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7/10/2008

Government > Council Watch

COUNCIL WATCH
Paying attention to the city government so you don't have to.

 

Palpable signs of municipal exhaustion permeated the council chambers this week, as the commissioners and mayor had just spent the better part of the morning workshopping the city’s entire operating system. “The way the city works,” the mayor called it, summing up everybody’s distaste with the wayward shopping carts, cookie-cutter developments and other problems that add up to Orlando. Next week, they all get to go to some place called “budget camp,” which, the mayor let on, will not be awesome.

But it wasn’t all summer blahs: We’re going to have a “bridge district,” meaning that rather than housing the homeless under I-4, we’re going to get trendy art life meant to connect Parramore with downtown. Also, we just had fireworks and they were huge!

The always-engaging Daisy Lynum watched the fireworks from her house and her neighbors may or may not have been using illegal ones, she wanted Police Chief Val Demings to know. Wouldn’t you just love to live next door to Daisy?

Item: The city approves an amendment to its contract with Pavement Technology Inc. for application of an asphalt-rejuvenating agent to city streets.

Translation: Calling to mind the untold glories of vaginal rejuvenation, only in a less charming way, Orlando continues to live up to its unofficial title as the Land of Botox and Electrolysis with this cosmetic transaction. Since January 2005, we’ve been dabbing industrial-strength Olay Regenerist upon the fine lines and wrinkles covering the city’s streets. Every morning the city wakes up and runs to the mirror to take notice of the marked improvements, then calls a few of its girlfriends to brag about how much younger it feels these days; oh, how its life has changed! Well, like everything else these days, the price of beauty is taking an inflationary kick. The folks down at the asphalt apothecary cite increased fuel costs and more-expensive chemicals as the primary reason for their 4-cent-per-square-yard hike for the rejuvenating agent, but politely remind the city that without it, the city would be rather unsightly. The city whips out its checkbook and cuts a $457,600 check, shedding a lone tear that blurs one of the zeroes.

Item: The city approves an award of contract to Clancy Systems International Inc. for a computerized parking ticket management system.

Translation: Presumably in response to an expected parking cluster-fuck associated with the imminent downtown face-lift, the city is directing its fiscal attentions to re-evaluating the methods by which parking citations are issued. Following seven meetings wherein the intricacies and nuances of this scintillating topic were hashed out and recorded, the city chose a lowball bid offered by Clancy Systems, who somehow can outfit the whole shebang for a quarter of the amount suggested by the second-lowest bidder. At just $60,896 – with an option for a cellular communication upgrade – we can expect to be a little more cheap and modern as we accidentally slip that little green envelope down the sewer grate.

Item: The city approves an award of contract to Mid Florida Car Wash for an automatic car-wash system at Orlando Police Department headquarters.

Translation: With the thumping syncopations of Rose Royce’s “Car Wash” anthem in its head, the city is ready to 86 its “obsolete, difficult to maintain and expensive to operate” car-cleaning system in favor of something shiny and new. Mid Florida Car Wash is offering to do it on the cheap, too, coming in with a $70,591 bid (one-third as much as the only other bid … what gives?) for a new car wash that not only makes the cops look shinier, but also recycles wastewater and conserves energy. What could be better? A hose with a Taser in it, maybe, but that’s not on the horizon.

Item: The city approves an award of annual contract to Fisher Safety for the purchase of protective bunker gear ensembles for the Orlando Fire Department.

Translation: Although the term “protective bunker gear ensemble” may bring to mind a Betsey Johnson runway nightmare replete with gas masks, its actual cost elucidates an even bigger nightmare, one that includes cries of “Recession, you idiots!” The city estimates that it will spend $1.2 million on the new fireman getups in the first year of its contract, which will buy 550 sets of gear. Included on the outfits are these fashionable gems: a dead-air panel, heat-channel knees, and double waterproof wristlets. Double waterproof wristlets are back, back, BACK!

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