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COLUMN

Happytown

This week, we race for the merch booth on Rick Scott's rhubarb reinvention tour, hide in your backyard (because you don't want us in your backyard) on the municipal redistricting tour and adjust our baby monitors to the "controversy" frequency at Disney. We are everywhere.

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We watched some of that exchange on our laptop – the Sentinel is likewise a cruel mistress, see – and came away with a sense that the new, blurry Rick Scott is possibly even more frightening than the manic sweat machinewe already love to hate. He spoke of maintaining “pristine waters” while basically allowing that if somebody extremely wealthy, like an oil executive, could convince him to allow drilling right at the end of the pier, he’d be willing to listen. He lamented how he was “trying to figure out why things got structured the way they did.” He wanted to make things, you know, easier for businesses (going so far as to recount the story of a fictitious home-alarm installer). He basically sputtered and stuttered in a humidity haze.

“Gosh, one thing that’s interesting,” he pulled a pageant answer out his whore bag. “You do get a lot information and you get a lot of advice” when you’re governor. Oh, really? Here’s some advice: disappear.

Speaking of disappearing, we sort of wished we could have done just that at the exact time that we arrived for the city of Orlando’s District 4 redistricting hearing at Langford Park on Aug. 16. Not that it isn’t an important issue – it clearly is – but spending two hours on a Tuesday night listening to “polite” homeowners pledge their allegiance to District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan as they simultaneously try to avoid uttering “not in my backyard” isn’t exactly the most engaging way to while away one’s evening. In truth, we spent the entire time wondering to ourselves “What would make municipal redistricting an interesting thing to write about (again)?” (See “The other fair districts,” March 3.) That’s not a very good feeling, dear readers.

The main issues seemed to involve nice (mostly white) people liking nice things and not wanting to be exposed to the blight one might expect from a district that is basically downtown in what is basically a city. Sure, there were some cartography conundrums regarding historic districts, business concerns and what might happen if Mills Avenue were actually made into a district border rather than having said border run down a discreet alleyway like it does now. There was a bit of that “with all of these bars around, we have no parking” domesticity; a splash of showmanship from the leadership of the Mall at Millenia, which fears it might be removed from Sheehan’s golden district (she likes to shop there!). Mostly, though, it was a big yawn.

That is, until Sheehan realized that one of the suggested redistricting maps being proffered would actually zone District 5 Commissioner Daisy Lynum out of her own kingdom; that would not do, Sheehan opined. Funny, she didn’t think the same when we talked to her about Commissioner Phil Diamond – who was in attendance Tuesday – getting zoned out of his district back in February. He laughed when we reminded him. His disappearance doesn’t seem to bother her quite as much, apparently.

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