COUNCIL WATCH 


;"We realize that we are not perfect," pastor Greg Riggs invoked the forgiving spirit of the Lord himself. "And we need your help."

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;To that end, the Feb. 5 installment of Orlando's finest at work took on the topsy-turvy feel of last things first and first things last; the typically early mayor's update came a good half-hour late to allow for an nonstandard round of concerned barb-trading. At issue was the lifting of the desegregation order on Orange County schools. Superintendent Ronald Blocker stood in the commissioners' firing line as they voiced their constituents' complaints about small schools closing, merging or becoming super-schools. "I don't like anything ‘super,'" said commissioner Patty Sheehan.

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;Later, Lynum challenged Mayor Buddy Dyer on the city's staffing of its numerous boards. She huffed that there was little black involvement. Dyer responded with percentages that proved otherwise, sending Lynum into a rattling frenzy that careened from cameras on buildings all the way to Black History Month.

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;Item: The city approves an amendment to its purchase agreement with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and the Expressway Authority. The purchase agreement secures a piece of land on the Orlando Executive Airport site for Expressway Authority administrative offices.

;;Translation: Some things weren't hammered into the original agreement last June (a bizarre juggling act involving $4 million for the land and future surrounding road improvements). Five small details that will be necessary for Federal Aviation Authority compliance are presented herewith in plainspeak: No. 1: The Expressway Authority better be OK with the racket of air traffic. No. 2: The buildings better be short enough for planes to fly over. No. 3: Please don't block the runways or the air traffic communications; people could die. No. 4: No airplanes for the Expressway Authority. Ever. No. 5: If, in the future, the property is converted for municipal use, all proceeds up to its fair market value are to go into an interest-bearing account until they can be used in accordance with FAA Order 5190.6A, paragraph 7-9 c. Got it?

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;Item: The city approves an award of $176,180 to Duval Ford for 460 police car alarms.

;;Translation: In light of a rash of joy-riding miscreants busting into our fuzzmobiles, the city will pimp its police rides with upmarket alarm systems. Viper on! The security systems sport a Super Heterodyne receiver, a glass-break sensor and connections to both the sirens and emergency lights. All this for $383 per vehicle, which is a lot when you consider that a Viper car alarm system is $113.95, and a steering-wheel lock like The Club is just $49.99. Just sayin'.

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;Item: The city approves the purchase of an upgrade to the Orlando Police latent (fingerprint) station from Printrak, a Motorola company.

;;Translation: Well, it appears that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement went ahead and upgraded to the FALCON database, rendering our current city system incompatible; basically, if we don't upgrade, like now, we will no longer have access to fingerprint info. In that event, lawlessness will prevail and those damn city venues may never even happen. Hey, wait a minute. Anyway, we're getting a bargain on it, as Motorola is chopping $17,000 off the $87,000 price tag if we buy by Feb. 21. They think we look good in this unit and they want to see us in it.

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;Item: The city approves an extension of its purchase agreement with Rinker Materials for concrete.

;;Translation: This might be funnier if we were living in New Jersey in the '70s, but for now this estimated $75,000 yearly expenditure — increased by 3 percent from last year, thanks to increases in the price index for concrete — will go to the streets/stormwater services division, presumably to "fill" the "potholes" that are screwing with our system.

;;Item: The city holds a mandatory hearing to obtain public input concerning the Local Government Comprehensive Planning Certification Program.

;;Translation: An annual report reveals that over the last three years, the city has grown from 1.48 dwellings per acre to 1.58. Also, not surprisingly, household income "has not kept pace" with housing costs. While the average income for a family of four rose from $52,700 to $57,400 in three years, home price averages have increased from $150,946 to $248,000. The Joneses can't even keep up with themselves anymore.

bmanes@orlandoweekly.com

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