The fourth and final stop on the '07 Rich DeVos' Golden Pleasure Dome™ Tour took place May 10 at Rollins College, and we were there! Got the shirt, bought the CD and everything.
This one was hosted by Orange County Commissioner Bill Segal, and it amounted to another canned presentation and heaps of praise for corporate welfare. Segal didn't put himself on the line, though. "I'm not here to tell you what I think of the venues," he hedged. We'll try to feign surprise.
There were a few dry presentations and then taxpayers got to take turns telling how some new venues would make their lives worth living. We've come to understand that Orlando will dry up and blow away if we don't build a new arena for one of the richest men on earth. Before we didn't get it; now we do.
Florida Citrus Sports flack Steve Hogan included a little performance art with his speech about renovating the Citrus Bowl, waving his arms around and raising his voice before angrily stammering, "I'm tired of hearing how the economic impact is not real." Then Hogan began sobbing inconsolably into his monogrammed hankie, crying like a schoolgirl until Magic flack Alex Martins embraced him and tenderly dried his tears.
(OK, that last part didn't really happen. But we've been to so many of these dog-and-pony shows now we kind of wish something would happen, so we took a little poetic license.)
We're big on dumbing things down, especially when it comes to campaign announcements. If yours isn't on YouTube, MySpace or in a text message (:-P), then you're an unelectable jerk.
We did bend our rules a bit last week, though, when we opened an e-mail (how '90s) from recently announced, Sheehan-baiting District 4 Orlando city commission hopeful Sam Odom and discovered that Odom has come up with an acronym. For his own name.
"It is my intention to bring to this endeavor a Sincere, Approachable, and Motivated commissioner for our city," he writes.
"Like many of you I have become very concerned with the sharp rise in crime, as well as our ongoing transportation problems, light rail, and even our local school system."
Even? Odom encourages citizens to look beyond the "(D) or (R)" after their names and lets us know that he is "following" the venues project. No real positions, just an acronym. Oh, and Sam, it's "issues," not "issue's."
We innocently put a throng of zombies on our cover last week `May 10` — because the kids love zombies — and in the process touched off a ghoulish pissing match. We're sorry, OK? Who knew there were competing groups of flesh-eaters in Orlando?
The cover referred to a story about 75 years of zombie cinema, and we included a little blurb about the May 19 Zombie Crawl Orlando (firstname.lastname@example.org), a little flash-mobby thing wherein like-minded corpses are set to gather at someone's house, get all made up, then lurch down Park Avenue in Winter Park.
Then we heard from one of our own contributors — Seth Kubersky, whose name is all over this issue — that another group, his, had the idea first. Hell, we even wrote about what appears to have been Orlando's very first zombie crawl, which happened May 27, 2006.
Kubersky sent an e-mail detailing the unrest among the undead. "We've tried getting them to combine their event with ours, but they refuse to budge. And to top it off, I've heard of a third group in town trying to do a zombie walk. Never thought I'd say this, but we seem to have an overabundance of competing undead in Orlando."
Come on, zombies, get it together. United you stumble, divided you get your heads bashed in by some dude with a cricket bat.
Hey, kids, do you think it would be possible to keep your damn pants on for one day? May 22 is Abstinence Day, so let's all take a vow right here and now to swear off the pleasures of the flesh (not you zombies; eating flesh is still OK). It'll be spectacular!
Brought to you in part by the Family Research Council — the people who put the "fun" back in "fundie" — Abstinence Day celebrates some cooked-up research they're flogging that states two out of three parents think the "waiting to have sex" message is lost if kids also learn about contraceptive use. Oddly enough, the same report indicates that four out of five family doctors prefer Camel cigarettes.
So please, no fornicating May 22. God will be watching.
Top-secret city correspondence uncovered!
To: Orlando Food Not Bombs
From: The City of Orlando, Dept. of Homeless Eradication
Re: Feeding the homeless
We pass laws and you ignore them. We arrest one of your cohorts and you carry on regardless. How can we possibly make this clearer? Stop feeding the homeless. Stop finding ways to skirt the law. Stop nattering about "civil rights" and "public facilities." We own Lake Eola Park. We make the rules. You didn't vote, so screw you.
We think we've been pretty lenient. The law that prohibits you from feeding "large groups" in public parks was passed almost a year ago, but you keep finding ways around it. Lately, you've had several groups feed at once, side-stepping the rule that bans one group from feeding more than 25 people at a time. We've been watching you, but so far we've only (allegedly) caught one of you feeding more than 25. That scofflaw, Eric Montanez, gets his day in court June 7.
On May 2, our park manager said enough. Show up again and you will all receive trespass warrants. Homeless people too. Show up after that and you're going to the house of brotherly love. No more mercy. Your brand of "compassion" is about as welcome in the City Beautiful as a syphilis chancre. Consider yourselves on notice.
The City of Orlando, Dept. of Homeless Eradication
(Editor's note: The preceding is a fabrication. Except the part about the trespass warrants. That's true.)
Remember that proposal to allow private companies to build and maintain Florida toll roads we told you about `"More toll roads, please," May 3`? It passed. And in dramatic fashion, too.
As we went to press May 1 — on the last week of the 2007 legislative session — the bill faced an uncertain future. It passed the House on a party-line vote, but had no companion in the state Senate. On May 3, all that changed. Similar language got tucked into a larger transportation law that passed almost unanimously in the Senate that afternoon. The next day, a more divided state House passed the same bill. Now it heads to Gov. Charlie Crist.
The result? The Florida Department of Transportation will dole out contracts to private companies to build roads you'll have to pay to use. These roads will go through high-growth areas to maximize the companies' profit margins, so say goodbye to all that pleasant growth-management talk. And if we're extra-lucky, the state will even include non-compete clauses in its contracts with the companies, just to make sure local governments don't build free roads that cut into the bottom line. We truly are a forward-thinking state, no?
This week's report by Jeffrey C. Billman, Billy Manes, Deanna Sheffield and Bob Whitby.email@example.com