It had been ages — OK, five unbearably long weeks — since the last opportunity to sit inside the city machine and listen to progress slowly ticking, but from the looks of things it must have been much longer. Posted over the parking lot outside was a giant orange flag reading "2012," because, obviously, four years had disappeared, right? And just why did so many in attendance have gray hair?
There would soon be answers for all of this and more — 2012 being the prospective opening date for the performing arts center, and blue-rinse Orlando doesn't want another high-rise on Lake Eola, sonny — but much of the actual proceedings were dourly footed in the now. District 6 commissioner Sam Ings brought the joy of dead babies and alcoholism in the black community. Hooray!
Also, there's a $31.4 million budget shortfall. Things will be so much better in 2012.
Item: The city approves a minor subdivision — TBN Studios 4 Square Building — on the west side of Vineland Road and the north side of Conroy Road.
Translation: Rejoice, all ye citizens, for the second coming is nigh. While we all collectively broke a stitch when lavender Jesus poodle Jan Crouch and her allegedly bi-mischievous husband Paul swooped down in a gold-plated chariot last year to rescue the Zionist thrill ride known as the Holy Land Experience, we had all but forgotten their intentions to grow the dubious clay-colored enterprise into a multimedia extravaganza. Until now, that is. The tax shelter where Jesus dies daily is ramping up its piety in a city-sanctioned manner, nearly doubling its real estate with the vacant lot on the other side of the street. Alas, it will not be for a sea-parting water flume or a blasphemer's haunted house, but rather for a spacious studio city to accommodate the global outreach of the Trinity Broadcasting Network and Jan's hair. Evolution, presumably, will not be televised.
Item: The city approves the disposition of real estate (Parcel 554.1) as a small vacant land surplus property to the Florida Department of Transportation.
Translation: Speaking of vacant lots of uselessness, the city acquired this irregularly shaped, I-4—adjacent parcel of land in a rootin'- tootin' tax deed sale way back in 1975, only to realize 33 years later that this tiny parcel between the Princeton Street and Par Street exits would not sprout its own condo and pay for itself. Thankfully, the Florida Department of Transportation is always looking to widen, heighten or frighten and is offering up $25,000 to take it over. Have fun with it, FDOT.
Item: The city approves a renewal of its occupancy agreement for a caretaker at Greenwood Cemetery.
Translation: Scott Thorpe and Autumn Reisz (plus their two dogs!) may have found themselves in the best, creepiest predicament in all of Orlando history. Last August, the city thought it would be a good idea to let them live in a single-family dwelling on South Hampton Avenue, adjacent to the Greenwood Cemetery, for free, provided they check the corpse-riddled premises between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. each weeknight, lock the gates at 7 p.m., and open them on weekends at 7 a.m. Also, no parties! (Even on Halloween?) Well, it appears to have been a perfect, ghoulish fit, as the city is now extending their agreement for two more years with an option for two more two-year renewals. They could be there forever.
Item: The city approves an award to L3 Communications Mobile-Vision Inc. for the purchase of 12 vehicle video systems for the Orlando Police Department drug enforcement division.
Translation: Or, Cops! Actually, the city appears to be concerned not so much about catching criminals on film with this pricey new upgrade as it is monitoring the behavior of its own pushy brigade in times of amped-up confrontation. After reviewing some 30 other systems, the city decided, somewhat hilariously, on the Flashback 2 System as manufactured by L3, because flashbacks and drugs kinda go together. The cost for 12 such candid cameras (including three years of extended service) comes to $112,167, or about $9,300 each. That's 63 eightballs per camera, for those nervously keeping tabs.
Item: The city approves an award to Safety Shoe Distributors LLP for safety shoes.
Translation: Hello. The city plans to spend $60,000 this year on sensible shoes for its staff. Nobody, and I mean nobody, steps on the city's toes. Goodbye.firstname.lastname@example.org