COUNCIL WATCH 


What little trinkets of a fantastic Orlando future would this year's first airing of the city's political puppet show illuminate? Well, if the grinning appearance of WESH-2's political hound Greg Fox huddled outside the Plaza skyscraper with Downtown Development Board talking head Thomas Chatmon was any indication, it would be a movie theater to save the city! Additionally, this week's city council meeting offered a prayer referring to "sexual misfunction" in its plea for tolerance, some depression talk from Daisy Lynum, a teenage football team of juvenile offenders on probation and lots of talk of Gators, Gators, Gators. Go team!

Item: The city approves an agreement with Seven-Star Inc., executive producers of the May 19-21, 2009, Green Cities event. This event is part of GreenWorks Orlando's 2009 events to support advocacy and education.

Translation: While the city's economic color wheel spins past mauve before dipping deep into blood hues, in the spirit of public relations, our designers-in-chief are clinging to their well-advertised emerald palette in hopes that nobody will notice the hemorrhage stains on the floor. The May Green Cities confab at the convention center — "not your usual conference," notes the agenda item — promises "interactive and collaborative workshops, nationally known experts in sustainability `and` best practices case studies," among other things, including, to everyone's bourgeois delight, "conversation café environments." Soy lattes! The idea is that the city attaches its name to this kickoff environmental event — and no money, other than the in-kind efforts of city staff being there and talking — and we come off as bright green leaders. In exchange, the city gets its name out there and six free passes!

Item: The city approves a Families, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board funding recommendation for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Translation: Speaking of bleeding and the organ that causes the blood to rhythmically gush out of your wrists while you moan through Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" for the very last time, the city is partially sponsoring a Lake Baldwin Park suicide walk on Valentine's Day! No, it isn't funny, unless of course it's cast in the black light of Heathers and Big Fun's "Teenage Suicide (Don't Do It!)" Hilarious! The second "Out of the Darkness" community walk aims to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and its valiant efforts to aid in prevention and support suicide survivors; the city is fronting $600 to offset park rental fees to make sure that it all goes off pleasantly enough. Or, as J.D. says, "I like it. It's got that what-a-cruel-world-let's-toss-ourselves-in-the-abyss—type ambience."

Item: The city approves the purchase of five 2009 front-loading refuse vehicles from Nextran Truck Center and Heil Environmental Industries.

Translation: Apparently the chewing-up of brown Christmas trees isn't so easy on the teeth of our fleet of overpriced garbage trucks. After spending millions last year on a whole gaggle of new 7 a.m. noisemakers, the city is opting for five more front-loading refuse trucks with 28-yard "dump bodies." (The dump body, you should note, is this year's muffin top: "Girl, you've got a dump body," etc.) The smelly fiscal flowchart goes like this: The city drops $126,200 per chassis at Nextran Truck Center, the trucks are fitted with their "dump bodies" at Heil Environmental Industries at a cost of $87,420 each (20 percent off retail, because we're factory direct customers), and by the time we've spent just over $1 million on dealing with more solid waste, we'll be purchasing five more. Garbage ain't cheap.

Item: The city approves its hosting of the Jim Henson's Fantastic World museum exhibition for purposes of display of banners on Downtown Development Board/Community Redevelopment Agency flagpoles.

Translation: As if the city needed any more proof that it is a modern-day Fraggle Rock — Patty Sheehan is a dead ringer for Red — our leaders are hanging their economic development hopes on a traveling Jim Henson exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian Institution. Those hopes will be hung on downtown flagpoles in the form of advertising flags almost certain to include Miss Piggy's breasts. Apparently, other cities hosting the historic puppet show have seen doubling or tripling of museum attendance, a depressing fact until you consider the resident contents of the Orange County Regional History Center. Orlando is hoping to capture its share of the potential foot-traffic magic. We're all puppets now.


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