Council Watch 


Drunken nubility was the name of the game, as this week's drink tank kicked off with a presentation of $40,000 from Allstate Insurance to the city in the interest of curbing teenage vehicular intoxication. A video from The Daily Buzz was beamed overhead, featuring TV-haired adults making fun of being tipsy while trying to walk a straight line in simulated two-drinkedness. Oh, how everybody laughed. Levity!

Commissioner Sam Ings wove his own particular meandering sobriety through a racial diatribe; he was reacting to the elimination of the city's human relations department, but managed a detour that included employment equality, housing and a little incident from a few weeks ago in Cambridge, Mass. Then some crickets chirped and nothing happened.

Item: The city adopts a resolution supporting a "Wayfinding" sign system plan.

Translation: While the term "Wayfinding" may conjure deep-voiced narrations of hapless warriors wielding swords against dragons via rolls of geometrically preposterous die — you got your dragon in my dungeon! No integrity points for you! — in this case, it's just another bit of painful sloganeering by the city and its fantasy future. You see, when all the squiggly lines clear away and everything downtown is at its Candy Land finest, pedestrians and motorists alike may find themselves staring around in wonderment, lost among the city's many new day-glo amenities. To that end, the always-reliable sketch artists at Glatting Jackson have been commissioned to come up with a fancy new signage system made of movable parts and arrows and words and electronic whiz-bangs we cannot yet even begin to comprehend. There will be more than 100 new signs — signs, signs, everywhere signs, blocking out the scenery, breaking your mind — installed over a period of several years, and this is just the beginning of the process. Some of the signs will require approval by the Florida Department of Transportation because they will be on state roads, so before we even know how much the city is going to spend on this directional endeavor, we have to have a 19-page document on what they're going to look like. They will look like signs.

Item: The city approves an award to Quality Vaults Inc. for an annual agreement for the opening and closing of burial spaces.

Translation: Sure, death is fun and all, but when the last sewn-lipped, penny-eyed pleasantry has met its eternal silence, somebody's got to be there to handle the dirty practicalities. The city solicited bids for the honor of "opening and closing" burial spaces at Greenwood Cemetery — a flow-chart-friendly euphemism for moving dirt and worms around for fresh carcasses — because it likes to be competitive with its morbidity. The low and winning bid came from Ocoee's Quality Vaults, who will do an "indefinite quantity" of burials for the low, low price of $165,970. Nice. Also, Greenwood Cemetery is now marketing double-depth "lawn crypt" spaces on the cheap; there are a lot of dead people, see, and we're running out of room.

Item: The city awards a contract to Audio Visual Innovations Inc. for audiovisual renovations for 12 patrol lineup rooms.

Translation: Who says police lineups have to be boring? Hot on the heels of numerous high-tech police upgrades, the police department may now be doing justice to the most cinematic of its anti-crime maneuvers and sprucing up the old criminal lineup routine with some lasers and boom. Prospective defendants will now have the chance to choreograph their mea culpas into strobe-lit two-way mirrors as witnesses simply sit back and enjoy the show. It's like Cop Rock! You can bring your kids! Except not. There's no indication that this is anything more than a federally funded upgrade to yet another "outdated" facet of the city's crime-fighting racket: $66,241 of missed opportunity.

Item: The city approves a MEBA grant and agreement for All Tied Up Boutique Inc.

Translation: Either the recession is over, or somebody just found a case of (st-st) Studio Line from L'Oréal circa 1987 and blew it up all over the city's better senses. The city's Minority Entrepreneur Business Assistance program — MEBA! — is ready to hand out $40,000 to a business called All Tied Up (!) that intends to service Parramore as "one of Orlando's finest retailers in the Italian clothing market." What, Armani? Valentino? Versace? Another socioeconomic leap for the city destined to pay off, then.

Item: The city approves a resolution authorizing the mayor to issue a proclamation providing for the municipal general elections to be held March 9, 2010.

Translation: Heretofore a resolution to allow the proclamation of the obvious: The odd three of the city's commission districts are up for ballot-boxing next year, and it's of the utmost importance to say so. As it stands, districts 1 and 3 — helmed by Phil Diamond and Robert Stuart, respectively — remain challenge-free. District 5's Daisy Lynum, with all of her syntactic surfing through imaginary civic distractions and shiny things, finds herself in a field of four, and as such continues to preface every sentence spoken with "in my 12 years." Let's see how strong the forces of inertia are this time.

bmanes@orlandoweekly.com

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