Who's really running Orange County--citizens or lobbyists?
Last summer, organizers in Orange County, Florida gathered more than 50,000 petitions earning the right to vote on the issue of Earned Sick Time. In the midst of the worst flu epidemic in a decade, giving all workers access to earned sick time is more critical than ever to protect public health. Unfortunately, big business interests colluded with several Orange County commissioners to break the county charter and keep voters from making their voice heard at the polls in the November election.
In September 2012, we discovered that the mayor and five county commissioners were secretly texting with corporate lobbyists who masterminded a coordinated, sophisticated scheme to block citizens from voting on the county’s first ever successful, citizen-led ballot initiative. The public deserves to know the truth.
Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs ran on her record of ethics—a record on which she’s proud to “take on special interests and expose corruption.” Mayor Jacobs released her text messages in accordance with Florida’s “Sunshine Law” but is now faced with a board of uncooperative county commissioners who have either deleted or refused to release their public records, thereby violating public trust and possibly the law.
It is Mayor Jacobs’ duty to repair the public’s broken trust after the fallout of Orange County’s texting scandal by giving citizens the answers they deserve. That’s why we, along with Orange County League of Women Voters and the Orlando Sentinel, are calling on Mayor Jacobs to open an investigation into the questionable actions behind the September 11th public hearing where there is evidence of a coordinated, lobbyist-led effort behind the scenes to stop what would have been a historical citizens’ initiative.
What began as a local campaign for working families has turned into a battle against corruption and corporate interests. The only way to restore faith in the democratic process is to launch an investigation that will bring government back into the sunshine.
Sign the petition demanding that Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs call for a criminal investigation stemming from the county's unethical actions during the September hearing on Earned Sick Time.