Orlando, do you know where your Mayor is?

Marriott Dubai

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer flew out of the country just before the Easter holiday weekend with no announcement. And our Mayor will not fly back into the city until the end of the month. Maybe Dyer thought nobody would notice. Do you know where your mayor is?

If you guessed that Buddy Dyer was spending 10 days in Dubai and Turkey, you’re correct! Dyer landed and checked right into the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai. But Orlando’s mayor isn’t in the Middle East without company.

Phil Rawlins, president of Orlando City Soccer, is traveling with Mayor Dyer so that the duo can “promote Orlando’s new Major League Soccer franchise” and the agenda says “the trip will be a balance of business and culture.” I guess they are both looking for some of that corrupt Middle East soccer money? Even the NY Times called soccer the “world’s most corrupt sport.”

All in all, it sounds like a nice vacation…I mean…a productive trip to advance city business. It must be nice to have an elected mayor serving as your own lobbyist.

And Phil Rawlins and the MLS soccer team sure do get a lot of the mayor’s attention. Dyer of course took the lead in duping the city and county to build a new soccer-specific stadium. During the 2013 legislative session, Dyer spent nearly two weeks lobbying for the soccer team to receive tax incentives while missing a key local vote that would have provided dedicated funding for the Lynx bus system. Dyer was back lobbying this year for the soccer team again, after it failed last year. Recently, Dyer even signed away the naming rights and revenues from the “public” stadium to Rawlins’ soccer team.

Oh, and Dyer’s trip is being paid for by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority because Dyer is attempting to lure more airline flights from the Middle East to Orlando because of the new soccer team. Another interesting note from the agenda is a “confidential” meeting in Istanbul related to a project with a CEO of a company the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission has been courting to bring their headquarters to Orlando.

Dyer doesn’t seem interested in addressing the ongoing local budget crisis, the local contamination crisis, the local housing crisis, or any of the problems facing Orlando’s residents. Instead, he’s busy traveling in the Middle East with the soccer team president doing who knows what for his real local constituents. Let the guessing games begin.

Leave a Reply