Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Is This an Unofficial Mayoral Candidate Announcement?

Councilman Ronnie Fussell released his list of Charter Revision Commission members according to the Jax Daily Record.  The members, who must now go through a City Council review and approval process, are:

District 1 – Beverly Garvin, vice-President of Watson Realty.
District 2 – James Catlett, consultant with Agency Approval & Development, a consulting, land development and lobbying firm.
District 3 – Allison Korman, director of marketing and community relations for Stellar.
District 4 – Mechelle Herrington, assistant public defender.
District 5 – Robert Flowers Sr., DCSB administrator.
District 6 – Gary Oliveras, JSO police officer and local FOP director.
District 7 – Geoffrey Youngblood, CEO of Tools for a Time.
At Large – Edward Austin, former Mayor.
At-Large – Martha Barrett, Bank of America Senior VP of Market Development and DCSB member.
At-Large – Billy Catlin, VP of sales of Stare Decisis FL, LLC.
At-Large – Wyman Duggan, shareholder with Rogers Towers.
At-Large – Teresa Eichner, Senior VP with Access Public Relations.
At-Large – Jeanne Miller, General Counsel for Florida State College at Jacksonville (formerly FCCJ).
At-Large – Mary O’Brien, chief marketing officer for Advanced Disposal Services.
At-Large – Curtis Thompson, retired from Anheuser Busch and Kaiser Aluminum Corp.

Yep, if I were considering a run for Mayor, that is certainly the team I would want behind me.

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, Mayor of Jacksonville, , ,

The New Media & North Florida Politicians

There was a fascinating article in today’s Miami Herald discussing how so many politicians are embracing social networking sites as a method of establishing communication with certain voter demographics that they might not otherwise interact with.  Much of this has been a result of the amazingly successful campaign of Barack Obama, which truly set the standard for interfacing social networking and political campaigns.  Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) is cited for her embrace of YouTube, and Florida Senator Mel Martinez (R) is interviewed about his newfound love of Twittering.  (Of course, I must mention…if you really want to follow a humorous elected Twitterer, follow Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)—she’s a college basketball nut who Twitters about everything!)

So, where are North Florida politicians in this media revolution?  

Five of Jacksonville’s Nineteen City Council Members have a profile on Facebook.  Of those, only one appears to use it to engage in political discussion.  Two of the City’s Constitutional Officers have Facebook profiles, but neither appear to use it to promote their office or campaign.  The Mayor has no presence on Facebook—hardly surprising considering he doesn’t even have a published e-mail address on the City’s website.

Only one member of the Jacksonville City Council can be found on Twitter, which truly begs the question: “How is it that a Senator from Missouri can Twitter with her constituents, but a Jacksonville City Council member cannot?” Read the rest of this entry »

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

Fussell vs. Peyton

One reads. One is read to.

Of course, there are other differences more germane to one of the city’s hottest conversation pieces. John Peyton seems content to award a $750 million contract to a friend. Ronnie Fussell isn’t quite sold on the prospect of a sole source contract for a project in which other firms have expressed interest.

The public appears to see other differences.

While Mr. Fussell’s e-mails from citizens, which was discussed here yesterday, is relatively polite, Mayor Peyton is taking quite a pounding over his dictatorial ambitions. Perhaps the voting public realizes Mr. Peyton doesn’t read his own e-mail or maybe they think he’s “on someone else’s payroll.” (Their words, not mine.) Regardless, their thoughts are rather interesting. Read them below… Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, Mayor of Jacksonville, , , ,

And the new Mayor is…

The 2011 Mayor’s race is starting to get a little crowded. We’ve already discussed Tax Collector Mike Hogan‘s interest in the job here. Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland has long had designs on the Mayor’s Office and that urge has certainly not dissipated. Mr. Holland seems to be operating on the assumption that no major Democrat will enter the race and has been courting the support of the Democratic Executive Committee. Word on the street is that he has approached a certain high profile Jacksonville Democrat to seek their backing. Three current members of the City Council—Daniel Davis, Glorious Johnson and Ronnie Fussell— have expressed interest. Of course, with Mr. Davis and Mr. Fussell being related, one assumes that they wouldn’t challenge each other…it would probably be Mr. Davis who enters the race. Of course, Duval County Sheriff John Rutherford has shown some interest in the past, but that appears to have passed. The real wild card? Former Jaguar Tony Boselli. Mr. Boselli is said to be very interested in a potential bid, something that would place him on a direct collision course with Mr. Davis and Mr. Hogan. That could create a free-for-all that someone like Ms. Johnson could capitalize on…

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

The glass cone of silence

A door has reappeared on City Council’s now famous green room.  This time it’s glass.  It seems Council President Ronnie Fussell thought too much noise was being made by councilpersons talking to their “consituents” (read “lobbyists”) during meetings.  He also cited security concerns should there be an emergency.  Fussell says everyone can still see what’s going on in the green room still and so citizens shouldn’t be concerned.  Former Council President Daniel Davis, who had the door removed in response to a grand jury investigation into Sunshine violations by council members, readily agreed.

They are right.  We can all see what’s going on the green room – and unfortunately it’s not open government.

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, Mayor of Jacksonville, , ,

Pension Administrator fights back

John Keane, Executive Director and Administrator for the Police and Fire Pension Fund (PFPF) recently sent a lengthy letter to City Council President Ronnie Fussell and all council members. The letter addresses all the recent criticisms of the pension by both city officials and the media. It also goes into great detail regarding the history of the PFPF, as well as many of the actions by the City that have not been given close scrutiny before. The December 23rd letter can be found on the Police and Fire Pension Fund’s News and Press Releases webpage.  Due to the length of the letter – 36 pages – we’ve posted the conclusions section below, which summarizes the key points and makes recommendations for the future. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, Mayor of Jacksonville, Uncategorized, , , ,

Commercial Vehicle Debate Turns Bad Ass

Today’s Daily Record has an interesting recap of the controversial change to the code that governs commercial vehicles in residential neighborhoods.  As tends to be typical with the City Council, this bill tries to solve a complicated problem with a blanket solution that has angered a lot of people.  As the Record notes,

The point was brought up that all residential districts would be pinned together with this bill, and while it was legal to park a boat trailer on the side or back yard in a residential neighborhood, a lawn mower trailer would be illegal to park in a yard.

Ronnie Fussell rammed this change through, using the basic argument that “Americans drive big cars.”  What boggles the mind is that these aren’t actually cars—they are large trucks, vans and SUV’s.  And yes, you guessed it, they are exactly the type of vehicles that society has been encouraging Americans to forgoe—unless they are essential for their line of work.  In essence, Mr. Fussell justifies the change because Jacksonvillians drive monster trucks and SUV’s that are illegal under the current ordinance.  If that is indeed the case, perhaps Mr. Fussell should consider encouraging Jacksonville residents to scale back and use smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.  It’s a win-win situation for the City.  They take up less space, they pollute less and the end result isn’t a large-scale transfer of wealth to the Middle East.  Unfortunately for the City of Jacksonville; however, Mr. Fussell has demonstrated (once again) that on this issue (and many others), he would rather look like the “cool” politician (as if there is such a thing), than actually demonstrate forward-looking leadership. 

Michael Corrigan’s response takes the cake in this debate; however, with his blast at Bad Ass Coffee.  Mr. Corrigan appears frightened that Bad Ass will now park a delivery van in front of his house and he will be forced to explain the offensive word to his young child.  I’m guessing its safe to assume Mr. Corrigan has never read the Old Testament story of Balaam to his family.  Otherwise, he might actually have to explain what the Biblical word for donkey is.  Mr. Corrigan is apparently unable to understand the correlation between Bad Ass’ mascot and the ancient prophet’s (rather stubborn) mode of transportation.

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

Hot City Council Topics

The Times-Union has coverage of the hot topics considered at last nights City Council Meeting.  What passed?  Commercial trucks parked in residential neighborhoods (Side note:  Council President Ronnie Fussell needs to work on respecting the public comment time.  I was shocked by the number of times he interrupted speakers [voters] in an attempt to undercut or belittle their opinions.)  What didn’t pass?  Cruise ships in Mayport and bailout money to the Gator Bowl Association.  Rest assured; however, it was just the required “public hearing” of these bills.  Don’t assume the Council actually took those opinions to heart.  Full report after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

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

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::



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

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