Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Is John Peyton a Leader?

Despite the Mayor’s continued bleatings that he was too afraid of being sued to watch out for the long-term interests of Duval County taxpayers, the City’s top lawyer appears to have respectfully disagreed.  In a letter written to the Mayor and released to The Times-Union, Rick Mullaney stated that “the city would win a court dispute over the terms of its contract with Waste Management to operate Trail Ridge landfill.”  Of course, Mullaney threw the Mayor a bone by acknowledging that an appeals process could take years.  The Mayor immediately seized on Mullaney’s admission to justify his position stating, once again, that he was afraid of being sued.

Of course, the Mayor fails to acknowledge the obvious.  No lawsuit has been filed.  Yes, a lawsuit has been threatened, but lawsuits are threatened on a daily basis.  Not all cases are appealed, but if they are, there is always a chance they could drag on for years.  Which begs the question, Is the Mayor running Jacksonville like a business?  That is, after all, exactly what he promised, correct?  WWHPD?  Certainly you recognize that question—what would Herb Peyton do?  The Mayor’s father, a Jacksonville business legend, has never been one to fold his cards at the mere threat of a lawsuit.  His son doesn’t seem to share his fortitude.

Any business should work to limit risk.  But, government is not a business.  While it should never proceed recklessly with total disregard to the rule of law, when it has law and right on its side, it should act decisively.  Cowering in the face of threats like John Peyton and Stephen Joost are proposing certainly doesn’t demonstrate leadership—it speaks to an inner wimpiness.  Certainly that’s not the message they—particularly Joost—wish to send about their leadership abilities. Read the rest of this entry »


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Daniel Davis must want to be Mayor

It is becoming apparent that Daniel Davis must really want to get his name out there for his race for Mayor.  He’s evidently using the Nelson Cuba “style”, though – forcing legislation down people’s throats – to do so.   Davis has proposed legislation that would put  “local companies first” in the City’s competitive bidding process.  Numerous companies have raised objections to his proposed legislation, and even the regional Chamber of Commerce has questioned the wisdom of Davis’ bill. 

The Times Union is reporting that in response to Davis’ proposed legislation,

a group of engineers representing companies based in Jacksonville and those with headquarters elsewhere have worked on a compromise to a controversial bill intended to funnel city contracts to locally based firms. The compromise, if accepted by the City Council, would avoid a rewrite of the city’s procurement code as outlined in the original bill, filed by Councilman Daniel Davis. Instead, the current formula for scoring proposals would not change. If there are tie scores, the contracts would be awarded to companies with offices in Duval County.

However, Daniel Davis isn’t too happy wih the proposed compromise and apparently may force “local companies first” legislation down everyone’s throats.

Davis said Monday he was still reviewing the engineers’ compromise and was open to their suggestions. However, he said his intent remains to steer city dollars to companies headquartered in Jacksonville.  “If there is a more simple way to do it, I’m willing to look at it,” he said. “I think this is a good idea, but definitely there is going to be some changes that have to be made to it.”

The legislation and the compromise will be considered at Seaport and Airport Special Committee meeting at 4pm today.  With the two of the three members of that committee sponsoring “local companies first” legislation (and running for higher office), it will be no secret how that vote will turn out, will it?

But one not-so-strange twist – Davis has cancelled the public hearing on his bill.  I guess the only folks to be heard that matter to Daniel Davis are the folks who worked on the compromise (who are also the ones most likely to line his campaign coffers) – and he didn’t really listen to them either. So much for the rest of the public, too – he doesn’t even want to hear from them. 

And so it’s business as usual for Jacksonville’s City Council.

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

JSO Officers to sue City?

Nelson Cuba, the President of the Fraternal Order of Police, has threatened to sue the City of Jacksonville if the City Council fails to pass pension plan legislation favored by the police union. After the City’s Finance Committee voted to defer the legislation, Cuba told the Daily Record he would pull out of contract negotiations and sue, unless the full City Council immediately bowed to his demands.

“I want a yea or a nay Tuesday night. If not, then I’ll sue,” said Cuba. “This is a collective bargaining agreement and the only way for the City to get out of it is to declare bankruptcy. If they cannot pay us, how can they pay any other contracts?”[Daily Record]

The defeat came after Councilmember Stephen Joost demanded to know where the money would come from. Interestingly enough, the City’s General Counsel’s Office—not typically a spokesperson for the City Council—told the Daily Record that the Council would likely vote on the bill, even without the support of the Finance Committee. That response, coming from an unelected official, shows the political power the police union continues to hold in Jacksonville. The story in its entirety can be found here.

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Local Favoritism Passes Hurdle

Jacksonville City Councilman Daniel Davis’ bill that would give local companies favoritism in attracting City business has cleared two committees. The bill, previously discussed here, is not without its opposition, however. Council Members Michael Corrigan and Stephen Joost objected to the legislation.

However, Joost called it a “myopic” view of the economy and one that contradicts the stance that City leaders are looking to put Jacksonville on the international economic map through the activity at the port and Cecil Commerce Center.

“If you want this to be an international city, you have to look beyond the borders,” said Joost. “We are in a global economy. This is myopic and protecting local jobs goes against that.”

According to the City’s procurement rules, firms bidding on City jobs are evaluated on a 100-point system using 10 different criteria. Currently, a company headquartered in Jacksonville automatically gets 3-6 out of a possible 10 “proximity” points. Davis’ bill will double that and award nothing to firms that haven’t had an office in Florida for at least the previous 12 months. [Daily Record]

Filed under: Jacksonville, 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::



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