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Matt Falconer’s Winning Record

With Scott in Tallahassee, Falconer’s Tea Party ideology has to be taken seriously on the local level.

Photo By Scott A. Miller

Tales of Matt Falconer’s political death were greatly exaggerated after he finished last in the Orange County mayoral primary in August. He is very much alive as a political force and, I dare say, probably feeling like a winner right now.

“How so?” you ask.

Let’s start with high-speed rail. Falconer hated it (and so did I, come to think of it). Almost all of our locally based political leaders loved it. And with federal money lined up to fund all but a small portion of the project, the Tampa-Orlando bullet train line was a virtual certainty to be built.

Then Rick Scott moved into the Governor’s Mansion with his Tea Party pals tagging along, many, I imagine, arriving in monster trucks equipped with gun racks and 8-track players.

We all know what Scott did to high-speed rail and the $2.4 billion that would have come with it. Falconer had to be happy with that outcome.

Sometime this July, I suspect he will be smiling like a Cheshire cat. That’s when Scott says he’ll decide the fate of SunRail, the $1.2 billion Central Florida commuter rail project supported by the same folks who championed high-speed rail. (I, too, would be glad to see SunRail die. The money for it would be better spent on education.)

With Scott in Tallahassee, Falconer’s Tea Party ideology has to be taken seriously on the local level. Falconer is influential in the Florida Tea Party movement and he has a connection to Scott’s inner circle. He can make a phone call and be heard. Rail supporter Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer can only leave a message.

Closer to home, Falconer has been on a roll, though you probably didn’t notice.

Remember his heated face-to-face last year with Congressman Alan Grayson at a local Perkins? It was a YouTube sensation. After losing his race, Falconer put his energy behind Grayson’s Republican opponent, Daniel Webster, who won by a landslide.

Chalk up another victory for the biggest loser in the mayoral race.

The new county mayor, Teresa Jacobs, also has given Falconer reasons to believe his agenda wasn’t a lost cause.

Jacobs barely had time to learn her new office phone number before she let it be known that Orlando-Orange County Expressway boss Mike Snyder might need to look for a new job. Falconer had Snyder’s name on his housecleaning list, too.

Jacobs also has said she would consider rolling back the 2010 toll hike by 10 cents, a move Falconer had called for but at the full amount of the increase—25 cents.

Then came DPAC-Gate, Jacobs’ exposé on the caviar-laden construction contacts awarded by the group overseeing the proposed Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. While Jacobs supports the project, her fiscal good sense stands in the way of her borrowing money to build it until the local economy is humming again. Falconer wouldn’t mind seeing the arts center built, but not with public funds. He has been a vocal critic of the downtown venues plan because it calls for amassing debt.

Falconer also might get some satisfaction out of Jacobs’ support for cutting taxes and fees, a campaign pledge of his. Jacobs backs a property-tax break for businesses that expand in the county, and she recently embraced a county commission effort to lower by 25 percent impact fees homebuilders pay.

I remember talking to Falconer after his primary defeat. He trotted out the tired line about how he felt like a winner because he had gotten his message out. Seriously, I thought, do you really believe that?

If he didn’t, he should now.

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Comments, page 1 of 3 1 2 3 Next »
Apr 29, 2011 02:30 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

stupidest article ever written

Apr 29, 2011 03:50 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous


If you really think that falconer had anything to do with jacobs making the decisions that she has made since becoming mayor you are just as crazy as falconer.

This has been flagged
Apr 29, 2011 04:37 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I missed the part in the article where Matt Falconer is in debt and doesn't pay property taxes?

Apr 29, 2011 04:42 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I don't get how this makes Falconer winning. Just because he supports some of the decisions Jacobs has made? The title of this article is "Matt Falconer’s Winning Record" but it really should be "Falconer is happy with Jacobs stance on issues"

Apr 30, 2011 05:09 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Mike Boslet what planet are you living on. The Tea Party kicked Matt Falconer to the
Curb long ago. He’s worst then a Grateful Dead groupie. As to the Expressway Authority, how about doing some research before you try to give credit to someone who knows nothing about the Toll Authority except, I want to lower tolls. Mayor Jacobs has been questioning OOCEA for quite a while. Just to a quick search and read the article from the Orlando Sentinel on 11/3/2006 titled “Jacobs: Overhaul Road Agency Expressway, Authority lacks accountability”. It also references that she made a similar but unsuccessful call for reform in 2004, when the agency was criticized for its lavish travel junkets and the destruction of a public record. Let’s see, what was Matt Falconer doing in 2004. That’s right, he was not even taking the time to vote because he was to busy building his strip center empire that is in default. The voters saw through his charade, and I hope he runs for office again, so he can waste another $300,000 of his own money that he doesn’t have.

Apr 30, 2011 04:42 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

A lot of dedication in the campaign. I would attribute the "success" to just understanding the issues and correctly evaluating the cost/benefit of various projects in conjunction with understanding Austrian economics. Everyone in the campaign has a pretty deep understanding of Austrian economics compared to the general public. The impact of the ideas will resonate because they are the right ideas and policies in these deteriorating economic times. When you can correctly evaluate economic projects there is a hell of a lot of value in that and others would be very wise to listen intently.

May 1, 2011 04:41 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Spot on Mike!

May 2, 2011 05:33 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

This article is clearly written by someone who has never had the displeasure of spending any extensive amount of time with Matthew Falconer. His ego rivals Kanye West and he's nuttier than a Planters factory.

Falconer's also doing a great job of following in the footsteps of his friend and idol Doug Guetzloe, in taking credit for things that he has no right to claim. To give Falconer any credit for Webster's victory, you clearly weren't on the ground anywhere near that campaign.

You might want to do some googling before you praise someone, Falconer's commercial properties are all in foreclosure and he's had other legal problems.

If Falconer is "winning," he must be defining it the same way that Charlie Sheen does, another sad and delusional man trying to convince himself that the entire world isn't falling apart around him.

May 2, 2011 06:48 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Mike, have you read Falconer’s books. You know the ones with all the typos, and where he writes that we should run a monorail down I-4 instead of using existing tracks for Sunrail. Gee, you also left out the fact that he asked Mayor Jacobs to be his Chief of Staff before she entered the race last year. If you believe this guy, I am sure he will be more than happy to find a place for you on his next campaign because he will be running for something. It’s the only way he can get rid of those books that he publishes himself. Now let me throw my Orlando Magazine in the garbage where it belongs.

May 2, 2011 09:33 am
 Posted by  Mike B.

While I appreciate the comments, I think a few commenters are way off base. Nowhere in my column do I say I support, or have supported, Matt Falconer's agenda. (I do, however, agree with his opposition to SunRail and high speed rail. As I wrote in a previous column, Florida should focus on building a top-rated public education system, not train systems.)

My column on Falconer also doesn't state that the failed mayoral candidate had any influence on Mayor Jacobs' support for some tax cuts and a partial rollback of the toll increase. Nor did it say that Falconer took credit for Webster's victory over Grayson.

The column only states that some of Falconer's political agenda has come--or could come --true.

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