Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

School Board Hikes Taxes, Public Silent

The Duval County School Board voted to raise the millage rate a quarter Tuesday night with nary a complaint from Jacksonville residents.  In contrast to the outpouring of e-mails flooding into City Hall mailboxes and the online and organized protests over the Mayor’s proposed increase—only a handful of residents turned up to voice concerns over an increase in the portion of the millage rate used to fund education.  To be sure, the increase levied by the School Board was smaller than the City’s proposal, but nevertheless, in a town known for its anti-tax sentiments, it is surprising that the increase received such little notice from taxpayers.

While public support for education is certainly strong, many have expressed concerns in the past over the expenditure of taxpayer dollars by the school board.  In fact, one of the most widely-read JaxPoliticsOnline.com columns over the past year was written by one of our former contributors who had expressed reservations over the size and expense of the administration housed on Prudential Drive.

Board members W. C. Gentry and Stan Jordan expressed their opposition to a tax hike without specifically designating the increased revenue raised be directed towards reserves.  The Times-Union article on the meeting can be read here.


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

Stan Jordan’s Manueverings

As previously discussed, it would appear that Stan Jordan is entertaining the possibility of not serving his full term on the Duval County School Board.  As of the last pre-election filing, Mr. Jordan had raised $34,675.35 for the School Board race.  His expenditures only totaled $13,338.79, leaving seed money of $21,336.56 to jump-start a future race…

Filed under: Florida Legislature, Jacksonville, , ,

Musical Chairs

The dust has barely settled on the 2008 Election and politicians are already positioning themselves for the next step on the ladder.

Word on the street is that newly-elected Duval County School Board Member Stan Jordan has no intent on filling out his term on the School Board.  By all accounts, he has his eyes set on the State Senate seat that Jim King will be vacating in two yearas.  Mr. Jordan apparently simply needed a job until the Senate seat opens and figured a return to the School Board would be an easy win.  (Rumor has it that Mr. Jordan tried to convince Ken Manuel, his opponent in the School Board race, to set aside his interest in the seat for the time being, and in return, Jordan would push him for an appointment to the seat when Jordan vacated it.)  Talk about premature speculation…

Of course, Jordan won’t be the only one contending for Jim King’s seat.  State Rep. Aaron Bean has already announced his candidacy, and Jacksonville City Council Members Art Graham and Richard Clark are also said to be interested…

Filed under: Florida Legislature, Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, , , , , , , ,

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