Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Orlando Sentinel Endorses Geller

ORLANDO - The Orlando Sentinel has endorsed Rick Geller for District 1 Orange County Commissioner.

The Sentinel's endorsement stated:

We think: Attorney is equipped to tackle ethics, growth issues

The candidates running to fill Teresa Jacobs' seat on the Orange County Commission are savvy enough to say that reducing crime's a priority, given the community's growing concerns about safety.

But while the county gives the Sheriff's Office money, it's the Sheriff's Office that decides how the money gets spent. It thus falls to voters in District 1, spanning Orange County's southwest, to select a candidate who is able to make sound, reasoned judgments in other areas where a county commissioner can make an even greater impact.

Ms. Jacobs frequently did that by pushing county government to spend taxpayers' money prudently and perform its tasks ethically. We believe attorney Rick Geller would do the same -- and champion smart-growth policies often ignored by most commissioners. His oratory and intelligence just might make it hard for them to ignore sound policy.

Mr. Geller's eager, for example, to get the county to deny water-gulping St. Augustine grass to new developments. And he wants to promote mass transit more aggressively.

Public-relations manager Shannon Gravitte, unfortunately, lacks the candor voters deserve from a commissioner succeeding the straight-talking Ms. Jacobs. Ms. Gravitte, for example, was specific about funding more deputies but vague about where she'd get the money.

Citrus-grower Scott Boyd wants the county to manage growth better. But we believe Mr. Geller's better equipped to bring about that change.

The Sentinel endorses Rick Geller for Orange County Commission, District 1.

The Orlando Sentinel is Central Florida's largest daily newspaper.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Orange County Internet News Service Endorses Geller

DR. PHILLIPS - The Southwest-based Orange County Internet News Service, OCINS.com, has endorsed District 1 Commission candidate Rick Geller.

In a statement published yesterday, OCINS.com said:

"We’re pleased to see that the [West Orange] Times has joined with OCINS in recommending the election of Rick Geller as District 1 Commissioner ... We said it at the beginning of this race and we’ll say it again … It’s our opinion that R. Geller has the education, the experience, and the focus to stand “head and shoulders” above his competition in this race … He “packs the credentials” … His record is long, is deep, and is proven in handling District 1 matters … He’s equipped and has the right focus … ‘Nuff said."

The statement is published at www.OCINS.com.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The West Orange Times Endorses Geller

WINTER GARDEN -- The West Orange Times today endorsed Rick Geller for District 1 County Commissioner.

The lead editorial, "Rick Geller is our choice for county commission," discusses the strenghths of all three candidates, but states in part:

"Rick Geller, a business and commercial attorney and effective community activist, clearly has the best credentials for this important job. As the co-founder of the Southern Dr. Phillips Coalition, Geller worked to ensure that commercial development would complement existing residential developments. His efforts helped convince Orange County to purchase land for the Dr. P. Phillips Park to fill a void in county planning. He also worked to fast-track Sand Lake Elementary School's construction to relieve overcrowding at Bay Meadows Elementary. The efforts he has been involved with are too numerous to mention, but they're all in the best interest of the community."

"Geller has demonstrated a passion for the work that needs to be done, and we feel that Rick Geller is the best choice for West Orange County."

"That's a tremendous honor and those are very kind words," Geller said of the endorsement.

The West Orange Times, a weekly newspaper published in Winter Garden, is widely-read throughout District 1. This is a link to the endorsement.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Huge Win for Geller in Hispanic Chamber Straw Poll

ORLANDO -- Attendees at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce HobNob gave District 1 County Commission candidate Rick Geller a straw poll win by a large margin. The results were as follows:
Rick Geller............93 votes (48%)
Shannon Gravitte....53 votes (27%)
Scott Boyd............48 votes (25%)

"Geller had a blow-out win," said Angel de la Portilla, a political consultant and analyst who attended the event. "Large segments of Hispanic voters live in the District. From what I hear in the community, and judging from the results tonight, those voters are looking favorably at Geller."

Geller's wife, pediatrician Gabriela Geller, a U.S. Citizen, grew up in Argentina. The Gellers' four children are bilingual.

"Muchas gracias a todos," Geller told the crowd.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

GOP Continues Shift to Geller

Clergy Endorse Geller for Commissioner

PINE HILLS - The Conservative Ministers of Central Florida, a coalition of more than two dozen clergy chaired by Pastor Jerry Creel, have endorsed Rick Geller for District 1 County Commissioner.

The Geller Campaign said the Ministers' endorsement is additional evidence that the GOP base, once thought solidly behind one of Geller's opponents, is shifting to Geller. In addition, Geller decisively won the straw poll of GOP activists of all ages who attended the Orange County Young Republicans HobNob on July 31, garnering a 43 percent plurality of the votes cast in a three-way race between the three Republicans running for the District 1 seat.

A majority of the District 1 constituency is Republican; however, the race is non-partisan. The Orange County Charter prohibits anyone from running for County Commissioner on a party ticket.

"I'm deeply honored by the Ministers' endorsement," said Geller.

"After my interview," Geller said, "I was told my nine years of experience working with zoning issues to protect neighborhoods set me apart as a candidate."

"Churches often have itinerant preachers visit for a few days. They'll stay in recreational vehicles on the church's property. After forty years of this occurring without any ill effect, County Code Enforcement cited a church, causing great concern among the Ministers.

"There's an obscure sentence buried in the ordinance that won't even allow a zoning exception for an RV. If the RV is parked where it won't bother the neighbors, and it's only periodic, then we need to look at making the Code more reasonable," said Geller.

Reverend Peter Petrovich, of Tabernacle Baptist Church, said, "A candidate running for the County Commission should demonstrate a willingness and readiness to address their constituents' needs. Rick Geller has demonstrated that to me personally in working on our zoning issue, and I am certain he will continue this same determination in the days ahead."

"We of the Conservative Ministers Forum know that Rick is demonstrating an understanding of our County's concerns. He is showing an ability to wisely direct his efforts to achieve the best results for all concerned."

"We wish him 'God's Speed' in this effort," Petrovich added.

During his interview, Geller also discussed how he raised $75,000 towards construction of a food pantry to assist families in short-term, urgent need. "One of our shared Judeo-Christian values is caring for the less fortunate," said Geller. "Jews and Christians are being drawn together like never before."

"Rick has spent almost a decade serving our community," said Dorothy Blood of Bay Hill. "The Ministers' endorsement of Rick is well-deserved and I am so happy he got it."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Classroom Teachers Association Endorses Geller

COLLEGE PARK -- The Classroom Teachers Association, which represents Orange County Public School District faculty, is endorsing candidate Rick Geller for District 1 Orange County Commissioner.

"As an educator for forty-five years, I appreciated Rick's efforts at the grass roots level to protect an elementary school from more overcrowding," said Marian Cannon, a teacher at Winter Park High School. "Rick confronted and solved a difficult challenge in order to improve the education of thousands of children over many years."

"Rick is the only District 1 County Commissioner candidate with children in public school," Cannon added. "He is the only candidate who can offer that important perspective on the County Commission."

Cannon chairs the Classroom Teacher Association's Fund for Children and Public Education.

During his interview, Geller spoke of his opposition to new, high-density residential development when Bay Meadows Elementary School housed over 1,100 students in a facility built for less than 600. Rick also spoke of his success at persuading the Orange County Public School District to fast-track construction of a new elementary school to relieve Bay Meadows.

Geller and his wife, pediatrician Gabriela Geller, have four children, two of whom, Hannah (9) and Max (5), attend Windermere Elementary School.

Geller Wins Election Season's First Straw Poll

WINTER PARK -- Rick Geller, candidate for District 1 Orange County Commissioner, won the election season's first straw poll Thursday night. The Orange County Young Republicans NobNob polling results were as follows:

Geller...........57 votes (43%)
Gravitte........47 votes (35%)
Boyd............30 votes (22%)

More than 140 people--young and old--attended the event held at the Winter Park Civic Center.

"The poll was a snapshot of GOP support in a non-partisan race," said Mary Rumberger, a Winter Park political consultant who attended the event.  "One of Rick's opponents was thought to be the GOP establishment candidate, but Rick overcame that.  It's a huge victory for him."

"I don't want to overstate the importance of any straw poll," Geller said. "The only voting that really counts is on August 26 by the people who live throughout our District, whether they're Democrats, Republicans, or Independents."

The County Commission race is non-partisan. The Orange County Charter prohibits anyone from running for the seat on a party ticket.