COUNCIL WATCH 


Outside City Hall, the winds of commerce blew development dust into the faces of the ever-present Stop the Ordinance Partnership, or STOP, this time spruced up by Ben Markeson in a Santa suit proffering "Santa's City Christmas List." Commissioner Patty Sheehan, the architect of a law that restricts homeless feedings in public parks, has been "naughty." In case you hadn't guessed.

Inside, a packed house of civic celebrants were treated to awards ranging from the inspiring (Dr. Tommy Dorsey — who has been, we found out, commissioner Daisy Lynum's dentist — was given a proclamation for his Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association Program) to the silly (Monday was Disney's The Lion King Day; how did you celebrate?). Commissioner Phil Diamond was absent, but he had a valid excuse: His wife recently gave birth to son Michael.

City clerk Alana Brenner talked up the city's Project Homeless Connect, in which volunteers hooked up more than 600 homeless people with food, services and showers Dec. 8 at the Downtown Recreation Center. The presentation somehow overlooked the homeless guy who tried to set himself on fire at the event.

Item: The city approves an ordinance to change "Lorna Doone Boulevard" to "Fred L. Maxwell Boulevard" after the Orlando pastor who died in December 2005 at age 98.

Translation: The city allows street-name changes when 51 percent of a street's parcels bring a petition to the Municipal Planning Board, which then recommends the change. In this case, the St. John Missionary Baptist Church (where Maxwell preached for decades), which abuts Lorna Doone Boulevard, produced a petition at the MPB meeting Nov. 21 to change the boulevard's name. Seeing as how Lorna Doone is about as long as a football field, getting 51 percent of its property owners to sign off wouldn't seem that hard. After all, the church owns most of one side of the boulevard outright. Still, not everyone was thrilled with the church's proposal. Bruce Dollar, who owns a few parcels on the other side of Lorna Doone, told the MPB that renaming the road will harm his crawler-and-crane business (as it would require new business cards and stationery), and he was understandably peeved. MPB members were split on the issue, but recommended it anyway, based on the signatures.

But someone had screwed up. A city staffer had miscalculated the size of one of the petitioning parcels: It was actually 72.4 feet, not 724 feet. Whoopsies. That brought the petitioners' percentage to 48 percent, not 51 percent, according to Dollar's attorneys. And that meant the city council had to vote twice on the same issue Monday: First approving the MPB's recommendation to change the boulevard's name; then shooting down an appeal on the very same subject. Both votes went 5-1 in the church's favor, with Sheehan the lone dissenter. The ordinance faces a second hearing in January.

Item: The city approves the $79,948.97 purchase of a 420E Backhoe Loader from Ring Power Corporation.

Translation: Is "a backhoe loader" code for "a homosexual prostitute"? If so, might we suggest something more affordable, and easily available at any hour of the day where Amelia Street meets Orange Blossom Trail? Just a thought.

Item: The city accepts the naming-rights agreement between the city and the Orlando Magic, renaming the doomed Orlando Arena/TD Waterhouse Centre/The Arena in Orlando behemoth the, ahem, Amway Arena.

Translation: This, dear readers, is the end of the world. "After an exhaustive search the Orlando Magic have secured a new sponsor, Amway." Really? How exhaustive is a mirror held to your face? Everybody knows that Magic owner Rich DeVos sits atop the pyramid (or "world leader in multilevel marketing") that is Amway, although few know that Amway actually still exists. Well, it does. And with a line of products that include SATINIQUE (hair) and NUTRILITE (health), we can only assume that the concessions will be alight with life-changing salves and noni juice ("It will now be the cleanest arena in all of America," commissioner Robert Stuart joked). Another thought: Couldn't this just be a clever means of codifying scalping at the arena? Like, you buy a lot of tickets, have your underlings sell said tickets to their underlings, and all of the sudden it's beginning to look a lot like Egypt. Ancient Egypt.

bmanes@orlandoweekly.com

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