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COLUMN

Happytown

The city starves its empathy (again), DPAC trips over its pretense (again) and your legislature does not want you to vote. No alarms, no surprises ... please.

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When faced with this summary, Orlando Chief Administrative Officer (and OCCC member) Byron Brooks fired back. "I am concerned that it appears that the county is prematurely drawing conclusions," he said, going on to call the summary "an overreaction." That probably wasn't the smartest move. Brooks, you see, wasn't even at the meeting, and even though the po-faced DPAC board may just be a wounded gaggle of birds with nothing but spite to regurgitate into the public's ears these days, the county was just reporting what had transpired. To be clear, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer went on record in the April 13 Orlando Sentinel saying, "It's certainly not our position that we no longer need the county's involvement." Or: Sorry?

So what does it all mean for the future of the imaginary Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts? Just ask stodgy old former Orlando Mayor - and neutered DPAC board member - Bill Frederick.

"We are very, very close to having this thing go," he told the Sentinel, "but we're also very close to the very real prospect that it may not go at all."

It means nothing.

What does mean something, however, is the fact that your favorite state Republicans are on a gleeful mission to destroy everything, including the entire election process. On Wednesday, April 13, State House Speaker Dean Cannon's ghostwritten baby HB 1355 (it was presented by creepy State Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala) reared its ugly, 151-paged head, giggling at the prospect of shutting down third-party voter registration, eliminating the ability to change your address at your polling place and generally attempting to make sure that regular people have a hard time voting. The League of Women Voters of Florida, which regularly registers voters and is nonpartisan, called foul immediately, likening the bill to the old Jim Crow laws. Should the bill pass muster (it will), those who dare to register voters on their own could be fined up to $1,000 if they don't take an oath and provide personal information at the supervisor of elections' office and if they don't return their voter registration forms within 48 hours. Welcome to the age of apathy.Enjoy your stay.

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