City Council Highlights – June 15, 2020

Last updated on June 15, 2020

City Council Update – June 15, 2020  

General Items  

Over the last several weeks, the death of George Floyd has sparked a community movement and our community has joined together with cities across the country in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We want to thank all our residents for showing this country what unity and strength looks like through these peaceful protests calling for change.  

It’s clear that although we have made great strides when it comes to being an inclusive community, it’s not enough.  

Here in Orlando, we agree we need action and we must seize this moment and work together to enact real change. 

Already in the last few weeks, we have begun to take that action.   

First, we have committed to and are already undertaking a thorough review of all our use of force policies, training and de-escalation practices and protocols. As part of this, our city has answered the call and pledged commitment to the national movement started by former President Obama and the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance to address use of force policies. 

Additionally, nationally there has been conversation about eight police policies, led by Campaign Zero’s #8CantWait campaign, that should be enacted by all law enforcement agencies to further address inequality, increase transparency and hold law enforcement accountable.  

We want to make you aware that all 8 of these are currently addressed in Orlando Police Department policy or training. The Police Chief is actively working to update our policies to ensure that in addition to training, all 8 are also reflected in our policies.  

We have asked the Police Chief to lead a Workshop at our next City Council meeting on Monday, July 6 to provide an update on our current policies, how he is proposing to update those and further address and emphasize de-escalation and enhanced training. 

Throughout the country, there has also been a lot of discussion about funding for police departments and how communities can further invest in programs and initiatives that prevent the need for police interaction and use.   

We have our Budget Workshop scheduled for July 20 - where we’ll be giving an in depth overview of how the city budgets, what the city is proposing to budget for within the police department and through other programs. A key focus of discussion will surround police funding related to de-escalation and enhanced training, while also understanding the city’s commitment to providing affordable housing opportunities, access to jobs and education and strengthening our youth programming. 

As you can see, there are a lot of conversations happening around the issues of policing and racial inequality – both nationally and locally - and it’s important here in Orlando we have open and continued community dialogue to understand what our community wants, to listen directly to our residents and make changes for our residents.   

Locally issues have been raised about things from police policy reform to things like changing the name of Division Avenue. 

As a community, it’s clear we need to have further dialogue, together on what change and action is needed in Orlando to make a real and meaningful difference. 

We have started engaging in some of those conversations already. In just the last week, we’ve been able to have direct dialogue with community leaders, including the members of our Martin Luther King Junior Commission and leadership from organizations like the NAACP, Central Florida Urban League, African American Council of Clergy, National Pan-Hellenic Council and African American Chamber of Commerce. 

We believe it’s important we continue these conversations and participate in a meaningful and productive process that brings about real change.  

Pulse/SCOTUS Decision  

Friday marked four years since the Pulse tragedy, but time hasn’t changed our commitment to honoring the 49 lives taken too soon, supporting the survivors and the victims’ families and recognizing our community’s first responders.  

We started the morning with Commissioner Sheehan at the Colonialtown Square Park Labyrinth. And then our City Council joined Chief Barskdale and Chief Rólon to visit Greenwood Cemetery, where four of the victims are buried. 

Although we were not able to host any events this year because of COVID-19, we want to thank the One Pulse Foundation and One Orlando Alliance for bringing remembrance ceremonies and activities online and thank all of our residents who continue to respond to that one hateful act with countless displays of love and compassion. 

June happens to be Pride Month and this morning the Supreme Court released an important decision for the L-G-B-T-Q plus community and all Americans. The Court released its decision in the Bostok case and it held that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids employment discrimination against members of the L-G-B-T-Q community. We applaud this decision – no person should have to choose between a job and being who they are. 

We're proud that through our Chapter 57 ordinances, the City of Orlando has already taken steps to protect residents from discrimination. It’s certainly great that federal protections are now coming for all Americans. 

COVID Update  

We’re again having a virtual City Council meeting because our work to fight COVID-19 continues. We want to remind every person in our community that our individual and collective actions can still make a difference in reducing the spread of this virus. 

Physical distancing, wearing a face covering and being diligent with personal hygiene are just as important now as they were a few weeks ago. 

Testing to monitor the infection rate remains a critical part of our path forward and we want to thank our city staff, including OFD and OPD personnel, who are managing our sites throughout the city. On Wednesday, we’ll be returning for testing at the Engelwood Neighborhood Center. 

Items of Note 

EDV #6 & CRA #2 – Food Trucks 

On today’s agenda, we will vote on temporarily expanding the Downtown Food Truck Program to include four new locations as well as vote to cover the costs of the parking meters at these locations through September 1.  

As businesses continue to reopen during this pandemic, food trucks help to foster economic activity while abiding by physical distancing guidelines. Additionally, the food truck program helps to accomplish goals that are outlined in the downtown vision plan.