Happytown 


Hey Orlando city planners, your savior has arrived!

The latest person to attempt to exploit our fair city's never-ending eagerness to be Los Angeles-lite is the downright hilarious John Campbell (pictured here Photoshopped onto Air Force One; his doing, not ours).

According to a press release Campbell put out last week, he's in talks with the city to buy the $90 million Centroplex site. And once he pockets that baby, it's going to become Hollywood East.

Wow! Orlando is the new Hollywood! Ultimately, says Campbell, the plans call for him to "buy and assimilate the entire Disney organization."

Umm, WTF?

Turns out Campbell's site, www.wix.com/hollywoodeast/home, is a web of fucking nuts featuring a ton of other equally psychotic Campbell sites to peruse. There's his 2008 presidential campaign home, for example. Then there's the one at which he claims to have started the "unofficial church of Walt Disney World." Oh, and let us not forget this one, where he — well, let's let Campbell tell it:

"I'm an apostle, and it's my job to see the big picture. Most apostles and prophets agree that we've entered a new age in the Church. It's called the Day of the Saints -— a day of global shock and awe. The Kingdom of God is on massive offense — and it's the job of every Christian to promote the Gospel of the Kingdom."

Did we mention John Campbell's "Official Business Plan"? No? Here it is:

"Hollywood East is positioned to provide America with pro-God, pro-family and pro-America content. Our vision is to create The New Hollywood in Orlando. Our goal is to be listed on the NYSE and eventually buy the Disney Company."

OK, so maybe we can't count on Campbell for our economic salvation. For the record, the city says it isn't in talks with him. They don't even really know who he is. "We are not ready to make a decision on anything," says city spokesperson Heather Allebaugh regarding the sale of the land.

Campbell signs off with the following: "You keep believing, Orlando!"

The sad part? We will. Over and over again.

Hospitals are great when you're all hopped up on morphine with your ass hanging out of the back of a floral print robe. But for some who make their living tying tourniquets around arms and putting up with the slurred speech of prostrate bodies with entitlement issues, hospitals can be, well, unfair.

Orlando Health — the parent company to the Orlando Regional Medical Center, Dr. P. Phillips Hospital and the Winnie and Arnold Palmer health complexes, among others — has come under fire in recent months for not keeping up with times, or other local employers, by tiptoeing through the dicey terrain of diversity training. According to Alan Bounville, a "former Orlando Health team member and donor in good standing with the organization," as the area's fifth largest employer, Orlando Health should step up to the level of Disney and Universal in incorporating multicultural training into their employment rubric.

Following failed attempts to convince the corporate suits otherwise, Bounville has launched a petition campaign to pressure Orlando Health into being more PC. According to his e-mails, the organization currently ignores ethnicity training, forbids employees from forming discussion groups on diversity, does not protect gender identity for employees or patients, lacks domestic partner benefits, and, while it does boast a nondiscrimination policy for staff, it lacks the same in its patients' bill of rights. Bounville's quest has drawn endorsements from Equality Florida, OneOrlando.org and the Metropolitan Business Association; as of last week, the petition had garnered more than 100 signatures (although some on Bounville's e-mail list are threatening legal action if they aren't removed, something Bounville would love). And nothing is happening.

On to Plan B, then. Bounville and company are threatening to crash a Sept. 26 block party celebrating the 20th anniversary of Arnold Palmer Medical Center and the 11th annual "Miracle Mile" runs preceding the party with picket signs, petitions and promotions.

The folks at Orlando Health have until Sept. 19 to come up with a "viable" plan and present it to both Bounville and the public. Then, and only then, will they be able to avoid the rhetorical posterboard and public humiliation that will make them feel less than human. Like their employees.

This week in gay: boycotts, benefits and the Baby Jesus!

You may remember the pink dust cloud of controversy kicked up earlier this summer over in Tampa when WFLA-TV Channel 8 accepted $35,000 from the American Family Association to run a homophobic "infomercial" called Speechless: Silencing the Christians June 27, the same day as that city's gay pride spectacular (Happytown™, July 9). There was playful talk of gays "jamming" their agendas into Florida's intolerance machine without lube, scary "saved" gays simpering, and a po-faced retort from the station's general manager, Mike Pumo, that the show "didn't raise a red flag" for him. The gays were not amused.

Last week, Equality Florida reported the fallout its efforts had caused: a 200-strong protest at the station's headquarters (with red flags!), prominent news coverage (you're welcome) and 3,000 messages from the community. And now they're going after blood — er, money!

EQFL is pressuring advertisers with Media General — parent company to the station, the Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Online — to pull their ad dollars to the tune of $35,000 "they made off the backs of Tampa Bay's LGBT community." At least one advertiser, Vintage Real Estate Services, has complied, yanking its $900 contract in a boycott against the "bigoted propaganda piece."

Next up: benefits. On Sept. 10, the St. Pete Times reported that the University of South Florida would be hopping on the domestic partner benefits bandwagon, following the lead of the city of Tampa and Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. Presumably to stave off controversy, the school will not use tuition or USF foundation or state dollars to cover the $500,000 fairness upgrade, but will instead pull from concessions and such.

And finally, you know how the beloved Holy Land Experience attraction — recent home to the purple hair of Trinity Broadcasting Network's Jan Crouch and the questionable sexual history of her husband (see "Jesus TV," July 12, 2007) — is required to open its doors for free one day a year in order to maintain its state tax-free status? Well, this year that one day is set to fall on Oct. 6, the week of Orlando's Come Out With Pride festivities, so some gays have it in mind to throw on those Gay Days red T-shirts and jump in the Jesus blood pool.

"Imagine the sense of unity that could be felt should gays and lesbians descend on the park en masse as a kickoff to pride week," says organizer Kirk Hartlage in an e-mail. "The park's holy day of obligation could be a perfect opportunity to make it a day of tolerance as well. Besides, haven't you always wanted an excuse to visit the Holy Land Theme Park?"

Actually, no.

happytown@orlandoweekly.com

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