may not have made a final decision in this race. The candidates are: Jose “Joe” Lopez, John W. Mina and Darryl B. Sheppard. Two of them responded: Mina and Lopez. Read on for their answers.

Q: Besides hiring more deputies, how would you combat the serious crimes running rampant throughout the county and protect our children in school? What are your short term goals to lower overall crime?

John W. Mina: 

I believe it will take a combination of the following initiatives: Proactive policing, continuing to engage with the community to build trust, and a collaborative effort between law enforcement and community groups and members. Both Sheriff Demings and I have financially supported the POWER movement which just started in Pine Hills in partnership with the Central Florida Urban League. This program is very similar to Operation Cease Fire and the Walking One Stop programs that have been successful throughout the country. Law Enforcement will be responsible for identifying the “at risk” individuals that have a high probability in being involved in gun violence. We will work with the community to intervene and get people they help they need to stop the cycle of committing crimes. This can be in the form of drug/alcohol prevention and treatment, mental health treatment and opportunities for employment. If the identified individuals refuse the help and continue to commit crimes, then law enforcement will arrest and work to ensure successful prosecution especially when dealing with violent or repeat offenders. 

Jose “Joe” Lopez

We will be aggressive in focusing on priority offenders with a history of violent
crime who continually prey on our community. We will work closely with the State
Attorney’s Office to ensure once they’ve been arrested, they receive appropriate
sentences to keep them behind bars.  Far too many of these offenders are
arrested and right back out there to victimize other members of our community. 
The people of Orange County deserve better.

Gun crime isn’t an issue unique to Orange County but it is a serious one that we
have to get our arms around.  I’m committed to addressing this issue head on
and everything is on the table. This includes restructuring the departments
specialty units to prioritize the reduction of gun crimes. The criminal element is
always changing and we in law enforcement have to be just as flexible in our
ability to make appropriate adjustments. The old school way of doing business is
over.  We need new innovative ways to keep members of our community safe,
anything less would be irresponsible. I’m not foolish enough to think I have all of
the answers, that’s why I will immediately begin routine conversations
and develop partnerships with anyone and everyone willing to help in the
reduction of gun crime.

We’ll run the department using best practices and creating innovative organizational
programs. Enhancing preparedness and counter terrorism.

Violent crime reduction will also require us to police not only harder, but smarter. 
We need to invest in our community with the most up-to-date crime fighting
technology to keep community members safe. (Editor’s Note: A technology list was provided but for the sake of brevity, it was not included.)

There is no one single solution to this problem of the killing of our youth, our future
leaders of our community and our nation. My wife of 28 years works in a school for the Orange County Public School system and my two children attended schools in the same system, and are now attending the University of Central Florida.  Therefore,
this is personal to me and it sickens me that our children are filled with anxiety about
their safety in a place where it’s supposed to be free of harm. As the sheriff, I can’t do
this alone and I will bring the community together to partner and collaborate with
community organizations, parents and faith-based organization to develop solutions and
get buy in. With my background as a Security Executive at Walt Disney World and as a
United States Marine protecting U.S. Embassies around the world, I understand what it
takes to protect our precious assets. 

In addition, I will do the following:
– Work closely with the School Board to ensure we
have the appropriate School Resource officers assigned at every school.
– Partner with and assist the O.C.P.S. in conducting security threat assessment for all
the schools in Orange County.
– Partner with O.C.P.S. in developing joint active shooter drills for all the teachers
and students in the same manner that fire drills are conducted. Also, to assist the
O.C.P.S. in conducting the training every semester.
– Partner with the O.C.P.S. in participation in the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian
Program, which recruits and trains current or retired military veterans and law
enforcement officers. This will be a force multiplier which provides another layer
of security to the schools.

– Provide education to O.C.P.S. officials, employees and students in active shooter
awareness, the same concept as Dare and Magic.
– Work with the Federal government in securing more funding for school safety
and developing digital messaging for school safety in the same manner of drug
– Use forfeited drug dealer money to fund school safety software like Hero 911,
which is an app dedicated to protecting the students and teachers of our
community during active shooter incidents.


Q: With all that’s going on with police involved shootings nationwide, what are your plans to engage with the Orange County community better which may reduce excessive force and police involved shootings?

John W. Mina

I have a very strong and visible record of engaging with the community while I have been Chief at the Orlando Police Department. We have numerous formal and informal community engagement programs to include mentoring programs for our youth, community BBQs, Coffee with a Cop; Citizen Police Academy, Teen Police Academy; Town Hall meetings, Books and Badges, Dueling Dragons mentoring program and our Operation Positive Direction mentoring program. We also partner with community businesses to do Christmas parties and give out Christmas dinners. One of our most successful programs is Neighborhood Watch. We have over 1000 neighborhood watch block captains and this has helped us drive down crime, specifically residential burglaries in Orlando. I plan on bringing all of these community engagement efforts to the Sheriff’s Office to build upon the great work that Sheriff Demings has already done. Additionally, because of training, new policies, and accountability of our offices, I have been able to reduce the number of use of force cases and officer involved shooting cases in Orlando. I plan on adopting the same initiatives at the Sheriff’s Office to reduce excessive force and police involved shootings. 

Jose “Joe” Lopez

I will be a sheriff that promotes transparency to the community and transparency
to the media. We must be transparent and not misleading to the media. It’s never
acceptable to deviate from the training law enforcement receive in the academy and
allow our emotions to drive our decisions. The community expects more from the men
and women charged with serving them. We also can’t let the actions of a couple of
officers paint the whole profession. The overwhelming majority of members of law
enforcement do the right thing and serve honorably.
While I was Chief of Investigations at the Florida Highway Patrol, I also led the
Internal Affairs unit.

I will ensure the following: 

  • All excessive use of force cases will be investigated immediately and concluded between 30-90 days, not 11 months.
  • We will work with the State Attorney’s Office to determine if probable cause exists to file charges against those deputies that have committed crimes.
  • Inform the media and public the findings of the investigation upon conclusion, to ensure transparency.


Q: This is a key position for Central Florida, with the number of visitors we have and influx of people moving here daily and crime being committed by young people – seems as though they are getting younger and younger. Why should voters entrust you to keep them and their families safe?

John W. Mina:

Because I am the only candidate who has a strong record of working in this community to keep it safe. I have been a resident of Orange County for 28 years and have been serving as a law enforcement officer in this community for that long. I am Chief of Police of the largest police department in Central Florida and the 4th largest in all of Florida. Since I have been chief, crime has been reduced and juvenile civil citations which has caused less juveniles to be put in handcuffs and arrested. Simply put, I have proven myself in this community and I am trusted by our residents to keep them safe.

Jose “Joe” Lopez

It is my passion to continue willingness to serve the community as I have been for 40+ years. The reasons for seeking election to be the Sheriff of Orange County is for
three reasons: a better, safer, place for all of us to live, work, play and raise families. I
believe that with my proven effective leadership that the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office will focus upon accomplishing identified goals to reduce youth crimes:

  • Engage the youth at schools and partnering with the private sector, faith-based
    community to mentor and develop after school programs.
  • Leverage the Police Athletic League program and have a robust recruitment process to encourage the youth community to participate.
  • Intelligence: Develop better relationships and trust with the community, so the community can be the eyes and ears and report such crime committed by youth.
  • Resources:  Create a robust Anti-Gang unit that consists of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, to include adjoining counties.
  • Targeting enforcement: Work with the State Attorney’s Office to ensure that the proper maximum sentence is applied so that criminals do not return to the streets and prey on our community.


For more information on the Nov. 6 General Election or early voting, visit the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office website: You can also visit the candidate’s websites for more information.  Mina: and Lopez:




© Orlando Community News, 2018









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