The Black Politico

Orlando politics and more -- from a black perspective

From Columnist to Columnist

On last Friday, two of my friends and I, clicked the link to Scott Maxwell’s column about ’10 people in Orlando who are making the city a better place.’

I loved it.

My mouthy friend had already skimmed to the bottom of the article and said, ‘oh, is that the guy that called you and other women racist, woman-hating names?’ She was referring to a man who many of us know will slay women personally on social media with the most degrading and disgusting comments he can think of, if some disagree with his position. I read further, identified his name and said, “OMG yes!”

For the sake of this commentary, let’s refer to this person as “the guy.”
My friend said, ‘how in the hell is he making Orlando better when he can’t control his mouth, fires off racist and mysogynist remarks and has a history of assault on women?’ She was bending back her fingers one-by-one as if she was counting as she blurted out each “charge.” I agreed with her.

She was fire-hot-mad. Frankly, so was I. Yet, no part of me thought Maxwell knew about “the guy’s” rants and history.

So, I sent Maxwell a direct message on Facebook telling him I loved his column but there’s one name in there that makes me cringe and I cited why and sent proof. I guess I’ve read Maxwell’s columns enough to feel comfortable saying that. I was so wrong.

For the record, Maxwell did not cite him as one of the top 10 people, but he hinted at “the guy” being close to it, because he said some people had floated “the guy’s” name around as being a good candidate and that the Orlando Sentinel had covered some positive attempts at community issues or events in which “the guy” was involved.

Why am I ranting about all this? Stay with me. I’m getting there.

“The guy” I’m referring to used some of the worst names you can call a Black or Brown woman. To me, the name-calling he used was equivalent to calling a Black person the n-word and “the guy,” well, he’d pour salt in the wound by adding a touch of mysogynist verbiage to it to make sure those women, who didn’t agree with him, felt the sting.

For the record, the n-word and other remarks, including a word that degrades women, is what recently led to the resignation of Florida Senator, Frank Artiles further proving that words matter.

In addition, “the guy” has a history of physically abusing women, although the charges were dropped according to what Scott Maxwell wrote back.
When I put this in my direct message to Maxwell, we instantly started chatting back and forth, but it then led to a reaction I never saw coming.

He thanked me for my kind words about his column but immediately defended the abuser or “the guy” in this case, by saying they ran a background check after I sent him what I thought and that the alleged physical assault happened in 2005 and those charges were dropped. I didn’t know what year the assault happened but Maxwell checked me on it. However, the year still really didn’t matter to me; the assaults did.

Maxwell messaged me this: “I usually take issue with people who try to use dropped charges against candidates – or anyone really … especially as it is a tactic that disproportionately affects minorities and lower income folks. I understand you don’t care for him. And I appreciate background. But I’m also trying to live by standards i try to demand form (from) others.”

My jaw hit the floor. “Take issue?” I had a look on face as if I were a kid in the backseat of a car that had just passed by a sewage dump. My friend said, “what’d he say?” I said, “nothing.”

Scott Maxwell is one of my favorite columnists. He was a Jeopardy question for crying out loud. He’s a journalist’s hero or heroes.

Initially, I felt small, embarrassed and ashamed to have told him about “the guy,” yet, pissed that he played the race card in a discussion to defend the abuser and hadn’t stopped short once of defending the victim. Let me say that another way. He defended the abuser by questioning the victim because she had dropped the charges, all the while sitting with screenshots of “the guy” calling Black women “negro bed-wenches”.

Stick a fork in me, because I am so done.

This blame victims. I have to believe it’s often not intentional, but the damage can be huge whether someone is saying it intentionally or not.

With all my personality (good or bad) and passion, I felt small because I told him information that should have been known prior to writing a story on the 10 best people and sideways mentioning someone who we all whisper about but rarely shout out about. It’s the exact same thing we do, to defend offenders while making victims feel so much smaller.

This is wrong.

The mentality is something I may never understand.
I know people change their lives and try to become better, we all do, yet when an alleged crime happened by “the guy” in 2005 and women are still being attacked online by “the guy” just days ago, any reasonably sound person must ask themselves why highlight someone as a community leader who can’t control his emotions and feels this way about women?

But, Maxwell didn’t do that.

Instead, I got schooled on this happening to black people and middle income people.

My goal is not to bash Maxwell. My goal is to sound-off about what I’ve been writing about for weeks now. This is why so many victims don’t speak out. This is why victims drop charges against their abusers. This is why little things like words, matter.

How many people in Black & Brown communities drop charges on the abusers because they are afraid? Plenty do. How many remember Alex Zaldivar who was a witness to a crime and was set to testify and was murdered by the defendant? I’ve said this before and I’ll say it now, my first roommate in college was a victim. Her mother was murdered by a man she was dating and my roommate witnessed it, as a child. That man was incarcerated for a short time but then released because he had turned his life around.

My roommate would go back to her home city on the holidays and certain weekends and would run into her Mother’s killer in the grocery store, often. The damage that did to her family was immeasurable and I hope no one ever suffers like that. I am confident, many women who have been abused have dropped charges against their abuser at least once and I know I don’t need to remind you that some victims of domestic violence have been murdered.
The fact that my roommate’s Mother was a black woman makes me want to challenge the opposition that much more.

In the case of “the guy,” I don’t know if the victim dropped the charges or if the state dropped them, but the victim absolutely could have been terrified.

Let’s face it, in our politically correct world, no one really stands for victims. We give them the side-eye if they claim they’ve been wronged and I’ll never understand why many liberals are not standing up for the good, law-abiding, victims in the Central Florida community.

This exchange led me to think about the black man that was shot in the face by another black man on Easter Sunday. The murder was broadcasted live on Facebook. If that killer would have come out alive, many liberals would be fighting for him if he so much as said he’s changed his life for the better.

I understand we want to defend people who are black and have had run-ins with the law and claim to have changed their lives for the better. I get it. But, if they truly have changed, it should show in their behavior.

I challenge all of us to think about the victim on the receiving end of their actions, regardless of whether an attack physically happened in 2005 or just last week via an exchange of words on social media.

I figured, from columnist to columnist, Maxwell just didn’t know. There are issues in our communities we know must be addressed. We absolutely must recognize injustices and racial disparities. I don’t need that speech. Especially, not from a white guy. What I need is simple understanding of what the other side of the aisle thinks, feels, believes and knows to be truth.

Nina Simone once said, “I tell you what freedom is to me: no fear.” That’s what it means to me, too. I don’t want to fear a community that I love so deeply.

I’d rather raise-up those who are truly doing the best they can to respect and value us all. As Black women, we wear a lot of crowns and take a lot of crap from all sorts of people with all kinds of beliefs. The last thing we need is our own Brothers tearing us down and victims voices to be silent.

While some fight for offenders and offenders who have changed their lives, I am but one voice of many that will speak out also on behalf of victims to a point of no concern about whether it offends a violent offender. There are innocent people tied-up in our justice system and they should be the first group of people we fight to free. There are those who have non-violent offenses and we should fight for their freedom, too. I will, forever stand against those who are violent toward us, regardless of the color of their skin and with all due respect, I don’t need a lesson from a white man to teach me about the racial disparities that I know all too well.

Should the Democratic Party Support Aramis Ayala by suing Governor Rick Scott?

Should the Democratic Party support Aramis Ayala by launching a lawsuit on her behalf against Governor Rick Scott?

Someone asked this question, in our social media group, The Black Politico

My response was why would they? Why in the world would the Democratic Party co-sign the hot mess Ayala has made? They should NOT defend her stance.

She doesn’t speak for all Democrats although her positioning seems to imply that she does.

By the way, she certainly doesn’t speak for me.

Ayala has run “game” on Central Florida voters and is now having people rally behind her when they should be rallying behind each other.

She’s made this about her. It’s not. It’s about our communities.

She shouldn’t be using our people to save her job.

She shouldn’t be pushing people to call their representatives and senators to ask them to support her. If anything, we should be calling our representatives and senators to ask them to support us.

Ayala & her position shoves one of the most important offices in Orlando to side with Public Defenders. In case she’s not quite sure, a State Attorney’s position is to be a “rough neck OG” for victims, not a politician who’s sensitive to the desires of people who sell drugs, rape and murder our people.

Remember George Zimmerman, the infamous man who shot Trayvon Martin?

Ayala is standing for the George Zimmerman’s of this community.

Our response to that should be hell-to-the no.

She mentioned “violent rape”. What rape isn’t violent?

On a radio show, Ayala mentioned she is now getting death threats. If that’s the case, people should not do that. That solves nothing and makes those in opposition look awful. Although, I don’t agree with what she did, how she did it and her stance, no one deserves to be threatened.

However, she’s lied to us before. We must ask ourselves, if she is getting threats did she call the police and document it accurately, in an effort to find out who’s doing it? Those people should be caught if that’s true. Otherwise, if she didn’t call the police about it, is she really getting death threats?

The NAACP and other organizations fight for people wrongfully convicted and that’s fantastic. We need that kind of fight.

But, who’s fighting for victims? Certainly not the State Attorney in Orange and Osceola county and that’s partly what all this noise is about.

This community should be scrounging up bus fare to send Ayala back to Michigan on the next thing rolling up there.

I’ve witnessed people become victims and they’ve had to sit by with absolutely no recourse, bury their loved ones, live with their trauma and become too afraid to become a witness in anything.

Ayala is lenient on crime and is refusing to enforce Florida law.

Ayala’s time would be better spent launching a campaign to protect undocumented immigrants so they can be witness to heinous crimes while being in a sanctuary.

If anyone I know and love including the readers of this post and the people in The Black Politico, God forbid, become victims of violent crime, I’ll be shouting to the top of my lungs for that violator to at least sit before a judge and jury with the thought of death on his or her mind.

That’s the law.

And that’s what she swore to uphold.

You should be safe and the law should always be on the side of good, law-abiding, people.

One thing makes me sad in all of this and it’s the headline and narrative she propelled and that read as, The First Black State Attorney removed from cases by Governor Rick Scott.

This was not about removing power or cases from a Black State Attorney. It was about removing cases from a  State Attorney who drafted a policy that superseded the law. Playing the race card is an act of desperation. Race is such a sensitive issue that if it is a problem, we deserve to be believed. This makes it harder for white people to understand the struggle of what Black professionals actually face when we whip out the race card without evidence of it being so.

Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi are 100% right both legally and morally to take on this fight. Whether I agree with all the Governor has done or not, he is a “governing governor” and he will act on what he knows to be right for this state.

I’m confident, Scott and Bondi will be the victors and so will the people of the state Scott has worked so hard to grow and protect.

President Donald Trump attacks Syria without Congressional approval

President Donald Trump initiated a ban on Syrian refugees almost immediately after taking office.

Last week Syria’s President Assad used chemical weapons to attack his own people.

Trump’s response to Assad’s attack was to attack Syria with Tomahawk missiles. The American attack on Syrian soil left 7 dead and 9 civilians wounded.

Trump didn’t seek Congressional approval before he launched the attack on Syria.

At her open house this past weekend, Representative Val Demings said President Trump should have sought approval from Congress before he attacked.

She’s right.

This was an atrocity committed by President Assad however, If President Trump is able to make decisions to launch missiles without Congressional approval, we’re in trouble.

Impeachment could be a response to Trump’s actions, but for now, the damage is done in more ways than one.

There are Syrian civilians who died in that attack and some whose lives will be forever altered because they are now wounded.

This is war although it has not been officially declared.

Most importantly, the issue of making a decision that is outside of the realm of what this country has put on paper should scare many. If we attacked Syrian civilians, what would stop Assad from doing the same in America? On social media, a man raised the question, what if another country bombed us for poisoning the people of Flint, Michigan?
As far fetched as that may sound, that is along the same lines of what Assad did to his people.

God forbid, but what if we, American civilians, were attacked on our soil, in the same manner that led us to flame-up Syrian civilians? Does it even make any sense to attack the very same people who are actually victims? Syrians now are the target of their own country and ours. To make matters worse, we have put a ban on Syrian refugees for fear they are radicalized people who want to kill us.

Does that make sense to you?

We killed and wounded innocent civilians last week simply to send a message to Assad. Well, he seems to want his citizens dead, too, so aren’t we just helping him do that? There are plenty of other ways to get Assad than to take innocent livesSocial media post on Flint vs Syria crisis, especially when the very reason we say we attacked them was to save innocent lives.

Ayala’s position on the death penalty is still a hot topic

Yesterday Governor Rick Scott pulled 21 death penalty cases from Orange and Osceola county State Attorney Aramis Ayala.

This morning, Representative Bob Cortes held a press conference calling for Ayala’s removal from office.

Last week, there was a rally supporting Aramis Ayala in Tallahassee and a press conference held by victims of violent crimes and law enforcement. Both were sparked by the State Attorney’s decision to not pursue the death penalty in any case in Orange and Osceola counties which are located in Florida; a state that lawfully uses the death penalty to punish those guilty of heinous crimes.

We, as a unit, are fighting about where to fight. Some say we should be standing with Ayala and if you’re not, you’re called a sell-out. Others say we should be following the letter of the law.
As black people, we march and take to the streets, the capitol or anywhere else we see fit. We have that right to be able to peaceably assemble. But what really are supporters of Aramis Ayala marching for?

I’ve heard they are marching to protest the death penalty and Ayala’s decision to not enforce it. The fact of the matter is the death penalty is already legal in this state and Ayala’s decision to not enforce it is unlawful. Color of Change was a part of the movement and helped to provide petitions showing Floridians are against the death penalty.

Many of those petitions aren’t from Florida residents.

Ayala spent over a million dollars pleading her case to a small portion of Orange and Osceola counties to win the seat of State Attorney after she disenfranchised Republicans, Independents, Libertarians and NPA’s by dumping a write-in candidate into the race. With all those ad dollars coming in, never once did she use the airwaves, online or print media to tell voters her position on the death penalty. Do you think that was just by happenstance or because no one asked her?

On the flip-side, when she was an Assistant State Attorney, she had no qualms about the death penalty. She was even excited to try her first homicide case.

Prosecutors are typically questioned extensively about their position on the death penalty and most are questioned when being interviewed for the job. Someone who is uncomfortable with the death penalty would likely not be suited as a homicide prosecutor nor would they be rising through the ranks as she did in Jeff Ashton’s office if she were anti-death penalty.

But, let’s say her views changed after she launched her campaign. After receiving $1.4 million dollars in campaign money from a billionaire donor named George Soros, who is an anti-death penalty proponent, her decision to not seek the death penalty is being questioned, and rightfully so.

As State Attorney, Ayala does have prosecutorial discretion. She used that when she decided not to seek death against Markeith Loyd, who police say killed his pregnant ex-girlfriend and Officer Debra Clayton. Governor Scott removed her from the Loyd case and assigned State Attorney Brad King from the Fifth Judicial Circuit in Florida. The Governor’s reasoning to do so is absolutely on point.

Ayala’s error is not that she used prosecutorial discretion to keep from charging Loyd with death, but her error lies in announcing a blanket policy not to pursue the death penalty in her administration. At all. Ever. For any case current or in the future.

That’s right. Even cases in the future. God forbid another Pulse nightclub tragedy happens and the suspect is taken alive.

Florida Statute 782.04 1(b) states, “In all cases under this section, the procedure set forth in s. 921.141 shall be followed in order to determine sentence of death or life imprisonment.” Shall within a statute is a must. It’s mandatory. It’s imperative. She did not follow the law.
On another note, Florida Statute 921.141 then continues to spell out the proceedings for the sentence of life or death imprisonment for capital felonies. The aggravators for pursuing the death penalty are within this same statute. It appears, Loyd’s case fulfills at least 5 of 16 aggravators. Prosecutors only need one to seek the death penalty.

Making this about race, inflames both sides. Florida Senator Randolph Bracy even wrote an op-ed saying Florida Governor Rick Scott is being “vengeful”. Vengeful? Really? That’s not just a stretch, it’s outright wrong to describe him as such and to use the media to brand him as a “vengeful Governor” simply for upholding the law and the Florida Statutes.

Gov Rick Scott removes 21 cases from State Attorney

Gov Rick Scott removes 21 cases from State Attorney

Ayala announced her policy which supersedes the law and that is what this is all about. Nothing more. Nothing less. Making this about law, is the only way and this case should be sitting before a judge and jury as a death penalty case. The jury would have the option to sentence Loyd to death, certainly not a State Attorney who is the prosecutor. If the framework in Florida Statute 782.04 1(b) on capital felonies is to be followed on a case-by-case basis, how in the world can Ayala do that when she has a policy to never pursue the death penalty?

Ayala has neglected her duty as prosecutor by not looking at each on a case-by-case basis and therefore should be removed from office as her personal beliefs and her donors personal beliefs clearly conflict with the law.