COUNCIL WATCH 


;Perhaps the rolling thunder ;and skies of doom weren't a good omen for what was to be the most "historically significant" city council meeting EVER, but given the balloon-headed sentiments of the Project Hometown brigade – inflated to bursting capacity – a little humility would have been some relief.

;

;"Would you like a sticker to show your support of the venues?" smartly suited ladies puffed as they circulated the pre-show room. Resistance was futile.

;

;But even with all the hot air wafting about – including but not limited to an invocation from the Rev. Uylee Waugh that somehow managed to make the venues a life-and-death issue ("Justice, roll on like a river!" What?) – there was clearly something missing at this momentous occasion. What could it be?

;

;"Commissioner Wyman will be joining us by teleconference," the mayor explained, adding that there were some "extraordinary circumstances," before trailing off into something either about a pink phone or a pink robe. No matter. Wyman's absence would go on to provide both comic relief and sharp contrast to its futuristic, world-class ambitions. Ineptitude breeds promise, right?

;

;A quick breeze over the consent agenda – no objections, no comments (but did you know that the city's annual Bright House bill is $117,000? Do they do teleconferencing?) – and it was on to the big business at hand. Ladies and gentlemen, the future is here. Hold on to your wallets.

;;

;Item: The city approves an interlocal funding agreement and interlocal governance agreement for the Central Florida Commuter Rail Project, and accepts "for information purposes only" the interlocal operating agreement for the Central Florida Commuter Rail Project.

;;Translation: With the profile of train travel currently up there with that of the vice president – cue B-roll footage of African-American families stranded at the train station for days after two local train accidents – it might seem an auspicious time to consider a commuter rail system that utilizes the same CSX train line that already connects the state from north to south. But this is the future we're talking about, stupid.

;

;The entire commuter rail system – which is set to cover 61.5 miles in total, stretching from Volusia County to Osceola County in 17 stops (four in the city proper) – comes with a hefty price tag of $615 million. Orlando, however, only has to pony up $13.7 million of that, making this a very good deal.

;

;City transportation director Roger Neiswender sputtered out a litany of contingencies and plan phases – most of which would be only decipherable by those in the business of traffic direction or magic bean-counting – adding that in "the future" there may even be a stop at our world-class airport. For now, though, it's South Street, Livingston Street and two hospitals for us, or "not very useful."

;

;Sam Ings insists that the new commuter train stations "better look goooood." OK.

;;

;Item: The city approves the Orlando/Orange County interlocal agreement regarding the performing arts center, the events center and the Citrus Bowl.

;;Translation: Perfunctory, really. Nonetheless, the city trotted out an alarming number of presentations on the various substrata and nuances of the golden trifecta, PowerPointing the same facts and arguments that it now dribbles in its sleep. Dyer thanked Project Hometown for clearing up any confusion that might be floating around out there thanks to the "paid critics" of the venues, and was quick to link the whole shebang – as most proponents have been of late – to the promises we made to Parramore (like, er, the last time we built an arena).

;

;"Today we get the opportunity to keep those promises," he said.

;

;Various scheduled speakers reached for the sky with references to your kids, the Olympics and the Superdome after Katrina, while others skirted Utopian bliss by way of "incredible weather" and a future where Parramore carpenters will become homeowners and save their region.

;

;And for the most part, the public played along. Allusions to Aristotle and ancient Chinese wisdom punctuated the arty pleas of the upper middle class. There were two detractors, though. One was a black woman who suggested that maybe all of this civic cooperation could be used to improve schools instead (buzzkill!) and the other was a black man who said, blankly, "If we can spend a billion dollars for playhouses, why can't we spend a billion dollars for the environment?" Dyer, in turn, pointed to his upcoming green agenda.

;

;Black sheep commissioner Phil Diamond voted no (he suggests maybe one venue at a time would be wiser. Really?) while the rest overflowed with giddy self-congratulation. Hurrah! Oh, wait.

;

;"Mayor Crotty," said Mayor Dyer at the close, "the ball's in your court." Balls!

; bmanes@orlandoweekly.com

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2016 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation