Greetings and salutations, dear followers of the civic tail-chase and everything else draped in itemized futility in the interest of the appearance of the greater good for the City Beautiful! You have a home here. We are just like you.
Niceties aside – well, except for the fact that this is the VERY LAST Council Watch that will be written by a SINGLE MAN, because this rawhide is rollin' to the altar this very weekend to gay marry, bitches – there are a few things we are glazing over about on this week's council agenda. Some nonsense about new signs for the "Creative Village" is happening, with the developers picking up the tab (this is a clear signal that mirages sometimes intend to come to life, or something). Several ordinances clearing the way for the new MLS soccer stadium for the Orlando City Soccer folks are on tap, though an official statement regarding their recent Chik-fil-A partnership has yet to surface. (Hey there, Phil. We're jerks like that. We're still waiting for the statement you mentioned over coffee). A contract for a "traffic enforcement officer" position now required to oversee the red-light camera program is about to be approved (it's about $40k a year, numbers fans). And sundry other checks will be signed and cheeks will be kissed. Oh, it's also Black History Month, so that will come at the top here, as will a recognition of our "sister city" Urayasu. IT'S IN JAPAN!!!! We're big in Japan.
We'll see you in 15 minutes. NO ILLUSIONS!!!!!
2:05 p.m.: Still waiting for things to start. Also, just reveling in the notion that our new interstate is called "I-4 Ultimate," like it's a toilet paper or something.
2:06 p.m.: IT IS HAPPENING NOW. INVOCATION. BOW YOUR HEADS, HEATHENS. ER, HEATHERS.
2:09 p.m.: Mayor Buddy Dyer is talking about JAPAN and how he was just there last year and how this is our oldest sister city (Urayasu). There are a bunch of political and chamber-y people from Urayasu in town, and they are basically the only people in the audience.
2:12 p.m.: THERE IS A TIME CAPSULE THAT WILL BE OPENED IN TEN YEARS. Do we really care about one decade? At any rate, our visitors will do the obligatory monorail (SunRail) ride and get a tour of DPAC's razor.
2:15 p.m.: Protracted photo op with the folks from the place that also has a Walt Disney World, although this is the first we've heard of it.
2:25 p.m.: "Ultimate I-4" is going to be great for jobs on the upside, says Dyer. Uh, but the rest is a fucking nightmare.
2:27 p.m.: There have been 900 requests for home composters. THAT'S SOME SHIT.
2:32 p.m.: Robert Stuart went to Japan in 2005 "or maybe a little bit earlier," he says. It was a great opportunity to play baseball, he says. Wasn't that a Michael Keaton movie?
2:34 p.m.: Stuart is abstaining from two votes because he is concerned that IT LOOKS BAD IF HE VOTES TO GIVE MONEY TO HIS BROTHER WHO RUNS THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.
2:35 p.m.: Patty Sheehan is talking Paws in the Park, which is great, but she's also due at our wedding.
2:36 p.m.: Composting!!! "You can do chicken poop," says Sheehan. That's why she has amazing flowers.
2:37 p.m.: REGINA HILL!!!! Can we just love her hair and let that be enough? No, because she is also excited about the 250 beds at the men's wing of the Coalition for the Homeless. We are in love with Regina Hill.
2:39 p.m.: Hill says that Parramore residents will make $20 to $30 an hour on the six-year "Ultimate I-4" project. WE SHALL SEE, SHAN'T WE.
2:40 p.m.: There really needs to be some kind of ritual for this liveblog once Sam Ings starts talking, and we are open to suggestions. Nothing rude or anything, but maybe like a pat your head, rub your belly kind of thing. Parlor games, then.
2:47 p.m.: Jim Gray is having some meetings. So he can listen. That is all.
2:49 p.m.: Tony Ortiz seems like he's always having a conversation within his own mustache. Speaking of, he's back to just having a mustache. It is Orlando's greatest mustache. There is food in there, along with conversation. Tony Ortiz is a singles bar.
2:51 p.m.: Ortiz is now telling a long story about how awesome OPD is, how they diffused some sort of weapon/substance situation in East Orlando. The good stories don't get told enough, basically. OH, also, Ortiz does not like littering. THIS IS YOUR BODY POLITIC. NO LITTERING! "I WOULD SUGGEST WE START A CAMPAIGN," he says. "KEEP IT CLEAN," he says.
3 p.m.: DDB SMOOTH TALKER Thomas Chatmon is going WAY LONG about something called the "Design House of Colour," which, as you might expect, is targeting women of color in Parramore. It's like the Black female Creative Village.
3:04 p.m.: Hilarious heavy sighs from Buddy Dyer. He really doesn't like Mondays.
3:07 p.m.: Lawanna Gelzer is doing what she always does, and that is scream at the dais about gentrifying Parramore.
3:10 p.m.: Gelzer is making it clear that there will be no jobs for Parramore residents when the MLS stadium is built. She's probably rights. "Sports venues do not bring economic development to a community," she says. "Hands up for justice for Parramore," she says. Also, she referenced Black History Month, because coincidence.
3:12 p.m.: Gelzer is back to talk about the next ordinance relating to the MLS stadium. "Hands Up," her T-shirt reads. But her hands are weighed down with all of the documents she brought regarding downtown development encroaching into Parramore.
3:14 p.m.: Gelzer says there should be cameras in the area, not a stadium and open bars in neighborhood. "It's the point of least resistance," she says, making the argument more racial than it has been to date. She is referencing the manner in which the city has killed Parramore businesses over decades. We're only improving the community for "a select few."
3:16 p.m.: "You used the people's demographics to get the money... Don't tell me we all moved out because we wanted to..." Wow.
3:20 p.m.: HOLY COW, LAWANNA!!!! Calling out the mayor for saying people who weren't Parramore residents were Parramore residents and putting them on a Parramore board. "I wouldn't be here if you wouldn't lie to the people," she says. Also, uh, the whole church deal is shady, she says. Parramore is dead.
3:24 p.m.: "You don't care about the community... You do not care about Parramore."
3:25 p.m.: "I've never seen anybody agree with you," Dyer says, somewhat smugly?