UNITED STATES NEWS

Gov. DeSantis surrogates escalate tit-for-tat versus Disney

Apr 12, 2023, 11:54 AM

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ appointees to Disney World’s governing board have launched a fresh salvo in the fight to control the resort, seeking to expand their authority after their Disney-controlled predecessors abdicated most powers to the company.

Supervisors of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District are floating a resolution saying the board has “superior authority” over all land development decisions for the 27,000 acres that make up Walt Disney World, including for two tiny Disney controlled cities in the district. The board is set to vote on the resolution next week.

The proposal comes two weeks after board members say their Disney-controlled predecessors pulled a fast one by stripping the new board of most powers before DeSantis’ hand-picked members could take their seats.

Five new supervisors “Don’t Say Gay” legislation barring school instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

The proposed resolution is likely a starting point for future legal tussles between the new board and Disney, said Richard Foglesong, a Rollins College professor emeritus who wrote a definitive account of Disney World’s governance in his book, “Married to the Mouse: Walt Disney World and Orlando.”

“A key question will be whether a board created by the Legislature and appointed by the governor can rescind the constitutionally granted authority of democratically elected local governments,” Foglesong said.

In taking on Disney, DeSantis advanced his reputation as a culture warrior willing to battle political opponents and wield the power of state government to accomplish political goals. It’s a strategy he’s likely to follow through his expected 2024 run for the White House.

The new supervisors replaced a board controlled by Disney for the previous 55 years, which operated as the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Among its last acts in February was giving Disney control over design and construction at the theme park resort. Reedy Creek board members also prohibited their successors from using the name “Disney” or any symbols associated with the theme park without the company’s permission, and barred the new board from using the likeness of Mickey Mouse, other Disney characters or other intellectual property.

An email seeking comment from Disney was sent on Wednesday.

Experts said the latest proposed resolution won’t impact the previous board’s agreement with Disney.

“This is about the district controlled by the governor’s appointees passing a law that its land development rules prevail over the rules of the cities, which are still controlled by popular vote (made up entirely of Disney voters),” Jacob Schumer, an Orlando attorney specializing in local government and land use, said in an email.

Two tiny cities fall within the Disney district. According to the 2020 census, Bay Lake had 29 residents and Lake Buena Vista had 24. The two municipalities were formed to support the legal framework of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which was established by the Florida Legislature in 1967.

The cities have elected city councils and mayors who contract with local law enforcement for police services at Disney World, and could be used to assert the company’s autonomy over the resort. The cities’ residents are employees, former employees or others with close ties to Disney.

___

Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at @MikeSchneiderAP

United States News

Associated Press

Text of the policy statement the Federal Reserve released Wednesday

WASHINGTON (AP) — Below is the statement the Federal Reserve released Wednesday after its latest policy meeting ended: Recent indicators suggest that economic activity has continued to expand at a solid pace. Job gains have remained strong, and the unemployment rate has remained low. Inflation has eased over the past year but remains elevated. In […]

44 minutes ago

Hilton Crawford's Campaign Poster when he ran for Sheriff of Jefferson County in the 1976 Democrati...

Ben Kuebrich, KSL Podcasts

Former officer who kidnapped 12-year-old after tricking parents had red flags in police record

Episode six of Ransom: Position of Trust, dives into Hilton Crawford's past to see who he was and what led him to kidnap Mckay Everett.

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Oklahoma Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit of last Tulsa Race Massacre survivors seeking reparations

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit of the last two survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, dampening the hope of advocates for racial justice that the government would make amends for one of the worst single acts of violence against Black people in U.S. history. The nine-member […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

High school president writes notes thanking fellow seniors — 180 of them

Emily Post would be proud. A high school class president in Massachusetts who gave a commencement speech wanted to recognize all of his fellow graduates. So he wrote them personal thank-you notes presented at the ceremony — 180 to be exact. “I wish I could’ve acknowledged you all, but there was simply not enough time,” […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

AP-NORC poll: About half of US adults approve of Trump’s conviction, but views of him remain stable

NEW YORK (AP) — About half of U.S. adults approve of Donald Trump’s recent felony conviction, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey shows some potential vulnerabilities, along with some signs of resilience in his support, as Trump tries to become the first American with a felony […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Judge faces inquiry after Illinois attorney was kicked out of court and handcuffed to chair

CHICAGO (AP) — Cook County’s top judge has asked state regulators to review allegations that an attorney was handcuffed to a chair after a judge kicked him out of her courtroom. Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans referred misconduct allegations against Judge Kathy Flanagan to the state Judicial Inquiry Board on Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Gov. DeSantis surrogates escalate tit-for-tat versus Disney