Charter school

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As we went to press, political hopefuls were lining up like lemmings to be declared official candidates for mayor of the city of Orlando. A Feb. 4 election and a likely Feb. 25 runoff will decide just who will lead this anxious community out of its current period of prolonged malaise and into a golden era of utter collapse.

But while everyone else looks toward the future, Orlando Weekly is fixated on the recent past -- specifically, the days of profound turmoil that followed outgoing Mayor Glenda Hood's announcement that she was leaving to become Florida's new secretary of state. Nobody seemed to agree if Hood should be allowed to serve out her term until her successor was selected (her view, natch), or if she had to step aside immediately, ceding the office to an interim administrator. Which one? It depended on which city commissioner you asked. Hood eventually got her way, but not before our elected officials had done a lot of public head-scratching over the city's "ambiguous" charter. And as you'll recall from college, saying the notes were confusing is the same thing as admitting you blew off studying to attend a bladder bust.

There's no joy in seeing our trusted leaders stymied by an issue as simple but important as who gets to be mayor. It's like perusing the list of ingredients on a soda can and coming across the disquieting legend, "May contain one or more of the following ... " May contain? Don't they know? And if they don't, who does?

So, in the absence of a coherent, universally accepted procedural model, we're offering this citizen-drafted emergency plan, to be adopted by city hall in the event that any future mayor decides to throw Orlando to the wolves -- excuse us, "accept a state position" -- before his or her term is up. And just so the voice of the people is heard with undeniable clarity, we're encouraging you to cut out this form and mail it to:

City of Orlando;
400 S. Orange Ave. ;
P.O. Box 4990 ;
Orlando, FL 32802-4990.

Having about 50,000 of these babies lying around should be enough to mop up any potential disputes, but quick.

Next week: What's really in Sunny Delight!



(1) A mayor who wishes to abdicate her position must notify the city council in writing no less than 90 days before leaving office. The mayor will be required to provide compelling, explicitly stated reasons for her departure; such friendship-saving euphemisms as "We've grown apart" and "You deserve more time than I have to give" will be rejected out of hand. (Dotting of "i's" with hearts is strongly discouraged.) Neither may the mayor attempt to cushion the blow by breaking the news verbally over an expensive dinner at a favorite restaurant -- unless, that is, her honor is prepared to be party to a scene she won't soon forget, boyohboy.

(2) Violation of any of the above stipulations shall trigger an immediate transfer of responsibilities, with the mayoralty devolving to the city-council member with the greatest seniority. However, the council will have the right to bypass this rule in order to reward qualified minority candidates. This procedure will be known as the Lynum-Item Veto, in recognition of a regrettable 2002 incident in which councilwoman Daisy Lynum was prevented from becoming Orlando's first black mayor, a title she would have held for several weeks. For fairness' sake, nonwhite interim mayors will hold the title for the exact amount of time it would take them to purchase a home in Celebration. Should a sweep of the city-hall custodial staff turn up a Haitian sex-abuse survivor with an eating disorder, he or she will immediately be appointed Orlando's Supreme Dictator for Life, circumventing the electoral process entirely.

(3) In the event that a sitting mayor is found mysteriously murdered, any public official who wishes to vie for the office shall first be required to solve the crime. A gathering of city residents and media representatives will be called, and said official will make what is referred to as an "accusation." Examples: "Sheriff Kevin Beary, in the Citrus Bowl, with the revolver"; "Aileen Wuornos, in the Downtown Performing Arts Center, with the lead pipe." If the accusation is correct, the official becomes mayor immediately. If it is incorrect, he or she remains in office to assist the remaining candidates in their own investigations, but is barred from engaging in any other government business. Game play continues in a counterclockwise direction.

(4) The swimsuit portion of the mayoral race is a relic of a vanished, less enlightened time, and is to be done away with.

(5) In compliance with the state's Sunshine Laws, which seek to maximize public awareness of governmental proceedings, special elections shall not include candidates with "Q" ratings lower than 35 percent. Write-in votes will be accepted; voters will have the option of either printing the desired party's name or providing a cogent description, i.e., "the dog what sells the Toyotas on TV." Should a runoff prove necessary, the public will be allowed to choose between 5K, 10K and 100-yard-dash options.

(6) In the extremely unlikely event that any mayor abandons her post to take a state job already tainted by nationwide allegations of voter fraud and incompetence, that mayor's interpretation of her home city's electoral rules shall be ironclad. She will continue to receive full pay throughout the transitional period, which the state of Florida recognizes as on-the-job training.


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