Council Watch 

The entire city was suffering from heat exhaustion as our confederacy of eggheads gathered together to fry on the pavement of the dais. Largely, the whole affair was an immense downer due to the failure of the Magic to seize the championship pennant and the recent death of former fire chief (and father to the current fire chief) Gene Reynolds. Only commissioner Tony Ortiz betrayed a modicum of humor, revealing, "I'm still trying to learn English, so give me some time." Funny.

But it was commissioner Sam Ings' lackadaisical litany of "and also"s — all the Fathers' Day luncheons and neighborhood meetings and quasi-religious affairs and run/walks he attended valiantly — that threatened to unravel the whole affair. The mayor closed his eyes for a time, while a sick Patty Sheehan rolled her whole head in her chair.

And also, Mr. Ings, please shut up.

Item: The city accepts a grant funded by the Florida Bar for a student internship program for the city attorney's office.

Translation: While your first summer job probably involved some degree of humiliation scented with either beef grease or onions (or both!), this summer one lucky Boone High School student from the school's bizarre law magnet program will get to cast away his Peach Pit apron and run into the loving arms of city attorney Mayanne Downs. The Florida Bar is providing $1,250 to cover the student's wages — bear in mind that our college interns make nothing — so that Biff or Buffy can fill in the gaps of staff vacations and whatnot with "a variety of tasks."

Hopefully one of those tasks will involve a certain amount of disdainful lippiness and rolling of the eyes, because if this doesn't turn into a reality show there is no justice in this world, or in the city's legal office.

Item: The city approves an amendment to its contract with Motorola Inc. for additional portable radios for the Motorola 800MHz radio system.

Translation: Way back in October 2006, the city dropped its teddy bear, stamped its feet and spilled crocodile tears all over the dais because it need-need-needed that $6.5 million hi-fi walkie-talkie network that all the other kids at school were getting. Since then, it has upped the ante twice: $377,580 in March 2007 and $158,625 in December 2007 to continue the never-ending practice of keeping up with the Joneses. So here we are, in a new era in which the police and fire unions are being threatened with substantial personnel cutbacks should they not pull back on their demands, and the city wants more. Twenty Model XTS2500 portable radios, please, because OPD wants "additional radios for the OPD radio fleet" that is apparently still growing. Oh, and oops! The original purchase didn't include training, which rather hilariously costs $13,875. All told, the city is adding another $80,000 to its high-tech wish list, bringing the total cost to $7.1 million. Cheap!

Item: The city approves a business assistance program agreement between Tequilaz LLC dba The Worm and the city of Orlando.

Translation: When the condo-topped Beacon in Thornton Park shut its doors earlier this month, opinions were split. On the one hand, there were cries of "Where am I going to wear this open-necked, asymmetrical pattern shirt while cruising the ladies?" and "What's going to happen to the magical beaded Cher curtain?" and "Where else am I going to sit outside on day-glo ottomans on Sunday morning looking like a rich person?" On the other hand, there was a unified cynical grumble of "Did anybody ever actually move into the Sanctuary? No? So what's the big deal?" Both hands will be happy to know that the classist saga has taken a rather entertaining invertebrate turn. A company known as Tequilaz (with a "z"!) is throwing $600,000 into the Beacon hole to turn it into a Mexican joint called the Worm. And because they're willing to take another "concept" turn in the place where businesses go to die, the city will present them with $20,000 from its business assistance program. Now you'll have a new place to get worms. Everybody wins!

Item: The city approves a one-year extension of continuing professional engineering and odor control consulting service agreements with both Webster Environmental Associates Inc. and Camp Dresser & McKee Inc.

Translation: Nobody likes to talk about how stinky public works projects can get. For that reason, the city keeps Webster and Camp Dresser & McKee onboard with hush money to make all the wafts of reclamation disappear. The city has used CD&M only twice and never used Webster, but seeing as shit will always stink, they're amending their agreement to keep both on an additional year; should a "project" ever arise, the cost is limited to $1 million for construction or $50,000 for consultation. You're welcome.

Item: The city approves a design-build agreement with PCL Construction Services Inc. for the events center parking garage.

Translation: Did you know that the city is prepared to spend $32.4 million on a parking garage for Rich DeVos' Golden Pleasure Dome? Or that for every percentage point below 24 percent minority participation, PCL will have to fork back $50,000?

This is going to be the best parking garage ever!


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