By Marc Crail District 4 Representative & Vice-Mayor
Your Mount Dora City Council met for its Regular meeting on Tuesday, August 15th. I've selected a few items of interest to feature in this report. Please keep in mind that this report comes from me as an individual council member, not on behalf of City Council as a whole.
We discussed our desire to consider planting varieties of trees that provide shade as we move forward with upcoming Fifth Avenue ADA sidewalk improvements. We all would like to have more shade trees downtown. The trick will be to identify species of trees that provide much needed shade but can be planted in relatively small areas so that they don't hump up the sidewalks as they mature.
Food insecurity is a reality for thousands of Lake County residents. Lake Cares Food Pantry located right here in Mount Dora has a long history of helping to provide for residents, many of them children, who would otherwise go hungry. We approved a Resolution to provide $15,000 to support their efforts.
We had a constructive discussion before adopting a Resolution 7-0 to move forward with "Safe Place Initiative". This is a request from Police Chief, Mike Gibson to join a fast growing initiative that began in Seattle in 2015 and now includes hundreds of cities and counties. Chief Gibson made it clear that he wants to improve the poor perceptions that many LGBTQ people have about their local police departments. I applaud that effort.
The Safe Place program is currently designed to have businesses that volunteer to participate offer safe places for LGBTQ people who might encounter threats. Thankfully, this is not a common problem in Mount Dora but in this era of political divisions we don't want anyone to feel unwelcome in Mount Dora. Other nearby police and sheriff departments including Orlando and Orange County are participating.
Several very valid comments from citizens and council members raised recommendations to include other ethnic, religious or racial groups in this effort. I think expanding the program to include any individual or group who feel threatened or unwelcome would be a plus. This is a work in progress. Equal rights and safe places for all is the goal.
Our quote for today comes from Maya Angelou. "I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."
I think I'm guilty on all three accounts!
Thanks for your interest in our wonderful city. By Marc Crail District 4 Representative & Vice-Mayor