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Liveblogging this afternoon’s Orange County Board of County Commissioners meeting: the punitive edition

August 19, 2014
By

jacobs-fairyGood day! Pull up a magical chair, won’t you? Things are probably going to take awhile this afternoon, when, as promised, your stars of the Orange County Board of County Commission featuring Mayor Teresa Jacobs will resurrect the idea that constitutional offices within the county should be nonpartisan, term-limited, in-county positions, or something. Basically, they’re going after Tax Collector Scott Randolph and Property Appraiser Rick Singh, because, well, they’re Democrats. Anyway, there’s plenty of background reading to be done here, if you aren’t up to speed. And then there was this hilarious moment at the Tiger Bay Club last week where Commissioner Fred Brummer – who wrote all of these terrible charter amendments – stormed out of a debate for no reason. So, we’ll be doing our civic duty of pointing and laughing (and simultaneously crying, because this shit is crazy) this afternoon after 2 p.m. See you there?

2 p.m.: The overflow room is filling up because the regular boardroom is full because people don’t like mosques. NOT MOSQUITOES, MOSQUES. But a gavel has been banged. So things are starting.

2:10 p.m.: I’m already BORED of zoning adjustments.

2:11 p.m.: 13,000 sq. ft. religious use facility over by Palm Lake Drive and Apopka-Vineland Road. People don’t really like this deal, because, well people are people.

2:14 p.m.: Do you want a mosque so close to a power plant? Is that really the question we’re asking? Duke Energy has an “easement” in the area. Oh, also, can you have grass parking at a church? Are there a million ways to say you don’t want Muslims in your rural community? We’re about to find out.

2:18 p.m.: Basically, 200 people show up to every meeting about this in opposition, because TRAFFIC. There have been a number of meetings, already. Sounds like the Board of Zoning Adjustments unanimously decided that this should all be denied. TEDWARDS wants to make sure you know this doesn’t mean anything bad about the people of the area.

2:21 p.m.: OH, JEEZ. THE GUY BEHIND THE PROJECT – THE ATTORNEY FROM GRAY ROBINSON – IS ABOUT TO GO ON FOR A BIT. He’s allowed 15 minutes. He thinks his fame may take a little longer to tick away.

2:23 p.m.: Erm, there have already been adjustments considered, blah, blah, blah, so you guys are all racists.

2:28 p.m.: Howza come the Christian church right next door isn’t a problem? NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY.

2:33 p.m.: ZOMG, ZOMG, ZOMG. This part is excruciatingly boring. EXCEPT somebody misspelled privilege (“PRIVILEDGE”) on a PowerPoint. Who’s catching hell at Gray Robinson over martinis tonight?

2:40 p.m.: Update: Nothing.

2:44 p.m.: Basically, the idea is to load up the top with racial public outrage so that the nuts and bolts of how local government is run are buried in the news feed. YOU GUYS, THERE’S A MORMON CHURCH THAT’S WAY BIGGER IN THE SAME HOOD.

2:47 p.m.: There are a lot of churches in Central Florida. Why not give the sort of run-off area from a power plant the chance to have some use, like, say, for those who don’t look like you? Scott Boyd, whose district this is blowing up in, is skeptical about some of the mapping. Scott Boyd can come off as confused with alarming frequency.

2:50 p.m.: Traffic study guy is here to tell us that mosque hours aren’t going to make any trouble for the locals because THEY ARE MOSQUE HOURS, LAZY CHRISTIANS.

2:56 p.m.: Here come the public speakers, you guys! LET’S HAVE SOME PUBLIC SHAMING OF BIGOTS!

2:57 p.m.: THERE ARE SO MANY WHITE PEOPLE IN THE ROOM! Attorney for dozens of residents is saying he needs 15 minutes, BECAUSE THE OTHER GUYS went over 40 minutes. OMGGGGGGG I CAN’T EVEN WITH THIS GUY. He’s already prepared a binder and submitted it.

3:03 p.m.: We’re still in expert territory – no crazies yet – but when the experts are talking about hypothetical residential uses as a means of shutting down a mosque, you kind of have to wonder.

3:09 p.m.: Houses in the area range from 2.7K sq ft to 8 FUCKING THOUSAND SQUARE FEET. That should tell  you everything you need to know, HGTV fans.

3:12 p.m.: Ummmm, if you’re going to cite previous examples, why are all those examples churches for minorities?

3:13 p.m.: “Incompatible use, detrimental intrusion” — these are your key words. Nope, nothing to see here.

3:16 p.m.: Scott Boyd has questions about left turns and right turns, BECAUSE OF COURSE HE DOES.

3:20 p.m.: Three minutes to all the public speakers now! So far, all the names are Muslim in nature, at least next to the ears under this green hair.

3:21 p.m.: CONGRATULATIONS MAYOR FOR BEING PATIENT WITH BROWN PEOPLE WHO ARE NATURALIZED. YOU KNOW WHO ELSE HAS TO BE PATIENT? MUSLIM PEOPLE, says this guy. “Maybe I’m not welcome anymore! Maybe I don’t belong here! Maybe this is not for me!” BAM!

3:23 p.m.: “I thought I was coming to Orange County; not Volusia County.”

3:24 p.m.: Next guy is up. I heard a term thrown out, “detrimental intrusion,” he says. He goes to a mosque and doesn’t feel like his, the catholics, the hindus, the jews or anyone are screwing up the neighborhood. “Tapestry,” he calls it. Lord.

3:28 p.m.: Boom, Teresa congratulates another Muslim on becoming naturalized. Thanks for your approval, mayor.

3:31 p.m.: Apparently Muslims are loud, says this guy.

3:32 p.m.: Palm Lake resident is also “opposed to the development.” If residents can have paved driveways at their giant homes, then a mosque should have to pave its parking lot too. NONSENSE.

3:38 p.m.: Hey, guess what? Muslims aren’t interested in disturbing the peace of your neighborhood. Maybe you should just ask them about your concerns?

3:40 p.m.: Pete Clarke was “concerned” that the call to prayer might be amplified throughout the neighborhood. It won’t. Teresa has called a nine-minute break; THIS WAY WE WON’T MAKE THE EVENING NEWS WITH THE BRUMMER AMENDMENTS.

3:59 p.m.: OK, so we’re back. And Teresa’s worried about the sound quality on the microphones. Anyway, we have a guy from a mosque in Longwood who is saying that two years ago, he had the same fight in Longwood. Now, NOW, everyone loves everyone. It’s about compromise. “We will be awesome neighbors. You will love us. I promise.”

4:01 p.m.: A self-described “African-American” woman is against it, wants you to know she isn’t “discriminatory,” there are some houses for sale. WHATEVER. She just got applause, too.

4:03 p.m.: Traffic engineer says there will be no traffic issues.

4:06 p.m.: WOMAN WON’T BE ABLE TO ENJOY “SERENE” BACKYARD ALERT.

4:08 p.m.: Says you shouldn’t have mosques near powerlines, because who knows what will happen?

4:09 p.m.: “Let us keep our community as country” as it is right now.

4:12 p.m.: MY FAVORITE PERSON TODAY SO FAR JUST SPREAD A MESSAGE OF LOVE. Brought up Alan Hays talking about asking whether he “speaks English.” Teresa Jacobs is saying, though she’s not just like you, she voted against a catholic church (she’s catholic) and voted against a synagogue, so she can vote against everyone equally. She “has not walked in your shoes.”

4:17 p.m.: We are still on this. Now, husband and neighbor who has lived here 15 years – president of HOA, no less – is arguing for religious freedom, and yet arguing against the mosque.

4:19 p.m.: GUY STANDS IN MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. TAKES PICTURES. BUS PASSES. FIVE MINUTES LATER, A GIRL RIDES BY ON BIKE. SOON FOLLOWED BY HER DAD. YOU GUYS, NORMAN ROCKWELL JUST CALLED. PALM LAKE JUST GOT THE JOB.

4:21 p.m.: Total NIMBY. Also, churches get crowded on holidays. WHO KNEW!?

4:22 p.m.: Woman with horses, goats and emus. She wants to keep it that way. NEXT.

4:27 p.m.: AMEN, to this GUY! It’s not about traffic. I used to watch your pets.

4:41 p.m.: Some guy who lives nearby IS SPEAKING REASON. “I am simply here to state my support for this mosque…”  HERO.

4:42 p.m.: The sad fact is that this town is full of terrible people. You’re going to hide behind zoning to justify your mob rule? Have you lived in Orlando very long? Yes, you just said you have. Rules and code only matter when the browns come in. Let’s be honest, folks.

4:48 p.m.: Scott Boyd wants to address the dumpster. All I can think of is Boyd talking to a dumpster.

5:05 p.m.: This is still happening. It’s after 5 p.m. We aren’t going anywhere, but may we suggest Depends?

5:10 p.m.: THIS IS NIMBY, SAYS WHITE GUY. People in audience “boo!” Fuck this town.

5:12 p.m.: We have a pastor from the adjoining church (Christian church), and he has five acres and wants to grow, so the “bottom line is no church would seek a piece of land that they have no opportunity to grow on.” OMG. “They bought the wrong lot,” says John Lithgow in Footloose.

5:20 p.m.: HEY, LET’S BURN ALL THE CHURCHES. THERE ISN’T ENOUGH PARKING, AFTER ALL.

5:23 p.m.: We just had our last speaker, and he was a terrible blob squeezed into a paper towel tube. Now we have rebuttals.

5:33 p.m.: Dumpsters and retention ponds, now. THIS IS HOW LOW WE GO. (FOR NOW).

5:34 p.m.: Scott Boyd is talking. “We, as commissioners, deal with issues all the time, and to take the emotional component out of that is difficult.” OMG, SO HE’S GOING TO VOTE AGAINST IT.

5:37 p.m.: Officially not going to support. Gonna make a motion as such. Keeps his white card.

5:41 p.m.: Fred Brummer, who seconded this motion for denial, is now speaking in tongues. Why would religious orgs buy residential property that is abandoned? Because it’s cheap. Also, what neighborhood isn’t full of churches? Most of them are grandfathered is the answer.

5:44 p.m.: The county is SO GOOD at covering up its racism here.

5:45 p.m.: “I do believe that we need another mosque in this region,” JUST NOT THIS ONE.

5:47 p.m.: So, do we move on to the fun part now? LET’S DO THIS.

5:49 p.m.: YOU GUYS, IT’S ALL ABOUT MAGNOLIA ESTATES NOW. it’s not going to stop til you wise up.

5:51 p.m.: HOT ATTORNEY ALERT.

6 p.m.: STILLWATERS DON’T RUN DEEP. There is a development, a nearby developer is worried about sewage, new developers have not communicated the weird sewage situation they’ve dreamed up. Basically, this is how Florida is developed.

6:09 p.m.: The point in the county commission afternoon where I start hating everyone.

6:30 p.m.: WE ARE ON AN EXTENDED BREAK, PRESUMABLY SO THAT THE COMMISSIONERS CAN EAT PORK FROM LOBBYIST ROLLS? MAYBE? anyway, we’re sticking around for the good part. we’d rather be having fun, though.

6:39 p.m.: This is worse than a church lock-in.

6:47 p.m.: AND WE HAVE ANOTHER SUBDIVISION PLAN. IT’s MR. GLASS. LIKE PHIL GLASS. OR PHILLIP GLASS. OR LIKE JAN BRADY.

6:54 p.m.: Note to selves. Every developer and county staffer meets at Panera. Either that, or Citrus (if it’s big money). But sometimes Drunken Monkey, because anonymity!

7:08 p.m.: We are still in a zoning nightmare. This will be an allnighter. SO MUCH FUN, RIGHT!

7:13 p.m.: If you think I’m drinking while eating enchiladas as people talk about stylizing fences and vegetational corners, you’re right.

7:27 p.m.: I mean no harm when I say this, but could everyone in Orange County who wants to make an argument about having horses please be in a separate hearing, like 60 years ago?

7:52 p.m.: I’m not lying when I say that some guy just talked about deer and their genetic diversity. Sure, Little Econ talk and all that, but we have completely buried the lede in the post-8 p.m. muck

8:01 p.m.: We just got a slide with a horse on it. I’m not kidding. In the name of the Rocking Horse Ranch? Yes. I think so.

8:18 p.m.: WE HAVE DESCENDED INTO MADNESS ABOUT ZONING. AND ROCKING HORSES. IF THE STRATEGY WAS TO MAKE ME INSANE, THE STRATEGY MAY HAVE BEEN THE RIGHT ONE?

8:23 p.m.: Cows, chickens. Not even kidding.

8:25 p.m.: You know what goes down real well around 8:30 p.m. on a Tuesday? An argument about semantics. Oh, and Jacobs “stands corrected.”

8:31 p.m.: What if I actually fall asleep in a liveblog? If my face hits the keyboard like this bno;l/P%mn … let me know.

8:33 p.m.: TEDWARDS likes the horses that rock.

8:38 p.m.: Everyone is really big on keeping neighborhoods “consistent.” And then we all get applause!

8:39 p.m.: “There’s a man with a Taser in the room,” Jacobs says, signifying nothing. WE ARE IN MARTIAL LAW, PEOPLE.

8:42 p.m.: That thing where somebody says “Sea World” when she’s saying sea wall.

8:46 p.m.: The parking garage closes at 10:30, says the mayor. You could lose your car.

8:47 p.m.: OK, so we’re at that part. The two amendments discussed in May that talked about …. blah blah blah…. we are rewriting history via bad timelining from legal. This is the constitutional offices part, moving them to charter offices. But then they’d still be on ballots in nonpartisan elections? And term limited. Oh, and then, another one that does nothing? Or something less? Oh, and then the other ordinances from before would be repealed?

8:51 p.m.: This is so ridiculous. TEDWARDS is worried about wording of “four consecutive terms” and if they were full four-year terms. Funny, Jacobs knows what Edwards is “suggesting.” How would she know that?

8:54 p.m.: HERE COMES SCOTT RANDOLPH!!!!!! Teresa looks nervous.

8:55 p.m.: Ladies and gentlemen, we are learning at tax school. $1.6 billion in tax collections, says Randolph. Constitutional officers are separate from administrations. There’s a reason for that. DHSMV services are 70 percent of the cost, 80 percent of labor time. OC Tax Collector is the second most effective office, etc. No wait times now, guys! If you ever wanted to know what Randolph did, then you just would have heard it. Sounds like a lot.

9 p.m.: Property Appraiser Rick Singh is now talking and saying if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

9:06 p.m.: the UNDER Sheriff is reading a letter from Jerry Demings that basically says the same thing that everyone is saying: “Why?”

9:10 p.m.: Marty Haynie is SPEAKING, ladies and gentlemen. You are killing checks and balances; you are breaking my heart. This is amazing. Jacobs has effectively made everyone beg for their jobs.

9:12 p.m.: The clerk of courts and the supervisor of elections have one representative and he is saying that “these need to be independent offices.” Also, “minimizes the role of politics in their duties.”

9:13 p.m.: THIS IS FASCINATING.

9:15 p.m.: “Recently we had the issue of is Bill Cowles going to count petitions quickly or slowly.” HOLYSHIT. Also, “Lots of potential litigation.”

9:17 p.m.: HERE COME THE GENERAL PUBLIC FOLKS.

9:19 p.m.: AMAZING PERSON TALKING ABOUT WHAT A CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICER IS! AND THE VALUE OF EXPERIENCE. INSTITUTIONAL KNOWLEDGE!

9:21 p.m.: MICHELLE LEVY FROM THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS! She can’t believe she has to do this at 9:30 p.m. What? Like remind the board that they are totally playing revenge on the constitutional officers. The League might support non-partisan, but does not support term limits because we need smart people. Basically, “let us use the charter review commission.” We should not be “an embarrassment.”

9:24 p.m.: First Groundhog Day reference! Thanks, Keith Morrison.

9:27 p.m.: So if you’re still reading this, then you probably care. Certain lobbyists are texting certain idiots talking points before their public commentary. People are dumb.

9:29 p.m.: Stephanie Porta: “It’s been a minute.” Now let’s talk about the Hispanic and Black voting communities. Oh, and NPA types. They are disenfranchised. “Why would our county commission want less votes… Why move constitutional officer elections up to August? WHY ARE YOU PROPOSING THIS. THIS SEEMS LIKE AN ATTEMPT BY THE COUNTY COMMISSION TO ACTUALLY CONFUSE VOTERS. A CHARTER ISN’T A MONOPOLY BOARD. … ONE SET OF RULES…”

9:32 p.m.: Now we have WADE VOSE! That’s a sexy name. He wants to keep all the constitutional offices independent. SWOON.

9:34 p.m.: I can’t believe this is happening.

9:36 p.m.: Paul Heroux!!!! Just got back from a repair job, BECAUSE A REPAIR JOB NEEDS TO BE DONE, and if it’s fixed, YOU DON’T HAVE TO FIX IT AGAIN.

9:39 p.m.: PARTISAN CLAPTRAP!!!!

9:40 p.m.: Doug Head is talking about “hiding the ball” via these charter amendments. No comment!

9:44 p.m.: Brook Hines!!!! She watched this on TV today so she made her way down to say that “so much comes before the board, where so many interests seem to have an inside track… that other citizens don’t have.”

9:46 p.m.: Pro-tip, some losers will try to dumb this down so just a few offices go under the charter, while RELIEVING the others of such pains.

9:48 p.m.: Brummer motioned, Boyd seconded. HERE WE GO.

9:49 p.m.: Eight years is too little, 16 years is too much. BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT.

9:51 p.m.: Tiffany Moore Russell is saying that merging term limits and partisan is dumb. She won’t support. Also, Supervisor of Elections would suck to have to replace every eight years. So would Comptroller Haynie. “I think we have term limits already in place,” she says. “It’s not the citizens initiative led,” says Tiffany. AND A FUCKING FIGHT BREAKS OUT WITH TERESA. I CAN DO THIS IN EIGHT YEARS. THE PRESIDENT CAN DO HIS JOB IN EIGHT YEARS. OMG TERESA, YOU LOOK A FOOL.

9:55 p.m.: Boyd really likes himself. Thinks he shouldn’t be term limited. this is inevitable.

9:56 p.m.: “I’m a Republican and I look at independents and I think, ‘You got nothin’!”

9:59 p.m.: MARTY HAYNIE IS INSULTED BY THIS BULLSHIT. “AS MANY TERMS AS THE CITIZENS CHOOSE FOR US TO DO OUR JOBS.”

10:05 p.m.: Is this thing still on? Yeah, we’re discussing the “body of the ordinance” right now. Looks like we’re passing one of the Brummer amendments, but not the other one, because they are the same, except the charter thing.

10:07 p.m.: I’m just going to give this shit up right now.  “And the TV cameras are all gone, and we chose to do it in the dark of night.” “The confusion of any reasonable citizen with what has been going on here in the past few months … is just amazing…. I am just ashamed of you all.”

10:14 p.m.: BRUMMER JUST TRIED TO GET RID OF FUCKING SCOTT RANDOLPH AND NOBODY SECONDED. wtf. Meeting adjourned. Goodnight and good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • http://tastychomps.com/ Tasty Chomps

    Thank you Billy Manes for liveblogging this for the public good. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

  • http://tastychomps.com/ Tasty Chomps

    I am ashamed that in this day and age we can’t let our neighbors pray and worship in the way they wish. Why are we discriminating against the mosque when we would not even think of voting against a new church or temple? For a people who value their freedom of religion, you don’t act like it when it comes to other people’s own religions. If you really cared about traffic and impact to the neighborhood, then what really would matter is the traffic and impact studies which surprise, surprise, say it wouldn’t be a big deal at all. So what’s the real reason why you don’t want a mosque in your neighborhood?

  • http://tastychomps.com/ Tasty Chomps

    Lots of last minute shady wool over sheep’s eyes stuff going on over there!!

  • Brook Hines

    Billy’s liveblogs are the best thing ever. i actually use them when i’m in the meetings to keep track of what’s happened — sometimes you can’t hear, and all the procedural stuff makes your brain mushy.

  • Brook Hines

    And, it was super interesting today watching how different developers were treated differently. You want sprawl? Let’s talk. You want a mosque? Tough luck.