COUNCIL WATCH 


A deceptively weighty awards segment may have plundered the supply of raw emotions – a retiring fire chaplain, a corps of city volunteers, budding small business entrepreneurship, trees, Army reservists talking about The War – but nothing could have prepared the packed house for the soul-crush of Wyman’s Last Stand. District 2 commissioner Betty Wyman was serving her final “nothing’s wrong here” day as a vision-impaired vision in peach, and the waterworks were imminent.

“Now for the main event,” the mayor gushed as a 5-foot foam-board proclamation was pulled out. Then came the video tribute – Wyman in a pink jacket, a green jacket, with a basketball player, a lapel rose, an embellished denim top, a blue lace number, a red fur turtleneck, a flag scarf, and, um, Arnold Schwarzenegger – all set to the percolations of smooth jazz. Meh.

Mayor Dyer presented Wyman a key to the city and then declared everyone’s favorite four-term country club member “city commissioner emeritus.” Meaning she’ll never die.

“I’ll be around,” she
murmured as only she can. “You haven’t gotten rid of me.” Sob.

ITEM: The city authorizes the economic development department (city planning division) to make an application to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for a sustainability grant for the Get Active Orlando initiative.

TRANSLATION: A plastic grocery bag danced across the air, catching the light in such a way that global peace oozed from every pore on every perfect body and life was a glorious symphony of munificence.

Get Active Orlando – part of the national initiative (and potential women’s television show) Active Living by Design – aims to make sure that Orlando’s citizens engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily, and to do so they work with the city’s planners to make sure that you have to walk places. The city is asking for $45,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a total it will match with 50 percent, bringing the money in the coffers to $67,500. The city hopes to pawn this slice of pie-in-the-sky off on other agencies eventually, which means that maybe somebody at the city has a brain, or doesn’t favor plastic bags.

ITEM: The city approves a stipulated final judgment including attorneys’ fees, experts’ fees and costs in the case of City of Orlando v. EMF Fund II Inc. (Ventura Country Club Homeowner’s Association).

TRANSLATION: In July, the city went all eminent domain on the Ventura Country Club, acquiring eight parcels as temporary construction easements and permanent underground easements. Easement anarchy ensued, with the Buffys of the country club appraising their precious parcels at $192,500, and the city doing its scruffy, Joey-in-the-basement lowball at $61,300. Some starched-shirted hemming and hawing resulted in a $116,000 compromise (plus $2,250 in experts’ fees and $25,014 for their pricey lawyers). Advantage: richies!

ITEM: The city approves an annual agreement with Mac Papers Inc. for the purchase of office paper.

TRANSLATION: Did you know that the price of a case of 8½-by-11 standard paper has jumped from $20.40 four years ago to $30.09 now? Yes, dear, city politics are that interesting. Anyway, the city plans to spend about $80,000 on the stuff in the next year, and might even tickle its green bone by opting for the $33 cases of recycled paper, should there be a camera present.

ITEM: The city approves an extension of its annual agreement with Angco Inc. for application of pavement markings to city streets.

TRANSLATION: And the monotony continues, this time in the form of those people with the rather hateful task of painting the lines down the middle of the road. There is nothing more middle-of-the-road than the middle of the road. The cost of this middling endeavor? $200,000 a year.

ITEM: The city approves an extension of its annual agreement with Physio-Control Inc. for maintenance of defibrillators and related equipment.

TRANSLATION: Lest the entire city die of civic boredom, it would be in everybody’s best interest to make certain that the fire department’s stock of defibrillators – 26 basic Lifepak 500s, 43 loaded Lifepak 12s – is in working order. Physio-Control is in the defibrillation maintenance business, and will spend all year keeping those lithium batteries charged and those pumpers a-pumping for a scant $50,833. Unfortunately, Betty Wyman, you cannot mend a broken heart. Sniff.

bmanes@orlandoweekly.com

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