It was a very auspicious beginning to a typically tedious affair. Mayor Buddy Dyer's microphone was in heavy feedback mode, forcing Dyer into a fit of slow-motion introduction. "We … would … like …" he mouthed, waiting for a technical correction.
It would come soon enough, as would your standard litany of proclamations and niceties — enough to take up a whole hour — honoring National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, National Library Week, National Community Development Week and National Volunteer Week. Each presentation brought with it another gift for each of the commissioners and Dyer himself, but none could be half as exciting as public works director Alan Oyler's doomsday offerings in honor of Earth Day. Like an Al Gore understudy, Oyler talked quietly of the environmental movement, etc., ending up on a catchphrase of "sustainability," which ultimately meant "gasification," or the city having an entire fleet of biodiesel vehicles. That was the only fun part.
Well, not really. Later in the proceedings, Orange County Health Department director Dr. Kevin Sherin got his own proclamation (via Sam Ings, and ultimately the mayor) announcing that April 9 was "Trans Fat Awareness Day" in Orlando (unlike New York, there will be no ordinance — just some snooty nudges); Dyer and the commishes signed a giant pledge board, even.
"Oh, like the mayor's going to stop eating doughnuts!" someone muttered not quietly enough in the audience. Seriously.
Item: The city accepts a report of conditions supporting the finding of necessity for the expansion of the downtown Orlando community redevelopment boundary and downtown Orlando expansion area redevelopment plan amendment and forwarding of such report and expansion area plan amendment and finding of necessity resolution.
Translation: What? Do these people have editors? Basically, this item is a draft form to amend the coverage of the Downtown Orlando Community Redevelopment Plan, based on a December study by the Community Redevelopment Agency that presented a "finding" of "blight" in the area between downtown and the soon-to-be-pimped Citrus Bowl. There will be "redevelopment initiatives" to "eradicate" said "blight," and from henceforth the CRAAB (ha! the CRA advisory board) suggests that the CRA ultimately be known as the CRA for the expansion area. Expect mixed uses and cafés shortly. Or soon. Or never.
Item: The city approves the purchase from DCR Engineering Services Inc. of lift station telemetry hardware and software upgrade services.
Translation: Citing an increase from 128 lift stations in 1995 to over 200 now, the Wastewater Division is hot for the super Motorola upgrade on its telemetry monitoring and analysis systems. Can you blame them? Said upgrade should increase the RF bandwidth by "deploying a second frequency that the Wastewater Division owns but is currently not using." Hmmm. Also, it's just nicer and does more stuff. While it may mean a Dyer check of some $88,000, the alternative, they note, would be a whole new system by some other company with a price tag of, like, $7.5 million. A no-brainer, really. But who knew there was telemetry in wastewater? Magical!
Item: The city approves services authorization for GAI Consultants Inc. regarding Downtown Orlando streetscape guidelines.
Translation: Apparently, the old-school "Streetscape Design Standards and Streetscape Technical Guidelines" scrolls are impenetrable and boring. The new "Downtown Orlando Streetscape Guidelines" are an effort to make this troublesome process more "user friendly" and ultimately make it available on the city's website for designers, developers and contractors (meaning everybody currently living downtown). Tree types, sidewalk requirements and "material treatment" make up the bulk of the revisions. Commissioner Patty Sheehan calls it a "long time coming," and we have no reason to doubt her.
Item: The city accepts the donation of one 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 4x4 from Daimler-Chrysler Corporation.
Translation: The city somehow helped Daimler-Chrysler deliver relief during the recent tornadoes, and they got a truck out of the deal. Wonder if it runs on firstname.lastname@example.org