Wes Hodge takes over Orange County Democratic Executive Committee

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 0

wes-hodgeORLANDO – Following successes for the Democratic Party in Orange County that were overshadowed by failures across the rest of the state that allowed for the presumptive election of television and real-estate icon Donald Trump to the presidency, new party leadership fell in line among the locals.

“One of the big things for me is that we build relationships with people,” Wes Hodge, who identifies as gay, says after his victory over Democratic operative Lonnie Thompson. “I feel like we neglected or took advantage of some of the relationships in the community, and I want to make sure that we have an open dialogue.”

Continue Reading >>

Uprisings: Six as a weapon

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 2

As if the holidays weren’t already filled with all the comfort and joy and everything else that could potentially cause side-eyes or horror, just before Christmas, your favorite hoard of aberrant Republican reindeer decided – well at least six of them did – that they would sign on to enact the First Amendment Defense Act (SB 1598, HB 2802) within their first 100 days in office. We would laugh, but this isn’t funny. The bill, which was excreted by Republican Rep. Raul Labrador, R-ID, and his sidekick Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, seemed a bit like a lark when introduced over the summer. Who does that? But now, with Republicans desperate to distinguish themselves from the Trump or the kindness, we have a situation.

What the First Amendment Defense Act does, effectively, is allow businesses (and lobbying groups, as we’ve seen) to discriminate against gay people. You know the words: “Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman,” “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” Oh, fuck off.

Continue Reading >>

Uprisings: July 11 – 29, 2015

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 0

“I’m mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore,” the film Network’s Howard Beale spit into the ether in the foggy 1970s pixilation of televised news via cinema. This is not the 1970s. This, Uprisings, is not your standard news column about the comings and goings of political figures in power suits, nor is it that stick in that yellowing mud that would direct you into the warm embrace of comatose electoral futility. This is not something to scream about from the window in your chosen alley. This, instead, is a party.

Say what you want about the impending election season – that it is terrible, or terrible, or maybe it’s more terrible, because mine is better than yours and yours is super terrible – but if there’s anything we’ve learned about presidential election cycles (replete with congressional and municipal leanings), it’s that no matter how terrible it might seem, disengagement is worse. We could go through the motions of the Bush v. Gore decision that landed on former Gov. Jeb Bush’s nose like a dime; we could talk about Sen. Marco Rubio’s inexplicable immigration dance and the Florida House term that brought it; we could laugh about dancing, Dancing, DANCING!

And we will.

Continue Reading >>

Running with scissors: Randy Ross drops mayoral bid, runs for City Commissioner Patty Sheehan’s seat

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 1

official

Because some fights in mirrors are never over, local gadabout and sometimes challenger of the law (allegedly) Randy Ross has announced that, instead of running for Mayor of Orlando, something he hilariously announced earlier this year, that he is going to try to test his mettle against Orlando District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan. There are a lot of things we could say here about optics and forgiveness, bad choices and more bad choices, but for now, we’ll let Randy say his piece (along with his mom). His filing for the race is official, which should make all spectators feel a little more excited about the municipal circus awaiting us later this year. You get a front porch. And you get a front porch. And you get a front porch… to fade.

Video after the jump: 

Continue Reading >>

Gay activist announces run for Orlando mayor

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 2

Orlando – Community activist Randy Ross announced May 20 that he will run for Orlando City Mayor against the incumbent, Buddy Dyer, in the 2016 election.

Ross, who is also the host of “Front Porch Chat with Randy Ross & Friends,” made the announcement in a press release saying, “it’s time for the people to take back City Hall.”

Continue Reading >>

Overheard in Orlando: ‘Beard’ be gone

By : Anonymous
Comments: 0

Hair today, gone tomorrow
Lee Vandergrift, WAVE award winner for favorite local photographer & LGBT artist, is taking the clippers to his Beard Envy project. He’s wrapping up the series next month. The project started a little over a year ago and was intended for fun, but resulted in a Facebook fan page, calendar and—soon—a book. Vandergrift’s goal is to shoot a few last “big” beards and then he will be done by April 1. So if your facial bristles are bustling to be immortalized, you better hairy up.

If a tree falls in Orlando
Recently, out environmentalist Eric Rollings and others held a rally for Constitution Park, which houses quite a few old trees in the city of Orlando. The property is privately owned by the Caruso family and it’s been said that the family is looking to develop the property. With an estimated 200 people in attendance, 5,200 signatures via the online petition and the support from Mayor Buddy Dyer, Commissioner Patty Sheehan and area neighborhoods, the group may have a fighting chance to convince the family to save the park. If you want to help, sign the petition on the Constitution Green Park, Save our Orlando Treasure Facebook page.

Continue Reading >>

Issue 22.04: Love for a Lifetime

By : Jake Stevens
Comments: 0

Love for a lifetime: Long-term relationships really can work and we found the couples to prove it and share how it’s done, Readers share their Valentines, Melissa Manchester credits LGBTs for her career, Dining Out For Life to expand into Orlando, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!

ALSO: Our fabulous, beautiful Spring Arts Guide inside every issue!

Continue Reading >>

Local personality makes plea deal in fraud case

By : Jamie Hyman
Comments: 0

Orlando – Community activist Randy Ross has pled no contest to one count of insurance fraud after police accused him of falsely reporting about $30,000 in stolen lawn furniture in 2013.

His original charges were four felonies and a misdemeanor. Now, Ross is only on the hook for one second degree felony, according to his attorney, Roger Scott.

Continue Reading >>

Randy Ross arrested for insurance fraud

By : Jamie Hyman
Comments: 5

[UPDATE: Previously, the last line of this story stated that Ross “was tapped” to host a political talk show. The wording has been adjusted for accuracy. -Editor]

Orlando – Community activist Randy Ross was arrested and put in jail Jan. 23 on insurance fraud charges, according to the Orange County Jail website.

Ross, 49, made bail the same night he was booked. The specifics of his charges are unclear, but according to court documents, Ross is accused of four felonies and a misdemeanor.

Continue Reading >>

Overheard in Orlando: Savoy owners go their separate ways

By : Anonymous
Comments: 0

Savoy threesome sees a split
Chris “Tadpole” Hanay is no longer part of the “new” Savoy. The former owner announced on Facebook that he was moving onto the next chapter of his life and referenced some new “opportunities” ahead of him. He didn’t elaborate on why he split from the other two owners, Patrick Razo and Brandon Llewellyn. A lot happened at the bar when the two took it over. They added a new dance floor and lighting, changed the name and theme of the adjacent tattoo lounge to the Locker Room. Last weekend, Hanay was seen bartending at Latitudes Bar. His former business partners have remained quiet about the split.

Set your DVRs for ‘Front Porch Chat’
Orlando resident Randy Ross is back on television. This time, however, he’s not going after a reality show dream. He’s hosting a talk show. From the description shared by him on Facebook, Front Porch Chat with Randy & Friends sounds like a down-home local version of The View or The Talk, although not starring any comedians or seasoned journalists. The show is scheduled to premiere on CW18 in March.

Continue Reading >>

OC Property Appraiser Rick Singh supports marriage equality

By : Staff Report
Comments: 0

Orlando – Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh released a statement July 25 showing his support for marriage equality and the fight for personal liberties for LGBTs.

Singh’s short statement expressed his belief that same-sex couples deserve the right to marry. In his statement, he cited his contributions to the advancement of LGBT individuals in Orange County, which includes his creation of a brochure outlining property rights for domestic partners.

Continue Reading >>

Orange County Commissioners express support for marriage equality

By : Staff Report
Comments: 2

Orlando – On the heels of a Monroe County decision declaring Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, and with four more court cases pending in the state, elected officials are weighing in on the issue, and not from the expected group of leaders. Republican Orange County Commissioners Scott Boyd and Pete Clarke both expressed support for marriage equality earlier this week.

“I am personally supportive, and look forward to the continued advancement of equal rights, respect and freedoms for all individuals under the law,” said Boyd in response to a query from activist Randy Ross.

Continue Reading >>