COUNCIL WATCH: Billy Manes stares at your city pretending to work so you don’t have to!
WELL, HELLO! It’s that time again; the time when we get to snark our way through the beige civic meanderings of Orlando’s city governance. Check back at this space at 2 p.m. and laugh along. Today, among numerous other things, we’ll be welcoming firebrand Regina Hill into her first day as District 5 Commissioner. Hooray! Hope she’s a laugh riot. Also, we’ll be looking into the initial bidding for OPD’s shiny new HQ. See you in a bit!
2 p.m.: Jesus is here. Well, no really, but he’s being invoked because nobody DOESN’T love Jesus. Oh, or the pledge of allegiance. We are “prospering into the destiny” or whatever. Oh, this guy is talking about THE GREAT CONGRESSIONAL DIVIDE and the WISDOM our president needs. Thanks, Obama. Oh, yeah, and you too, commissioners.
2:08 p.m..: So far, Tony Ortiz has not been beamed in by phone. Oh, and Regina Hill said “present” instead of “here” (as everyone else did) in that quorum call. She’s not like everyone else. OH, ORTIZ IS BOOMING IN, BLURRILY (IF AUDIO CAN BE BLURRY).
2:09 p.m.: We’re diving into talk about REMEMBERING how great the World Cup was here 20 years ago. If we dream it, we can do it. Screw the naysayers. “Stamina.” “Heart.” Oh, it’s the 20th Anniversary, so this presentation is supposed to be a community “hug” or a website launch where people can remember the days when we all danced globally in the street. Look how much older we all look 20 years later.
2:12 p.m.: Did you know that people around the world sport OPD hats as a trading thing? Is that even legal? OPD handed them out to THE WORLD. Oh, wait, we’re about to get to the part where City Hall was painted to look a soccer ball. Adidas paid for it, not you, taxwatchers. But do we really need to spend all of this time talking about 20 years ago? I mean, Daisy Lynum’s not even here to take credit. Oh yeah, the website. A video of Buddy Dyer saying exactly what was just said, only on video so TOTALLY different, is being beamed through the chambers. Without the World Cup there would be no Orlando City or new stadium or something; also, we’re totally going after it again, just not officially yet. OMG SO MUCH HYPERBOLE IN THIS PROCLAMATION.
2:21 p.m.: this is the website: www.OrlandoWorldCupReunion.
2:22 p.m.: Sen. Darren Soto is bragging about how much better a senator than Dyer was during this unexpected legislative update. He scored the stadium money, helped get the cross-state bike path that we would rather die than use, supported funding for SunRail.
2:23 p.m.: OH, IT’S FINALLY TIME TO RECOGNIZE COMM. REGINA HILL, WHO HAS BEEN WORKING FOR 4.5 HOURS. Oath of office ceremony was this morning.
2:24 p.m.: Approving tax incentives for community tennis in Lake Nona, because we are all athletes now. Oh, and also the Orlando Magic Giant Downtown Headquarters thing will get its first read later in Ordinances. Resistance is futile.
2:25 p.m.: OHNOES SAM INGS IS FIRST TO TALK. PASS THE PILLOW. Here goes the full biography of Maya Angelou, as it is incredibly relevant to the lift stations and such, because I RISE, I RISE, I RISE.
2:29 p.m.: ALSO, ALSO, ALSO, ALSO, ALSO, ALSO, ALSO.
2:30 p.m.: Miraculously, we’ve moved on to Jim Gray already. Gray is complimenting the USTA (tennis people) on its awesomeness, because USTA “sensed a spirit of cooperation” so that’s why they’re building here; certainly nothing to do with the thousands of dollars and tennis balls that are flying around.
2:33: Tony Ortiz INAUDIBLE MUSH MOUTH LIKELY BEING BLURRED FURTHER BY ORTIZ MUSTACHE RUBBING AGAINST PHONE.
2:34 p.m.: Robert Stuart is loving the festival like atmosphere happening at the old FASHION SQUARE mall, which is having some new residential platting approved today, because it’s the ’80s and you want to live at the mall, totally.
2:36 p.m.: HIGH SCHOOL ROBOTICS PROGRAMS = BIG BANG THEORY, APPARENTLY.
2:39 p.m.: Robert Stuart gets the longwinded card today; he’s all about some semantic issue in one of the agenda items. He and Mayor Dyer went back and forth for a minute and then made out.
2:41 p.m.: UP, WE MEAN “UP!”
2:42 p.m.: “I know you have a servant heart, and I’m looking forward to working with you,” Patty Sheehan just now to Regina Hill. Um. I’ll just leave that right there.
2:43 p.m.: There’s apparently backlog in permitting, so Patty’s supporting this week’s proposed (and strangely contentious) outsourced solution. Oh, and the A Loft hotel is getting special treatment for being old and historical at the same time. TRAFFIC CONTROL ART BOXES AND DUMPSTERS. “If we don’t want to review them ourselves, while don’t we let the people we pay like the public art board to do their jobs.” Burn.
2:46 p.m.: Regina Hill is already doing a lot of stuff in Parramore/West Orlando, and she’s talking a bit like the female version of Sam Ings. She can be forgiven, for now. There’s gonna be a lot of Jesus talk out to the west of I-4 (as there always has been really). That’s one too many “also,” Regina.
2:51 p.m.: WE’VE MOVED ON TO THE DULCET BARI-TONES OF CRA LEADER THOMAS CHATMON. We’re talking about healthcare and outreach for the homeless, and likely how we pay for it. 2 months in, 15 people have been placed into transitional housing. IT’S WORKING. The agreement is that the CRA pays $60K, with the rest coming from Homeless orgs, to pay for two outreach specialists.
2:53 p.m.: Stuart has to abstain from voting because he IS the Christian Service Center, and the homeless orgs pay him rent.
2:55 p.m.: YOU DON’T USE THE WORD ‘DUPLICITOUS’ WHEN YOU MEAN ‘DUPLICATING’ CHATMON. Makes you look bad.
2:56 p.m.: Stuart wants to share a personal story. Two weeks ago a woman came asking for food, they realized she was homeless, they found out she had been a prostitute and snuck away from her pimp! Stuart’s people called back to her Tennessee home, where she hadn’t been heard from for three years. NOW SHE’S BACK HOME AND ENROLLING IN SCHOOL! Chills all around.
2:58 p.m.: Chatmon thinks this will all form a sort of service network, especially when the Men’s Service Center (FINALLY) gets built.
2:59 p.m.: OH SHIT YOU GUYS, IT’S TIME TO ELECT THE MAYOR PRO TEM AGAIN! ORTIZ NOMINATES STUART AS MAYOR PRO-TEM ONE. UNANIMOUS APPROVAL.
3:01 p.m.: STUART NOMINATES GRAY, SECONDED BY INGS, FOR PRO-TEM TWO. UNANIMOUS APPROVAL.
3:02 p.m.: That was the least exciting election ever.
3:03 p.m.: Now we’re taking on the Fashion Square talk. Sears guy is here to talk. He wants the agreement tabled for two weeks. Sears has been there since 1990 selling overalls and steel-toed shoes, so the company certainly deserves to have A PLACE AT THE TABLE. There is apparently a war between Sears and the Fashion Square. Sears has its own development plan, so it’s not about to bumrush economic development. It’s just Fashion Square hasn’t agreed to Sears weird vision yet. THOUGH THERE HAS BEEN A PRODUCTIVE MEETING; THERE IS A POSITIVE DIRECTION. Again, Sears was there for the original master plan. All this talk of residential units is news to them. He just brought up “equal dignity,” meaning if you heard us once, you hear us next time. Attorneys are clearly involved. WE GET IT; YOU NEED MORE TIME.
3:08 p.m.: Now we have the attorney for the developer and owner of the building. Since his company bought the mall February 2013, they’ve been trying to fix it up, because ‘it was really in a dire strait.’ They contacted Sears early this April and no objections were brought by Sears. IN OTHER WORDS, SEARS IS AN OLD AND SLOW COMPANY. A very cordial meeting has been had, because the owner wants Sears to proceed with its own plan. Together, but separate, seems the way forward. LAST NIGHT AT 10:30, Sears served the owners saying that the developer can have NO SAY in how Sears move forward, and that’s not enough notice. We’ve already BEEN TABLED, dammit. It’s like Hatfields and McCoys went to the mall.
3:10 p.m.: City staff says that nobody even needs a DRI (not sure what that is), but just to amend the master plan. But there’s sort of problem when Sears is part of the mall but separate from the mall. “Joined at the hip,” was just said. WE’RE TALKING ABOUT SEARS HERE. Who even goes to Sears?
3:15 p.m: Sears got shut down. Not literally, but it lost this battle.
3:16 p.m.: BORING ZONING ORDINANCES.
3:19 p.m.: Parramore hellraiser Lawanna Gelzer is here to yell about a Parramore overlay district and how the mayor just keeps eating Parramore. “Certain things have happened to this community, but for whatever reason the community is still suffering.” Now she’s riffing on the relocation of the rescue mission to an old OBT recycling plant. Gelzer is concerned about how the ordinances flying around about social services in Parramore and whether there can even be relocation or expansion legally. NOBODY CARES.
3:24 p.m.: FULL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE. ONLY 264 BILLS PASSED, THE LEAST IN A DECADE. “That’s probably a good thing for all of us,” says this intergovernmental lady. No gaming, no Medicaid expansion, no springs restoration. In most cases, bad shit was lobbied away. OH SHIT, THIS IS GOING TO GO LONG.
3:26 p.m.: Sports franchise bill FTW. $30 million! Sports franchises currently already a ‘good investment’ because a 3-1 ROI. NOW, IT’S EVEN BETTER, PLUS MORE TRANSPARENT. There’s a whole bidding process and yadda yadda. The soccer stadium has to generate $2.6 million a year in sales tax in order to get our $2 million rebate. Also, we get to include parking and ancillary development and team stores and everything else that is going to happen to make Gelzer more angry. The new Magic HQ is also included, natch. This is city CFO Rebecca Sutton’s “Picasso,” the inclusive things that fall under the legal term “ancillary.” OVERSTATEMENT.
3:33 p.m.: PICTURES OF RICK SCOTT(USED TO BE A SOCCER COACH)!!! DAVID BECKHAM!!!
3:34 p.m.: Rick Scott, it should be noted, vetoed no appropriations earmarked for the city. Our charm offensive worked, apparently.
3:35 p.m.: A picture of Sen. David Simmons staring at a puddle to try to figure which way it would flow. WE ARE STARING AT PUDDLES NOW PEOPLE.
3:36 p.m.: $10 MILLION FOR QUIET ZONES POSSIBLY FOR SUNRAIL IF WE MATCH HALF OF WHAT WE GET. oh, shut up already.
3:37 p.m.: How many years must we endure this Creative Village cloudbusting talk. We’re still trying to figure out who we get to move there. We still haven’t seen it built.
3:38 p.m.: OH SHIT, EXPRESSWAY AUTHORITY TALK. Specifically, they passed SB230, which will make the corrupt monster organization larger, which has a NEW ACRONYM: “CFX.” Dyer now gets his seat on the board. Yeah, that’ll work well. The governor will appoint three people himself. That, too, will work well.
3:41 p.m.: OH, THE UBER BILL! ORLANDO WORKED TO FIGHT IT, BECAUSE IT’S BASICALLY UNREGULATED (MEANING THE CITY MAKES NO MONEY) – this will come back up next year.
3:42 p.m.: Redlight Cameras bill died – this will come back up next year.
3:43 p.m.: FDOT wants to make money off of our parking meters that are on state roads, so Orlando has to inventory all of its parking devices; Also, no new ones can go up between now and 2015. Prohibition of tourist oriented signage in poor areas and on expressways. Everybody is confused. It’s NOT WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE, WE’RE ASSURED BY A LOBBYIST.
3:46 p.m.: UCF got $8 million for a modeling and simulation partnership to keep them from being moved by the federal government or something. $15.5 million for “All Aboard America” train craziness.
3:49 p.m.: MICROFINANCE PROGRAMS! SPACE TOURISM! LEGISLATURE ABSTRACT GIBBERISH SPEAK
3:50 p.m.: We didn’t get our rental car surcharge increase, just a cut for the less-than-a-day car rentals.
3:51 p.m.: More tax cuts for sports events, specifically AllStar Weekends and even future MLS tournaments..
3:52 p.m.: NO MONEY FOR INCENTIVIZING MOVIES. NO HOLLYWOOD EAST!
3:58 p.m.: A board you never heard of that was supposed to sunset three years ago is finally being dissolved. Any leftover monies from that board will be used to finish off the Citrus Bowl renovation.
4 p.m.: $160 million available (statewide) for homeless housing programs! Good news!
4 p.m.: HA, EVERYONE ON THE COUNCIL HAS TO TAKE A FOUR HOUR ETHICS CLASS NOW. GO TO THE PRINCIPLE’S OFFICE! It only applies only to municipal officers. “Can we veto it?” asks Stuart. Well played.
4:02 p.m.: QUASIJUDICIAL BIAS HAS BEEN ADDRESSED. WE CAN ALL GO TO BED NOW.
4:03 p.m.: No more e-cigs for kids. BUT THERE IS CHARLOTTE’S WEB MARIJUANA FOR KIDS WITH EPILEPSY. I’m totally feeling a seizure coming on. Hilarious that we’re ending all of this on the high note of weed, even if its of the non-fun-making variety. Kind of like this liveblog, really. GOOD EVENING TO ALL!
4:07 p.m.: LAST MINUTE CHANGE. STUART JUST HANDED HIS PRO-TEM CROWN BACK TO ORTIZ BECAUSE EVERYTHING WOULD BE OUT OF ORDER OTHERWISE. Glad we got that figured out.