Council Watch 


There was a giant hole at the center of the city's Justice League this week, a potato-shaped void where authority should be, and for a minute it seemed like the world had ended! Fortunately, commissioner — and mayor pro tem — Robert Stuart stepped in to do the scripted "quorum" honors while the city waited for an otherwise occupied Buddy Dyer. He is very busy.

Commissioner Sam Ings was allowed to read the minutiae aloud from his civic Day-Timer first, which nearly filled the half-hour of Dyer's absence. Once hizzoner arrived, everything settled back into boring-sweet-boring with few noticeable distractions. Well, there was that part where commissioner Daisy Lynum verbalized her knowledge of the alphabet. That was great.

Item: The city approves an agreement between the city of Orlando by and through the Office of Human Relations and the Fair Housing Continuum Inc., which is fully funded by $25,000 in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds exclusively obligated for this partnership initiative.

Translation: Back in July, the city opted to all but close down its human-relations divisions (they left two people), drawing public ire from commissioners Ings and Lynum. The department, according to Lynum, was "recognized nationally" in the '80s and '90s for assisting minorities with complaints about housing and employment discrimination by helping victims file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This housing item is one of two efforts spearheaded by Ings to fill in that gap and keep assistance alive for "people who can't think for themselves," says Ings, the other focusing on more federal help for dealing with the employment conundrum. The $25,000 will be earmarked for educating residents and real estate agents alike on issues of fair housing.

Item: The city approves awarding a bid of annual contract for retread tire services to Day and Night Tire Service.

Translation: Because Orlando is one rusty pipe away from being a junkyard full of feral cats, the city is bidding out for its rubber needs in anticipation of deflationary troubles. Day and Night Tire Service, out of Lakeland, where there is apparently both a day and a night, pitched the winning bid, taking on an indefinite quantity contract with the city in exchange for an estimated $71,000 over the next year. Expect fewer skid marks on the city's race toward world-class oblivion.

Item: The city approves the use of an Orange County term contract with Safety Shoe Distributors LLP for safety shoes.

Translation: Mom always said nothing would get you further in life than a smile and a pair of sensible shoes. The city's mom — or at least its occupational health and safety plan, section 11.3.5 — has similar practicalities in mind when it comes to podiatric concerns. The city estimates that it will spend $60,000 on steel-toed, spring-stepped footwear over the next year, but because mom's involved — or a contract between Orange County and Safety Shoe Distributors — that's a full 20 percent off list price. It's not BOGO, but it'll do.

Item: The city approves an extension of its annual agreement with Technical Solutions Inc. for maintenance and repair of alum injection systems.

Translation: Alum is just a cute name for aluminum sulfate salt, which has an even cuter ability to inspire fine particles of pollutants in stormwater to coalesce and then sink into the sediment harmlessly as "floc." Basically, the process of alum injection in lakes keeps them safe from fish kills and the subsequent stench that knocks down lakefront property values. This item allows the city to amend its 2007 agreement with Technical Solutions Inc. to include the costs of rebuilding a failing 20-year-old alum injection system at Lake Dot (cute!), which will cost about $90,000, along with an additional $35,000 for the rest of the city's many retention ponds.

Item: The city adopts an ordinance relating to the regulation of adult-oriented land uses.

Translation: By a vote of 6-1 (hello, Tony Ortiz's mustache!), the city agreed to finally allow adult entertainment businesses inside city limits! Except not really. The new ordinance is a compromise of begrudged immorality, as evidenced by the tone of assistant city attorney Kyle Shephard's chaste assurances that no strip joints would see the light of day on the city's "sensitive roadways." The ordinance simply establishes an unconquerable maze of hoops for seedy entrepreneurs to jump through so that Orlando can say that the First Amendment — as applied to swinging boobs by recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings — is not being trampled here. One member of the public facetiously suggested at the lectern that if there will be strip joints allowed anywhere, there should be strip joints allowed everywhere, especially on dilapidated Church Street. Too bad he was kidding! Anyway, there will be no booze at any adult entertainment establishments, and no lap dances. In fact, there is a new rule that makes dancers maintain a distance of three feet from patrons, meaning that if your junk is three feet long, you're in luck! You always were, though.

bmanes@orlandoweekly.com

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