Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Reggie Brown: Armed Robbery, Murder not “hard core”

Reggie Brown put his fledging political career on the line this week when he took to the stand in the trial of three Jacksonville teenagers charged with armed robbery and murder.  The newly-elected Jacksonville Councilman has spent years working in the black community as Executive Director of Project Reach, an organization that has worked to rebuild social structures that encourage accountability in Jacksonville’s poorest neighborhoods.  However, those efforts stand to suffer with Mr. Brown’s attempt to bargain for light sentences for the three teenagers who held Gate employees at gunpoint before fleeing from police.  Their attempted escape resulted in the death of their fourth accomplice when he pulled a gun on JSO officers.

“We’re not talking about hard-core individuals. What we’re talking about is young people who are lost,” Brown said in court.

Brown said he believes the teens’ sentences are too harsh, but then said, “When I say that, I have to be very careful. I know that we’re at a time now that we’re trying to make examples, but this is not where we are in life.


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City Council Swearing In

There will be a swearing in ceremony tomorrow for the City’s newest Council members.  John Crescimbeni and Reggie Brown will be sworn in at 4pm.

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Newly elected City Council members’ views on the Courthouse

Speaking of the Courthouse mess, both Reggie Brown and John Crescimbeni have evidently spent time thinking through the Courthouse debacle and how they would address it

Times Union: With a price tag of more than $350 million and a special counsel looking into where the first $65 million went, how would you like to see the courthouse project move forward?

Brown: We must establish an oversight committee, as well as an independent accounting system to monitor the spending with the courthouse project. … Additionally, I would like to see a stronger focus to increase employment [and] contract opportunities for local citizens that will assist in easing the current tension with our economy.

Crescimbeni: While the construction of the courthouse could provide much needed jobs, hopefully to local workers, it could easily end up costing more than twice what was originally approved by the electorate. For that reason alone, the voters should be allowed to weigh in again on whether this project should move forward.

Glad to see they are already at work on one of the more pressing issues facing City Council, even before they get sworn in to City Council this coming Tuesday night.

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More “No” votes

Looks like the Mayor may have a tougher road ahead of him with City Council than he imagined on that $750 million dollar, 35-year no-bid contract with Waste Management to run Trail Ridge Landfill.

Times Union:  Mayor John Peyton has proposed entering into a no-bid contract with Waste Management for the operation of Trail Ridge landfill. Is this the way to go?

Brown: At present, no-bid contracting is not a common practice; therefore, it appears that this action has generated some concerns. … Because it is equally important to create a level of comfort for taxpayers that will generate a win-win outcome for both the city and its citizens, we should give every potential client the opportunity to bid.

Crescimbeni: I have no idea why the administration believes Waste Management is entitled to a no-bid contract. If I were having a home repair done for $750, I’d get a couple of estimates. The proposed landfill contract is a million times more than that, $750 million. I think the citizenry expects the city to get competitive bids.

Read the rest of the story here.

Council President Fussell will be holding a meeting on Thursday, December 4th to discuss the no-bid contract.  Invitees are Fussell, Adam Hollingsworth, Kirk Sherman, Kyle Billy, Robert Campbell, Sherry Hall, Rick Mullaney, John Germany, Ebenezer Gujjarlapudi, and Chris Pearson.  That’s quite a roster.

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Just Say No

The Times Union reported on the Waste Management no-bid contract this morning.

Where to begin?

Should I start with Art Shad who is the ONLY Council person to come out of the gate expressing his wholehearted support of the no-bid agreement – “a shining example of what’s good”?

Or should I start with Paul Harden who thinks the no-bid contract “sells itself”?

Or should I start with Waste Management representatives who will be meeting with each of the Council members individually to “ensure the council has all the information…”?

Or should I start with the positives – the Council members who appear to have spines?

IMO, this is a no-brainer decision – JUST SAY NO.  This contract should be put out to bid and I am calling my council representatives to encourage them to do just that.

Here’s a run-down of the various Council members’ current position on the no-bid contract according to the Times Union::



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Bobby Catpole & Water

Some of the more interesting expenditures in the recent 2008 Jacksonville elections…

$500 from the campaign of City Council District 10 Candidate Reggie Brown to “Bobby Catpole Distributors.”  Incidentally, “Bobby Catpole Distributors” is not a registered entity with Florida’s Secretary of State. 

$2,088 from Clerk of Court Jim Fuller for “bottled water.”

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