Posts Tagged ‘Jax’

Jacksonville mulls ‘block party’ moratorium

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
A bill filed by Reggie Brown in the Jacksonville City Council this week would institute a 90-day moratorium on “block party” gatherings.
The legislation (2017-196) posits “a legitimate public purpose in imposing a temporary moratorium on permitting recreational street closings … ‘block parties’ within the City, to allow the City time to create appropriate local regulations and standards.”
Brown’s motivation for filing the bill came up in a discussion of council funded community events this week, in which he noted the inconsistency between the city allowing block parties on streets, while discouraging similar gatherings in public parks.
In gatherings in parks, Brown noted a

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Jacksonville leaders’ arguments for state incentives fall on deaf ears in Tallahassee

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
Jacksonville may be Ground Zero for the debate about economic incentives. Local leaders want them, but the local Florida House delegation does not.
This week, yet another prominent person in Jacksonville’s City Hall sounded the alarm for state incentives via Enterprise Florida.
The Jacksonville Daily Record reports that local OED head Kirk Wendland made the case for Enterprise Florida on Tuesday to local stakeholders.
Wendland’s quotes are so on message with Gov. Rick Scott that they could have come out of his press shop.
“If any of you know any senators and you have any conversations with them, please convey that it’s serious. We are counting

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Movement in Jacksonville begins to ban tobacco sales to those under 21

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
The city of Jacksonville’s municipal code has taken a gradualist approach to tobacco prohibition — and it’s not done yet, if a recently-filed bill is any indication.
In 1973, the consolidated city passed an ordinance banning smoking in various places in the city.
Then, a fortnight later, a second ordinance was passed clarifying that prohibition would not apply to private gatherings.
In 1977, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting smoking during city council meetings. Among its co-sponsors: Ander Crenshaw and Jake Godbold.
In 1980, an ordinance was passed prohibiting the sale of smoking materials to minors.
In 1985, smoking in city owned buildings, including workplaces,

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Fire union joins other Jax bargaining groups in approving pension deal

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
Another day, another big win for Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
The Jacksonville Association of Firefighters overwhelmingly approved the city’s pension offer, which sees raises for current employees and a defined contribution plan for future hires, Wednesday night.
JAFF head Randy Wyse wrote in an email that “the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters have finished voting on the tentative agreement between the COJ and IAFF.  The firefighters approved the agreement 77% for and 23% against.  The chief officers approved 86% for and 14% against.  The contract passes with a majority vote from the Firefighters.”
Curry wrote that “today represents another step toward solving Jacksonville’s pension crisis once

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Campaign finance trouble bubbles up for Kim Daniels

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
Before Rep. Kim Daniels ran for the State House in 2016, she ran for re-election for the Jacksonville City Council.
In that capacity, Daniels had some campaign finance issues, as Jacksonville’s Folio Weekly reported in February 2015.
Daniels used $4,000 of campaign funds to promote her book, The Demon Dictionary, in a religious magazine called Shofar.
Daniels also offered editorials in the magazine, and no disclaimers marking the communiques as campaign communications were on offer.
A local activist/journalist, David Vandygriff of JaxGay.com, filed an FEC complaint, and in March of 2016, staff recommended to the commission that there was probable cause to believe that an election code violation might have

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Jacksonville General Counsel: PFPF looped out of pension vote

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
On Wednesday, Jacksonville General Counsel Jason Gabriel informed the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund that it has no voice in the current pension reform package.
“Our office has reviewed these issues closely and as described below, from the Florida Constitution on down to the 2015 pension reform agreement (2015 Agreement), such matters are solely within the domain of the City and Unions, and not the Board,” Gabriel asserted in the letter.
“Because the 2015 Agreement specifically contemplates that future retirement benefit changes would be negotiated by the City and its police and firefighter unions, and because that is precisely what happened in

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Jacksonville City Council ‘community events’ policy up for review

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
Jacksonville City Councilmen Bill Gulliford and Reggie Brown convened Wednesday to revisit an issue from months back: “community events” in the council districts.
Bill 2016-489 allocated $70,000 to be split up among the 19 council members, for the purposes of staging educational community events in districts.
For Brown, this issue is critical — his constituents often have questions about city services.
Among the legislation’s terms: city dollars would only pay for internal costs, such as city resources relative to police and fire/rescue, bleachers, and so on.
Though legislation got through after an extensive review process, Brown still has an issue, and a desire to assist community organizations that

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Reggie Gaffney draws second challenger for Jacksonville City Council

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
Despite the election for Jacksonville City Council seats being two years away, a second candidate has jumped in to oppose incumbent Reggie Gaffney.
Marc McCullough, who ran in 2011 and 2015, is running again in District 7.
In 2015, McCullough drew 408 votes — good for 3.5 percent — in the first election.
McCullough’s entry follows that of Chaussee Gibson, who filed last week.
McCullough conducted a 2015 candidate interview with the Florida Times-Union, in which he outlined his positions on the issues of the day.
Gaffney has not filed to run for re-election yet; what is clear, however, is that people in the district see him as

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Jacksonville City Council moves microlending, ex-offender jobs, travel budget bills

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
On a Tuesday agenda largely bereft of drama, the Jacksonville City Council moved bills related to microlending for small businesses, jobs for ex-offenders, and a boost for the council’s travel budget.
All approvals were unanimous.
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Microfinance: 2016-486 revives the city’s Access to Capital program for Jacksonville’s Small and Emerging Business program, allowing microfinancing from $5,000 to $100,000 for Jacksonville’s small and emerging businesses.
A sum of $979,380 will be provided for this third-party administered program from the city. Of that money, $150,000 goes to administrative capital, with the balance going toward the JSEB capital pool.
The hope among policy makers: that more loans can be

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Anna Brosche closes gap in race for Jacksonville City Council presidency

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
On Tuesday, the race to be the next president of the Jacksonville City Council tightened up, with Anna Brosche getting her fifth commitment.
Matt Schellenberg pledged to support his fellow Republican, joining Sam Newby, Al Ferraro, Aaron Bowman and the candidate herself in support of Brosche.
Brosche has five pledges. The current council vice-president, John Crescimbeni, has seven committed supporters (Tommy Hazouri, Bill Gulliford, Greg Anderson, Jim Love, Scott Wilson, Joyce Morgan, and Crescimbeni himself.
It takes ten to win.
Currently uncommitted: Danny Becton, President Lori Boyer, Reggie Gaffney, Katrina Brown, Garrett Dennis, Reggie Brown, and Doyle Carter.
Gaffney, Brown, Dennis, and Brown are all Democrats, like Crescimbeni. They held a meeting last week to hear what candidates for the top job

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Man pleads guilty in beating death of 2-year-old after ‘accident’ on bed

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
A Jacksonville toddler died after being struck with a plastic coat hanger until it broke because the 2-year-old girl had an “accident” on the bed of her mother’s boyfriend.
Jamarius Devonti Graham used a belt and hangers in the past to teach the girl potty training — she had already been spanked an estimated 20 times — says a newspaper report.
The Duval County state attorney’s office confirmed a medical examiner’s report, spokesman David Chapman told FloridaPolitics.com Tuesday.
On April 21, 2016, Graham was baby-sitting Aaliyah Lewis when the incident occurred. After the mother discovered injuries to her daughter, she and Graham

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Jacksonville City Council contemplates crowded agenda Tuesday

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
There is never a dull moment at a meeting of the Jacksonville City Council. On Tuesday, councilors mull microfinance, ex-offender jobs, and travel budgets.
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Microfinance: 2016-486 revives the city’s Access to Capital program for Jacksonville’s Small and Emerging Business program, allowing microfinancing from $5,000 to $100,000 for Jacksonville’s small and emerging businesses.
A sum of $932,032.65 will be provided for this third-party administered program from the city. Of that money, $425,000 goes to administrative capital, with the balance going toward the JSEB capital pool, which will have $829,000 available after this appropriation.
The hope among policy makers: that more loans can be advanced to

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Jacksonville PFPF to vote on pension deal Friday

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
In February, the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund Board of Trustees balked at a Mar. 15 deadline to vote on the city’s latest pension plan.
The board had worried that there would not be enough time to review the data of the new plan, which offers raises and uniformity of benefits for current employees, while providing a new defined contribution plan for future hires — offering a 25 percent city match and assurances that death and disability benefits would substantially be the same as they are for current employees.
Since then, the Fraternal Order of Police and the corrections officers

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Jacksonville fundraising swing for Andrew Gillum on Sunday

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
Despite an inauspicious launch to his gubernatorial campaign, one which included revelations that city money was used to buy campaign software, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is undeterred from his campaign for the 2018 Democratic nomination.
Sunday finds Gillum in Jacksonville, for what organizers are calling one of “his first round of fundraisers in the First Coast.”
The event will be held March 19 at The Space Gallery (120 E. Forsyth Street), starting at 3 p.m.
Suggested donation levels are as modest as $50, though attendees are urged to splurge, donating up to $3,000 if so moved.
Gillum’s last public appearance in Jacksonville was roughly

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Jacksonville corrections officers overwhelmingly approve pension deal

Monday, March 13th, 2017
On Monday, another Jacksonville union — the correctional officers — overwhelmingly approved the pension deal on offer from the city.
Of sergeants/lieutenants/captains, 88.8 percent voted in favor of the deal; the raw tally was 72 to 9.
Of officers, 87.53 percent voted in favor of the deal, with 12.16 percent against; the raw tally was 316 to 44.
The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue workers vote on this deal this week. Additionally, the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund Board of Trustees may vote on the deal Friday.
Correctional officers will get a 3 percent lump sum pay out, followed by a phased-in 20

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Jacksonville leaders move on human trafficking, an ‘industry without borders’

Monday, March 13th, 2017

As we previewed last week, Jacksonville City Councilman Tommy Hazouri is looking to implement the next phase of the city’s response to human trafficking.
In 2016, the city began a response, with awareness signs posted in strip clubs and massage parlors. However, Hazouri believes more can be done — and on Monday, the veteran pol met with representatives from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the 4th Circuit State Attorney’s Office to iron out specifics related to coordination of response.
Councilman Hazouri referred to human trafficking as one of the most severe human rights challenges of the century, adding that Florida has the

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Mike Williams, Tim Tebow to speak on Monday in Jacksonville

Monday, March 13th, 2017
A current Jacksonville Sheriff and a former Heisman Trophy winner both have speaking engagements in Jacksonville Monday evening.
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Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute students will have a unique opportunity to hear local Sheriff Mike Williams on Monday at 6 p.m.
Williams will be involved in a “classroom presentation and policy discussion” via a class at the JU PPI, in room 128 at the Davis College of Business.
RSVPs are requested and strongly encouraged for this event; email [email protected] for more information.
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Williams is not the only speaker of note in Jacksonville Monday.
Former Florida Gators QB Tim Tebow takes a break from Spring Training with the

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Pastor challenges ‘missing in action’ Reggie Gaffney for Jacksonville City Council seat

Friday, March 10th, 2017
Chaussee Gibson may not be a household name in the Jacksonville area.
But Gibson, a native of Jacksonville who preaches at the St. Johns Baptist Church on Jacksonville’s Eastside, has name identification in Jacksonville City Council District 7.
And he filed this week to run for the seat, currently held by first-term Democrat Reggie Gaffney … giving us the first competitive city council race in the 2019 cycle (assuming Gaffney files for re-election, that is).
Gibson’s decision was a culmination of a “lot of concerns” about Gaffney’s tenure in recent months, he told FloridaPolitics.com on Friday.
“The city councilman in our area has not done

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Jay Fant for Attorney General? Intrigue in Jacksonville

Friday, March 10th, 2017
Republican State Rep. Jay Fant has the safest of safe seats on Jacksonville’s deep-red Westside.
However, in the even deeper-red Florida House, he found himself on the losing side of this week’s debate about Enterprise Florida.
Fant spoke passionately and futilely about the need to maintain incentive programs, a position not shared by most of the legislative body.
However, there is a narrative suggesting the Florida House is not Fant’s end game.
Rep. Fant, who has not filed for re-election, is reportedly mulling a run for Florida Attorney General in 2018, multiple credible sources asserted Friday … even as the would-be candidate thus far has

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Jacksonville re-ups Friends of Hemming Park contract for 6 months, $415K

Friday, March 10th, 2017
In Jacksonville, friendships aren’t meant to last forever. But in the case of Friends of Hemming Park, they are renewable in six-month terms.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry wrote senior staff this week with the news that the once-controversial FOHP contract would be re-upped through the end of September.
“Based on our discussions with Bill Prescott, it is clear he is passionate about the future of Hemming … committed to performance metrics and accountability,” Curry said.
The mayor wants to give them a 6 month extension, though he wants the board to know the mayor’s office is “serious about results.”
An ordinance (2017-198) has been filed

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Jacksonville to redouble efforts against human trafficking

Friday, March 10th, 2017
On Monday morning, Jacksonville City Councilman Tommy Hazouri will meet with representatives from the State Attorney’s Office, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and others with an aim toward eliminating the scourge of human trafficking.
Hazouri, who was successful in a push to get a law through in 2016 (2016-130), which mandated awareness signs to be posted at massage parlors and strip clubs, believes that the 2016 legislation was a “small step forward,” allowing more to be done.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was indispensable in enforcing sign placement, and volunteer groups took the initiative of posting signs elsewhere also, Hazouri said.
The signs include the

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Ron Salem clears $30K in first month of Jacksonville council candidacy

Friday, March 10th, 2017
Republican Ron Salem, running to replace termed-out John Crescimbeni in the Jacksonville City Council’s At-Large District 2, cleared $30,000 in February.
Salem, an establishment favorite, had the kind of donations typically associated with that status.
Among the $1,000 donors: local land use lawyer and lobbyist Steve Diebenow, whose wife hosted a Salem “meet and greet”; the Driver, McAfee, Peek & Hawthorne Law Firm; Ernie Issac; the Vestcor Companies (John Rood); a couple of groups associated with developer Toney Sleiman; the Jacksonville Kennel Club and the Orange Park Kennel Club.
Salem, whose campaign is being run by Tim Baker and Brian Hughes, is running unopposed.
A hallmark of their candidates: strong fundraising

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Opioid overdose crisis becomes top priority for Jacksonville policy makers

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

The numbers are stark for those who care about public policy in Jacksonville. And the need for solutions is urgent.
Overdoses, at last count, end four times as many lives as homicides in Duval County, with 2016’s count of 464 casualties more than doubling 2015’s count of 201.
Caucasians represent 86 percent of the deaths, and over half of those passing away are in their 30s and 40s
911 calls for ODs to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department have tripled, with a call every two hours now. Narcan administrations: up 500 percent. JFRD responded to over 3,411 calls in 2016, and

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Jay Fant is down on bill that would end Enterprise Florida

Thursday, March 9th, 2017
State Rep. Jay Fant says he will not vote for a bill, backed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, that seeks to abolish the Enterprise Florida economic development organization.
After Thursday’s floor session, he told FloridaPolitics.com he doesn’t “like going against leadership on a vote, and I stick with them on just about everything, but this just isn’t one of those things.”
The Jacksonville Republican had asked critical questions of bill sponsor Paul Renner, a former political rival, in the floor session.
Fant, first elected in 2014, said killing Enterprise Florida “will hinder our ability to bring businesses to Florida.” He instead favors heightened

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Lenny Curry, Rob Bradley committees and Travis Cummings pace Northeast Florida February fundraising

Thursday, March 9th, 2017
No Northeast Florida incumbents face competitive races in 2018. Yet the fundraising continues anyway, as February evidenced.
Notable for performance: two Northeast Florida political committees that cleared the $100K threshold for February money.
And one Clay County legislator who had a strong month.
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One of the PACs that hit six figures: “Build Something That Lasts,” the political committee of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry,
Curry’s committee raised $110,000 in February. That sum follows a $63,000 January, and brings the committee near $240,000 on hand.
Curry’s committee secured the $110,000 from five donors, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, Peter Rummell, Gary Chartrand, and J.B. Coxwell.
While these are usual donors, the committee

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Charles McBurney files for 4th circuit judgeship

Thursday, March 9th, 2017
Former State Rep. Charles McBurney opened a campaign account Mar. 1 to start his race for a judgeship in Florida’s 4th Circuit.
Currently, McBurney is unopposed for the 2018 election.
Of course, last time the Jacksonville Republican was up for a judgeship (via gubernatorial appointment), by appointment in 2016, he faced an opponent more powerful than any on the ballot: the NRA’s Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer.
McBurney,  who chaired the House Judiciary Committee in 2016, tabled a bill that would have shifted the burden of proof from defendants to prosecutors under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law.
“In order to gain favor with prosecutors, he refused to hold

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Aaron Bowman takes lead in Jacksonville City Council VP race

Thursday, March 9th, 2017
On Wednesday, Jacksonville City Councilman Aaron Bowman continued his push for the vice-presidency of the 19-person legislative body with some success.
Bowman solicited pledges from Tommy Hazouri, Greg Anderson, and Sam Newby, in an attempt to break a 3-3 deadlock with his opponent, Scott Wilson.
Newby was sold without little prodding, noting that while he and Bowman were on opposite sides of the push to expand the city’s Human Rights Ordinance, he thought Bowman was the “right person” for leadership in the council.
“You’ve been in leadership your entire life,” Newby remarked.
Newby’s pledge gave Bowman a 4-3 lead, but Hazouri and Anderson proved to be tougher sells.
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Hazouri,

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To Russia with love: Jon Huntsman postpones Jacksonville speaking gig

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017
The World Affairs Council’s loss is the world stage’s gain.
President Donald Trump appointed Jon Huntsman to be Ambassador to Russia on Wednesday. And for Jacksonville residents, there were hints that deal was struck hours before it went out to the media Wednesday evening.
An internal email to World Affairs Council members told the tale around midday:
“Jon Huntsman, Jr., our March 14 Global Issues Evening speaker, is unable to join us due to rapidly unfolding responsibilities in Washington, D.C. I am sure that you are as disappointed as I am, but know that he is keen to speak to the World Affairs Council of

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John Rutherford Homeland Security spending reform bill clears U.S. House committee

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017
H.R. 1294, the Reducing Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acquisition Cost Growth Act, seeks to stop wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars by agencies like the Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
On Wednesday, the bill — a priority of first-term Republican Rep. John Rutherford — was unanimously approved by the House Committee on Homeland Security.
Rutherford noted the bill “prevents wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars by holding DHS agencies more accountable in administering their major acquisitions programs and by giving Congress greater oversight of troubled programs.”
“Passing this bill will stop the

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Jacksonville City Council support for Enterprise Florida builds

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017
Even as Enterprise Florida faces the chopping block in the Florida House, Jacksonville politicians are seeking to save it while there is still time.
On Wednesday, Councilmen Jim Love and Aaron Bowman met to discuss a resolution of support for the beleaguered EFI, a concept they had discussed a week prior.
The salient numbers for Councilman Love: 5,000 jobs and $650M in private capital investment since July 2015.
Love notes that Jacksonville is the biggest city in Florida, and “should have some sway,” with EFI investment being a “small price to pay to bring jobs to Jacksonville.”
Love’s goal: to keep Enterprise Florida funded at

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