Given current budget woes, there was a lot of whimsy this time around as the sitcom characters of The Dais gathered for another civic powwow. District 4 commissioner Patty Sheehan was fresh from a cemetery tour, where her girlfriend saw a crypt-keeping ghost (spooky!), District 5's Daisy Lynum tongue-twisted over the word "apostolic" for no reason, and Mayor Buddy Dyer — with a beet-red face — actually suffered a giggle-fit, prompting somebody important in the audience to mutter, "Is he drunk?" Also, somebody's chair was making fart noises.
Item: The city approves, adopts and ratifies a new collective bargaining agreement between itself and the Laborers' International Union of North America, Public Employees Local No. 678, covering the period from Oct. 1, 2008, through Sept. 30, 2011.
Translation: With Sept. 15's muted financial collapse, it's perhaps a bit too convenient to flash back to the rattling-penny-in-a-tin-can Great Depressionisms that fueled a young Jimmy Hoffa to get in a fight with a foreman over strawberries. But today's unions aren't the body-under-a-barn proposition they used to be, and their institutional appeasement generally can be viewed as a victory for the common man. In this case, the city's agreement with the local laborers on its workforce is set to run out at the end of the month. This impressive new agreement brings with it graduated pay raises and benefit increases totaling about $2.2 million over the three-year period, along with some new specifications (workers can't have weapons on city property "except as otherwise permitted by city policy,") and an unexpected clarification of "gender neutral" language. "Hey, toots" is no longer a legitimate greeting.
Item: The city approves an award of annual agreement to Charlie's Tree Service Inc. for tree pruning and removal at various city locations.
Translation: If a tree falls in the city and the parks division is busy, will anybody do anything about it? Yes, Charlie (not Charley, who took down trees in 2004) will. The city estimates its need for help with storm-toppled trees to register at about $67,000 yearly, which is $10,000 more than Charlie's sealed bid on the project. Two other similarly priced companies have signed on as backup should Charlie be busy. Hilariously, Jerry's Custom Landscaping Inc. submitted a bid of $216,750, meaning Jerry didn't really want to use the chainsaw anyway. Too much work.
Item: The city approves an events center chilled water service agreement with Orlando Utilities Commission.
Translation: Events centers — even events centers that aren't built yet, and probably never should be — get a little hot sometimes. To prevent this unpleasant ringing around the collar, OUC operates a chilled-water system, one that is also used in the cooling of City Hall (which is never very cool, for the record). This 25-year, $2.6 million deal will ensure that Rich DeVos' Golden Pleasure Dome maintains an even temp and could perhaps signal the inclusion of a much-needed chill-out room where patrons can huff Nutrilite.
Item: The city approves a roadway transfer agreement between the city and the Florida Department of Transportation in regards to South Street and Anderson Street from Rosalind Avenue to Orange Avenue.
Translation: Speaking of hot venues, the groundbreaking for the Dr. P. Phillips Orlando Performing Arts Center — where pins will literally drop — is so close that the city can almost hear the opening lines of Cats. This week, another piece is painstakingly pressed into place as the city acquires the bordering thoroughfares of South Street and Anderson Street (which isn't really a bordering street, but is being viewed as one for the sake of "consistency") from the state so that it might realign them into beautiful runways to the musical future. Ease on down, ease on down the road, Orlando.
Item: The city approves its display of banners on downtown flagpoles as part of hosting the "Come Out With Pride" event.
Translation: National Coming Out Day turns 20 this year — soon it can drink shots and pass out naked in a strange apartment like the rest of us — and to commemorate the occasion, the city is "actively" involved in putting together our downtown pride celebration on Oct. 12. Only they never actually say the word "gay," instead opting for "an event which will advance significantly the general welfare of the citizens of Orlando by increasing opportunities to the arts." Replace "the arts" with "my underpants" and you may have email@example.com