Well, hello, and welcome back!!! It seems like forever since we stared blankly into the abyss of yawning, perfunctory city governance with a smile (not really) on our face. But, guess what? We're back. In the recent past spate of tick-tocking, City Hall was effectively morphed into a church of populism as Mayor Buddy Dyer, Commissioner Patty Sheehan and sundry other notables (like, you know, Clerk of Courts Tiffany Moore Russell) officiated a huge gay wedding on the steps outside and a huge reception in the ROTUNDA (that's pretty much our favorite word). This week, in our love hangover, things are settling back down. On the front end, it doesn't seem like much is going on with this week's agenda: some hiring of referees for sports events, some expensive fire "apparatus," the extension of an agreement with Publix that will see the city paying a previously agreed upon $390,000 to assist with a ONE MILLION SQUARE FOOT distribution center in city limits that they were supposed to have built by the end of last year. More of the same then. Oh, and as we've previously mentioned in a blog this morning,
the city is expected to approve a two-year pilot program regulating the splashes of artistic color known as MURALS to the chagrin of some. We'll see how all of that goes at 2 p.m. Come back! Refresh! Come back! Refresh! See you in a half hour.
2:03 p.m.: NOTHING TO SEE HERE! Seriously, though, nothing is happening yet. Everybody must be hungover after a month of no council meetings.
2:04 p.m.: "Welcome and Happy New Year!!!!" Thanks, Buddy.
2:06 p.m.: PUT YOUR HEAD DOWN. WE ARE PRAYING. WE ARE PRAYING JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF THE SAME WORD SCRAMBLE MADLIB THAT WE HAVE EVERY OTHER MEETING. WHY MUST WE ALWAYS PRAY?
2:08 p.m.: Marcia Hope Goodwin is currently explaining the importance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "Our lives begin to end the day we begin to become silent about the things that matter," is the quote she's choosing to highlight, which is a good one. It's going to MLK week here in Orlando and there's a commission that arranges this sort of thing and several "meaningful events." There's nothing funny to be said here, but we should find out more about what is on the docket for the week of reflection.
2:16 p.m.: Photo-op. Awkward shuffling.
2:17 p.m.: "If you were just here for the MLK event, now would be a good time to exit" = EVERYBODY IS LEAVING.
2:18 p.m.: The mayor is talking about the NYT designation of Orlando as one of the "top 52 places to visit,"
but he doesn't know why it's 52, because he doesn't understand that there are 52 weeks? Now he's talking about the marriage ceremony, and referencing the anniversary (3 years) of the Domestic Partnership Registry. Seems kind of moot now, maybe? Oh, and also, last week we got "extra smart" bikes for a bike share
2:20 p.m.: CCMECHL All-Star Hockey Classic means nothing to me, but it's on Jan. 22. Solar Bears will be harmed.
2:21 p.m.: The city is soliciting bids for a hotel adjacent to DPAC. Because the Aloft Hotel isn't close enough?
2:22 p.m.: OH, FUCKING, OK! The mural pilot program is being pulled off the consent agenda and moved to "New Business," though nobody in the public got any notice. That's nice. Thanks, Commissioner Robert Stuart.
2:23 p.m.: Smooth-talking Downtown King Thomas Chatmon is updating everyone about the Ace Cafe development downtown IN OUR OLD OFFICE. It's going to cater to bikers and car enthusiasts and it's going to be giant. The first one is LONDON!!! We're big time. Bring on new urbanism talk of "third place" social gathering places. It's going to employ over 200 people, it seems, so that's pretty cool, but mostly it's going to be a big parking fee boon for the city's coffers.
2:26 p.m.: Yes, there will be a HOT ROD GARAGE. Also, "The Mecca for everything bikes, cars and rock and roll." ugh.
2:30 p.m.: Jim Gray, not much of a talker (nor the type to show up at a same-sex wedding ceremony outside his office), has yielded his time. Thank God.
2:31 p.m.: Tony Ortiz's facial hair conundrum is worsening, so it's a good thing he couldn't show up on Jan. 6 either.
2:32 p.m.: Ortiz, however, is very excited for another strip mall on South Semoran. YAY, BLIGHT!
2:33 p.m.: ROBERT STUART OPENED UP A GIANT TILE WAREHOUSE. THIS IS LIVING. HE'S ALSO OPENING A COFFEE SHOP AND A MARTIAL ARTS EMPORIUM. RIBBON CUTTINGS AHOY!!!
2:36 p.m.: Patty Sheehan is talking about bronchitis before talking about the gay marriage ceremony last week. She's a trooper. She's also being kind of awesome in sideswiping some of the administration for not being "amenable" to equal rights. Also, though, she's being very gracious about staffers that have been through all the issues the city has had to fight for in the gay rights arena.
2:39 p.m.: NOW WE'RE TALKING ABOUT MURALS. There's been confusion about what's a sign and what's a mural, so she just wants this pilot program to clarify the specifics. "The difference between graffiti and art is permission," she says. Remember when the city was all freaked out about graffiti? Us, too.
2:41 p.m.: REGINA HILL!!!! She was there for the gay marriage event. She heard a gentleman say that he had been with his partner for 42 years, and he never thought he would see gay marriage in his lifetime. Sigh. Love you, Regina. CALL ME.
2:44 p.m.: UPDATE: Those new schools are now called PS-8 instead of K-8, because more kids? Millionaire Harris Rosen is now saying he'll send every graduate from Jones High School to college.
2:45 p.m.: Uh-oh, Regina is talking about black-on-black crime, which is a bit of a hot button. There is something called the BBC (NOT THE BRITISH ONE) that seems to be a coalition of people organized to address the problem. Not touching this one.
2:48 p.m.: Did you just hear that sucking sound of a tunnel collapsing around you as you become a living vacuum of the soul? Yeah, Sam Ings is talking about all of his "also"s.
2:56 p.m.: Robert Stuart feels like he's being cast in a bad light because he brought murals to new business and off the consent agenda. Patty Sheehan is fine with it, though, because basically nobody knew this was coming up on this week's agenda. So now city planner Dean Grandin is explaining the difference between "signs" and "murals."
2:58 p.m.: Grandin says that there are no standards anywhere in the U.S. to speak of, except to relatively illegal censorship of art. Orlando is going to be a standard bearer! Just don't put any obscenity up in there.
3 p.m.: You can read all of the sign/mural distinctions in the link up top, because that's basically what Grandin is doing now. MUST BE ORIGINAL AND HANDPAINTED AND APPLIED FOR BEFORE INSTALLATION AT A COST OF $50.
3:06 p.m.: QUICK RHETORICAL QUESTION! HAS THE CITY PLANNING DEPARTMENT EVER BEEN SMART OR QUICK ABOUT ANYTHING? How many times have you heard about business owners struggling with the minutiae of the city's ever-changing moods? This may seem great, but maybe it just seems that way.
3:08 p.m.: Ings wants to make it an ordinance now because everything seems covered by the boilerplate. Grandin thinks that the pilot program will give time for the city to hammer out concerns as they arise. Blah, blah. The pilot program passes. MURALS FOR SOME PEOPLE!
3:09 p.m.: Second reading on the creepy ACE Cafe biker bar. Passes without question. Mama, we're all crazy now.
3:10 p.m.: Now in the tedious ordinance portion of today's proceedings in which things are annexed and overlaid and whatever else makes run-off franchises mean something. WORDSMASH. NUMBERWANG.
3:15 p.m.: Dyer just made a "roll-off franchise" joke because we're totally the same person.
3:17 p.m.: And the meeting is done. Nothing historic to see here, but, hey, it's hot and rainy! See you next time, Orlando. Maybe even tomorrow when DPAC goes to the county
to beg for more time than the ten years they've already had to raise the millions they need to build the second phase of the center. MAYBE!