Boondoggle, part II
Thanks for reporting on this boondoggle again `Happytown™, Dec. 15`, though your story contained a few inaccuracies.
First, this project is known (by those "in the know") as the "FLOP" (Federal/Livingston/Otey Place) RFP, not "Otey Place." The word FLOP does not do this proposal justice.
Second, it was not just "several members of the Mayor's Parramore Task Force" that said the Community Redevelopment Agency (and the city) should stay out of the development game until the crime was down; in fact, it was the No. 1 recommendation of the Parramore Task Force crime subcommittee. Reducing crime has always been the most popular answer in every Parramore study for the last 20 years.
Third, it was also the Parramore Task force zoning subcommittee (not only the Community Redevelopment Agency) that discussed it becoming a park or Parramore's northern retention pond. The director of planning and zoning told the subcommittee that Parramore needed six more acres of parks. The task force's zoning subcommittee's minutes were fabricated and adulterated by city/CRA staff to reflect that they had agreed on homes (the "FLOP"), not a park or pond!
Fourth, the value of the property, "if the city allowed the highest possible density," would be over $15 million; however, the $5 million to $10 million figure would certainly apply to a medium density mixed-use zoning.
Orange County Commissioner Bill Segal hits the nail on the head! The Orange County Board of Commissioners should take a hard and complete look at the city's fiscal management (if you can call it that), especially the CRA, before they agree to give one penny of the hotel tax, or any of its tax income, for Buddy's downtown wish list. Keep up the good work, Orlando Weekly!
David van Gelder, Parramore resident
Unhappily ever after
I suppose every fairy tale needs its hero, and in Orlando's quixotic adventure to become free of poor neighborhoods, Henri Calleri is applying for the role `"Save Uncle Henry's," Dec. 8`. His candidacy is faulty, to say the least.
I question the benevolence of Calleri where his parking lot is concerned, as I myself was towed this July while visiting my boyfriend, a resident of CityView. A less-than-sympathetic employee at Uncle Henry's told me the lot was for their customers only and that if I would read the signs I could discover where my car was being ransomed.
Also troubling his image is the high turnover of his serving staff and their unhappy dispositions; it's obvious they hate their jobs and I suspect they have some basis for this. How about an article on how to really help poor neighborhoods? (Hint: it has something to do with the poor people; and if they are homeless, blue boxes aren't the answer.)
Curtis Lane, Orlando
What's your problem, Steve?
I could not believe Steve Schneider's review of the movie The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe `Film, Dec. 8`. My family and I found it delightful and exciting from beginning to end.
Patti Bryant, Kissimmee
A message from Katie
Dear Funbalaya `"Love your neighbors," Dec. 1`: I have had the honor of working with a number of your groups on assorted projects. Consistently, you all have shown more kindness and professionalism than I ever could have hoped for. Not since first meeting the Sol.illaquists of Sound and its family of musicians have I met such a positive and forward-thinking group. Like the Sol.illaquists, you may encounter people that just don't get it, some that will outright dislike it and, sadly, a few that will feel threatened by your group's sense of community. I hope that you will continue to make music you love just as you continue to encourage and inspire your creative partners. I can't speak for others, but from where I stand Orlando does need you and many of its residents appreciate the fact.
Katie Ball, Orlandoletters@orlandoweekly.com