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a The presence of a multitude of concerned-neighbor types who don’t usually “do” these meetings implied some sort of fist pounding on the polemics that bind our spinal cords to the societal sphere like trees to the living earth. Whatever would the issue be?

Dust and noise. Not unlike Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind,” only with the context of concrete-pounding at a proposed recycling plant. Yawn.

But nothing could have prepared anyone for the passive-aggressive commissioner smackdown during the discussion portion of the consent agenda. After long-winded public positioning by commissioners Daisy Lynum and Sam Ings, commissioner Patty Sheehan rolled her eyes and deferred her speaking time because everybody else was prattling on. Oh no she didn’t! Wyman joined Sheehan, leading Lynum to comment, “There is no prohibition on how long we can talk. Not for 10 years, anyway.” Snap!

Item: The city adopts a resolution authorizing a loan from the Sunshine State Governmental Financing Commission in an amount not to exceed $28 million for partial funding of the new downtown Fire Station No. 1, community venues projects and community venues–related utilities, parking and other infrastructure.

Translation: As the nation shudders under Wall Street’s lending woes, Mayor Dyer and company throw a little more – because $28 million is like three rolls of quarters – caution to the financial winds. Cleverly, this particular loan comes bundled with a shiny new fire station, thus playing on the hotness of men with long hoses. That will surely be enough to distract us from the imminent collection notices and that pesky recession. Nobody’s poor when it’s raining (fire) men.

Item: The city approves two memoranda of understanding between itself and Orange County Public Schools to provide federal funding, as part of a U.S. Department of Labor project to reduce youth involvement in gangs and violent crime. One memo provides for the city to hire a drop-out intervention and retrieval specialist to work in Parramore to assist out-of-school youth to re-enter school and/or obtain jobs and job training; the other for the Orlando Police Department to provide one staff person to serve as a youth intervention specialist.

Translation: In a much press-released redesign of its crime angle, the city is aiming its PSA laser directly at the risky low-jeans kids in its middle and high schools. A grant from the U.S. Department of Labor is being divvied between the city’s Department of Families, Parks and Recreation ($60,840 a year for two years) and the police ($125,000 the first year, $131,250 for the second) for two new positions in an attempt to convert thug life into hug life. Interestingly, television coverage of the issue has included cops holding big guns in hot pursuit of crackheads, while this program is supposed to rely heavily on educational and social services (meaning laminated posters, probably).

Item: The city approves awards to Classic Chevrolet for the purchase of 74 2008 Chevrolet Impala police pursuit vehicles and six 2008 Chevrolet Impala community service officer vehicles. They also approve a purchase of six 2008 Chevrolet Impala unmarked police vehicles from Nimnicht Chevrolet.

Translation: A new police chief means new cars, y’all! Once again hawking their “green fleet” campaign, the city’s dropping $1.8 million on 74 flex-fuel (85 percent ethanol! Corn!) police-pursuit Impalas and $138,990 on six flex-fuel community service officer Impalas from Winter Park’s Classic Chevrolet. Jacksonville’s Nimnicht beat Classic’s bid on six unmarked police Impalas, earning a sweet $145,158 in the process. In related topics, would there even be Impalas if there weren’t police?

Item: The city approves an extension of an annual purchase agreement with Fann Emblem & Embroidery Company Inc. for printed and embroidered shirts, shorts, caps and miscellaneous apparel.

Translation: A stitch in time saves nine, but fancy stitching on local government apparel costs $250,000 a year. This year, anyway. When the initial five-year agreement with Fann was signed in 2005, estimated annual costs for puffy threadwork were just $130,753. The next year it jumped to $182,675. Now $70,000 more dollars? Is there a thread shortage? Are we hemorrhaging spools of red and blue? Betsy Ross just rolled over in her grave.

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