Photo by Jason Greene
Local Color - Staff Picks
Published: July 13, 2011
Best fighting the power
Orlando Food Not Bombs
When the city of Orlando’s controversial “large group feeding” ordinance – which restricts sharing of food with 25 or more people at public parks within a two-mile radius of City Hall – was first passed in 2006, we never thought that five years later we’d be reporting on the latest deliberations from the 11th District Court of the United States on the constitutionality of the law. The issue received deserved attention, thanks to the tenacity of Orlando Food Not Bombs, the group that provides free vegetarian meals to the public every Monday morning and Wednesday evening at Lake Eola Park. Despite the aforementioned court verdict against them, and despite parting with longtime lawyer Jackie Dowd, the group has refused to back down: Since June 1, Orlando Food Not Bombs has seen 27 of its volunteers arrested for handing out meals without a permit.
Best Waste of Public Funds
Casey Anthony Trial
On the downside, this thing is costing you, Florida taxpayers, a bundle. In March, Casey Anthony was declared indigent, so we’re footing the bill for both the prosecution and the defense in her murder trial – and it’s not gonna be cheap: The cost of housing, feeding and carting the jury around alone was estimated at $360,000; hundreds of hours of “investigation” will be billed at $40 per hour; the bill for crime-scene processing is estimated at nearly $10,000. And that just scratches the surface. The upside? This thing was high drama! Adult men crying on the stand, an imaginary nanny, nightclub drama, bad tattoos and a mysterious entrepreneur who delivers cake to the jurors! Broadcast on local channels all day, every day, with recaps, analysis and instant replays in the evenings. At least taxpayers got their money’s worth out of it.
Best friend this paper has ever had
It was a sad day in hell last September when the news came across the transom that Orlando hellraiser George Crossley had collapsed and died at the offices of WEUS 810 AM while doing what he loved best: raging against the dying of the liberal light. When Crossley was heading up the local ACLU chapter, he was a frequent go-to guy (and sometimes an annoyance, though we mean that in the nicest possible way) for Orlando Weekly, a stumbling uncle full of righteous indignation. Of course, it wasn’t always that way; George had a tabloid history involving televangelism and a botched hit-job, but as second acts go, he was an unshakable source of inspiration, showing up at every rally and effectively washing clean the sins of his past with sweat and hard work. If you never knew George, then you missed out. And we miss him.
Best gay-bar drama
All of it
Ooooh, guurrrl, has this been a year for broken heels among the area’s pink watering holes or what? If you kept an eye on the Facebook pages of any of the local gay drinking establishments, you’d be drunk on the nonsense. First, everybody was buzzing about the alleged $7.5 million Parliament House foreclosure issue – one that was apparently resolved by February, with promised improvements already in process. Then, a sort-of offshoot of the old P, Mr. Sisters, opened up in late 2010. Former famous Parliament bartender Brian Humphries (fired shortly after a piece ran in this damn paper) owned a stake in the new East Colonial Drive megalith, which almost immediately earned its own share of the late-night whispers – a WFTV Channel 9 story in May displayed your standard neighbors up in arms about the gay bacchanalia and the noise it produces. But Mr. Sisters eventually parted ways with Humphries, too. Email blasts from Mr. Sisters’ ownership followed (“Two sides to every story,” was one subject line), making things appear messier than maybe they really are. Have a drink, Mary. This is going to be a bumpy ride.
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