Candidates Speak Out At Town Hall Meeting

This article originally published in West Orlando News Online.

The Richmond Heights Elementary School PTSA and the combined Homeowner Associations of the Greater Washington Shores area, Richmond estates, Lake Richmond, Carver Shores and Malibu held a community meeting on August 2, at the J.R. Smith Center, 1723 Bruton Boulevard in Orlando.

 The purpose of the meeting was to address community concerns, including the closing of the Richmond Heights Elementary School and the future of neighborhood schools.  This was the third of the series put together by a group of no-named concern citizens.

 The group invited local candidates and several elected officials.  Not all who were invited came.  There were fifty to sixty people present.  This was their first time attending for many of those present..

A very pleasant and tasteful fish dinner was served at the end of the meeting to all who wanted to eat.  Dinner and drinks were provided by the no-named group.  A spokesman for the group said that the free food was to help assure that more people would come out and support this effort.

 After the introductions and remarks, Marcus Robinson explained the school boards ‘Time Line’ to closing Richmond Heights Elementary School.  This was a one page document that Mr. Robinson created to show the sequence of events which lead to the closing of the neighborhood school.

 Mr. Velver Anderson called the candidates for State Legislature District 46 to the front of the room.  Bruce Antone, Sean Bradford and Jason Henry were present.  Pam Powell, and Rosalind Jackson did not attend.

 Jasmine Burney and I were the Moderators and ask the questions of the candidates.  Ms. Burney and I wrote some of the questions and we received some questions from the audience as well.

 As the questions were asked and answered, I paid special attention to the candidates.  The time is getting short and a decision has to be made.  Bruce Antone and Jason Henry are very knowledgeable of the political history.  Both of them are able to present a workable solution for the issues of this community.  These two candidates answered questions masterfully and on point.  They showed that they could think out of the box.  Bruce Antone is a political veteran and knows how the system works.  Personally, I think that his time has past.  He waited too long when deciding to get into the race.

 Jason Henry has been in the race for District 46 from the start.  He has put in the time to learn the system and I believe will be a great addition to our political community for many years to come.  I hope that Jason Henry wins this race and that the others will rally around him to move the community forward.

 Next on the agenda was the candidates for Orange County School Board District Five. Mr. Mike Scott and Mr. Mike Smith were present.  Ms. Kat Gordon for the third time decided not to come.

Both Mr. Smith and Mr. Scott are neophytes to politics.  They both have studied the issues and have learned the community.  They are both students of their craft and I think either will serve this community well.  Both answered questions well and are starting to think out of the box.  They agree on many subjects, but not all.

 The community wins with either Mike Scott or Mike Smith.  Mike Scott has new school enthusiasm.  Mike Smith have old school logic.  When all else is equal, education has to mean something.  For this reason, my vote goes to Mr. Mike Smith.  Mr. Smith worked for twenty-seven years in the Orange County School System and he knows and has worked with the people involved.  I think this gives him a slight advantage also.

Mike Scott said that he plans to finish his education for his Bachelors Degree.  I certainly hope so.  I think that he has a phenomenal future in politics or whatever discipline he chooses.

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