Council Watch: Liveblogging City Council so you don't have to roll your own eyes


Well, hello! And welcome back to hell! On today's agenda there are things like the human centipede – that's actually not fair, because it's basically a "walking bus" program for underprivileged kids via UCF – some back patting, some billing of Winter Park to cover the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts debt or whatever (which, we should note, is mounting), more back patting, and, the centerpiece, of course, the new ordinance to kill Uber (and Lyft, and anyone else that isn't that Mears cab that never shows). Join us in 10 minutes when we try to boost our boosterism and play along. 

1:58 p.m.: Please be warned (because we're sure you care) that we are using a new software system, so hopefully this all goes well. 

2 p.m.: Invocation time, because JESUS IS HERE.

2:04 p.m.: Amazing invocation about acknowledging the hatred of EVERYONE IN THIS ROOM. 

2:09 p.m.: Blah, blah, blah, awards and presentations. "We were elated and almost ecstatic" about some Solar Bears hockey nonsense. IT'S AN ECHL THING. We have no idea what that means. But allegedly the Solar Bears have donated more than $1 million to the community. There's a total bro fest going on right now, if your bro fests usually come with thick men. THERE'S A VIDEO! In which the statement that the Solar Bears came "out of hibernation" in 2012 or some such. 

2:15 p.m.: Just to put it out there, a giant bear in shades is standing over Mayor Buddy Dyer's shoulder and shaking. 

2:18 p.m.: MAYOR'S UPDATE TIME EQUALS SADS. Apopka Mayor John Land is dead. So is former commissioner Wally Sanderlin. We are all going so fast. 

2:24 p.m.: It's all about the Citrus Bowl now. Related, this city is full of jocks and pretty people, apparently. Meanwhile, the leaves are dying. 

2:26 p.m.: Regina Hill. Ladies and gentlemen, REGINA HILL. 

2:30 p.m.: Regina Hill is wearing a wig. It's not particularly attractive, certainly not as cute as the one she was sporting last week. What's going on with the finger curls? What is happening all together with this look? (This is me filling time for Hill's relative blandness on issues of messaging or importance. I do love her though). 

2:33 p.m.: Commissioner Samuel Ings is talking about an historical shovel. I'm digging my grave. 

2:39 p.m.: Let's just put this out there: Neither Regina Hill nor Sam Ings has brought up police brutality in any of the national cases like, say, Ferguson. Ings is a former cop, so there's that. But how fucking callous not to bring it up in any way when you are running local government? At least talk about it? 

2:43 p.m.: Tony Ortiz is talking about airplanes. I feel like flirting with Tony Ortiz just to make a conservative uncomfortable, sit on his lap or something. Instead, we're talking about jumping out of airplanes from 24 miles. "I'm not big on astronomy," he says. That means nothing to me. 

2:46 p.m.: Robert Stuart is talking about Colonel Kittinger and a plane and a park. NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT ISSUES. 

2:48 p.m.: Patty Sheehan is at least addressing bullying (an item on the agenda involving the Zebra Coalition and the Holocaust Museum) as well as money for the Center on Mills. And that will bring us to TODAY'S UBER PROBLEM. 

2:55 p.m.: Oooooooooooooh, first, some more bullshit in favor of the Dr. Phillips Center. 

2:56 p.m.: and sooooo the shit begins. Head up top for the link if you don't know what we're about to talk about. Basically the city is shutting down Uber, a taxi alternative. Dyer says there has been "misinformation" about their anger on the issue; the word "illegally" was just used by the mayor. 

2:58 p.m.: The mayor has just said as much, "Uber wants to operate under only complete deregulation." 

3:05 p.m.: We're calling this Chapter 55, because that's the ordinance number, and the city is vehemently denying that it has done anything wrong here. The city always does. Our thoughts? Well, we're a fan a unions and workers' rights, including (of course) those of cabbies, but we're suspicious of the city's (and county's) relationship with Mears

3:13 p.m.: In case you were curious, this whole argument is bullshit. The city is arguing that it will cost less for Uber vehicles even though it will cost 125 percent of the cost of a cab. How? Some nonsense about the minimum charges. 

3:22 p.m.: So, uh, Patty Sheehan just mentioned the fact that the individual Uber drivers need to pay $500 as an application fee. Do you understand how crappy this is? Sheehan just compared it to eBay, and paying $500 to sell a $10 item. 

3:25 p.m.: Sheehan wins the day. Again. 

3:29 p.m.: The city clearly doesn't understand the Uber model. "If you make the fees too high, it is an impediment to entering the market," Sheehan says. $300 a driver, $500 from Uber? These are poor times and these are poor people making money. What are we stopping people from doing? I'm calling my friend for a ride. 

3:35 p.m.: OH and also, Orange TV (ch 199) cut off broadcast of this ish for whatever reason (legislative caucus, etc.) when there is a FULL HOUSE of people in City Hall. Not to cheerlead too much for Uber - there are things about the company we don't like - but this is the new economy. Catch up, assholes. 

3:40 p.m.: Dyer suggests reducing the minimum hourly from $35 to $20. BUCKLING. 

3:42 p.m.: This is a very long discussion before we even hear the testimony. Oh, and Dyer hates Uber so hard. 

3:47 p.m.: Basically, $300 will get you the CHANCE to drive someone around, because prohibitive fees from the city. 

3:53 p.m.: UPDATE: there are people talking in tongues, basically. It will be a long night. We may go dark for a bit so we can actually eat something. 

3:57 p.m.: WOWOWOWOWOOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOOWOWW. Riot in the halls. "Hell, no!" says current commenter. PLEASE LET'S NOT FORGET WHAT YOU'VE DONE WITH MEARS MONOPOLIES. Buddy Dyer is pissed. 

4 p.m.: UBER PERSON IS TALKING. "In fact, we are in favor of regulations, we are in favor of fair regulations..."

4:01 p.m.: "The current regulations are prohibitive," people can't get taxis. BAM. 

4:02 p.m.: Dyer is pissed. Uber woman is asking for the actual minimums for all of drivers and referencing Sheehan's eBay speech. 

4:10 p.m.: Uber chick just mistook Disney World for Disney Land. Uh-oh. 

4:13 p.m.: Jim Gray just said that Uber has been violating ordinances since its been here. Why would it change now? Dyer is now stipulating that Uber will not be operating at the airport. OMG, YOU GUYS, PEOPLE ARE OFFERING RIDES AND OMG PEOPLE ENJOY THOSE RIDES. SO THE PROBLEM IS THAT WE CAN'T ALL BE IN TERRIBLE CABS THAT TAKE US THE LONGEST WAY IN ORDER TO CHARGE US THE MOST? Oh, OK. 

4:25 p.m.: The airport issued a cease-and-desist to Uber? 

4:27 p.m.: Tony Ortiz is trying too hard. Look at the papers, he says. YOU'RE ALL GONNA DIE. 

4:29 p.m.: It seems that most of the crowd is poor people who drive for Uber or Lyft, people who were refused by Mears (really!). 

4:30 p.m.: There are 46 people scheduled to speak at 5 minutes each. This being first read, we are likely going to see a longish night. We will likely drop out of this for a bit. 

4:37 p.m.: So much anger. First we had a guy who is very angry about the cease and desist. Now, we have a Lyft person, who is calling it "carpooling." Which, awesome. 

4:48 p.m.: Lyft is bragging about its San Fran initiatives, mostly about ride-sharing, not "another alternative taxi service." 

4:51 p.m.: "Are you willing to suspend your operations?" asks Robert Stuart. "If you're raising children and the child continues to not obey the rules of the household...." OMG LEAVE IT TO BEAVER

5:11 p.m.: OK, that sort of hot nerd who just made himself into an Apple commercial was fun to watch. However, that sort of hot nerd said a lot of things we didn't agree with. 

5:22 p.m.: We're now in the realm of the Mears folks and limousine people. Maybe they're right? Maybe more regulation? Meh, we don't necessarily believe that, but whatever. 

5:32 p.m.: OK, so this is just the first read, so we're going to sign off. Hope you enjoyed our sniveling commentary at transportational concerns. Hope you enjoy your Holidays. 

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