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Orlando’s on fire! Well, let’s hope not, because at this week’s gathering of civic polemics, the room was flush with hunky firemen. Potentially flaming also was the appearance of pink somewhere in the wardrobe of every city employee (a fashion tribute to Pink October for breast cancer awareness, and sadly not a “pride” thing), but that wasn’t what the men in uniform were here to quell. As affairs came to polite order, something happened that has never happened at a city council meeting. This reporter cried.

On Sept. 1, a group of Orlando firefighters rescued a mother and her four young children from a burning second-story apartment in the Conway area. To honor the firemen, the mayor created a new award: the Commendation for Courage. Several of the men were in attendance – as was the family of five – as the entire council crowd was then forced to live (or relive) the experience through a DVD presentation of the mother’s and her 10-year-old son’s desperate 911 calls – all of which resulted in the most abrasive, tense, emotionally pornographic city council meeting ever. Even the 10-year-old covered his ears.

“Let’s see what the media says about that,” joked District 5 commissioner Daisy Lynum. “I bet that doesn’t make the news.”



‘`Commissioner Lynum` walked in the room, tripped over the dummy, fell on the couch and found the baby within five seconds’

District 4 commissioner Patty Sheehan

Item: The city adopts a resolution of support for Green Works Orlando, the city’s environmental action plan.

Translation: Good intentions aside, the hollow platitudinous ring of mayors Crotty and Dyer on all things “green” lately is creepy. It’s not isolated to Central Florida, but given the local political lint in Big Development’s pocket – and the imaginary super-condos being crafted from it – such sanctimony can sound as disingenuous as a wooden-toothed compliment from your mean old boss.

Dyer introduced Green Works two weeks ago at the opening of the “green” Fire Station 15 in the Lake Nona area, where for an additional $100,000 in building costs the firemen could use more natural light – basically so that the city could apply for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from Washington. Expect more such grandstanding in the future. After all, green is the new God.

Item: The city approves an extension of its annual agreement with Florida Chemical Supply for floating lift station degreaser.

Translation: There is nothing cooler than floating lift station degreaser. The d-limonene-based formula doesn’t even disrupt natural bacterial action in sewage “concerns,” AND it stops pesky odors. It’s only getting cooler too, apparently. Florida Chemical Supply has, in its fourth year of a five-year contract, quoted a $10 increase in price: from $45 per five-
gallon pail to $55. Savvy! The city, meanwhile, estimates its degreaser needs at 500 five-gallon pails per year. In the interest of preventing a wastewater disaster (just close your eyes and imagine that … Madge, you’re soaking in it!) – and noting that the $10 increase is in line with market standards – the city’s biting the bullet on this one. The floating station lifts on.

Item: The city approves an extension of its annual purchase agreement with Harrison Uniform Co. for fire department uniforms.

Translation: There is nothing hotter than firemen in (or out of) uniform. But even though naked firemen would probably be the “greener” option, it probably wouldn’t be safe on their hoses. To that end, the city is in the fourth year of its five-year contract with Harrison Uniform Co., one that is anticipated to bank the company $150,000. Hot calendar pecs with just a brushing of sandy hair will remain unsinged, and all is right with the world.

Item: The city approves an award of contract to Rehrig Pacific Co. for providing universal refuse carts.

Translation: Remember that Invasion of the Body Snatchers moment when, miraculously, one downtown morning you woke up bleary-eyed to a giant black pod in your front yard? “Take it to the curb, Orlando!” it ordered, and boy, did you obey! It turns out that those pods were only the first generation (the contract called for 42,500 of them at a price not to exceed $2,095,675, but only about 33,000 carts were produced). The contract has expired, and the city still has 3,500 homes without the trash carts and predicts growth of about 2,000 more. Now they’re asking for 5,500 95-gallon carts ($48.43 each) and 900 65-gallon carts ($45.95 each), at a price not to exceed $270,000. In light of the current real estate crisis, expect these refuse carts to become the next mobile homes. Remember, you’re only trash if they pick you up.

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