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Council Watch 

Something amazing happened at this week's civic line of nonesuch. Up on the dais, all the commissioners and the mayor broke into an old-fashioned song-and-dance number, co-opting Olivia Newton-John's seminal "Magic" for a sports-themed triumph of choreography, the likes of which these eyes have never seen! Except they didn't.

Instead, there was the odd juxtaposition of Small Business Week and Trauma Awareness Day, followed by a discussion of high-school football involving pink jerseys for breast cancer awareness ("I'm surprised that Boone's wearing pink, but I guess that's appropriate," commissioner Robert Stuart inappropriately chuffed), a few Hail Marys for SunRail, and commissioner Daisy Lynum's musings on, well, whatever, including her stress levels combined with sports potentially driving her to drink, and race politics.

"It was not fashionable to be a minority at that time," she said. Seriously.

Item: The city approves a memorandum of understanding between the city of Orlando and the Orange County School Board to address the impact on public schools of any future residential development on the Orlando Police Department headquarters property.

Translation: As the giant cranes of the future whoop around the skeletal architecture of the future events center — sometimes even falling over in their quest to make Orlando "world class" — the city is already pressing its two brain halves together to figure out just what else it can do to make sure its girlfriends notice its facelift. The Orlando Police Department headquarters currently projects a sort of Mike-Brady-lost-his-blueprints-so-what-would-Frank-Lloyd-Wright-do? lack of charm, all boxy and boring and imposing. So, just in case it needs an update in the unforeseeable future, the city is issuing this memorandum of understanding with the school board to offset its secret plans (actually there aren't any at the moment, but just wait!) to tear the whole thing down and build a mixed-use metropolis when the money comes back. There are already "small scale" changes in the making to rewrite the zoning on the eight-acre site from public-recreational-institutional to urban activity center. Said urban "activity" could lead to procreation, so they need to let the school board know that more kids could be on the way.

Item: The city accepts the City of Orlando comprehensive annual financial report.

Translation: The city is so proud of its billowing financial reports released in September, detailing the token GreenWorks program and the Community Redevelopment Agency and stuff, that it's readying them for the Special Review Committee of the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. It's like a ledger pageant, and the city wants its tiara. Pay no mind to all the red numbers. They just make the reports prettier.

Item: The city approves an award to Helena Chemical Company for an annual purchase agreement for Aquashade and Algicide.

Translation: In this week's episode, our heroes, Wonder Twins Aquashade and Algicide, are faced with the biggest challenge of their animated lives: ugly water! Shape of: a unique organic copper complex — or copper sulfate — that prevents water from staining! Form of: a super concentration that will make your brown lakes blue at a rate of one ounce to 10,000 gallons! Activate! The city reckons that it will need about $98,200 worth of these two magic potions this year in order to complete the illusion of plastic perfection required to keep home values up and cynicism down. Helena Chemical Company — whose trademarked slogan is "People … Products … Knowledge …" — came in with the low bid. They know how to sell products to people, see.

Item: The city approves a purchase from Applied Spectrometry Associates Inc. to provide and install two new ChemScan analyzers at the Iron Bridge regional water reclamation facility.

Translation: The rule of thumb in the city's wastewater division is that everything is always breaking down. This week in expenditures you probably have no idea about, the city is plopping down $132,760 to replace "old and failing" ChemScan analyzers, handy bits of technology used in water reclamation to regulate nutrient levels in the water treatment process that is "monitored very strictly by the EPA" (nudge, nudge). Applied Spectrometry is the go-to company for these things in all three water treatment plants, so there's no danger of an upsell here.

Item: The city approves a minor subdivision plat at Greenwood Cemetery, north of East Gore Street, east of Weldonia Lane, west of South Hampton Avenue and south of East Anderson Street.

Translation: In the long run we're all dead, so the city's crown jewel of morbidity, Greenwood Cemetery (home of Baby Land and its sequels), is looking to expand some city property into a "minor subdivision" of doom. The 645 new graveyard mixed-use condos will be constructed on a "vacated road" between blocks "O" and "R," otherwise known as the Road to Nowhere. You can never leave.

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