There was little news at this week's damp civic yawn. February is American Heart Month, so some American Heart Association lady wearing red to honor the occasion said that at least one woman would die every minute of the council meeting from a heart attack unless everybody wears red on Friday, got it?
Also, commissioner Daisy Lynum was called upon to discuss the importance of Black History Month — and after admitting, "You know, I can be lengthy," she was, trudging through a history lesson that never once mentioned calling the police chief in the middle of the night but did include the phrase "ugly dolls."
Chief financial officer Rebecca Sutton rounded things out with a PowerPoint on how the community venues just keep drifting farther out into the hazy distance like Fleetwood Mac mirages. How does 2020 sound, Citrus Bowl?
Item: The city holds a hearing to obtain public input concerning the Local Government Comprehensive Planning Certification Program.
Translation: In May 2004, when the future of Orlando glowed like an aluminum-foil statue on a cotton-candy cloud, the city threw open the doors of its curio cabinet labeled "firsts" to add its ascension into the Local Government Comprehensive Planning Certification Program trophy. How glamorous, right? Well, considering that the only towns to do so since us have been Lakeland, Miramar and Freeport, probably not. The intention of the program is to allow municipalities to build as big as they goddamn well please without pesky oversight. In order to maintain this vaunted status, the city has to fidget through bits of socioeconomic analyses yearly, present their findings to the Florida Department of Community Affairs, and then hold a public hearing that nobody attends because who can get their heads around the intricacies of this Central Floridian Jiffy Pop experiment, anyway? Among this year's glowing list of positives: 3,928 more "dwelling units," 10,744 added jobs, 18 new miles of sidewalk, 6,175 more people, lower home values (but not as low as 2004, of course) and gold stars for everyone! Well, not everyone. The city is still awaiting a report from the University of Florida to fill them in on figures "concerning cost-burdened households." That blemish will come later, kind of like Photoshop in reverse.
Item: The city approves a design-build agreement with Gomez Construction Company Inc. for event center roadways, streetscape and utility improvements.
Translation: The city began its romantic relationship with Gomez in the tropical heat of last August — "Pick me!" said Gomez, and the city did so while batting its lazy eye. Then in October the relationship was consummated with some champagne and a pre-construction agreement that saw the term "construction methodology" batted around with regards to going south (or widening South Street) and doing a little bit of "streetscaping." Now, because everything is moving so fast, it's time to pull out the checkbook and hand over $2.89 million to Gomez so that he'll get off the couch and work like a real man before the city gives birth to its giant events center baby, aka Rich DeVos' Golden Pleasure Dome™. Poor kid.
Item: The city approves an award and execution of contract to construct Pine Street project No. 2897B to C.E. James Inc.
Translation: For what seems like an eternity now, that little section of Pine Street downtown that connects Hughey and Garland avenues under the I-4 overpass has been a still-frame portrait of neglect: all fences, puddles, people needing change and urban apocalypse. Now, because the city is about to become a throbbing heart in need of navigable arteries, the city is paying low bidder C.E. James $437,183 to turn that negligible infrastructural taint into a thriving two-way all the way out to Orange Avenue. Also, the parking lane along Church Street is about to become a right-turn lane to get onto Orange. This is all very exciting.
Item: The city approves an award of contract to Barton Malow Company for construction of the Water Conserv II water reclamation facility electrical system upgrade project No. 2978.
Translation: Even less exciting? Water reclamation. Water Conserv II — "your feces strikes back" — is in need of a massive electrical overhaul, which is only funny in that I-just-threw-my-hairdryer-into-the-bathtub-where-my-awful-sister-is-napping kind of way. And by massive, we're talking $18 million. My sister is not worth $18 million, dead or firstname.lastname@example.org