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COLUMN

Happytown

The week where we wondered aloud exactly how it is the city plans to make money appear out of nowhere for the Citrus Bowl while ostensibly giving up on DPAC, then we realized that this whole state is a cauldron of corruption! Money for nothing and your checks for free!

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The real issue, at least to geeks like us, is what this means to the second phase – the one that's supposed to include the local arts groups – of the performing arts center. Through the complex vortex of financing that is the venues deal, there are certain philanthropic fundraising benchmarks DPAC must meet before receiving any more public financing. Though phase one – the touring Broadway concert emporium – is already underway, the future of phase two just got a little bleaker.

"If TDT projections are right, by the time DPAC comes up with the fundraising, everyone should be able to do both projects," says Fagan, somewhat unconvincingly. "I think it's envisioned that the amount to fund phase one would stay as normal. When phase two comes in, that's when the Citrus Bowl will come into play."

We phoned up Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Executive Director David Schillhammer to find out what he's been told about the deal. The philharmonic, after all, has been relying on the acoustics of phase two to make the new center its effective home base. Never one for gossip, Schillhammer comes off as cautiously optimistic about the whole deal. He's always supported building all three venues completely, he's clear to note, but he doesn't want this to nip at the orchestra's bottom line.

"There's no resentment about it," he says. "The philharmonic wants the Citrus Bowl to be renovated to the extent to which it does not harm the philharmonic."

According to Schillhammer, the pot may be sweetened for DPAC by some reduction in their required philanthropy thanks to "delay costs" being reduced for the Citrus Bowl. Also, assuming DPAC meets it philanthropic benchmark of $80 million, phase two could begin construction while phase one is still under construction, also reducing delay costs. Win-win! We'll believe it when we see it ... or can calculate it?

As if that little bit of creative financing weren't enough – or if our cover once again stating the stupidity of this state didn't give you a hint – a report surfaced last week that declared Florida the most corrupt state in the country. How do we always win these things? Well, for one, the report (issued by nonprofit Integrity Florida) weighed the fact that 1,762 members of Florida's public leadership cabal have been convicted of public corruption since the bicentennial glory days of 1976. In this century's first decade, convictions have averaged at a rate of 71 per year. A separate "state integrity investigation" found that, even with that conviction rate, Florida deserved a grade of C-minus in the realm of ethics enforcement, meaning that everyone is corrupt – most just don't get caught. The ostensible goal of the report was to encourage ethics reform up there in Tallahassee, but we all know how that goes: Backburners are really far away. Regardless, seeing as Gov. Rick Scott is embroiled in a two-way lawsuit for his rejection of a U.S. Department of Justice order that he stop purging voter rolls, we can only assume that everything is fine. You have nothing to worry about. Get back into the locker room, weakling, and stop asking questions.

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