There was something missing at this week's civic triage of fundless funding and thoughtless thinking. No, it wasn't the shit-eating grins of elected officials in dire economic straits. Nor was it the Florida Gators "sports" bravado illustrated in the orange-and-blue ties of the mayor and commissioner Robert Stuart. What was it, then?

District 6 commissioner, Sam "and also" Ings. Ings was in Jamaica in some kind of missionary capacity, and was beamed in ridiculously via scratchy, broken-speech international telephone.

"Are you ready for me, mayor?" queried a barely audible Ings.

"Are you done?" the mayor cleverly replied.

Item: The city authorizes its chief financial officer or designee to execute lease agreements of unoccupied spaces in the Church Street garage and vacant land near the new events center to contractors involved in construction of the new events center.

Translation: Hello! While you're losing your job, your house and your food to the looming Greater Depression, the city continues along its Amway-fed pyramid path towards whatever "world class" is. Piles of dirt and waving girders presently occupy the events center site on Church Street, as the city puts on its best public relations hat to make you believe that somehow, in the end, an architectural masterpiece with a suicide deck is going to make it all better. It is! But not until every last corner of economic exploitation is explored. Last month, the city cut the rental rates on Church Street tenants currently lost in the dust of progress, and now they're hoping to rent out unoccupied spaces there to those who are responsible for building the basketball behemoth. They've got a 1,500 square foot hole, a couple of 266 square foot studios, two small warehouses and one giant, 11,000 square foot warehouse available to contractors for use in "staging." It's all very short term, and no rental rates are presently available. However, if you're looking for the space to build the bomb that makes it all go away, you may be in luck!

Item: The city approves its first amendment to the agreement between the Orlando Performing Arts Center Corporation and HKS Architects Inc. to provide production architect services for the performing arts center.

Translation: Uh-oh. The imaginary arts center from the clouds that look like Jesus is already getting more expensive. Who saw this coming? Oh, you did. The original agreement with HKS was for $27.1 million to make certain that the Cats "Memory" crescendo really did touch you. Now, because touching is expensive, HKS will receive $29.9 million to aid their quest for Andrew Lloyd Webber perfection, mostly because a "sub-consultant" has been added to the equation. So this is the stale, cold smell of morning? Don't worry too much; the PAC is never going to happen.

Item: The city approves an award to Waco Associates Inc. for an annual purchase agreement of air conditioning filters.

Translation: Speaking of stale and cold, all the hot air being thrown around these days is crushing up against the frigid reality that the world is collapsing, and the resulting dust and mold could be a respiratory hazard. Thankfully, the city is extending its 24-month contract with Waco to make the city breathe a little easier. For the annual cost of $54,325, Orlando can stop worrying about inhaling the ashes of the cash and bonds it's burning through and get on with the heady business of burning more.

Item: The city approves a legal counsel engagement of Shutts & Bowen LLP for bond transactions and other financial matters.

Translation: Speaking of bonds, there aren't any. So the city needs Shutts & Bowen to aid it with some of the "complex financial matters" it's facing in its current fiscal year. So, let's get this straight, we're paying $50,000 a year to have somebody say that everything is going to be just fine and, hey, the sky's the limit. Meanwhile, the sky is falling.

Item: The city approves parking rate adjustments for parking facilities and on/off street metered parking.

Translation: Controversy! The city hired a consultant to tell it that it hasn't raised parking rates significantly since 1990, the consultant said, "Well, raise them then," and the city — realizing that it's been trying to craft a Xanadu downtown futurama that people will actually come to — agreed. Some punitive pricing structures for night crawlers followed— $10 at night! — and the city went on to (potentially) raise $4 million for itself.

The end. Seriously.


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