The past year has been a busy one in Central Florida.There were battles over buildings, debates over everything from the homeless to ethics, and efforts to build up a medical community and fight back a crime wave.
You deserve to know who made things happen -- and who's to blame when things go wrong. It's your community, after all.That's why, for the fourth year, this column has compiled its ranking of The 25 Most Powerful People in Central Florida.
This isn't my list. It never has been. Instead, I tapped a panel of 16 plugged-in players and observers to do the job. They are mayors, business execs and nonprofit and educational leaders.
And this year, they made some changes.
They booted five people off the list.
They, for instance, thinned the ranks of Republicans and GOP fundraisers, now that Democrats have momentum. And if you made big promises but failed to net big results -- whether it was in the business or political arena -- these panelists noted it.
Go ahead. Take a look at last year's list and see if you can figure out who got sacked.
This year, our panel took a shine to people who are making waves and bucking the status quo. They tried to pick out leaders with particularly promising futures. They noted a couple of business leaders who seem to be transitioning power from one generation to the next. And we're starting to see a bit more diversity on a list that has long been dominated by white men.
Last year, Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty was No. 1 -- where he has been every year since this began.
Will he stay at the top of the heap?
To find out, you'll have to keep your eyes on the paper.
We'll start unveiling The 25 Most Powerful People in Central Florida in Tuesday's paper with those in 16th-25th places.
On Thursday, we'll look at those in spots 6-15.
And next Sunday will come the top five.
So stay tuned -- to make sure you're plugged in.