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Council watch

Billy Manes pays attention to city government so you don't have to

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Item: The city approves an award for the Fiscal Year 2012 JAG countywide grant to purchase in-car camera systems.
Translation: Because Orlando is the City Beautiful where nothing ever goes wrong and everybody behaves accordingly, the Orlando Police Department received 107 citizen-generated complaints in the first six months of 2012 alleging charming improprieties like racial profiling and excessive force. Very little of that can be proven erroneous, though, as only 16 of the city's 400-strong police fleet are currently equipped with video technology worthy of Cops exploitation. This week the city accepts a federal, Justice Assistance Grant in the amount of $75,471 that will be utilized to wire up 13 more cars (with backseat cameras and collision detectors) and tune them in to a remote server of unquestionable evidence. You just won't know which cars they are until it's too late.

Item: The city approves an advisory committee recommendation for RFP12-0284 to provide emergency ambulance service in Orlando.
Translation: It appears that the city's county-inspired fundraising experiment with bringing ambulance service in-house via the Orlando Fire Department might not be all that it's cracked up to be. Though the city has dabbled with outsourcing some of its excess emergency calls to Rural/Metro Corporation of Florida since the February 2011 changeover, it's now ready to get solidly in bed (or gurney) with the company, which happens to be the only company that issued a bid. For this honor, Rural/Metro will pay a monthly fee of $3,500 to offset the city's administrative costs. Think of it as a subscription to disaster.

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