Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

You think Illinois is bad?

With House Speaker Ray Sansom’s sweetheart deal, House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands’ donations for legislative committee appointments, an ongoing FBI investigation into Jaxport, a grand jury investigation into the Duval County Courthouse, Mayor John Peyton’s no-bid contracts to friends Scott Teagle (Prologic), Shelia Green (GreenBean Corporate Solutions), and Paul Harden (Waste Management), and certain City Council members inability to comply with the Sunshine Laws, this seemed like a timely and appropriate article from the St. Pete Times:

Florida wears U.S. corruption crown

By Adam C. Smith, Times Political Editor

Tired of seeing Florida constantly at the bottom of national rankings? Take heart. The Department of Justice says we’re No. 1 in one category: corruption.

Compiling federal corruption convictions over the past decade, Florida topped every other state with 824 convictions of local, state and federal officials — even Rod Blagojevich’s Illinois and even Louisiana, where politicians are said to be so crooked they are screwed into the ground at burial.

Of course, Florida is more populous than all but three other states, so perhaps a fairer way to look at it would be per capita corruption cases. In that case, North Dakota can take a bow as numero uno, and Florida ranks a mere 11th. Rest assured we have strong potential to move up the list.


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

Mayor Peyton Defends Jaguar Giveaway

The uproar over the announcement about the $148 million in “upgrades” to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium has apparently reached the St. James Building. Today, Mayor John Peyton is out with a full-fledged defense (previously discussed here) of his latest charitable contribution of taxpayer dollars. This is one of those defenses that could cause a Jacksonville resident to wonder—does Mayor Peyton have Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich tendancies (the ability to live life separated from reality)? According to the Mayor, the taxpayers should be thrilled to support the millions in giveaways to the Jags because:

a) The Jaguars do so much for the City. Yes, they do. And we are touched by the generosity of Wayne and Delores Weaver. But, when you look at it the way the Mayor has presented it, are they truly giving to the City out of the kindness of their heart or are they giving expecting something in return?
b) The City will now get some dollars from the naming rights of the stadium. Yes we will. A measly 25%. Oh yeah, and good luck on getting a sponsor in the midst of a massive economic downturn. How did that work out for you this year, Mr. Mayor? And while I’m at it…the taxpayers own the stadium, right? And we are supposed to be thrilled with 25%?
c) The City will get 10 club seats. Seriously? This is a selling point for the Mayor? What alternative universe is he living in? The taxpayers are supposed to cough up $148 million and find comfort in the knowledge that the Mayor will have an additional 10 club seats at his disposal to award to political allies. I don’t know about you, but that makes it all better for me.
d) The City will have naming rights to the parking lots. Now this feature does make me re-think my opposition. This type of negotiating is top-notch. We, the taxpayers, retain the right to sell the naming rights to our parking lots. I can see it now—“Waste Management Parking.” It does have a ring to it. “ProLogic Consulting Memorial Parking Lot?” (Of course, “Avocado Golf Company Parking” could probably accomplish the same thing without conjuring up bad memories for the Mayor.) On second thought, instead of selling those naming rights, perhaps we could name them after local politicians who park themselves in elected office? “Stan Jordan Parking.” Now we’re talking.

Filed under: Jacksonville, Mayor of Jacksonville, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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