"Alan Grayson for President. Palin is an idiot," read a sign just outside the city's glorious hall of commissioners. What did it mean? Were things about to get contentious? Would this week's dip in the political kiddie pool mark the return of the "town maul" healthcare forehead sweat of last summer? Did everything all of the sudden matter again?
Nope. Instead it was the typical daytime television wine-swish of pedestrian concerns. Commissioner Phil Diamond spoke about a powerlifting convention without even giggling (and then voted not to renew former commissioner Betty Wyman's $80,000-a-year job!), commissioner Robert Stuart said something jock-y like "orange and blue are the only two colors that actually go together, brah" and commissioner Daisy Lynum talked about her bad knee and being "pretty." We're all idiots now.
Item: The city approves an award to Superior Waterway Services Inc. to provide and install a floating fountain on Lake Lucerne.
Translation: While the rest of the city beautiful continues to sizzle and crackle beneath the cosmic heft that rendered its iconic spurting symbol a dull green lightning rod (the dormant Lake Eola fountain is the real prize winner on today's agenda, with businesses fighting for the $2 million task of bringing it back to life), district four commissioner Patty Sheehan is angling for a revamp on another fountain entirely. Poor old Lake Lucerne, with its humble trio of water spouts just spitting there for all of the East-West Expressway to see, is quickly becoming the water feature of favor. Whether it's because of the nearby imaginary performing arts center site, the almost-there arena shifting the town's focus slightly southward or just the desire to improve the view from city hall, Lake Lucerne is getting a new aquatic diversion and this time it will float. Superior Waterway Services of Riviera Beach offers all sorts of floating fountains — the Valhalla, the Eagle, the Turnberry! — that will allow the city "a variety of different spray patterns" while reducing odor and algae. Exciting! It won't be cheap, though. Sheehan will dig out $73,000 from her own community capital budget to make this wet dream a reality.
Item: The city approves an amendment to its temporary rent assistance agreements for West Church Street retail units.
Translation: The imminent unveiling of Rich Devos' Golden Pleasure Dome™ has worked the whole city into a Nutrilite-fueled fit of economic development hot flashes. Just think what life will be like when West Church Street is set ablaze with walking people in basketball jerseys (or just take a look a few blocks up at Livingston Street now); everybody is going to be so rich and pretty! But not yet. For now, those businesses fortunate enough to be inhaling the dust of our brand new, arena-shaped dazzle ship while their portion of the actual road is closed are struggling to attract any kind of consumers, so much so that the city has already been offering a 25 percent rent break to the troubled tenants. This week, the city ups the ante to free rent from April until September, with the city's venues department, the Orlando Magic, the city's economic development department and its Community Redevelopment Agency each ponying up 25 percent through June. From June to September, the city's venues department will be covering all of the rent. All told, the city will be on the hook for $27,730.
Item: The city approves the use of National Association of State Procurement Officials contract 19745, awarded to Rapiscan Systems, for the purchase of scanners for City Hall.
Translation: With all of this raging populism fuming out of flared nostrils lately (not to mention the City Hall shooting in Kingston, Mo., two years ago), the city is taking another look at its outdated X-ray people and package screening system and not liking what it's seeing. Rapiscan — which is so fast it forgot the "d" — will make all of that better with two new walk-through scanners and two package scanners for just $72,397. Whether the city will be utilizing Rapiscan's gamma-ray imaging or neutron and diffraction analysis remains to be seen (but that would be awesome). Regardless, that belly button ring will still get you frisked, crazy lady.
Item: The city approves the final ranking for Florida Citrus Bowl renovations.
Translation: How the mighty have fallen. What was once set to be a $175 million upmarket makeover of the Monster Truck Playhouse™ that included club seats and banquet rooms has now come down to a Clean House-style repurposing of the bathroom. Literally. Included in the abridged Citrus Bowl plan are "light tower repairs, cosmetic improvements, pavement resurfacing, waterproofing, concrete repairs, construction of restrooms, box offices and `a` concession stand," meaning you won't notice a thing. The city has budgeted $6.2 million to get this all done, and Turner Construction Company — currently at work on the new Amway Arena — surprised everybody (nobody) by rolling over the competition to get the city's highest ranking on the project. Crushing![email protected]