From the home of Disney World comes a city council meeting so magical, so enchanting that it has its own glorious video intro:
“Ladies and gentlemen,” boomed the voiceover, “please welcome our mayor, Buddy Dyer!”
The stock footage abruptly faded to the council chambers, where one sole attendee applauded on cue.
“Whoever had that one clap, I appreciate that,” the mayor lightheartedly quipped as the room roared with laughter.
“Welcome to the January 29, 2016 meeting of the Orlando City Council,” announced His Honor, his brains apparently scrambled from too many rides on Splash Mountain. “We give our commissioners the opportunity to update you on items from their commission district.”
But by the time Commissioner Samuel Ings finished his slideshow of the Sixth Annual Red Tie Celebrity Golf Extravaganza, the mayor had a mea culpa:
“The city clerk let me know that when I called the meeting to order, I said it was the January…or December?”
“January,” the clerk corrected–again.
“Some month other than August,” Mayor Dyer admitted to chuckles. “Hopefully most of you are aware that it is August.”
If you’re having trouble forgiving the mayor for his brain fart, Commissioner Robert Stuart had some words for you.
“Back in April we were listed as the second or third most compassionate city in the country,” he said, introducing his resolution to make Orlando an official “compassionate city”–which is like a regular city, except Commissioner Stuart will kiss your boo-boo, I guess.
The mayor glanced sideways. “Amy, our city clerk, was commenting to me that she didn’t think she was getting enough TV time. So I thought I would let her read the resolution.”
Without missing a beat, she retorted, “You just know I can do it faster than you.” Ladies and germs, the Mayor and Clerk Variety Hour will be here all night!
But not so fast: on deck was a new fee to expand Orlando’s non-cartoon-themed parks. “We’re proposing to collect in three zones,” explained a bespectacled city staffer. “The funds raised in each of those three zones must be utilized in those three zones.”
That didn’t wash with Commissioner Regina Hill, whose zone had lots of low-income housing that wouldn’t pay.
“There’s gonna be no monies generated in that area for improvements in my parks!” she exclaimed, whipping off her glasses. “Especially Lake Lorna Doone, which has needed $4 million!”
The parks director raced to the mic. “Lake Lorna Doone is in the north zone. So all of the revenues generated in the north zone have to be spent in the north zone–”
“But the new residential that will be built…will NOT generate fees,” fired back Hill exasperatedly.
“In the north district, I think the ten-year revenue was about $6 million,” the staffer tried to assuage her.
Hill was apoplectic. “I gotta wait ten years?!”
“Well…over ten years. Yeah,” the staffer meekly responded.
At this point, the city attorney stepped into the fracas.
“The reason Lake Lorna Doone was not included in the definition of a regional park is because of its size,” he explained.
“It’s a ‘regional park’ to those that live in that area!” the commissioner mic-dropped.
Final thoughts: Yikes. Looks like a few people didn’t get the message that Orlando is a compassionate city now. I give 8 out of 10 stars to Commissioner Hill. Fight on!