Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Quick….name 2 City Council members

According to the JCCI report released yesterday, only 27% of Jacksonville’s citizens can name 2 City Council members.  And only 26% of them feel like they can influence local government.  Just another testament to the average citizen’s view that many of our Council members live in ivory towers and the citizens’ feelings of powerlessness to change Jacksonville for the better. 

Of course, what else would one expect when citizens continually see special deals given for special friends over the past year or so – like Scott Teagle (ProLogics) and Sheila Green (GreenBean Corporate Solutions) – and the grand jury investigations into both the Mayor’s administration and Council members. 

The sad part is that even after all of that, people like the Mayor’s good buddy, Paul Harden, continue to get special deals – i.e., the Waste Management no-bid contract to run Trail Ridge Landfill that is up for City Council consideration next week.  Couple that with the Jacksonville Journey requirements that eliminate most small non-profits from participating and the City’s high crime rate and you have one big depressing mess.

But our government was not the only low point in the report.

According to the Times Union,

– Only 31 percent of Duval County residents said they were satisfied with public education, a drop from 34 percent in 2007.

– Building permits throughout Northeast Florida dropped by about 3,000 in 2007 – even before the housing market tanked.

– The number of food stamp recipients in Northeast Florida grew by about 13,000 in 2008.

– Only 50 percent of Duval County residents feel safe walking alone at night in their neighborhoods, down from 58 percent in 2007.

– Sixty percent of Duval County residents reported racism is a problem.

– In Duval County, there were 334 newly reported HIV cases, 240 of them in the black population, and a more than 10 percent jump in documented sexually transmitted diseases throughout Northeast Florida.

There were some bright spots in the report, however.

– More third- and 10th-graders are reading at grade level, according to FCAT scores released by the state in May.

– Northeast Florida’s graduation rate increased by about 3 percent as the Duval County dropout rate decreased by about 2 percent.

– Cargo tonnage showed slight growth at Jaxport.

– Cigarette sales figures, compared to the population, show a drop of 10 packs per person throughout Northeast Florida.

– There was a slight decline in lung cancer deaths.

Here’s the complete report.

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

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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