Council Watch: Keeping a mind's eye on city governance so you don't have to


Yawn, stretch, grumble: It's Monday morning! Also, because of reasons even we can't understand, the city of Orlando is choosing to hold its City Council meeting at 10 a.m., a time usually reserved for workshopping hangovers. What that means in the larger context is that there will be no "second reads" on ordinances that have already had first reads, because the notices for second reads were misleading in that they cited the typical 2 p.m. Monday dance-off – one second read was going to be about the city's picketing ordinance, which we covered here.  Instead, we're going all consent agenda (things that have already been decided behind the doors of City Hall's second floor) and, therefore, all nodding faces and Daytimer recounts. 
Apparently, because nobody will say for sure, the promoters behind the Rolling Stones concert at the Citrus Bowl (because this is 1978) are in need of additional seating – like 3,500 more seats for the June 12 show – so the venues department will be forking over $126,751 (or about $35 a seat), which it will make back tenfold, because the Stones, man. 
Elsewhere, the city is accepting a grant from the Department of Homeland Security for "Urban Search and Rescue" and "HazMat" programs totaling some $55,000, hiring on some more folks for its questionable red-light camera program and generally getting excited about a $9 million Florida Department of Transportation grant for an overpass over Highway 50 connecting the Dinky Line Trail and Gertrude's Walk (or, basically, making it easier to get to the venues). Hooray! Sweet nothings! See you at 10. 

10:05 a.m.: Nobody freak out. We've just confirmed that the agenda review is running long, so the sweet sound of civic duty will become public in mere moments. We can't hardly wait. 

10:07 a.m.: AND WE ARE INVOCATING! Lots of talk about love and the Lord, because they make the city laws happen. Also, that pledge of allegiance? It's under God. 

10:09 a.m.: Commissioner Patty Sheehan got an award from the Harvey Milk Foundation, and Mayor Buddy Dyer actually pointed it out. Also, did you know that Thomas Jefferson is the reason we have a Jefferson Street in Orlando? Oh, this Mayor's Update is sweeter than pie. Also, Dyer is still sporting his new sideswept hair-part look. 

10:11 a.m.: We're one of six cities in the country that is getting a grant for Americorps, the only one beneath the bible belt, and that means that Americorps people will be mentoring at "low-income" schools.

10:12 a.m.: WE ARE GOING TO FUND A TORTILLA FACTORY. "State of the art," even, creating 110 new high-wage jobs. Something tells me a tortilla factory isn't necessarily promising in the wage department. 

10:14 a.m.: Sheehan was at Fringe ALL WEEKEND! And yet she still has time to talk about neighborhood improvements in Downtown South and repairing a storm pipe. Oh, also, the round building is getting a new contractor to take away the detritus that was left by another contractor that apparently hates art. 

10:16 a.m.: Regina Hill is talking about "banning the box." "Just because that box is there that doesn't mean that person doesn't have a story." 

10:19 a.m.: Just heard Regina say "girl power," but we won't be posting a Spice Girls video. 

10:23 a.m.: "Are you awake down there?" Commissioner Sam Ings just asked Tony Ortiz's mustache. We have so many thoughts about this. 

10:24 a.m.: Ings just referenced himself in the third person while promoting a town hall event about body cams for Orlando Police Department officers. 

10:26 p.m.: Ings is talking about some GIANT projects that could bring "visual intrusion" to I-Drive, including those outside of city limits. You mean like that giant "eye?" "The sky is the limit," says Dyer, in reference to a previous suggestion for a 70-story building. 

10:29 a.m.: Commissioner Gray said nothing, as usual. Tony Ortiz's mustache is not quite so kind. So far, a 63-year-old college graduate, Burnham Institute and diabetes studies, bullying (along with sad caveat about a parent who lost his son to bullying). And, bam, he's done. 

10:31 a.m.: Commissioner Robert Stuart is speaking of "international influence" and "Rotary Club of Orlando Dragons." Also, he wants you to take out your iPhone and schedule two minutes of silence on Memorial Day next Monday. Oh, and there are soup can art projects in the City Hall rotunda, because Warhol. "The Mummies are coming to Orlando Science Center," or, or something. THIS IS MONDAY MORNING. CAN WE STOP WITH THIS NONSENSE, PLZ? 

10:35 a.m.: "I can roll my 'r's, but I don't know what that means," Robert Stuart says, speaking, of course, of the  tortilla factory. Ugh.

10:36 a.m.: Sheryl Crow called the dump pile from the round building a piece of "pop art," allegedly. Because of the damages, says Dyer, we're saving $135,000 in damages. SILVER LININGS! 

10:37 a.m.: Until we came to the end......... Good morning, good Monday, good week! (It's my birthday on Friday, and I'm still accepting presents). 

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