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The latest on Orange County's texting scandal

Will LOLTEXTGATE be Mayor Teresa Jacobs' lasting legacy



You know that thing where you imagine something that you want and then, miraculously, you get it? Well, there was something of a The Secret tone to Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacob's aspirational performance at the Feb. 13 League of Women Voters of Orange County luncheon. Prompted by Fox 35 reporter (and event moderator) Shannon Butler to comment on the tip-of-everyone's-tongue LOLTEXTGATE issue, Jacobs cautiously demurred that she wasn't really able to talk about it because of the ongoing Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation. So that was that.

Or perhaps it should have been. An audience member questioned whether Jacobs was in support of the recent legislation filed in Tallahassee that would pre-empt the home rule of counties by forbidding them from establishing their own policies mandating earned sick time. Jacobs wide-angled the issue, saying that while she was sometimes in support of county-specific initiatives, she just wasn't there on this one, and would be supporting the pre-emptive legislation. Both ways. Have it.

But Jacobs eventually circled back around to the issue without prompting and reminded the audience that she had in fact voted to put the sick time measure on the November ballot, and once this whole skirmish with FDLE was settled, she would see to it that it found its place on a future ballot. Which would be impossible should the proposed statewide legislation pass.

Oh, and here's the kicker. Asked about her lasting legacy (in soft focus), Jacobs said that she came into office saying, "All I want to build is public trust." Ha. Which is sort of what she wants to be remembered for. "I would like to be remembered as someone you can trust," said the lady under state investigation. (On Feb. 15, a panel of local circuit judges ordered the county to put sick time on the next ballot.)

Organize Now executive director Stephanie Porta responds thusly: "She's claiming to support pre-emption, yet thinks 'protecting local control is critical to preserving the power of citizens to affect change within their community.' She fought tooth and nail to keep earned sick time off the ballot, but she hopes it gets on the ballot. She ran on transparency and is the poster child for Textgate. She wants her legacy to be having instilled more faith in government? Right on, Teresa."


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