There would be no devil-horned salutes set to Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law” at this week’s dais dalliance; the chambers were littered with black-clad officers, each with a lethal weapon attached to his or her side. A law-enforcement theme pervaded the proceedings, with might making right, if only for the sake of appearance.

First up, two longtime employees of the Orlando Police Department – Ernestine Alston and Karen Baugher – “She’s a lovely lady,” quipped District 2 commissioner Betty Wyman, “I can see why she’s been around 30 years” – got their 25- and 30-year commendations, respectively.

Later, the first read of an ordinance designed to punish nasty red-light runners captured on nasty red-light cameras inspired heated discussion among the commissioners (commissioner Sheehan even supposed out loud that the Florida legislature had no leadership skills), but no real public input. However, the real stars of the day were the old police chief, the new police chief and the new police chief’s husband, who was the old police chief or something. Very confusing.

ITEM: The city confirms the appointment of Deputy Chief Valdez Demings as police chief/department director effective Dec. 17.

TRANSLATION: In a move certain to enthrall television audiences, Blake Carrington is leaving Dynasty’s Denver to assume the reins of public safety in Dallas. Meanwhile, J.R. Ewing – who previously maintained safety in Dallas -– is looking to move up in town as sheriff, perhaps even replacing Boss Hogg on Dukes of Hazzard. A fistfight broke out between Alexis Carrington-Colby and Krystle Carrington over just who would succeed Blake in Denver as police chief, and after the final hair-pull, Krystle – who apparently shares a bed with J.R. – won the title and the badge.

Or … 23-year veteran of the force Val Demings will be the new police chief of Orlando, earning a yearly salary of $139,006; Michael McCoy will be meta-popping out to be Orange County public safety director; and former public safety director Jerry Demings – who shares a bed with Val and used to be Orlando’s police chief – is running for Orange County sheriff. Phew.

ITEM: The city approves 2007-2008 funding agreements for the National Center for Simulation and Digital Media Alliance Florida.

TRANSLATION: When that lovable purple dragon Figment crooned “Imagination” out at Epcot’s Journey Into Imagination attraction, city leaders took his message to heart, pressed their palms to their eyes and waited for the pixelated stars to appear. Well, they’re still waiting (c’mon, Creative Village!). To catalyze the process of transforming the City Beautiful into a simulated city beautiful, the city is funneling real money into programs designed to attract more techy businesses and the taped-glasses types that they employ to the area. But it’s not all geeks. The NCS carries a heavy military edge, meaning yeah, they’re games, but they’re games that teach you how to kill people. They’re getting $20,000. Meanwhile, DMAF – a product of the mayor’s “High Tech Advisory board” (wassat?) – will get $25,000, an amount to match the grant provided by the county’s economic stimulus package. Considering the cost of technology, this is a drop in an imaginary bucket.

ITEM: The city approves a stipulated order of taking and final judgment including attorney’s fees, experts’ fees and costs for events center parcels 101 and 102.

TRANSLATION: Some people in Parramore are getting incredibly rich. The owners of two of the remaining holdouts on the proposed site of Rich DeVos’ Golden Pleasure Dome™ are very good with the poker face. The city appraised the parcels at 218 and 236 S. Bryan Ave. with a combined total of $3 million in value; the owners, who must know somebody in the appraisal biz, came back with $15 million. “Extensive negotiations” followed, resulting in a compromise of … wait for it… $8.45 million, and that doesn’t even include the $1.46 million in attorneys’ and experts’ fees. We reported back in June that the 236 parcel was acquired for just $20,000 back in 1980. The soil is made of diamonds. Seriously.

ITEM: The city adopts a resolution approving a plan of finance for the issuance of an estimated $255 million of tax-exempt revenue bonds by Capital Trust Agency, including $15 million to be issued for the financing of certain air cargo facilities at Orlando International Airport.

TRANSLATION: Cocaine smuggling is a very expensive business. It is also illegal.


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