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Girl Power kicks tail— but elephant power can't shatter highest glass

100 of Central Florida's most influential people weigh in on current events. Read their thoughts on the biggest stories of the week and see what they think will make headlines next week.

Robert Agrusa, executive director of BusinessForce

BLAME GEORGE SORORS. Last week: Election Day taught us a lot of things. While many pro-business candidates succeeded in winning their respective elections, George Soros and other out-of-state special interests poured millions of dollars into our region and played a heavy hand in a number of down ballot races, including races for County Commission and the Florida Legislature. Soros' interest in metro Orlando area is unlikely to wane in coming cycles and there was heavy union investment aimed at Hispanic/Latino voters. Outside special interest dumping money into our community during a presidential year is not a new phenomenon, but national Soros-funded or union-backed organizations getting involved in local elections is notable. Voters should consider what George Soros hopes to achieve by placing these political ideologues into elected office.

PITCH FOR BIPARTISANSHIP. Looking ahead: Nationally and locally, it is almost impossible to overstate just how unprecedented this election was. The way in which political campaigns operate and the types of candidates that run for office will be different moving forward. This also runs true here in Central Florida as voters chose several new and diverse, faces to represent our community in Washington, D.C., Tallahassee and at the local level. With Republicans gaining control of both houses of Congress and a majority in Tallahassee, it would behoove each of our newly elected officials to focus on bipartisan issues important to our community, including transportation, infrastructure, and ways to grow and improve our economy for all hardworking families rather than mimicking the political gamesmanship and gridlock that shutdown D.C. over the past few years.

Marci Arthur, Truffles and Trifles

THE BIGGEST 'F--- YOU' IN HUMAN HISTORY. Last week: As I sat in my office watching the election results, I was reminded of what Michael Moore said, “Trump’s election is going to be the biggest “f--- you” ever recorded in human history — and it will feel good … Whether Trump means it or not is kind of irrelevant because he’s saying the things to people who are hurting, and that’s why every beaten-down, nameless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called the middle class loves Trump." This is heart-breaking because these people cannot see the forest for the trees.

Looking ahead:

Randy Berridge, president, Florida High Tech Council

SBIR/STTR CONFERENCE. Looking ahead: In supporting our business and innovation economy, we have to remember that growing venture capital and other opportunities for funding must include access to federal grants. The University of Central Florida will host the 18th Annual SBIR/STTR conference this week which will help guide more than 1,000 attendees in securing these grants. Hosting these opportunities in our back yard puts a spotlight on our universities, companies and business-friendly environment.

Robert H. "Bob" Brown, president/CEO, Heart of Florida United Way

VETERAN-FRIENDLY ORLANDO. Last week: According to a recent study by WalletHub, Orlando ranked 10th out of the top 100 largest U.S. cities for veteran-friendliness. Although I’m happy to hear we ranked so high based on the factors examined — jobs, economy, quality of life and health — quite frankly, I’m surprised. Our community is working hard for vets. We’re making progress. We’re breaking down barriers and improving lives. But, we still have a lot of work to be done. I believe that we can do even better, and I believe we will. Our veterans deserve such. Especially during this time of commemoration, but also year-round, think about what you can do. Thank your service members and military families who have sacrificed so much for our country.

CONCERNS ABOUT PHILANTHROPY. Looking ahead: The election happened. Looking ahead, what does this mean for philanthropy in our country? According to an analysis by the independent Tax Policy Center released last week, it’s anticipated that charitable giving will fall next year by at least 4.5 percent or up to 9 percent — accounting for a loss of $13.5 billion to $26.1 billion, respectively. In addition to this constriction, I’m concerned about two things. One: the potential for further cuts being made to federal social service spending — placing an even heavier burden on the nonprofits fighting to keep people’s lives from unraveling. Two: charitable deductions being limited, which play a role in financing our work. Combining a climate of uncertainty with fewer dollars available to assist the people knocking on our door, thrown on top of decreased incentive to give sounds like the perfect storm.

Gary Cain, Boys and Girls Clubs

IMMIGRANT VOTERS. Last week: I was touched by the article in Monday’s Sentinel about immigrant voters. The new citizens profiled didn’t all agree on presidential candidates, but they spoke with unanimity on what a privilege and responsibility it is to vote. Americans who chose not to vote on Tuesday should have to explain their choice to immigrants who toil and sacrifice for the privilege.

Chris Carmody, attorney and lobbyist, GrayRobinson

SPECULATION ABOUNDS. Last week: President-Elect Trump must now start transitioning into the Presidency. And once the niceties of joint meetings between him and current leaders conclude, this week he will begin the process of recruiting, vetting and nominating leaders to his cabinet. Fortunately, he won't have to look far from his Florida home in Mara Lago to find worthy candidates. Attorney General Pam Bondi will certainly be on his short list for positions. With her background as a state attorney, she will be an easy choice for many posts. So will outgoing Congressman John Mica, who served most of his congressional career on the Transportation Committee. He would be a natural choice for Secretary. Stay tuned.

GIRL POWER. Looking ahead: Yes, those that were hoping Secretary Clinton would shatter the glass ceiling were left disappointed. But without a headline or much acknowledgement, Tuesday marked a major move on the Orange County Commission. With the election of Emily Bonilla (District 5) and Betsy Vanderlay (District 1), the Commission now has five females (plus two men) constituting a super majority of girl power. Does that make up for those disappointed in Secretary Clinton's loss? Probably not. But it is special to see that our metropolitan Orange County has embraced its female leaders. And without a second thought.

Rudolph C. Cleare, executive vice president, The ‘Negro Spiritual’ Scholarship Foundation

'THE BATTLE DONE'? NOT QUITE. Last week: At Catholic funerals in my childhood we sang an Easter hymn which opens thus: “The strife is o’er; the battle done. The victory of life is won.” That is most certainly not the song of our society’s most progressive-minded-persons right now. We have lost a battle, gone down in defeat, and face — more likely than not — a time of considerable strife ahead. The post-election address by Secretary Clinton prodding us to press on and not be weary was something akin to healing balm, but I am not yet there. I think we will mostly have to stand by with folded arms and let the experiment in restorative (GREAT AGAIN) social and economic engineering either prove itself or fail. We keep vigil beside a comatose democracy in the meantime.

PULSE PURCHASE. Looking ahead: Mayor Buddy Dyer’s recent announcement confirming the purchase of the site of the Pulse massacre with public funds is laudatory. I think it signals an awareness that local history matters. I think is says that this community cares. I think it says that — at least in some quarters — love trumps hate. I think as simple an action as this puts more meat on the bones of our duty to acknowledge persons or groups once routinely denigrated and considered least among us. We make our history as we live. A fitting public space calling that June morning of sorrow to remembrance should help future Orlando residents and visitors ponder this evident truth.

James Coffin, executive director, Interfaith Council of Central Florida

WILL GOP CHOOSE VENGEANCE? Looking ahead: With Republicans having the presidency and a majority in both the House and Senate, they’re in an ideal position to solve many of our nation’s most pressing problems. But they must resist the distraction of heaping just a bit more vengeance on their vanquished foe, Hillary Clinton. Forget more hearings and investigations. She lost. She’s history. Move on. In the spirit of the great Republican Abraham Lincoln: “With malice toward none, with charity for all,” seek to “bind up the nation's wounds” so we “may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

Lee Constantine, commissioner, Seminole County

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE. Last week: The shock many feel following the election results reminds me of another time in our history. Early in the 20th century, another nontraditional populist Republican from New York came to power. The people of America were in turmoil. Our country was changing from rural to an exploding industrial revolution. With enormous energy, Teddy Roosevelt broke up the monopolies, put our economy on solid ground for all and gave us our national parks. His “speak softly but carry a big stick” diplomacy made America a world power. He became one of our most popular Presidents ever. We can only hope our new President uses him as an example.

Richard Crotty, former mayor, Orange County

PARTISANSHIP. Last week: ! Orange and Osceola counties are a Blue Island surrounded by Red. If you live there, your Congressman is a Democrat and your state legislator is increasingly likely to be. Partisanship provides a “check and balance” of power that often results in consensus. It may also result in the defeat of the most effective members of Congress. Bipartisanship matters! President Obama, President-Elect Trump and Secretary Clinton showed class in encouraging post-election unity. Partisanship does not matter. Ask the defeated County Commissioner who pushed for urban sprawl in east Orange County, which had been previously opposed by three former county mayors. Or ask the citizen whose house is on fire if they care more about response time or whether the mayor is a Republican or Democrat. Orange County voters were correct to make local officials nonpartisan and term-limited.

TRANSITION. Looking ahead: Let the transition begin. One of the most important decisions a President can make is selecting his staff and Cabinet. Given the schism that existed between Secretary Clinton and President-elect Trump much doubt was in play. An outstanding choice for Chief of Staff is Reince Priebus with his connection to Speaker Ryan. Priebus has already shown remarkable leadership in uniting Republicans with the Trump Campaign as Chairman of the Republican National Committee, which would send a strong message of harmony among Republicans. President-elect Trump can be effective by collaborating with the Speaker and Congress. A lot of interesting names have been floated for Cabinet level positions in the Trump administration. Just saying.

Earnest DeLoach Jr., lawyer, Gunster

THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE DAMNED. Last week: Republican. Democrat. What does that mean anymore? The familiar descriptors that we've always looked to determine who and what we are to each other has been irreparably altered. Gone are the neat categories of conservative and liberal; statesman and policy wonk. The political indicators now sound like rejected Marvel Studio villain names: Shrill. Big Hands. Low Energy. Lyin' Ted. Crooked Hillary. All pseudonyms bestowed by the Strong Man. I'm guilty too. I have publicly referred to Trump as Generalissimo; a reference to his fascist tendencies. Trump has presided over not a revolution, but a devolution: of decency and respect. He has commandeered sensibility and replaced it with fear. And we've all fallen victim to it. We've allowed our neighbor's sincerity, honesty, patriotism, and even citizenship to be openly questioned on the basis of what barely constitutes rational thought, much less fact. We've argued over which lives matter who's a terrorist based on religion or ethnicity rather than actions or animus. And why? Because we have become a nation of us and them. Assimilate or leave. Take it or leave it. So who are we? The post-Pulse community of love? The city that eradicated veteran homelessness? A region that elected an Asian female, a black female and an Hispanic male to Congress? Or a state that gave its electoral harvest to a bully? The epidermis has been removed and our character has been exposed as never before. In 2008, I vowed to never forget where I stood in helping to elect a president. In 2016, I will remember where others stood to do the same. That's who we are now: the righteous and the damned.

Tom Dyer, lawyer, founder of Watermark

WHAT NOW? Last week: Was Donald Trump’s campaign mostly bluster? The wall, the bombing, the ban on Muslims ... all part of a populist sales pitch? I think many of his supporters hope so. Either way, the President-elect has no experience governing and will have to rely on others. If Trump surrounds himself with the likes of Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich and Rudy Guliani, we’ll know that he’s embraced a limited vision and bullying modus operandi. On social issues like abortion and LGBT equality, if he leans too heavily on the counsel of evangelical Vice President Mike Pence he will ignite a culture war.

OBAMACARE'S CHALLANGE. Looking ahead: Obamacare will provide the Trump administration with its first big test. The President-elect vowed to repeal it “very, very quickly.” Will he stick to his word? And will he approach it with the nuance required? The Affordable Care Act provides more than 20 million Americans with insurance. How will he unwind that? What will replace it? And Trump says he wants to protect those with pre-existing medical conditions. Insurance companies say that can’t be done without requiring coverage for everyone. Trump and the Republican Congress have painted themselves into a corner. Expect backlash.

Anna V. Eskamani, senior director of public affairs and communications for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida

THE TOUGH GET TOUGHER. Last week: My heart aches for the fact that our nation has elected a president who has made a career off oppressing those who already have so little. As a woman of color to immigrant parents I feel rejected by a nation that my family came to in search of a better life. Despite this, I know that there is power to find in my pain. And when the going gets tough, the tough get tougher. I am honored to continue my role in ensuring that all people will have full access to reproductive health so that they can lead a happy and healthy life.

PERSISTENCE, PROGRESSIVES. Looking ahead: As we continue to process what a Donald Trump win means for our nation and community I think it is important to stress the need for long term planning. Change will not come with a burst of energy or enthusiasm. It comes with a consistent persistence for something greater than ourselves. Progressive community leaders and groups will be coming together this week to assess what went wrong during the 2016 election cycle, what can we do to mitigate the damage of a Trump presidency, and what steps can be taken collectively to ensure that hate and bigotry never win again.

John Evans, consultant for global investment firm; former congressional staffer

'LEX REX.' Last week: Remember “Lex Rex”? No, he wasn’t a linebacker in the SEC. “Lex Rex” was among the most important books written in human history. Samuel Rutherford, a 17th-century Presbyterian minister author, taking cues from the Magna Carta, wanted to enshrine the notion that no ruler was above the law. His “Lex Rex” informed our Declaration of Independence. Think of Nixon, and his 18 minutes of tapes, waving goodbye and boarding the helicopter. “Lex Rex” was showing muscle, holding the line of scrimmage. “Similarly,” said Del Air executive Richard Clarke, “Rex inspired the electorate in response to Hillary’s 18,000 vanished emails, last Tuesday.”

Mark Freid - Owner Think Creative Inc., Founder Happiness Counts, Board President Holocaust Center

LOOKING FOR LEADERS. Last week: I taught my children to respect the rules, and so we accept the results of the election even though the outcome was not what we wanted. I also taught my children to respect all people, and so I encourage them to look elsewhere for their role models. Fortunately, we live in a community where those models of respect and acceptance are easy to find — within Central Florida’s committed and compassionate nonprofit community, within our incredible colleges, universities and public and private schools, among our business and civic leaders, within our diverse faith community, and within our own neighborhoods. What I tell my children I also tell myself, there is no shortage of leaders who share my vision of a world in which all people are valued and respect. And so I remain filled with hope.

Rogue Gallart, president, Central Florida Disability Chamber

IT IS FINISHED. Last week: Election 2016 is over, finished, Es ist aus, È finite, Acabou, 結束了, Se acabó, انتهى, Li nan plis pase, Tapos na, זה נגמר and खत्म हो गया. Whichever language or dialect you use "we are all just citizens of the world" as my good friend Duval Manfouben Louis would say. Monty Python would say … “And now for something completely different." Next!

Jane Healy, former editorial page editor/managing editor, Orlando Sentinel

WILL TED EDWARDS SALVAGE HIS LEGACY? Looking ahead: The resounding defeat Tuesday of Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards should serve as a cautionary tale for other politicians: you face peril when you try to despoil a treasured environment. Edwards led the charge for two mega-developments near the Econlockhatchee River in east Orange. His opponent, Emily Bonilla, based her entire candidacy on Edwards' championing of those projects. But Edwards has a chance to right one of those wrongs Tuesday when Sustany comes up for final approval. A vote by him against it would kill the project because three other commissioners already oppose it. He could do the right thing and salvage a bit of his legacy.

Eric Jackson, president/CEO, Total Roof Services Corp.

THE GREATEST OR THE WORST PRESIDENCY. Last week: The grand experiment has begun. Trump wins and for the first time in modern history a non-politician will lead our country. I have said from the beginning that a Trump presidency will either be the greatest or the worst one we have ever had with no middle ground. Let’s hope that with the “draining of the swamp” we don’t also throw out the baby with the bath water!

Belinda Ortiz Kirkegard, economic development director, Kissimmee

ACTION PLANS. Last week: It’s not uncommon in any election cycle for there to be campaign advertisement "fatigue," right before an election. However, I view the advertisements differently. I see them as an opportunity for the winning candidates to create an action plan of what needs "fixing" — not just what they’ve touted on the campaign, but what their opponents have also shed light on. As we wrap up this 2016 campaign season, I look forward to seeing the action plans of the recently elected officials and look forward to a great 2017 for our CFL community!

HOLIDAY TRAVEL. Looking ahead: My predictions for next week’s hot topic — The potential of setting holiday travel records. If current levels of visitors during this down time are any indication — I think we’re poised to have a visitor record breaking holiday season in Central Florida.

David Leavitt, Libertarian Party leader, businessman

FLORIDA VOTERS SAW THROUGH POWER COMPANIES' DECEIT. Last week: It was the most repulsive move the monopoly power companies in Florida ever made - masking a pro-solar initiative as anything but pro-solar, to protect their interests and to prevent competition from a competitive energy source. The power company excuses are reminiscent of the federal government’s breakup of the AT&T monopoly in the 1980’s when AT&T executives tried to convince a federal panel that the investments in cabling infrastructure and equipment would be too great if the AT&T monopoly were broken up. We are all reaping the benefits of that breakup, as we will with real competition in the energy space.

REMEMBER TRUMP'S VOW ON MARIJUANA? Looking ahead: The end of marijuana prohibition leaped closer to a reality thanks to initiatives in five more states passing on Tuesday. North Dakota, Arkansas, Massachusetts, California, and Florida all passed amendments to their state’s constitutions allowing the recreational or medical use of marijuana. There are now 30 states in the USA that have legalized cannabis for recreational or medical use. President-elect Donald Trump vowed to remove marijuana from Schedule 1 classification ‘to Schedule 2 or lower’. While a move in the right direction, if reclassified to Schedule 2, then the U.S. FDA would get involved, which would open up another ball of wax.

Ken LaRoe, founder and chairman of First GREEN Bank

GOOD OR BAD? WE DON'T KNOW. Last week: Following the shocking presidential election, a friend of mine said “don’t just do something … stand there!” We all just need to stand there for about two weeks. Take it one day at a time and if you can’t do that, take it an hour at a time. We don’t know if this election is good or bad. One thing is however certain; we must respond with compassion. That is compassion for our co-workers who didn’t vote the way we did. Compassion for family members who we feel didn’t think this election through. And most of all, compassion for ourselves because first and foremost you must take care of the machine that is you.

IN SEARCH OF LASTING CHANGE. Looking ahead: I woke up the morning after the election with this troubling thought: my baby boomer generation was the last generation that could’ve done something about global warming and the first generation to avoid the consequences. Millennials, it’s all you guys now. Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk. Your generation has social media and instant communication. After the two-week cooling off period is over, figure out how to effect lasting change and do it. Some ideas to consider: a viable third party candidate, real rational climate policy, true human rights and a true digital replacement for the fourth estate? It’s all in your power.

Anna McPherson, president of Junior League of Greater Orlando

A SEASON OF GRATITUDE. Looking ahead: This November, our hearts will be warmed by the greatest of American holidays: Thanksgiving. Since the time of the Pilgrims, we’ve gathered around the table including friends, kinfolk, strangers and neighbors for this spectacular feast of gratitude. There is much in Central Florida to be grateful for from the end of a tumultuous and surprising election season to the tear-jerker Thanksgiving Publix ads. Yes, we’ve got a lot more work to do as a community and as a country but taking time out to focus on the good in our lives will help us all move forward as a nation.

Jeffrey Miller, shareholder, SiefertMiller LLC

STAND UP TO BULLYING. Last week: Bullying in public schools appears to be on the rise. This is not unexpected given the current political climate, but a troubling development nonetheless. Effective strategies must be offered to all students, school teachers and administrators to combat this insidious menace. Central Florida is fortunate that The Holocaust Center's Upstanders Stand Up to Bullying Initiative, now in all Orlando middle schools and in Seminole County as well, has started to turn the tide on this huge problem. It can't happen quickly enough.

TRUMP ALLIES: SCHUMER, PELOSI? Looking ahead: As I write, the stock market is hitting all time highs based on investor belief that a Trump presidency will focus on spending, infrastructure, lower taxes at the top and less regulation. It is quite possible that a President Trump will find closer allies in Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on some of these issues than the Republican congressional leadership. In the meantime, there are massive protests in the streets, NATO is holding its breath and Russia is signaling a closer relationship with the US. Hold on to your seats. its going to be a bumpy ride.

Randy Morris, president, RM Strategies; former commissioner, Seminole County

ELEPHANT STAMPEDE/ Looking ahead: Left leaning Congresswomen elect Stephanie Murphy has barely had time to celebrate her narrow victory over conservative incumbent Congressman John Mica and a host Republican names are being floated to replace her in 2018. Murphy ran on a political agenda that is almost completely at odds with Republicans who will now control the Congress along with the White House. As a freshman member in the minority party she will have little opportunity to make a name for herself. In the off-year election of 2018, her politically balanced district will have a significantly higher republican turnout percentage than this presidential year. It could be an elephant stampede of candidates to assure she is one-termer.

Imam Muhammad Musri, president, Islamic Society of Central Florida

REMEMBERING JANET RENO. Last week: Last Monday, Janet Reno, the US's first female attorney general passed away at the age of 78 following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Ms. Reno’s tenure as attorney general saw several challenging events: a deadly federal raid on the compound of a religious cult in Waco, Tex., in 1993, the prosecution of the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, and in 2000, the government’s seizing of Elián González, a young Cuban refugee who was at the center of an international custody battle. Rest in Peace!

PAM BONDI. Looking ahead: Florida’s attorney general Pam Bondi played a strategic role in Trump’s Florida victory, and she might be rewarded with a big job in a Trump administration. Bondi is in her second and final term as Florida’s AG, if she resigns to work for Trump, Gov. Rick Scott would name a replacement to complete her term. Pam Bondi might be eyeing the position of U.S. attorney general and if chosen by Trump, Bondi would be the second woman from Florida to hold that position since Janet Reno, the first woman U.S. attorney general, passed away last week.

Mark E. NeJame, founder, senior partner, NeJame Law

FEELING RAW. Last week: I'm raw. I hope our country can heal from the great divide which exists. There so many on both sides who feel forgotten. Let's hope that we don't switch one group who believe themselves disenfranchised for others who feel similarly so. The pain so many... Muslims, Hispanics, environmentalists, African-Americans, women, the disabled...feel is real. We have an electoral college mandate for change bolstered by control of both the Senate and House. Nevertheless, it appears that the majority of Americans with their popular vote did not vote for our future President. I want to be hopeful ... it's not easy.

Pamela Nabors, president/CEO, CareerSource Central Florida

STAR WARS OR STAR TREK? Last week: I’m a geek at heart. Star Wars or Star Trek? I love ‘em both. My dogs are named Sheldon and Leonard (maybe not). I break into “Time Warp” if I go too long between meetings. If it has blasters, spaceships, loveable nerds, aliens, or convoluted puzzles, chances are, I’m in. Which is why I LOVE the idea of “Geek Bars” - where else can you grab a drink at the Mos Eisley Cantina or pontificate at StarFleet Academy and actually feel like you’re there? I theorize their quantification will exponentially expand…and we can all let our inner nerds geek out!

Looking ahead: Welcome to holiday season, or as I like to say, “Start the oven!” Is it me, or does it seem like each of our holidays has its own food theme? Come to think of it, could there be a better pairing than breaking bread with loved ones while taking time to reflect on, and celebrate, everything for which we are most thankful? I can think of one - add shopping, and let the festivities begin! Small Business Saturday is more than a new tradition – it’s a great way to support local businesses and find unique gifts for those we love.

David Odahowski, president/CEO, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation

'SOCKLESS' HERO. Looking ahead: Tanner Eaves is a real “sockcess” story. Next week, Tanner will be awarded the prestigious Association of Fundraising Professionals, Central Florida Chapter - David R. Roberts Youth in Philanthropy Award. Tanner collects new socks for needy kids. He began to “sock it” to the needs of homeless kids when he was 10 years old collecting 1000 pairs of new socks. Last year with the help of 15 volunteers, 42 collection sites and www.sockdrive.net Tanner collected 17,000 pairs of new socks! And as we all learned in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, "One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore.

Kathleen Oropeza, co-founder, FundEducationNow.org

FLAWED DATA. Last week: The 2016 presidential election is an indictment of all that is wrong with big data. Instead of engaging in authentic dialogue, pollsters showed the world what happens when depending on the ice-cold convenience of data slams into humans who decide that how they vote is no one’s business. Parents and teachers should take note. Big Data is the primary currency used by unqualified legislators and bureaucrats to judge public schools and students. The fallacy of labeling real thinking people using predictive models filled with flawed data assumptions just got real.

KIDS STILL HURTING FROM SCHOOL 'REFORMS.' Looking ahead: In the aftermath of November 8th, public school children are still being hurt by high stakes education “reforms.” That’s the status quo. Many of the most hostile incumbents are returning to office ready to keep pushing a computer based, data obsessed privatization agenda meant to “disrupt” the delivery system of the American dream. We don’t have the luxury of taking our eye off the ball. Our kids don’t get another swipe at 3rd grade, middle or high school. As parents, we know that when the fight is at its darkest; our love is often the only available light.

María T. Padilla, Orlando Latino blog

PROUD OF VOTER TURNOUT. Last week: So many thoughts about Election Day. I was nervous for myself, for my country. And also proud. Early voter turnout shattered records — half of Florida voted before Election Day, including over 1.4 million in our eight-county area. Latinos said "presente." Forget the nasty campaign — people cared about voting, with 73 percent turnout. All is good.

Beverly Paulk, founding member, Central Florida Foundation and The Orlando Philharmonic blog

RICH MATERIAL FOR COMICS. Last week: Two election thoughts help life to feel normal. When we were an active duty military family, new commanding officers were arriving and leaving. The good news was that he or she would lead for three years, and the bad news was that the person would lead for three years. The same holds true today. It’s also great to find laughter, escape, and wisdom with newspaper comics and television's comedians. Writers, artists, and comedians should be delighted professionally at the election’s results. We should continue enjoying their richness of material for the next four years.

Larry Pino, attorney and founder, private equity firm

EMERGING FLORIDA COALITION Looking ahead: Same-sex marriage was legally recognized in Florida on January 6th, 2015. Medical marijuana was made legal in Florida on November 8th, 2016 by an overwhelming vote of 71%. Florida became a red-state for the first time in eight years on that same day with a popular vote margin of 120,000 for President-Elect Donald Trump. And, what happens in Florida has routinely become national news. Florida has gone from an optional state to a must-secure state – a microcosm of an emerging popular coalition that is less about ideology and more about common sense. Both major political parties will be wise to embrace Florida as the epicenter of an emerging national coalition.

Stephanie Porta, executive director, @OrgNow

THE POWER OF EMILY BONILLA. Last week: Emily Bonilla became the first ever Puerto Rican Democrat elected to the County Commission. An smart-development environmental activist beat developers’ biggest sweet heart on the County Commission—Ted Edwards. Let’s not forget Ted Edwards terrible history fighting his own constituents and preventing voters from having access to paid sick time in 2012. The people decided it was time to have someone fighting for their interests. The ousting of Ted Edwards and replacement with a populist activist clearly demonstrates that the wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.

ORGANIZING THE LEFT. Looking ahead: The left is feeling the sting of losing the White House and Congress. But activists and organizers are left with one choice, mourn our losses and then resist and organize. 2018 can be what 2010 was for the right wing. For the first time in nearly a dozen years, the masses are reaching out to organizers and asking “what can we do?” The answer is organize. Join me. Who else is with me?

Nick Primrose, lawyer and president of the Orange County Young Republicans

GOP MUSCLE IN HOUSE RACES. Last week: Every Republican State Representative running for re-election in Orange County won. Even though both Hillary and Patrick Murphy easily carried Orange County, by 134,000 and 64,000 votes respectively, Central Florida voters decided that current Republican State Representatives Bob Cortes, Eric Eisnaugle, Mike Miller, Rene Plasencia, and Jennifer Sullivan deserved to go back to Tallahassee. This is a testament to their commitment to finding solutions that benefit our community. Having Central Florida delegation with growing seniority in Tallahassee will only continue to benefit all of us.

THE LAWSUIT, PART 2. Looking ahead: Look for some, if not all, of the Orange County officers (Clerk of Courts, Comptroller, Property Appraiser, Sheriff, Supervisor of Elections, and Tax Collector) to file another lawsuit in an attempt to delegitimize the voice of the people. For the second time in two years, voters approved Charter Amendments making these positions nonpartisan and subject to term limits. Some of these individuals might put personal need for power over the will of the people by seeking a court ruling invalidating the Amendments. Let’s just hope they do not try use taxpayer money again when they file suit.

Joanie Holzer Schirm, author; former president of Geotech

ADVICE FOR TRUMP. Last week: Orlando is internationally diverse in population and visitors. The selection of a President does impact our well-being as the world wonders what kind of people we really are. To avoid pitfalls that affect our world here’s advice to Donald Trump. Learn that what a President says really matters. Don’t speak without thinking through what you want to say. Carefully phrase it in words that can be translated well into 100’s of languages and not off-putting to other cultures. Kindness trumps bullying. Get rid of your Twitter account. You too should stay away from emails. Convene the former Presidents and listen and learn.

REMEMBER NEWT GINGRICH'S WORDS. Looking ahead: Now that the biggest outsider ever is taking leadership of our country and stated he wants to bring America together, why would he tap former insider House Speaker Newt Gingrich for any position? In 1990 Gingrich wrote a letter to fellow Republicans titled “Language, a Key Mechanism of Control.” It encouraged the use of words to describe Democrats as “radical,” “sick” and traitors” and for Republicans to use “optimistic, positive governing words” such as “opportunity, courage, and principled” which came from pollster Frank Luntz. Beginning an acrimonious political era that still haunts and plays out today, Gingrich’s approach drives Americans dangerously apart.

Kathy Schmitz, minister, First Unitarian Church

WHOSE COUNTRY IS BACK? Last week: A friend in South Florida (mature woman, hair in a "boy-cut") was shopping when verbally assaulted by a man who, unprovoked, pulled his cart next to hers and snarled in her face, "I'M A DEPLORABLE AND WE GOT OUR COUNTRY BACK, HA!!" Meanwhile, my grandsons’ friends are worrying about walls separating them from friends and family. Some say they voted for Trump in spite of his hate language not because of it. Now would be the time for these folks to become vocal about where they disagree with him. The emotional and physical safety of our communities depends on it.

UNITY AS EMPTY GOP CATCH PHRASE. Looking ahead: Now we hear calls for unity. We are going to need a deep and serious conversation about what the word unity means. Unity is defined as the combining of parts into a whole. The unity I am willing to work for will need to include all the parts of our nation, in their entirety. It will need to include Muslims with their faith and Mexicans with their heritage and the LGBT+ community with the families they have created and women as full human beings. The list goes on. I’m all for real unity, but not for an empty catch phrase.

Michael Slaymaker, professional fundraising executive

ARE THEY COMING FOR YOU? Last week: In the United States they first they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Muslim. Then they came for the illegal immigrants, and I did not speak out— because I was deemed legal. Then they came to frack for oil, and I did not speak out— because it doesn’t make sense to risk the aquafers. Then they came for the Blacks, and I did not speak out— because I was not Black. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak up.

PHILANTHROPY DAY. Looking ahead: National Philanthropy Day will be held on Friday, Nov. 18 at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando. The Association of Fundraising Professionals organizes this annual recognition of our community’s most philanthropic individuals, corporations and foundation. The Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed on Bruce Homes, President of WELBRO Building Corporation. In the 80s he generated millions for Give Kids the World. He and his wife, Kathie, adopted all three of their foster children. He served nine years on the board of the Children’s Home Society. An honor well deserved. Congratulations, Bruce!

Kannan Srinivasan, president/CEO, Global KTech; president-elect, Asian American Chamber of

Uber Launches New UberEATS App in Orlando. Last week: Uber launched the new UberEATS app in Orlando. UberEATS Orlando aims to offer restaurants a reliable delivery option and helps them connect with even more customers. This month Orlando was named the best “foodie” city in America out of 150 cities nationwide by WalletHub.

Medical Marijuana Vote. Looking ahead: Floridians voted for Constitutional Amendment 2 in the ballot. There are some questions for employers, about whether and to what extent the use of the drug by applicants and employees will need to be accommodated.

David Strong, president/CEO, Orlando Health

SUPPORT FOR FIRST RESPONDERS. Last week: The overwhelming support for Amendment 3, relieving Florida’s totally and permanently disabled first responders from paying property taxes, underscores the debt we owe those who come to our aid in times of crisis. Too often their service takes a physical toll, with responders being paralyzed or even killed as they protect us. This year more than 120 police officers already have been killed while on duty, including in an ambush Thursday in Pennsylvania. By targeting our first responders, criminals attack the safety of each citizen. That’s why these public servants deserve not only our support, but our respect and gratitude.

David D. Swanson, senior pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Orlando

CAN YOU LISTEN? Last week: The stunning part of last week was our profound inability to listen. For months, people were speaking, but the pundits and media were not listening such that they got the entire thing wrong. For months, people talked at each other on social media or television. Instead of listening, we were forming our retort in our minds. In failing to listen, we fail to know one another and the fragile threads of our culture begin to unravel. People are hurting on both sides. People are fearful. Stop making your point and listen to the hearts and hurts in our common humanity. Only then can we begin to form a more perfect union.

THE ONLY WAY TO RESTORE UNITY. Looking ahead: This coming week, people will still be hungry. They will still be homeless. They will still be caught in human trafficking. They will still experience illness and loss and grief and shame and loneliness. They will still wonder what all this means and why their lives matter. Regardless of who sits in the White House, our task as human beings remains the same. We use our gifts and our energy to create cultures in which all people can truly flourish and we do it by getting outside of ourselves and serving others. On that common ground, our unity can be restored.

Tara Tedrow, attorney, Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A.

DEAD-WRONG POLLSTERS. Last week: No surprise, the 2016 election takes the cake. Millions were glued to their TVs watching the numbers roll in like a game of political Powerball. Though many were, and still are, shocked that Trump pulled off the win, we should be more shocked that so many pollsters and pundits were dead wrong on their predictions. Nate Silver and Allan J. Lichtman emerged as star soothsayers, correctly predicting the winner despite an overwhelming majority of naysaying experts. Though Hillary and independent voters are despondent, let’s all wait and see what’s in store before checking out real estate options in Canada.

HOUSING MARKET STRONG. Looking ahead: Reports indicate that Florida’s housing market remains strong and the rise of new multifamily developments reflect that trend. Many new housing options are hitting the Central Florida market, including Baldwin Harbor, a new apartment project developed by Orlando-based ZOM in Baldwin Park. ZOM’s luxury multifamily project includes 483 units nestled on two waterfront parcels. Baldwin Harbor’s grand opening is scheduled for next week.

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