Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

And now another word from our sponsor – Trail Ridge Landfill

Lots of questions remain to be answered on the Trail Ridge Landfill issue.

One interesting little find I came across regarding the Trail Ridge Landfill –  it seems the City’s Ordinance Code has some very interesting requirements in Chapter 656.  Specifically, the disposal area or footprint for any Class I sanitary landfill must be at least eight miles from the disposal area or footprint of any operational or fully permitted Class I sanitary landfill, which is fully permitted, under construction or operational or which has received a certificate of public convenience and necessity under Chapter 380, Ordinance Code, for the operation of a Class I sanitary landfill.

So let’s see, the footprint of the existing Trail Ridge Landfill is  144 acres according to the City’s original position.  And according to the TU article, the City wants to build Phase I of the landfill expansion right next to the current footprint.  Is that going to meet the 8 mile distance requirement in the City Ordinance Code?  But, if  the original footprint of the landfill was the entire site as Waste Management has argued, then wouldn’t they have to go at least 8 miles away from those 978 acres to build a landfill?  I wonder if someone may have to apply for an exception to the Ordinance Code in either case?

I wonder if the 500 acres the City purchased in January 2009 from ICI Villages for expansion of the landfill is still zoned agriculture? It was nothing but timberland when ICI Villages bought it in 2006.   And I don’t think they had done anything to it before they sold it to the City under threat of eminent domain.  I wonder if someone may have to request a rezoning of this newly acquired land to change it to PBF – now that it’s going to become part of a Public Buildings and Facility zoned site?

You know, there are several interested bidders and lots of angry citizens out there who are not in favor of the no-bid contract.  Could defending a lawsuit for awarding the contract to Waste Management without putting it out to bid be just the start of the City’s legal woes over the Trail Ridge Landfill?

Giving someone a 35 year contract and having them agree to take on all of the liabilities for the operations, closure, and post-closure requirements is akin to essentially selling the landfill property and its operations. That raises another question.  If it’s akin to selling the landfill property and its operations, why doesn’t the City just sell the landfill property and its operations to the highest bidder, making a deal as to the rate the City will pay for it’s trash for the life of the landfill (or adjust the purchase price so the City doesn’t have to pay anything), and then have the new owner pay property taxes on the 978 acre property valued at just under $2 million? 

Wouldn’t that be a better deal?


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

JAA Board retreat at posh Amelia Island – again

This week’s Folio examines the JAA Board retreat held this week at posh Amelia Island.  Folio Weekly’s article  expresses concerns over public accessibility to a meeting subject to the Sunshine Law that was being held out of the county and at a gated resort.  JAA’s Michael Stewart response?  “I’m sorry you think we would do business like that.”

But this isn’t the first time that the JAA Board has held a retreat there.   Let’s flash back to 2002.

According to a March 29, 2002 Times Union article,

The Jacksonville Airport Authority spent nearly $13,000 on a two-day retreat for staff and board members on Amelia Island in January. But the head of the authority said he plans to conduct such retreats every six months, and board members said the expense was justified.  Costs for the Jan. 18-19 retreat at the Amelia Island Plantation included $35.95 for 14 soft drinks and a $1,444.50 dinner bill for 25 people.

The largest portion of the 2002 retreat cost was a $5,400 bill from professional meeting facilitator Bruce Barcelo of Barcelo & Co. Barcelo moderated the retreat, but the invoice listed no itemized hours.  

(As an aside, you might recognize Bruce Barcelo’s name from another Jacksonville Politics post.  Just who is paying Bruce to attend the Mayor’s Trail Ridge Landfill meetings anyway?)

So getting back to Amelia Island, I’m guessing that Amelia Island prices probably haven’t gone down over the past 6 years. The 2002 news article makes me wonder exactly how much the two day retreat at Amelia Island this week cost taxpayers.  According to Michael Stewart’s way of thinking, I should be sorry for thinking that JAA would do business like that, too. But I’m not.

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

Bid The Landfill, Mr. Mayor!

The opposition is building to the mayor’s 35-year $750 million no-bid contract he is attempting to force through the City Council.  As has been previously mentioned, an online petition is now available and collecting signatures.  It can be found here.  Additionally, a website offering tips on how to voice your opposition is now up.  It can be found here.  And, finally, an ad is now circulating.  Take a moment to view it below.

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

So this is how the City works…the Mayor’s lobbying team

Updated: Trail Ridge
From: Ivy, Lynette on behalf of Hollingsworth, Adam
Required: Skipper, Misty; Mosley, Alan; Hall, Sherry; Davis, Rachel; Gujjarlapudi, Ebenezer; Pearson, Chris; paul_harden@bellsouth.net; Mike Tolbert (m1tolbert@aol.com); Barcelo, Bruce (bruce@logicalmagic.com); Michael Munz
When: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 8:00 AM-9:00 AM
Location: AH Office

Just a reminder that we are meeting tomorrow morning (Wednesday the 11th) at 8:00am on Trail Ridge, in Adam’s office.

We are going to schedule ‘mostly’ recurring meetings every week through the end of February, for this group to meet regarding Trail Ridge.

The group will be:
Adam Hollingsworth
Alan Mosley
Misty Skipper
Sherry Hall
Rachel Davis
Ebenezer Gujjarlapudi
Chris Pearson
Mike Tolbert and
Paul Harden
Bruce Barcelo
Michael Munz

Here is the schedule:
Jan. 15 (Thurs) at 8am
Jan. 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11 (all Wednesday’s) at 8am
Feb. 17 (Tuesday) at Noon
Feb. 23 (Monday) at 4pm

Please attend all that you can. They will all take place in Adam’s office.

Editor’s Update: Michael Munz has informed Jax Politics that he did not attend any meetings in regards to the Waste Management contract. He has assured us that he has not and is not working on behalf of Waste Management and is not involved with the contract negotiations. We apologize for any assumptions that were made based on this Memo. -AH

G8rluvr’s Update: I’m sure Mr. Munz will be able to get an apology from the Mayor’s Office for any errors in the E-mail I posted above which was copied directly and verbatim from Mr. Mosley’s City E-mail inbox.

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

Waste Management changing tactics?

It appears as if Waste Management may be trying to distance themselves from the Mayor’s good buddy, Paul Harden – at least on the surface anyway. 

Or maybe they are just trying the softer approach now that they’ve seen that their threats of litigation only served to cause City Council members and Jacksonville’s citizens to dig in their heels a little harder in opposing the Mayor’s proposed no-bid contract with Waste Management. 

Then (September 18, 2008): 

 “Believe me, if you don’t pass this [bill], it’s retirement for me because we’re going to litigate it until the cows come home,” [Paul] Harden told the council’s Rules Committee on Monday.

Now (February 16, 2009): 

Waste Management spokesman Chuck Dees said the company has not decided if it will file suit if the City Council refuses to approve the new contract and forces the mayor to put Trail Ridge out to bid. He also wouldn’t say if the company would submit a proposal if the city did that.  “We never speculate on those kinds of things,” he said. “We just have to go through this process and see where we end up, and the company would make a decision.”

Evidently, Paul’s retirement plans may be up for grabs, at least for now.

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

CTDC and others against Waste Management no-bid contract

The Concerned Taxpayers of Duval County (CTDC) has swung into high gear its campaign opposing the Mayor’s proposed Waste Management no-bid contract to run the Trail Ridge Landfill.  CTDC joins the growing chorus of Jacksonville citizens opposed to the no-bid contract.

At the CTDC Board meeting on February 9th, the Officers and Directors adopted a resolution opposing the contract and the resolution was read into the City Council meeting minutes the following evening.  You can read the resolution after the break in this post.

In addition, the CTDC has joined a coalition of folks working together to ask City Council members to vote against the landfill. The coalition has set up their own webpage, www.bidthelandfill.org (currently under construction), where information on the no-bid contract is provided, as well as an online poll. They are also sponsoring a petition drive where you can voice your opinion. It’s located at www.ipetitions.com/petition/BidTheLandfill/index.html.

You should also continue to call or E-mail the Mayor and City Council to let them know how you feel about the Waste Management no-bid contract.  City Council members in particular could use your input as the Mayor is personally turning up the heat on them.  Their contact information is also available after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Wasted Management

More folks are weighing in to the City Council President asking him to please open up the proposed Waste Management contract for Trail Ridge Landfill to bid.  There are no new letters of support for the Mayor’s proposal.

Here’s another example of citizens’ opinion on the issue -appropriately entitled “Wasted Management”:

From:   Dave Posted:   Fri 2/13/2009 2:25 PM
Posted To:   Ronnie Fussell’s Email
Conversation:   wasted management
Subject:   wasted management


I strongly suggest the council vote no on no bid contracts. I run a business and we always bid out purchases to enhance our bottom line. Secondly, 35 years is too long of a contract. Technology exists now that turns garbage and tires into diesel fuel and carbon powder. There are five prototype plants around the country now. [Discovery Channel] In a few years this technology will be available at every land fill in the country.  Waste Management takes tires and shreds them and then buries them in a landfill. [Discovery Channel] I hope in the next election to be able to vote on a citizens initiative that gives voters the power of recall in the Florida Constitution. After the first year of service, any politician is fair game. If 55% of the voters want them out, they are gone.

D.W.          My Family Votes In Every Election

BTW, in the latest Council Auditor’s quarterly summary report (click on Report #661 on the web page) on City’s finances for the first quarter, the Solid Waste folks are projecting a decrease of approximately 45,000 tons of solid waste this year. This marked decrease further supports the fact that the current Trail Ridge Landfill could last longer than 5-7 years.  See our previous post on that subject here.

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

Adam Hollingsworth’s Suspenders Are Sagging

Adam Hollingsworth, the Mayor’s Chief of Propaganda and Editor-in-Chief of the Jacksonville edition of Pravda, is working hard to earn the $152,880 in base salary he is earning at his current position. (This does not include future earning potential at Peyton-friendly subsidiaries.) Despite his efforts at the Republican Women’s Club of Duval Federated, Mr. Hollingsworth was unable to answer the basic question Ms. Bosworth—a club member—put forward:

Wanda Bosworth, who lives in Mandarin, said she still didn’t understand why the contract wasn’t being opened up for bids.

“I wasn’t sold today, sir. I’m sorry,” she told Hollingsworth.

Neither are we, Ms. Bosworth. Neither are we.

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

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, , , ,

Public weighs in on proposed Waste Management no-bid contract

On January 29th, Mayor Peyton spammed Jacksonville with an E-mail trying to garner support for his proposed no-bid contract for Waste Management to run Trail Ridge Landfill.  I thought it would be interesting to examine the public’s response since the Mayor sent out his letter. 

So today, we examine Council President Ronnie Fussell’s E-mail Inbox.  Posted after the break are the E-mails the Council President has received both against and in support of the no-bid contract since January 29th.  I have abbreviated people’s names to just their initials, but if you wish to verify the accuracy of the quotes below, you can access Council President Fussell’s E-mail from City Council’s website at www.coj.net.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

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