Monday, March 23, 2015

COUNCIL WATCH!: Paying attention city government so you don't have to

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 1:53 PM

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There are many things we adore about Orlando City Council meetings and their requisite agendas, but few can compare to the $1.1 million purchases of odor control mechanisms for lift stations from companies with names like L7 Construction Inc. I MEAN, COME ON! Of course, we don't really want to smell what happens in the world of sewage and water management, but we love a good L7 reference. 
But that's not the real story this week. Something you won't see on the agenda but that is on people's minds (there was a press conference outside just now!) is the fact that activist Rico Piccard, who is deceased, is not getting his due in terms of a road-naming promise for a portion of the 436 that was written into state law by State Sen. Darren Soto. We spoke to Soto and he called Piccard a "mentor." However, it seems that the city – or District 2 Commissioner Tony Ortiz – wants nothing to do with Piccard, possibly (allegedly, etc.) because of a personal grudge. See, Piccard was a progressive organizer for the Puerto Rican community, much of which Ortiz represents on the east side. Ortiz is (relatively) conservative, given that mustache. Here is a great account of the Piccard controversy, should you want to read up on it. (You should). 
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Elsewhere on the agenda, we see that several "venues" items have been "DELETED," so who knows what that's about? Also, today will be the second read on the Tinker Field historical designation that means nothing. After all, as everybody punched each other at the Orlando City Soccer game this weekend (HOOLIGANS!), cars just parked on the field anyway. So much for civil rights history, then. At any rate, we'll be liveblogging like we do at 2 p.m. Come on in, the water's fine. 

2:06 p.m.: There is a religious woman who brought Jesus with her, apparently, because prayer is like a cellphone to GOD when you are praying in Jesus' name. Nothing happened. Peace was not achieved. Nor was wisdom. 

2:08 p.m.: Mayor Buddy Dyer is making a recognition that ISN'T on the agenda. He has entered into an agreement with the Small Business Association, apparently over a big lunch an a haircut. THERE IS NEW MAYOR HAIR. 

2:09 p.m.: A guy from 1977 who used to clean and sand dumpsters is retiring, and might be the longest serving worker for the city. HE ONCE GOT STRUCK BY LIGHTNING THROUGH A GARBAGE BACK. "AN OLD TIME GARBAGE MAN IS HARD TO KEEP OFF THE JOB," says his supervisor, because he didn't even take a day off after being STRUCK BY LIGHTNING. 

2:12 p.m.: Buddy, if you're reading this, the side part isn't really working. I wish it were, but it isn't. We can't all be part of the latest men's hair trends. You will be forgiven. 

2:14 p.m.: Vietnam Veterans Day. "There were no ticker tape parades," etc. There are many veterans in attendance. No jokes here, really. Just a big sad. 

2:18 p.m.: SHUT UP! DAVID SIEGEL IS GETTING HONORED? The same David Siegel who threatened to fire everyone who voted for Obama. Awesome. ORLANDO PREDATORS? Predators are coming back to Amway Center!!! "Inner-city kids" are going to be "invited" to watch a game for free. Also, Siegel is throwing in some advertising on ESPN for the five games that will be televised. "I won't accept anything but going all the way to the Arena Bowl this year," Siegel says. We don't see the missus anywhere. 

2:23: p.m.: Some Predators fans in minotaur hats maybe are present, along with cheerleaders. Now the whole dais is coming down for a picture. "I played wide receiver once," Commissioner Robert Stuart says, ominously. 

2:26 p.m.: This feels like that time Cyndi Lauper joined wrestling, as it is going on too long. 

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2:30 p.m.: Apparently, the Mexican National soccer team is coming to town or something? The mayor has "soccer fever," and so should you, etc. 

2:31 p.m.: OMG, today we're approving the Yard! The Lake Ivanhoe behemoth that will swallow its charm, maybe? 

2:38 p.m.: If this seems like a long break, it's because it's just Sam Ings talking too much. About not much. 

2:40 p.m.: Jim Gray yielded his time because there are a number of speakers here for any number of reasons. 

2:41 p.m.: Ortiz didn't say much. Commissioner Robert Stuart is going to go long, probably. He just name checked the Predators thing. Also there's a public meeting coming up for the I-4 Ultimate project on March 25, discussing the PERMANENT CLOSURE OF THE IVANHOE BLVD EXIT. 

2:44 p.m.: Lake Druid has had a lot of issues and problems with cattails. CATTAILS. That's what Patty Sheehan is opening with. 

2:45 p.m.: Regina Hill isn't saying anything except "congratulations" to everyone. It's getting a little Evita up in District 5. 

2:50 p.m.: Did Dyer just do a "you guys all sound alike?" thing to Regina Hill and Sam Ings? REALLY? 

2:52 p.m.: OK, SO NOW WE'RE ON TO TINKER FIELD AND PUBLIC COMMENT. First, though, public comment on the issue. And before that city attorney Kyle Shepherd will talk about changes to the ordinance making Tinker Field a historically designated site. There are a number of amendments. 

2:54 p.m.: The city is totally trying to make it looks like it's not going to make it a raver's parking lot. 

2:56 p.m.: The city alleges that the infield and the outfield will be restored to baseball field status after ravers and parking. 

2:58 p.m.: Ings is asking Kyle what the role the historic preservation officer plays in this game. The Wells Built Museum is involved in the preservation, too. 

2:58 p.m.: Allen Johnson, venues guy, is showing pictures of the things that will be "salvaged." Like, you know, the seats. 

3 p.m.: Regina Hill says the city is planning on a community event on April 4 at Tinker Field before THEY TEAR THE GODDAMNED STANDS DOWN. You'll be able to take a picture with your kid. So sweet of them. 

3:02 p.m.: Ortiz is saying "what good is it" to have a baseball field without stands. Stuart says, maybe we can sell the stands to other baseball fields? 

3:06 p.m.: OK, here comes the wrath of Doug Head. Except the word "appreciate" has been used, so apparently all is well now. 

3:10 p.m.: Current speaker is just calling the city liars and talking about spilt milk and turning Tinker Field into a parking lot. Save it all. "Anything else is tyranny," says said speaker. 

3:12 p.m.: We're really at sticking points now. And there is heckling. 

3:19 p.m.: Current speaker is putting the whole thing in the context of the more than $1 billion spent on other venues, when they could have thrown a pittance at saving Tinker Field. 

3:32 p.m.: There are some pretty great speeches happening right now, the best of which referred to the "build it and we will come" mantra, arguing that if the city would just throw $10 million at preserving the project. It's one of the last vestiges of African-American history not demolished in District 5. Now somebody's arguing that Tinker Field actually still could be used for baseball, despite statements from experts that the city has been citing. 

3:36 p.m.: Then again, there are some confusing bits that ramble on a bit. 

3:39 p.m.: A woman who cannot stand up and came to testify is handed a microphone in her seat. Somehow, the city starts playing its city theme music over her. "Can I continue," she asks? "I don't know what happened," Dyer says. This is still a very small town. 

3:43 p.m.: There are tears now. It's getting heavy. "Stop thinking small and actually grow up." Ooof. 

3:48 p.m.: Sam Ings is speaking some TRUTH! "How can we invest in our community and in our grandstands to make this a total project?" He knows that it's not going to happen, but he's got quite a quality soapbox here. "When we look at the years of decay ... that the city has allowed at Tinker Field... is a criminal offense." WHOA. "We should have been working all along with how we could have saved Tinker Field and how we could have come up with the financing to make it happen." Ings knows investors who would have come up with $10 million, but just last week the city voted to buy property that it can sell. "We do exactly what we want to do, and I want you to know ... to clear out the fields" so that the Electric Daisy Carnival can come in... is not of value. The EDC upsets Ings. 

3:57 p.m.: "I don't believe with my wife sometimes, much less Commissioner Ings," Commissioner Stuart says, before spinning off into some notion of making new stands that look like the old stands because the old stands don't work anymore and are in the way? SO CONFUSING. 

4:15 p.m.: No surprise here. Tinker Field is basically doomed to being a raver's parking lot with a historical placard and maybe some statues. Only Ings dissented. Good luck with that! 

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