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COLUMN

Happytown

The traveling redistricting circus reminds us what wasting time feels like, Phil Diamond throws Jesus chicken at us and WFTV Channel 9 concocts a class war via homeless paranoia.

Photo: Jeff Gore, License: N/A

Jeff Gore


Outside, we bumped into former Orange County Commissioner (and sometimes Baby Jane-alike) Linda Stewart, who said that she would be running for something somewhere as soon as anybody could say where or what that would be.

“This is a farce,” she squawked. Yes, yes it was.

If, on the morning of July 28,you were obliging your fried Jesus-chicken fetish at the Chick-fil-A on South Orange Avenue, you may have noticed this flimsy sign stuck in the sod near the trash bin behind the restaurant: “Celebrity Drive-Thru.” You ordered your chicken biscuit, pulled to the window and encountered a paunchy, middle-aged man wearing a black polo shirt and sporting a squinty grin. Yay?

That man was city commissioner and mayoral hopeful Phil Diamond, working a grueling 8-10 a.m. shift in full fast-food regalia!Diamond aptly measured his performance based on how many times he screwed up. “I only dropped one thing – it was a little sample of oatmeal that somebody wanted,” Diamond said. “Other than that, it went very smoothly.”

Ten percent of the money collected through Chick-fil-A’s drive-through window during those two hours went to Diamond’s charity of choice, the Delaney Park Little League. Diamond is a bona fide baseball aficionado, having visited 20 of Major League Baseball’s 30 ballparks nationwide.

Which reminds us: On July 20, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs killed plans to build a $47 million, 5,000-seat baseball stadium near the Orange County Convention Center, asserting that “such a competitive advantage over the I-Drive corridor’s existing businesses does not comport with my sense of fair play.” Don’t cry, baseball fans – the team that would have played there is only a Class A subsidiary of the New York Yankees, currently based in Tampa. In the minor league baseball hierarchy, Class A teams are three rungs below the major leagues, so at the rate that deep-pocketed baseball jock (and former Congressional candidate) Armando Gutierrez Jr. would have brought major league baseball to Orlando through his Bases Loaded venture, we would have our first professional team in 2026 – that is, after building three more stadiums. Don’t give up yet, Armando! We know a powerful guy named Buddy Dyer that isn’t such a tightwad, likes sports and absolutely looooooves construction.

Still hungry? The battle between Orlando Food Not Bombs and the city, once a frequent theme of the pages of both Orlando Weekly and the Orlando Sentinel, has settled into a mellow stalemate. The group, having nearly run out of volunteers willing to get arrested for sharing food with the homeless at Lake Eola Park, decided in early July to take Mayor Buddy Dyer up on his offer to hold its food sharings in front of City Hall. The group regards the setup as temporary, given that the City Hall courtyard does not feature bathrooms or running water. But for now, the battlefield is quiet – a good thing for weary reporters hoping to move on to fresher subjects.

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