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Image:  Tampa Super Bowl Street Party, Kimberly DeFalco, Orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Tampa Mayor Jane Castor “Happy” with Super Bowl Pandemic Compliance


Cognitive dissonance reigns supreme in the United States once again. George W. Bush declaring “mission accomplished” in 2003 arguably launched our modern age of political inconsistency. Presidents have long said one thing and done the opposite, but that speech ushered in an era of brazen divergence from reality that was brought to high art by our 45th fully unclothed emperor. So Americans of this generation are used to hearing our leaders make statements contradicted by the evidence of our own senses, but Central Florida — Tampa, to be specific — is the locus of the biggest whopper of this young year. Last weekend’s Super Bowl brought tens of thousands of fans together in the middle of a deadly airborne pandemic. …
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Image: Fifteen dollars, ncpolicywatch.org
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: The FL Legislature has taken up a proposal to thwart the determination of their constituents


How many times does the Florida Legislature need to demonstrate how little they value the opinions of their constituents? Once again, they’ve taken up a proposal to directly thwart the determination of the voters. This time, it’s the minimum wage. A question on the 2020 ballot proposed a constitutional amendment that would gradually boost the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026 and passed with more than 60 percent support. The amendment was self-executing and did not need legislative action. But that hasn’t stopped Sen. Jeff Brandes from trying to exempt certain workers. He proposes a reduced minimum wage for workers under age 21, for workers convicted of felonies, for state prisoners and for what he calls “other …
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Image: Florida State Flag , dos.myflorida.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Collecting Florida State Sales Tax from Online Purchases


Were you aware that when you buy something online, for instance, a book from Amazon  if you aren’t charged sales tax, you’re supposed to download Form DR-15MO from the Florida Department of Revenue, calculate what the local sales tax would be, and send in a payment? It’s a little-known and rarely enforced rule that could be costing the state millions. The Legislature has taken up a proposal that would require online retailers to take on the task, rather than leave it to uninformed and, let’s face it, unmotivated consumers. Sen. Joe Gruters says his proposal requires businesses with no physical presence in Florida to collect sales tax when customers in Florida make purchases, and it could pump more than $600 …
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Image: Sofia by Wilson Romero, downtownartsdistrict.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Orlando’s Arts Organizations have had to pivot in light of the pandemic


As the nation turns a page, all of us are ready for fresh beginnings, and not just political. After four years of chaos in government and almost a year of COVID lockdown, everyone is eager for something to celebrate. And not to be premature, but there’s light on the horizon. Orlando’s arts organizations have had to pivot in light of the pandemic, and it’s no surprise that they’ve come up with creative solutions to share artistic inspiration with us all along. A good example is the current exhibition at the University of Central Florida Art Gallery, which can be visited in person or enjoyed online in a very well-crafted virtual presentation. Now monetary help is here to support that ingenuity, …
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Image: SCREENSHOT VIA FLORIDA CHANNEL, Orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Controversial Florida bill to crack down on protests


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis first proposed a bill to crack down on violent protests last September. Last Wednesday, with extraordinary timing, the Florida House and Senate released their latest version of the bill as supporters of Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. DeSantis says the legislation would protect Florida from similar mob revolts. But the truth is that his proposal was born in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. And Florida’s Democratic lawmakers say it’s designed to silence Black and Brown people. Senator Perry Thurston calls it “overkill.” As Thurston points out, this bill treads on free speech rights for “every group that the governor or the government disagrees with,” no matter what banner they fly. …
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Image: Hanlon’s Razor, studenthandouts.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Review of Florida’s response to COVID19 in 2020


So, 2020 is finally over: Let’s review. We shopped online for masks. We baked bread. We hoped for our colleagues’ pets to pop up onscreen during too-long Zoom meetings. And we experienced most of the important events of the day through our screens, as the lockdown dragged on, and on, and on. The principle of “Hanlon’s Razor” holds that we shouldn’t credit malice for actions that can be explained by incompetence or stupidity, but in Florida this year, sometimes it was tough to tell the difference. As other countries and states worked together to flatten the curve and return to something approaching normality, those who scrupulously observed safety protocols watched helplessly as those who refused to packed restaurants and bars, …
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Image: Second Harvest Food Bank Volunteer, feedhopenow.org
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Helping Others is the Best Way to Help Yourself


Whether you or your loved ones have been sick, you’re feeling the financial pinch of pandemic unemployment, or you’re just lonely in the lockdown, it’s completely normal to be feeling a little blue this month. But there’s a reason everyone from Mother Teresa to Barack Obama has uttered the old cliché about how helping others is the best way to help yourself — because it’s true. There are dozens of local groups from big to small that assist Orlando’s needy, and all of them could use your time and/or money. For instance, our largest local food bank, Second Harvest, has been helping feed the hungry for more than 30 years. They’re doing their best to keep up with heartbreakingly high …
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