While Attention Is Cast on Race For District 5, Trouble Abounds at the Top

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Photo courtesy of Orlando Sentinel / Orlando City Commissioner Daisy Lynum

Orlando isn’t necessarily considered a hot bed for political stories, so anytime something alters the status quo in the city, it makes headlines.

Last week, Orlando City Commissioner Daisy Lynum abruptly retired from the seat that she’s held for the last 16 years. She was fighting for her political life as two opponents, Regina Hill and Cynthia Harris, were contesting to take over the role of commissioner for District Five.

In an effort to “continue the legacy of leadership” that Ms. Lynum has constructed over the last decade and a half, her son Juan entered the race this past Friday to try to take her place.

Mr. Lynum noted that he’s running “to sustain the programs and initiatives that Commissioner Daisy Lynum established and for us to build on that foundation.”

While some may disagree with his reasoning for wanting to run, his challengers included, there are issues facing the district that aren’t necessarily the fault of Commissioner Lynum.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was elected back in 2003 and said in his inaugural address that he wants his success as mayor to be measured by his ability to rebuild the community of Parramore; a community represented on the city commission by Ms. Lynum.

Since that speech, Dyer has intently worked to transform Parramore into a contemporary utopia. From the destruction of the old Amway Arena to the recent soccer stadium deal, Parramore is being reconstructed through Dyers vision.

It may not be the Parramore that many who value the history and legacy of the community want, but it surely fits the eye of Mayor Dyer. There hasn’t been a concerted effort put forth by the mayor to preserve Parramore’s history, or the city of Orlando’s history for that matter.

Dyers vision is fixated toward growth without regard to the tattered trail he leaves behind.

In his inaugural speech, Dyer talked about the working poor and a robust living wage. In his latest State of the City speech from February 2013, Dyer didn’t mention the poor. He didn’t talk about attempting to fix Orlando’s ranking as the lowest-paying major metropolitan area in the nation.

Instead he mentioned Sun Rail, building a new soccer stadium, renovating the Citrus Bowl and lowering property crime. Dyer seemed progressive in his first speech, since then, he hasn’t shown much progress toward improving the lives of the working class and working poor.

Commissioner Lynum has been criticized for not voicing enough of an opposition to Dyer’s agenda , failing to create more employment and economic opportunities for the residents of Parramore and not offering respect to her constituents.

That may all be up for debate, but what Dyer has done to the community of Parramore and the city of Orlando seems to be much worse.

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Photo courtesy of Orlando Sentinel / Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer

According to a recent column by Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel, Dyer wants to give the Orlando Solar Bears, the city’s minor league hockey team, almost $400,000 in fees and revenues; all money the city currently receives.

The team will also receive a $100,000 “advertising payment” from Orlando for at least the next two years.

Maxwell also notes that these deals weren’t confirmed by the city commission.

The latest round of bad news for Mayor Dyer is that he wants to tear down historic Tinker Field to make way for the reconstruction of the Citrus Bowl. The only problem with that is he didn’t warn or tell the commission that he planned to tear it down. In talking about the expected demolition of the field, Commissioner Sam Ings called Dyer’s blatant disregard for the field as “malfeasance.”

Where is the outrage over Dyer’s behavior compared to that of Commissioner Lynum?

Understandably, there is anger at Commissioner Lynum. She’s the proxy for the voters of district five and many believe that the voters of that district deserve someone better. Parramore seems to be dying a slow death and many of the residents are considered working poor or just poor.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Parramore won’t be fixed in one. While Commissioner Lynum shoulders some of the blame for what’s happened in her district, Dyers takes the king’s ransom.

Orlando may look good on the outside because of its tall buildings, new venues, shiny sports teams and progressive tint. On the inside it has a deep void; a legacy of gating residents off from city commissioned events, a sinking working class, a rising rate of disgruntled voters, and a mayor with a history of being politically nonchalant to the voters who matter the least.

For the voters of District Five, choose the candidate who will best represent the interests of the community at City Hall. Once that is done, turn your ire toward the politician who is tearing a part the community and changing it into something unrecognizable.

Until some of the anger and outrage is focused and pointed, everything that’s being fought over right now is for naught.

-JH

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