There was a bare Christmas tree outside, and not many present inside at this week’s perfunctory jabbering of the official jaws. No awards, no presentations, no controversy … well, almost no controversy (see last item). The mayor offered love to the fire department, to the University of Central Florida Knights football team (conference-bound!) and the New Orleans recovery. He and commissioners Daisy Lynum and Patty Sheehan just returned from the Big Easy for the National League of Cities (here next year!). Sheehan returned with the “flu.” Ahem.
Item: The city adopts a resolution authorizing the issuance of senior tourist development tax revenue bonds (sixth cent contract payments), series 2007A, in an aggregate amount not to exceed $200 million; and second-lien subordinate tourist development tax revenue bonds, series 2007B, and third-lien tourist development tax revenue bonds, series 2007C in an aggregate amount not to exceed $140 million, for the purpose of financing a portion of the acquisition, construction and installation of the new events center.
Translation: At first glance this would appear to be a case of fleecing your drunk Norwegian grandmother. Make her pay for Rich DeVos’ Golden Pleasure Dome, that’ll learn her! Alas, it’s not nearly so colorfully awful. Instead, this heavily worded issuance of bonds is just the follow-through on the city’s promise to build a really big building in Parramore that’s guaranteed to make the local poor rich and the local basketball team win.
The first-tier liens will be underwritten by Citigroup with a maximum true base interest cost of 5.9 percent and a final maturity of no later than Nov. 1, 2038 (when you’ll either be dead or in a better city). The second and third tier will be underwritten by Goldman Sachs & Co. and come in with maximum interest rates of 5.95 percent and 6.50 percent, respectively (also maturing in 2038, dead person). Think of it as a credit card the city will never pay off. Then laugh.
‘I’d just like to thank the residents of District 4 for not running against me’
— Patty Sheehan
Item: The city approves a concurrent use agreement.
Translation: In what must be one of the most glorious Cracker scandals of all freakin’ time, the city was made aware of a process initiated by poor old Coral Gables that might preclude Orlando from future use of its flaccid slogan, “The City Beautiful.” It turns out that Coral Gables is also “The City Beautiful,” and they – citing a first use of the term in 1933 – didn’t want any conflict from 239 miles north. However, the city of Orlando scratched up a document that showed the phrase’s first use here was way back in 1908, and jumped into motion to save their hideous identity. Trumped! A five-page document was toiled over by both municipalities limiting the phrase’s usage in counties surrounding each city – but not at conventions and stuff – and both shook hands and agreed. We’re all beautiful now.
Item: The city accepts a donation of $5,000 from Oracle USA to sponsor the Super Kids program.
Translation: Now in its sixth year, the Orlando Police Department’s Super Kids program (not to be confused with Parramore’s Kidz Zone, where correct spelling is forbidden) has turned ordinary “at-risk” children into fictional superheroes and all but eradicated crime in Orlando. Except not really. Instead, they’ve offered a nine-week program in which fifth-graders are instructed in such capitalized and awkwardly conjunctioned topics as “PEER PRESSURE, ANGER MANAGEMENT, and CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND DRUG RESISTANCE.” (Is drug resistance really a good thing, Mr. Staph Infection?) Oracle is throwing them a penny, making themselves look philanthropic and not quite as geeky.
Item: The city approves an amendment to the Mills Park Planned Development ordinance.
Translation: The old lumberyard just sits there waiting for its mixed-use future as the real estate market implodes. What to do? Allow its already incentivized ambitions to grow even bigger. The city wants to let developer Justin Pelloni upsize his retail intensity and the height of his northernmost building, amend “certain setbacks” to protect trees, consolidate buildings, put restaurants in the proposed green space and increase the impervious surface ratio from .80 to .84, thereby worsening the actual sprawl impact. Three neighbors spoke up. (“Our neighborhood is not an angry neighborhood,” said one. “Our neighborhood is a jeopardized neighborhood.”) Pelloni was “surprised.” ViMi, your future’s on the phone. It said you’d better get to the hospital firstname.lastname@example.org