We have many bits of tid in today's Friday Files. But first, an update on the battle between the city of Orlando and the activists atLake Eola.
In Wednesday's column, I made a pitch for compromise in this long-running feud, which isn't helping anyone.
Now it looks as if that just might happen.
Both sides said Thursday that they were committed to getting together.
"We definitely are interested in sitting down and working out a compromise," said city spokeswoman Heather Fagan.
Similar optimism came from Jacqueline Dowd, the attorney for Food Not Bombs, the group that has been staging group feedings at the park. Dowd said "a collaborative solution" would be ideal.
The two parties are working out details. But, for the first time, it looks as if we can expect face-to-face meetings with a common goal in mind.
That's good. Because this constant stream of cops arresting people for feeding the hungry — and the worldwide publicity that goes along with it — hasn't been ideal for anyone.
Both sides can claim progress.
The activists, for instance, helped elevate the plight of the homeless and Central Florida's historical shortcomings on this front. They brought national attention to a community better known for arresting the homeless (remember the law requiring them to panhandle inside little blue boxes?) than helping them.
But since the first arrest five years ago, Central Florida has made real strides. The business and public sectors have united to look at more comprehensive solutions. We have a regional commission on homelessness, growing faith-based efforts — even an ambassador who roams downtown, looking for souls to help.
We still have a ways to go. But, as a whole, Central Florida is doing much better dealing with this problem that affects children, veterans and scores of working people knocked down by the recession.
For their side, Mayor Buddy Dyer and the City Council can certainly claim they listened to downtown business owners who opposed the feedings. They also have a court ruling that says they had the authority to ban unpermitted feedings. And they can rightfully say they're doing more to address the big picture than ever before.
So, if there's a way to work together and stop throwing chili-ladlers in jail, amen.
The fact that both sides are even interested in working together is a great first step.
Now, enough of that "Kumbaya" stuff. Back to our regularly scheduled jabs.
•So Rick Scott is on a Canadian trade mission this week, eh? The good news: Rick announced that he snagged 100 new jobs from a Canadian company. The bad news: Palm Beach County had already announced that they had snagged the same jobs back in January. The St. Petersburg Times summed it up pretty well in this headline: "Gov. Rick Scott takes credit for business expansion that started before he took office." You know how some people struggle with algebra or maybe geography? I'm beginning to think our governor struggles most with the truth.
•Did you catch Mike Haridopolos' bizarro op-ed in Thursday's paper? He began by whining about "liberal politicians and media pundits" — as if they're the ones tanking his U.S. Senate campaign. Wrong. It's conservative pols and pundits who seized upon an embarrassing radio interview when Haridopolos refused to answer a simple yes-or-no question… about 10 different times. So, after taking flak for refusing to say whether he supported Paul Ryan's budget plan, Haridopolos penned a "My Word," saying he kinda, sorta, maybe does … with some changes anyway … but that "Obamacare" is the real problem. It was a nebulous, red-meat Hail Mary voters won't buy. We can all respect different opinions. But nobody respects a waffling question-dodger. If this guy's campaign was any more toast, it'd be on a Grand Slam breakfast platter.
•Speaking of the U.S. Senate race, if Republicans are looking for fresher face, they may want to take a closer look at former Ruth's Chris CEO Craig Miller. If the experienced exec from Winter Park decides to run, he'll stand apart from the current crop of GOP contenders … largely because he's not a career politician.
•And finally: I'm sorry. That was for all the women out there … on behalf of the entire male species. If guys like Anthony Weiner, John Edwards, John Ensign and Mark Sanford have taught us anything, it's that we probably shouldn't be voting along party lines, but rather gender ones.
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