Monday Musings: Orlando painted purple, Rep. Edwards op-ed and Governor Scott’s PR problems

Katy Burnett is on assignment this week in Tallahassee. 

This weekend was Orlando City SC’s first MLS game. I attended the first MLS game for both the now defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny and (Fort Lauderdale) Fusion FC. Those two clubs are the only two MLS teams to ever go out of business in the league’s 20 year history although the story as to why both clubs failed is complicated. Both those teams had been crowds for the opening games and in Tampa Bay’s case crowds kept coming for a few years – the Tampa Bay area after all was the second best pro soccer market in the United States in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  I also worked as a Communications Director for the first game of both the return of the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Florida has a lot of critics in the soccer world, due to these failures, the struggles of lower division teams in the state, and Miami’s ability to consistently draw 65,000 plus fans for games involving international clubs or national teams but never more than 10,000-12,000 for domestic games. The theory is domestic soccer just doesn’t work here and that the market will only gravitate to big names and teams. Orlando proved that differently. Upon arriving in town, Stephanie Porta dragged me from store to store to find purple paraphernalia for her game-day wardrobe. But it was a difficult chore, because store shelves throughout the area were emptied of anything purple and the town was essentially painted purple. But after several stops Stephanie put together quite a look for the first game (those of you who are friends with Stephanie or me on Facebook can see the pics).

From a media operations standpoint having been in charge of many events in my time with the rival NASL league, Orlando City did very well. They even had my picture on my season credential without me sending them one or posing for one! Talk about a resourceful press shop, that used previous photos!  It was a special day for soccer in the state of Florida. In just a few short weeks, Jacksonville will host their first high-level professional regular season game since 1982 (some would say 1999 but I will say 1982). I will be there as well and look forward to that opening – Jacksonville has been the feel-good story of the offseason in American soccer.  My full report can be found via World Soccer Talk at this link.  – KK @kkfla737 

We’ve featured Rep. Katie Edwards important Criminal Justice bill, HB 783 on this site multiple times. This is an important piece of legislation all progressives should jump behind. This morning, Rep. Edwards penned an excellent op-ed for her hometown newspaper, The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Here is the piece.  – KK @kkfla737 

Governor Scott’s hiring of a PR firm to sure up his standing indicates how weak he is. Furthermore, his unwillingness to back either Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio might seem safe politically, but is in fact another indication that the Governor is weak and indecisive at important moments. Unlike Bush who was decisive to a fault and thus more dangerous and destructive than Scott, the current Governor lacks the confidence or courage in his convictions to do anything with gusto. Ultimately for Florida’s progressive community that might be a good thing, because the Scott years will in the end prove to be less damaging than the Bush years were for our side of things. – KK @kkfla737 

10 comments

  1. I’d love to read Katie’s op-ed but it requires a subscription.

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    1. From the Sun Sentinel: Justice should be age-appropriate
      By Katie Edwards

      At 16, Oliver was prosecuted in adult court for stealing two laptops from a high school classroom. At 17, Matthew was prosecuted in adult court for stealing a printer from the back porch of a house. Before they even graduated from high school, Oliver and Matthew became convicted felons – a designation that will affect the rest of their lives – impacting their ability to get jobs, find housing, vote or get student loans.

      Many people know that children in Florida can be tried as adults for serious crimes. But youth who are convicted of murder represent a tiny minority of children who are tried as adults. More than 60 percent of youth transferred to adult court are charged with nonviolent felonies.

      Almost all, 98 percent, of youth tried in adult court end up there because of our state’s “direct file” statute. It’s a process that gives prosecutors the sole discretion to decide whether a youth should be in the adult system, with no involvement by a judge. This broad discretion results in vast disparities between the judicial circuits, meaning that youths who commit the same crime, with the same facts, in St. Petersburg and Jacksonville face far different odds they will end up in adult court.

      One thing we can agree on is justice should be consistent. For young offenders in Florida, it’s anything but.
      One offender may go to the juvenile justice system, where the focus is on rehabilitation and getting needed help to become a productive member of society. The other may end up in the Department of Corrections, without access to services, learning how to be a better criminal from the seasoned adult prisoners there.

      The societal costs for youth in the adult system are massive. Multiple studies have shown that recidivism among teens thrown into adult court by the direct file process is more than 30 percent.

      Our state can do better. That is why I filed HB 783.
      The legislation does not abolish direct file, nor does it prevent a prosecutor from charging as an adult a youth who commits a heinous crime. Instead, it reforms the system, making sure that prosecutors cannot use the threat of adult sanctions to force a youth to plead to a lesser charge – a frequent tactic in many judicial circuits.

      Before filing HB 783, I talked to experts on the issue, including defense attorneys, prosecutors and law enforcement, and addressed their concerns in the legislation. The result is a bill that allows a prosecutor the option to direct file a 17-year-old defendant who has committed multiple armed robberies, but also makes sure that the 15-year-old who steals her neighbor’s bicycle gets the help she needs.

      All of us have stories about the stupid things we did while we were teenagers. Looking back, we shake our heads and say “I have no idea why I did that.”

      This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t hold teenagers accountable for breaking the law, just that we should do it in an age-appropriate way, without lifetime consequences

      Our society already recognizes that youth are different; we say those under 18 cannot vote, cannot enter into binding contracts and cannot serve our country in the military. We say that those under 21 are too immature to handle the effects of alcohol. We should not have a different standard in our criminal justice system.

      Justice should be consistent. Justice should be effective. Justice should have the capacity for compassion when it’s appropriate. Let’s make these aims the law in Florida and make needed changes to the state’s direct file system.

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  2. Fla Dem · · Reply

    Katie Edwards is a republican. Stop promoting her.

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    1. Stop trolling please Fla Dem.

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  3. Miami Ultra · · Reply

    You are such a POS…

    Tampa and Orlando lover.

    Miami and Fort Lauderdake hater.

    It’s upsetting you’ll be on ultras alive tonight to promote OC$C and the criminal Tampons.

    Move to that part of the state. You are quickly being seen as an absolute traitor just like your previous flirtation with the Rowdies. Just an absolute tosser you are. Go hang with your Ralph’s Mob, Ruckus and ILF buddies.

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    1. Stop being so bitter. This “Kartik is a Rowdies fan” rhetoric is so 2010.

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    2. I need to point out as the NASL Communications Director I had an obligation to point out teams that did well staff wise and media wise and those who didn’t. TBR > FTL all along with that. Orlando was a lower division model club and now our only Florida club in MLS. Another example that has been set.

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  4. James Mejuto · · Reply

    Why doesn’t ‘Florida Squeeze’ investigate the corruption involving Daytona Nascar Racing, Orlando Soccer and all the other ‘sports-businesses’ which constantly suck the life-blood of
    Florida’s taxpayers.

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    1. We are working on this as are some other publications.

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  5. The Observer · · Reply

    Yet somehow he is The Governor…

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