Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

VA Lawmakers Launch Plan To Keep Aircraft Carrier in Mayport

From the PilotOnline.com:

Some Hampton Roads congressmen are trying to broker a settlement in their long-simmering feud with the Florida congressional delegation over Navy plans to shift a Norfolk-based aircraft carrier to Mayport Naval Station in Florida.

In private discussions with their Sunshine State counterparts and during a House hearing this week, Republican Reps. Rob Wittman of Westmoreland County and Randy Forbes of Chesapeake have been urging a new look at an alternative plan to shift other, smaller ships and aircraft to Mayport in lieu of a carrier.

“I can’t tell you there’s an effort to negotiate,” Forbes cautioned. But the two delegations “are not enemies,” he said. “We talk quite a bit about this situation and will continue to.”

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, Jacksonville, , , , , , ,

Come View A Film About Mayport

From Public Trust Law:

Up for fresh Mayport shrimp and a compelling short film about the Mayport controversy?

Thursday, February 12, at 7 pm at the Atlantic Theatre in Atlantic Beach (just east of Publix on Atlantic Blvd.) will premier a documentary film about Jacksonville’s Mayport Village and the controversy surrounding the possible cruise ship terminal that could be built in the village. The Jacksonville City Council is expected to approve the terminal on February 9. Sponsored by the Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute, two local filmmakers, Josh Hansbrough and Justin Anderson, have created a powerful 15-minute film addressing the controversy.


The event includes a party celebrating the value of Mayport Village. Fresh Mayport shrimp will be served as part of the $7 admission donation to the Mayport cause and legal case. Wine may be purchased at the Theatre. Live music will be provided by Jacksonville songwriter Katie Grace Helow. Following the film will be a short question-and-answer period, then socializing until the shrimp is gone — the event concludes at 9 pm.

Filed under: Jacksonville, , , , , ,

Jaxport appears to have flubbed again

We posted on Jaxport previously with a mention of how it seems to do things backwards.  Well, here’s another case where it appears the Port didn’t do all of its homework first.  Jaxport and its new terminals for Hanjin and Mitsui are expected to be a huge boon in the form of millions, maybe billions, of dollars and thousands of jobs for Jacksonville.   There’s just one problem.  The companies plan to bring all these containers in on post-Panamax ships

Panamax ships (the ships of the size that will pass through the current Panama canal) need 39.5 feet of draft in fresh water (buoyancy is affected by salt water).  Post-Panamax ships need much deeper water (These behemoths allow for more containers to be carried at a cheaper price ).  And so, the Panama Canal is being deepened from its current 41 feet to 60 feet  in order to accomodate these post-Panamax behemoths.  Work should be completed by 2014. 

Jaxport in all of its infinite wisdom is currently seeking to deepen the St. Johns River to a depth of 45 feet from its current depth of 40 feet to handle larger ships.  However, a study recently released by the St. Johns River Water Management District says that dredging the river that deep would damage the St. Johns River by increasing the saltiness of the water – by at least 1/5 according to their report.

 Jaxport once again puts the cart before the horse – it appears they’ll be unable to accomodate post-Panamax ships that will need even deeper water than Jaxport is currently requesting to dredge.  Well, at least they have verbally agreed to go slower on the Mayport Cruise Terminal, but wouldn’t Jaxport need that same depth dredged in the river to accomodate those larger cruise ships, too?

Filed under: Jacksonville, , , , , , , ,

Will Cruise Ships Pollute the St. Johns?

As the Jacksonville Port Authority Board ponders whether or not to spend upwards of $50 million in an effort to lure cruise ships to Jacksonville, a video from Seattle surfaces that brings into question the potential environmental risk to the St. Johns River (and its tributaries). Seattle, homeport to scores of Alaskan-bound cruise ships, is dealing with its own weighty issues as they struggle with balancing the positive economic impact of cruise line traveler’s with the downside of environmental harm to the infamous Puget Sound. The video is somewhat lengthy, but the story is worth watching as we consider bringing cruise ships into historical Mayport.

Filed under: Jacksonville, , , , , ,

Is Mayport Home to an Ancient Spanish Burial Site

As the Jacksonville Port Authority weighs the decision of whether or not to spend $60 million to build a cruise terminal in Mayport, Mayport residents have raised the spectre of disturbing a cemetery that holds the remains of Spanish soldiers.

by Joseph Picket, Station Librarian

In a recent article ( The Mirror, 27 October 1989 ), I presented evidence for the existence of a Spanish cemetery in Mayport; the origin of which dates back to April 1568. At that time, a garrison of Spanish soldiers lost their lives defending a small fort (in the area of what is now Broad Street) against an overwhelming force of French soldiers and Timucuan Indians. The remains of the defenders were buried near the fort by a relief party sent from St. Augustine by the acting Governor, General Esteban de las Alas. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Jacksonville, , , ,

Ronnie Fussell Coddles Lobbyists

This has previously been discussed here, and today Ron Littlepage takes on the decision by City Council President Ronnie Fussell to put a door back on the City Council’s Green Room:

Entrance to the sacred grounds of the Green Room is limited to council members, city staff and “invited guests.”

It’s understandable that council members may need a place to take a break during council meetings or take a cell phone call, but it’s the “invited guests” that are the problem.

A recent example: Port officials were yukking it up in the Green Room with council members who will decide whether to allow the port to build a cruise ship terminal at Mayport.

Those opposed are left on the outside looking in.

Fussell can fix the problem by limiting the Green Room to council members and staff.

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, , , , , , ,

New twist for the Mayport Cruise Terminal

The City Council’s Land Use and Zoning (LUZ) Committee was set to consider and vote on the legislation that must be approved in order for a cruise terminal to be located in Mayport.  In a strange twist, LUZ heard from the public at its meeting earlier this evening, but did not take a vote on any of the bills.  According to FCN, Jaxport’s board will hold a workshop on January 26 to discuss plans for Mayport.  So mark your calendars and show up, if you’re interested in this issue.

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, , , , , , ,

Mayport cruise terminal deal falls through

Citing Jaxport’s failure to address shoreside power and the village’s shrimping and fishing industry concerns, the Mayport Civic Association rejected Jaxport’s latest proposed offer that sought to allay Mayport resident’s concerns about locating a cruise terminal in the village.  The City Council’s Land Use and Zoning Committee meets tomorrow and is currently scheduled to hear the legislation (3 separate bills) that would pave the way for the cruise terminal.  Read more about it here.

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, , , ,

A great start for Jaxpolitics thanks to our readers

With 2008 on its way out, everyone is doing a story on their top stories and/or their online numbers.  So we thought we would jump in as well.

Jaxpolitics  began on November 1st, as a site to capture our observations and musings on state and local politics.  In the short time since we began, site views have increased from just over 1,000 views for the month of November to over 4,000 views so far this December (those numbers do not include views by the authors of the site).  That’s quite a feat considering we’re not linked to the Times Union, nor are we linked to Sayfie Review  (although, in all honesty, we would like to be….lol).

Definitely, the top story on Jaxpolitics since the inception of our site has been the election of Matt Shirk as Public Defender – with all of our Shirk posts added together getting nearly 900 views in the month of December alone.  Our November 27th post on considering changing Florida’s system of electing the public defender and state attorney, received over 250 views and is the most viewed post for Jaxpolitics.    Our next highest views went to our Mayport Cruise Terminal and Waste Management no bid contract posts.

On behalf of Jaxpolitics, we want to thank you for visiting our site and for providing comments and insight.  It’s been a great ride so far, and we hope it continues.  All of us here at Jaxpolitics wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, Mayor of Jacksonville, , , , , , , , , , ,

Folio Weekly on Mayport

Folio Weekly has posted their editorial on JaxPort’s proposal to move the cruise terminal to Mayport.  (For what it’s worth, we wish Folio would post more of their material online—it’s much easier than trying to re-type it and properly credit it on our own.)  


We don’t often look to public relations flacks for  straight answers. But occasionally, despite their training and obligations, they let fly with a nugget of truth.

Such is the case with a December 2004 statement by then-JaxPort Authority spokesperson Robert Peek. When asked by The Florida Times-Union about the viability of a cruise ship terminal at Mayport, he responded, “Our analysis shows there is no room at Mayport.” Peek added, “We would need 40 acres of property along the river. There is not 40 acres of undeveloped land at Mayport. We would have to buy homes and businesses.” Read the rest of this entry »

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