;Editor's note: Orlando City Council meetings are boring. They're long. They're tedious. They're packed with acronyms and motions and yeas and nays and other crap you don't have time for. That's where we come in. Council Watch goes to City Council meetings so you don't have to. We peel away the layers of bureaucratese from the government onion to reveal the shiny nugget of useful info contained therein, then we report it to you every other week (at least until the summer intern leaves). Who loves you more than Mom? We do.


;June 5 was a day of new beginnings at the Orlando City Council. It was the first meeting for Robert Stuart, the nonprofit director who defeated incumbent Vicki Vargo in April. It was the second meeting for Sam Ings, the former cop who took over Ernest Page's seat after Page's bribery-related indictment.


;There was a sense of frivolity in the air. Commissioners Daisy Lynum and Patty Sheehan spent most of the meeting with a case of the giggles, acquired when Stuart was slow to issue a motion for a project in his district. It is a joke that those unfamiliar with Robert's Rules of Order might not understand; even then, it's not really funny. But your elected officials seemed to be having a good time representing you.




Item: A 6-1 vote approving the stipulated settlement and recommended order in the Narcoossee Acquisitions LLC vs. Economic Development Department of the City of Orlando, Florida. The amendment to the Vista Palms planned development ordinance adds 249,000 square feet of office and commercial space to the original 150,000-square foot development (possibly including a new Home Depot) at the southeast corner of Narcoossee Road and Lee Vista Boulevard. Commissioner Phil Diamond dissented, citing Narcoossee Road's inability to handle increased traffic.


;;Translation: There is going to be more development than originally planned. Diamond wants the developer to help pay for road improvements, which will be necessary either way because Narcoossee's two lanes can't handle the existing traffic. This 6-1 vote broke the Council's tendency to defer to the commissioner whose district includes a project, whether or not said project is a good idea. This proposed development is in Diamond's district, yet he cast the only no vote.




Item: A nomination and confirmation of Phil Diamond and Daisy Lynum as mayors pro tem for one year terms. Diamond will serve as first mayor pro tem. Sam Ings nominated Lynum to be second mayor pro tem. They will fulfill mayoral duties should the mayor be unable to perform them in the event he was, say, indicted or something, ahem.


;;Translation: The post is ceremonial and doesn't really mean anything. There was less catfighting than in past pro tem nominations, probably because Vicki Vargo is no longer on the dais. Ings' quickness to nominate Lynum, who just so happened to endorse his candidacy not long ago, was noteworthy.




Item: Approval on first reading of an amendment to Chapter 13, Section 7, of the city charter that would allow the city to buy property worth $3 million or less without holding a public hearing, instead of the $1 million cap that currently exists. City staff argues that the $1 million threshold, which was put in place in 1974, would be worth at least $3.7 million today due to rapidly rising land prices.


;;Translation: We wrote a whole story about this (see previous page), but the Cliffs Notes version is that the city wants to be able to buy expensive land without you knowing about it.


;Next Council meeting: June 19.

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