Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Geller Calls on New Gated Communities Ordinance to Allow Debris Removal

ORLANDO -- Community advocate Rick Geller expressed concern that a draft Orange County gated communities ordinance does not preserve and codify the County's commitment to seek FEMA reimbursement in the event large scale debris removal on private roads becomes necessary and in the public interest.

"FEMA changed its rules last summer to now allow for the possibility of reimbursing local governments for hurricane debris removal in private and gated communities," Geller said. "FEMA, however, requires that a local government authorize itself to seek reimbursement."

Orange County's Public Works Dept.'s Sept. 2007 Fact Sheet stated the following policy, "In the instance that Orange County is subject to a large-scale disaster where it is in the public interest to remove large-scale debris on private property, prior to commencing the work, the County will submit a request for reimbursement and seek approval from the Federal coordinating officer, in accordance with 44 CFR 206.224."

"Orange County's gated communities ordinance should codify this commitment to protect both the County and homeowners," Geller said.

After the 2004 hurricanes, homeowners in gated and non-gated communities with private roads incurred tens of thousands of dollars in debris removal costs because Orange County refused to provide debris removal service absent FEMA reimbursement.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New JCC Campus Groundbreaking Set for Nov. 2

DR. PHILLIPS--The groundbreaking ceremony for a new JCC campus, located on South Apopka-Vineland Road, has been set for Sunday, November 2, at 12:30 p.m.

The Campus is named in honor of Jack and Lee Rosen, parents of hotelier Harris Rosen.

Community advocate Rick Geller served with Valerie Denner as fundraising co-chairs for the new Campus and, together, raised about $2.3 million on top of funds previously committed. The Campus will feature permanent classrooms for the acclaimed JCC preschool, a gymnasium, and a food pantry for people in short-term urgent need.

"I never gave up hope we'd eventually see a JCC in the Southwest," said Geller. "The demographics for this Campus are too compelling and, when something's crucial to the community, I can get very persistent."

"Our hats off to Harris Rosen for making the new Campus financially possible," Geller addded.

The JCC is a non-profit organization, affiliated with the United Way, open to the entire community without regard to religion, race, or any discriminatory factor.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Geller Thanks Numerous Volunteers

WINDERMERE -- Rick Geller released the following message thanking nearly 200 volunteers who assisted in his campaign for District 1 Orange County Commissioner.

Thank you from Rick Geller
September 1, 2008

Dear Friend,

Thank you for supporting my campaign for District 1 Orange County Commissioner. I so much appreciate the literally hundreds of emails, voice mails, and telephone calls I've received over the last week. I'm in the process of answering each and every one. You have expressed consolation, well wishes, and pledges of future support with great eloquence.

Tremendous Volunteers

Defeat forces introspection. We lost by only several hundred votes out of the more than 19,000 cast. The margin of loss was so small that any number of explanations have validity. Many of you complimented our campaign. However, insofar as any shortcomings or mistakes contributed to the outcome, the responsibility rests with me.

Despite the outcome, I am proud we ran a positive, honest, and substantive campaign. That approach helped to earn the The West Orange Times and Orlando Sentinel endorsements. I avoided unrealistic promises, given Orange County's severe budgetary constraints. I did not hesitate to focus on the most difficult issues, including the lack of deputy patrols in neighborhoods and ideas for helping to fix the traffic mess at Sand Lake and Turkey Lake Roads. I'm glad to have helped shape the race's agenda.

I am proud of our numerous volunteers, including the more than seventy-five people who walked neighborhoods with me this summer and the many dozens who covered polling stations last Tuesday and during the January 29 presidential primary. Over 200 people signed up to volunteer, the vast majority of whom assisted in some form over the last year. Thank you to all of you.

Congratulations to Scott and Shannon

I met with both Scott Boyd and Shannon Gravitte last week and congratulated them. I would not underestimate either's ability to ultimately win this race. Please base your decision who to support on who you believe will best serve our community and who has Southwest and West Orange County's best interests at heart. I will offer my assistance and experience to whomever wins.

Time for Family and Career

Many have expressed concern for me. Please know that I am just fine. My four children are happy to have Dad back. The day after my defeat, I spent 20 minutes on a couch holding my two-year-old, Caroline, while watching Clifford the Big Red Dog. Priceless. This simply was not my time, with such young children. I am focusing on Gabriela, our children, and on rebuilding my law practice.

I'd run and lose all over again to have you as my old and new friends. I hope you are having a safe and enjoyable Labor Day.

Very sincerely yours,

Rick Geller


Political advertisement paid for and approved by Rick Geller, non-partisan, for District 1 Orange County Commissioner.