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COLUMN

Council Watch

Billy Manes paying attention to local government so you don't have to

Item: The city approves the application for the U.S. Department of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance and Office for Victims of Crime fiscal year 2012 collaborative model to combat human trafficking grant in the amount of $500,000.

Translation: Speaking of not-so-happy traffic endings, Florida is apparently a hotbed for sex trafficking and labor trafficking of both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. Florida, in general, is a hot bed. Through this grant request the city will receive $500,000 to toss another officer into the jean-shorted undercover cesspit of the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation and purchase some more equipment. The goal is better coordination between federal, state and local agencies, but if past experience with the MBI is anything to go on, this could just end up as a giant wad of singles meant to be squeezed into strippers' G-strings in the name of clocking some overtime hours while slightly tipsy. Not to be too cynical – trafficking is, after all, red meat for MSNBC weekend programming – but sometimes the path from means to ends just results in ends clapping in mean faces.

Item: The city approves a purchase order to Fleetcor Technologies Inc., doing business as Fuelman, in the amount of $450,000 for fuel card services.

Translation:Also, sometimes cops – the good and bad kind – run out of gas. Fuelman to the rescue! The city has already been utilizing the outsourced services of the Texas Cooperative Purchasing Network to maintain its relationship with Fleetcor/Fuelman, a sort of discount prepaid gas-card network that boasts mobile phone apps to help fleet managers find participating fueling stations. The city says that the service has saved it both money and time, so it's totally worth issuing another $450,000 (the estimated yearly cost of cop gas – minus the doughnuts, we hope) to keep the fuming relationship alive. Not only do the police get to drive faster than you, they also get cheaper gas.

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