Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Objectivity of the new State Attorney and Public Defender in question

In today’s TU, Ron Littlepage makes the argument for a civilian review board for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.  The argument basically goes police may be biased in reviewing their own, and the backup to that review is the State Attorney.  The next sentence in Littlepage’s column really popped out at me:

Next month, the state attorney will be Angela Corey, who owes her political life to the police union, raising questions about her objectivity.

Question:  Since Matt Shirk also owes his political life to the same police union, doesn’t that raise the same questions about his objectivity?

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

Mike Weinstein returns to the State Attorney’s Office

From the Times-Union:

Former Jacksonville mayoral candidate and newly elected state Rep. Mike Weinstein will return to the State Attorney’s Office as its executive director next year, he and his new boss confirmed Friday.
Weinstein, who also served as mayoral chief of staff and headed the city’s Super Bowl host committee, will work 10 months of the year, then take two months off without pay in the spring to fulfill his statehouse obligations, said State Attorney-elect Angela Corey.

Weinstein was elected Nov. 4 to represent House District 19 in Mandarin and aspired to become House speaker.

Corey said Weinstein will be in charge of her office’s administrative and budgetary functions, the same position he held under former State Attorney Ed Austin before Austin was elected mayor in 1991.

Filed under: Florida Legislature, Jacksonville, , , ,

The Courthouse Nightmare

While Ron Littlepage is celebrating that our long courthouse nightmare may be close to an end, I am not optimistic.  While building of the courthouse would provide much needed employment to the construction and affiliated industries, the City’s past stop-and-go history with this project, along with the City’s past history with contracts (think Shipyards, ProLogic, GreenBean Corporate SolutionsIkon, and the proposed Waste Management no bid contract) and project overruns (the Equestrian Center, the Main Library, etc.) do not give me comfort that the courthouse can be built without exceeding the $350,000,000 now budgeted.  Top that off with the City’s hiring of Sam Mousa, VP of JB Coxwell, at $225 per hour to oversee the building of the courthouse and, well, you may just have a well-directed disaster in the making.

Waiting in the wings is the grand jury investigation of the courthouse project that has resulted in extreme behavior on the part of both the City’s General Counsel, RIck Mullaney, and the State Attorney, Harry Shorstein, who has since stepped down from directing the investigation.  WIth the appointment of a new State Attorney by Governor Crist to lead the investigation, the questions of why the courthouse costs have spiraled from $190 million to $350 million and where and why $65 million has been sunk into the project so far with nairy a brick to be built may soon be answered.  But for some reason, I am doubtful that the grand jury findings will be significant.  Maybe it’s the fact that the last grand jury convened glossed over Sunshine Law violations and the Peyton administration’s contracting messes.

Can someone please pinch me and wake me up from this nightmare?

Filed under: Jacksonville, Uncategorized, , , , ,

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