;By Aug. 14, the Orlando City Council had been in recess for three long weeks, listless and "whereas"-less since the good ol' day of July 24th. Tensions were mounting and unread ordinances were yearning to breathe free. Clearly it would take at least three Robert's Rules of Order to tame this lot, and maybe a couple of mayoral belts of whiskey.;
; "This should be a little shorter than the last couple of meetings," Mayor Buddy Dyer smiled in sly reference to the last get-together, which included a good dose of rancor courtesy of Orlando Food Not Bombs. "There's nobody here to testify." There was no commissioner Betty Wyman (out ill); Patty Sheehan led the Pledge of Allegiance. Little red lights flashed atop each of the microphones, creating an unintentionally hypnotic effect, and nobody homeless was angry. Nothing much to talk about here. Except murder (see below).;
; "On a better note," Dyer shrugged, "the city of Orlando is No. 7 in Orlando Sentinel's top companies to work for in Orlando!";;
;Item: By mayoral proclamation, Aug. 14, 2006, is officially Christian HELP day. The HELP (Hope Encourage Love Prayer) organization, in existence since 1992, has served the community in the area of homelessness prevention by providing faith-based and career-based support. Last year's Mayor's Job Fair saw 1,726 gain employment out of 2,300 job seekers, and the organization has consistently ranked among the nation's model faith-based programs.
;;Translation: Jesus loves both church and state. Not only must we endure an invocation that blindly blesses this great city that we live in, presumably above all others, but now the Mayor's Job Fair needs to have a wooden cross hanging from its rearview and a magnetic fish on its bumper. Not to slight the initiative — there are, after all, numbers indicating success — but there was something sanctimonious in this portion of today's proceedings; Dyer didn't even smile for his picture here; he holy-pouted, like a priest in an ill-fitting suit.;;
;Item: With the Orlando murder rate rising to beyond the tourist-industry comfort zone, the city and its commissioners are reaching out into the community to "take back our neighborhoods." "We won't tolerate this activity in our city," Dyer led the charge, announcing the establishment of a Neighborhood Safety Task Force. Each commissioner followed suit, detailing their informal outreach programs.
;;Translation: In what was effectively an awkward love-in, commissioner Robert Stuart preached gang awareness, commissioner Phil Diamond opined that "it's not enough that citizens be safe, they have to feel safe," and Patty Sheehan donned a Nancy Reagan halo: "This is the social cost of drug use!" Only commissioner Daisy Lynum's apparent dismay was of any entertainment value. Her district was singled out as the one where the most bodies are dropping, yet she protested that her attempts at communication with Orlando police chief Michael McCoy have been ignored. "I have written three letters," she exclaimed. "I've not received one call. I am absolutely puzzled!" McCoy agreed to meet with Lynum pronto. Watch the killing cease.;;
;Item: The council agreed to accept an agreement among CBS Broadcasting Inc., Step Up Productions LLC and the city of Orlando regarding the Discovery Channel's Stunt Junkies show at Lake Eola Park, Sept. 25-30.
;;Translation: So junkies are OK in Lake Eola Park, but you can't feed homeless people?;;
;Item: The College Park sidewalk situation reached another milestone this week, as weathered citizens carried their concerns — some with petitions attached — to the council. Some homeowners are perplexed by the ordinance which forces them to construct a cement sidewalk in their "green areas" even when said sidewalk leads from nowhere to nowhere, with no adjoining pathways. The original ordinance, albeit well-intentioned, has now given new meaning to Shel Silverstein's seminal "Where the Sidewalk Ends," and some homeowners would prefer to pay into a sidewalk fund, one that would finance the construction of continuous sidewalks in the areas where they are more necessary.
;;Translation: "I think it's bad public policy," commissioner Lynum agreed, mostly because that's what she always says. Sheehan recalled a time four years ago when she "got death threats over sidewalks." Sheehan argued that those of her constituents who have already built sidewalks should be refunded. "We just started riding that wave of sidewalks, and it just got out of hand," Lynum dramatized. Effectively, it's a teenage math word problem, solvable in less than the one minute allowed.[email protected]