COUNCIL WATCH 


;Just 11 short days since the last contentious meeting of the minds and it was already time to get back to business. But what business could there be, really? Just how fast do the wheels turn in the City Beautiful?

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;Whereas the last city council meeting was ripe with shenanigans and a fiery debate on the fast-souring arena deal, this week held no such attraction. Admit it: It's fun to watch public officials fight and act silly. But this time there would be no admission of vertigo from commissioner Daisy Lynum, no plea for places that regular folk can park from commissioner Patty Sheehan, no well-mannered outbursts and Orlando Magic bullshit-calling from commissioner Phil Diamond. Pity.

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;A sparse gathering of laptoppers speckled the typically beige proceedings, with no sense of movement or pride to awaken their screensavers. Even a dubious proclamation requesting that members of the fairer sex don crimson in honor of "Wear Red Day for Women" (heart disease, not menstruation, mind) couldn't break the monochromatic proceedings.

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;Full disclosure: This correspondent fell asleep at least twice.

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;Nonetheless, there was some smoothing over to accomplish, and Mr. Suave himself, Mayor Buddy Dyer, is the man for the job. Dyer announced that the past week had been filled with "very productive" meetings with the county regarding the arena. Your commissioners dutifully nodded in agreement.

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;Happily, there was time to notice the little things; to smell the roses, if you will. Overhead, eight octagonal hanging lamps — each containing six light bulbs — betrayed little distracting illumination. They just hung there, three of the 48 city bulbs burnt out. Can someone get on that, please?

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;Item: The city approves the purchase of 478 retractable seats for the Amway Arena.

;;Translation: Because we still have four years of a lame-duck arena with a lame-duck name — and because the show must go on — the city is duty-bound to go forward with its standard maintenance procedures, albeit with an eye on frugality. Someone has to keep the leaves out of the pool, as they say.

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;The seats in question, these sad 478 relics of a time when the Magic won games, are actually no longer coddling fans' asses. They're busted. Consequently, the city will purchase the fixin' parts directly from the Hussey (!) seating company in North Berwick, Maine, at a cost of $74,500 (cleverly saving $4,520 in taxes). The parts will then be appropriately installed by Hussey's (!) local certified installer, Wesinco/Florida Inc. for a mere $69,980. What's important to note here is that these are retractable seats, because if they couldn't retract them, one might notice just how empty the arena can be.

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;Item: The city approves an amendment of its annual agreement with Seaboard Distribution Inc. for oils and lubricants.

;;Translation: Some activities can be made rather unpleasant without lubrication, and to that end the city, via its partnership with Seaboard, is in the missionary position of having to salvage its struggling five-year-old lube system. The infrastructure, reportedly, is fine, but a faulty system has resulted in five of the 14 dispensing stations being shut down, all but dried up. At a cost of $93,042.63, Seaboard intends to replace the current Samson system with the way-more-exciting-if-by-name-only Graco Matrix System, attaching an additional 82 cents to each gallon of oil as a means of recovering the costs over a three- to five-year period. This is where things get a bit hairy, as the average price of the 20 items in their contract will increase 11.47 percent; this coupled with a volatile oil market makes for a hefty tangle of pricing justifications. The estimated total yearly expenditure by the city under this agreement is $250,000. Putting that in layman's terms, think of a nice downtown condo made completely out of oil. Awesome.

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;Item: The city accepts the meeting minutes and approves the actions of the Baldwin Park Town Design Review Committee put forward at a meeting on Nov. 30.

;;Translation: Impossible. It is hard to believe a town-design committee even existed for the urban-planning tragedy that is Baldwin Park. Regardless, one parcel that was to include three 3-story buildings and one 2-story building will now include just four 2-story buildings, housing 27 multifamily units rather than the previous 29. The second parcel has a seven-story building (77 units) gaining a three-story parking structure, rather than the previously proposed two-story parking structure. Got all that?

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;The third action item has to do with the transparency of a ground-floor elevator, which is far too confusing to get into.

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;Item: The city approves the purchase of a fire department public education trailer from Mobile Concepts by Scotty.

;;Translation: Who the hell is Scotty? Well, apparently he's the best of the best (and from Mount Pleasant, Penn.), manufacturing all of his simulation-type trailers with commercial-grade materials and

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;the best in outfitting. In the case of the fire department, the accoutrements will include a tornado and hurricane simulator, stovetop burners and burning trash cans for lifelike kitchen tragedies; heated doors with smoke coming out from underneath, shaking miniblinds, a 24-inch television and a DVD/VCR with a five-speaker sound system. In short, this is a trailer totally pimped for a nightmare. A fairly low price tag of $53,457 led commissioner Sam Ings to inquire about getting one for the police department, too; this before he engaged in a little district lobbying. "If you want to have a press conference in District 6," he said, "that's fine."

; bmanes@orlandoweekly.com

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