“Squaaaaaaaawk!!!” bleated the City Hall sound system as the chatterers were called to order.

The lack of amusement on the blood-drained faces lining the dais implied that this wasn’t the kind of feedback they were after. In fact, given the chipper demeanor of most present, there wouldn’t be much need for feedback at all, just a healthy dose of back-patting with a dash of God and country.

The Orlando Magic’s Alex Martins was on hand to be honored, along with his Magic peers, for their work with a computer lab in the James R. Smith Neighborhood Center. He brought a glass bowl with a signed basketball in it, some odd souvenir of the team’s recent victories in China (3-0!).

Item: The city adopts a resolution of the city council and the city of Orlando regarding the ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) Cities for Climate Protection Campaign, supporting the city’s membership and participation in the campaign and pledging support for reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Translation: Not unlike joining a country club with a parking lot full of Priuses, the city is throwing on its Sunday best and making certain that the neighbors see it. ICLEI “invites” governments into their snooty fold, then hazes them with a series of five nominal “milestones”: conduct a greenhouse gas emissions inventory or forecast, adopt an emissions reductions target, develop a local action plan in accordance with said target, implement said local action plan, and monitor and verify the results of said action plan. Or, um, get a plan and use it.

To achieve this feat of common sense, the city pays ICLEI a first-year membership fee of $2,250. But you should taste the crab cakes!

Item: The city approves an employment contract for the downtown ambassador program manager, Rose Garlick.

Translation: The Segway finger-waggers are coming! In order to make this two-wheeled dream come true, the city has finally decided upon a head finger-wagger – Rose Garlick (whose name, it should be noted, sounds delicious) – as leader of the force. Garlick will be charged with the sublime task of “promoting friendliness, safety and attractiveness of the downtown environment,” among other things like writing schedules and firing people for not wearing their Hawaiian shirts correctly. Garlick’s position is nothing to sniff at, though (ha!), as it will rope her $49,004.80 a year.

Item: The city approves an award to Hudson Pump and Equipment for six return-activated sludge pumps.

Translation: Most people go through their whole lives never giving a thought to sludge-blanket solids in terms of the aeration in the flow rate of the clarification process, which is a pity. What, do you think it’s just ground beneath your feet?

Citing impending doom, the city is greenlighting $112,494 to replace six 22-year-old return-activated sludge pumps that “have developed stress cracks in the casings, which will lead to complete failure.” Do you know what “complete failure” means? Sludge everywhere.

Item: The city adopts a bond resolution authorizing the issuance of not-to-exceed $35 million of state sales tax payments revenue bonds, series 2007.

Translation: Ignoring the stomping feet of the referendum crowd and that pesky Florida Supreme Court ruling against Escambia County, the city plods ahead with venueification, this time adopting a plan that will filter $35 million in yearly increments of $2 million from the state tax coffers toward the erection of Rich DeVos’ Golden Pleasure Dome. They’re not being flip about it though, no sir; the city also lists a separate item addressing the “issuance criteria and delegation parameters” for the bonds. Things are bendable, see.

Item: The city approves an award to Daktronics to provide and install electronic signs for Amway Arena and Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre.

Translation: Not to be forgotten, but rather to be spoiled like the child you abandoned at a turnpike rest area, the old and rotten shacks of non-world-class entertainment – the Bob Carr and the Amway – will be getting updates for their marquees. The city will drop $75,714 to obtain new LED programmable displays for the ancient venues, ones that will be able to promote more than one High School Musical event at a time. Annual costs thereafter? $1,545. Wait, does this mean we’re not having the baby?

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