Jacksonville officers are nonetheless debating the style by which the town’s final Accomplice monument was eliminated.

The Metropolis Council will meet for a workshop to debate the matter additional, beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday within the Council Chambers in Metropolis Corridor.

“The aim of this workshop is to proceed to overview the Workplace of Common Counsel authorized memorandum issued Jan. 16, 2024, relating to the method to take away the Accomplice monument from Historic Springfield Park.

Jacksonville’s Metropolis Council is questioning how the final Accomplice monument was swiped from underneath their noses.

“Common Counsel Michael Fackler and several other members of his employees, together with Mary Staffopoulos, Craig Feiser, Lawsikia Hodges, John Sawyer and Jason Teal, will attend to reply any questions.”

Anticipate inquiries to abound.

Whereas the Metropolis Council chosen Fackler unanimously (some have mentioned it’s as a result of he’s the son-in-law of native energy dealer and protection lawyer to the celebs Hank Coxe), they haven’t been unanimous in his sanctioning of the Mayor’s Workplace resolution to take away the controversial tribute to the “Girls of the Southland” from what was beforehand referred to as Accomplice Park.

Questions abound, together with points relating to the procurement process (which the Mayor’s Workplace deems moot), a draft memo from the OGC getting used to justify the removing of the statue after Christmas, and what’s being referred to as a “vigorous debate” within the OGC about whether or not the Mayor might make the transfer impartial of Metropolis Council enter although donated cash was paying for the job.

The Mayor expressed frustration that the Council wasn’t keen to maneuver the monument, so she did it herself.

That seems to be the easy half, although.

Laws in Tallahassee is eyeing punishments for localities that take away the monuments additionally, together with potential retroactive sanctions contingent on any occasion that feels wronged submitting a explanation for motion.

Committees haven’t heard native Rep. Dean Black’s model of the invoice.

Talking of Black, he’s the chair of the Duval County Republicans. And his occasion is rallying supporters towards the Mayor’s controversial relocation motion.

“Members of the Deegan Administration lied to media relating to the existence of authorized opinions that confirmed her lack of authority to take away the Springfield Park Memorial,” learn an electronic mail to supporters.

“The Mayor’s employees solely acknowledged the existence of the opinions after mendacity not as soon as, not twice, however thrice! If it’s a day that ends in Y, you possibly can depend on Mayor Deegan and her administration to inform one other lie!”

Although Black’s invoice has not moved, Martin’s invoice bought by its first committee Monday, however not with out objection from Sen. Tracie Davis.

“Is that this extra about celebrating the individuals who fought for the continuation of slavery and never about historical past?” she requested within the Governmental Oversight and Accountability committee.

After a second to determine his phrases, Martin mentioned, “Completely not,” including that if that had been the intention, it will have been within the invoice explicitly.

“You took a minute to reply that query. I believe I anticipated an ‘completely not’ a bit of faster than that,” Davis responded.

Davis requested Martin about utilizing non-public funds to take away a monument, as Jacksonville did. Martin mentioned his invoice, if handed, would enable the removing of the Mayor; she eliminated the monument after that.

“I’d hope for the those who reside in your group that they’ve entry to American historical past on the streets,” Martin mentioned, and that elected officers “would do all the pieces they’ll to guard historical past and ensure it’s current” by sustaining monuments, such because the Jacksonville construction erected throughout the Jim Crow period to bolster historic racism and racial divides that also hang-out the town to at the present time.

Uneasy listening

Talking of unresolved racial points, a brand new podcast from a person very acquainted to Jacksonville audiences sheds some gentle on Duval County’s.

“Final summer season, Reveal host Al Letson returned dwelling to Jacksonville, Florida, to discover a modified state. The Republican Legislature had handed a slate of legal guidelines concentrating on minority teams. Educators might now face felony penalties over the fabric they train relating to gender and sexuality, and faculties throughout the state had been banning books about queer households, transgender youth and Black historical past. There have been additionally repeated cases of racist and antisemitic speech, together with Nazis waving swastikas in entrance of Disney World. All of this contributed to the NAACP issuing a uncommon journey advisory stating that ‘Florida is brazenly hostile towards African Individuals, individuals of coloration and LGBTQ+ people.’ Then on Aug. 26, a White supremacist killed three Black individuals at a Greenback Common in Jacksonville,” reads a paragraph explaining what the present is about.

Al Letson comes dwelling to a really totally different Jacksonville.

However wait, there’s extra.

“Letson digs into the insurance policies DeSantis and the Legislature have handed lately and their results on Black Floridians and different individuals of coloration. He speaks with a historical past instructor who says the brand new legal guidelines have made it more durable to teach college students, in addition to a mom who describes books being faraway from her daughter’s classroom and guidelines barring college students from sharing books with mates in school.”

Letson, who hosted WJCT’s First Coast Join this summer season after the departure of authentic host Melissa Ross, examines redistricting within the state.

“In 2022, DeSantis vetoed maps drawn by the Republican Legislature, and the governor’s workplace as an alternative drew new maps that removed two Black-dominated districts and elevated the variety of Republican-leaning districts. These maps, which had been subsequently handed by lawmakers, are actually being battled over in each state and federal courtroom.”

Try Black in the Sunshine State.

No competitors

A Northeast Florida Republican gained’t have to fret in regards to the August poll in any case.

U.S. Rep. Aaron Bean’s sole opponent, Robert Alvero of Orange Park, has withdrawn from his race to problem the incumbent from the 4th Congressional District.

“After cautious consideration and reflection, I’ve determined to withdraw from the race for Congress till 2026. Whereas it was a tough resolution to make, I imagine it’s the proper one for me right now. I’ve at all times been dedicated to serving our group and advocating for constructive change, and I’m assured that this resolution will enable me to raised dedicate my time and vitality to different urgent issues. I imagine that taking this step again will allow me to come back again stronger and extra ready sooner or later,” Alvero mentioned Tuesday.

Robert Alvero bows out.

Alvero, a first-generation Cuban immigrant who got here to the U.S. round 15 years in the past, is a firefighter in Jacksonville and a member of the Florida State Guard. When he introduced his decision to run final yr, he expressed worries a few perception that “liberals” had been creating within the U.S. a “reproduction of what occurred in Cuba” and the “transgender” motion.

The district was drawn in 2022 to go well with Republican pursuits, with Gov. Ron DeSantis phasing out the previous minority-access district that included a lot of Jacksonville that elected Democrat Al Lawson to 3 phrases. The district changed different maps that elected Democrat Corrine Brown for 12 phrases of her personal.

Bean gained the election simply again then. It seems the race will likely be simpler now.

Ineffective, loud, and fallacious

A Jacksonville Democrat was certainly one of simply three members of the Florida Home to vote towards legislation defining antisemitism.

And her Main opponent is making it clear she wouldn’t forged the identical vote that Rep. Angie Nixon did if she had been within the Florida Home.

“It’s unlucky that Nixon continues to be ineffective, loud, and fallacious on issues so essential to our neighbors and state, particularly our Jewish neighbors,” asserted Brenda Priestly Jackson this week.

Is Angie Nixon an ineffective lawmaker?

“Rep. Nixon’s vote towards HB 187 is unlucky and alerts her lack of expertise, compassion and empathy for our Jewish neighbors and the world group’s understanding and definition of antisemitism and the dangerous affect and outcomes to our neighbors and state, particularly our Jewish neighbors. It additional alerts her continued ineffectiveness, errors and posturing that she selected to be certainly one of three no votes on a measure that’s unifying, collaborative and bipartisan at this most vital time for Floridians and our Jacksonville neighbors too,” Priestly Jackson added.

Nixon had additionally pushed laws calling for an Israeli cease-fire in its conflict with Hamas final fall. That bought two votes with 104 nays.

The measure (HB 187), which pends approval within the Senate, would outline antisemitism in state statutes as “a sure notion of Jews, which can be expressed as hatred towards Jews” and rhetorical and manifestations “directed towards Jewish or non-Jewish people, their property, group establishments and spiritual services.”

HB 187 lists many examples of antisemitic rhetoric, together with “dehumanizing” stereotypes that Jews maintain disproportionate institutional energy and secretly management the world financial system, Holocaust denial and double requirements when criticizing Israel, the world’s solely Jewish-majority nation.

Millage motion

On Monday, the House Ways and Means Committee superior laws by a 15-7 party-line vote that might impose additional necessities on millage hikes. The invoice moved ahead with a Senate committee poised to take up the identical challenge later the identical day.

HB 1195, which might ban localities from elevating property tax and not using a two-thirds vote by the native legislative physique, is being carried by Rep. Sam Garrison.

The invoice would go into impact in July, imposing the supermajority requirement for any millage improve after this yr ought to it change into regulation. Democrat Dianne Hart requested to push the efficient date again to 2026, however Garrison had little interest in that.

Garrison famous that in 2018, voters authorized a constitutional modification requiring a legislative 2/3 majority to boost taxes.

Sam Garrison desires a ban on tax will increase with out supermajority approval.

“We’ve honored the individuals’s will and operated underneath the constitutional premise that tax will increase ought to solely be thought-about as a final resort and require broad, oftentimes bipartisan consensus. That is per our state’s custom of restricted authorities, low taxes and accountable fiscal stewardship,” the Home sponsor mentioned.

Garrison added that his invoice “applies this precept to the areas of native authorities, near the individuals, particularly our counties, municipalities and particular districts, by prohibiting a rise within the millage fee from going into impact until and till it’s been authorized by a two-thirds vote of the governing physique authorizing the rise.”

The sponsor famous that he “symbolize(s) native governments for a residing” and this invoice is “towards (these) skilled pursuits,” reflecting a “philosophical” perception on his behalf that localities ought to be compelled to reside underneath the identical guidelines the state Legislature does relating to “burdensome” property tax levies that now “may be raised by a easy majority.”

Garrison additionally prompt the invoice would discourage native governments from elevating property taxes to compensate for a decline in property values, within the occasion of a down cycle for actual property.

The unique submitting of the Clay County Republican’s invoice contemplated a two-thirds vote in a referendum to be held throughout the Common Election, however that model was withdrawn, and the language now aligns precisely with the Senate product (SB 1322) being carried by Blaise Ingoglia of Spring Hill.

Garrison’s invoice nonetheless has the State Affairs Committee and the Native Administration, Federal Affairs & Particular Districts Subcommittee forward of it.

Roof down

An area roof alternative program is poised for a second spherical of funding after acute curiosity exhausted funding in simply a few hours.

Jacksonville Metropolis Council member Matt Carlucci tells WJXT TV that he desires more cash to be allotted to the town’s Dwelling Roof Rehabilitation program, and he’s submitting a invoice to allocate one other $446,000 — topping off the Council’s authentic spend of $500,000.

Matt Carlucci desires more cash for roof restore.

“I instructed the council they might enroll in a short time, and I didn’t help holding $400,000 again,” Carlucci mentioned.

The extra cash might imply 90 individuals are finally helped, which remains to be only a third of the demand. Assistance is capped beneath $15,000 per dwelling; cash is distributed by way of a five-year interest-free mortgage.

Eligible households embody these with 80% of the world median revenue for Jacksonville.

This was one initiative that got here from the work of Deegan’s transition job drive. And primarily based on the response, it was wildly common.

Fraud discovered

Pandemic spending typically got here with out checks and balances, together with in Jacksonville, the place the Emergency Rental Assistance Program is underneath scrutiny from the Workplace of the Inspector Common.

Town appropriated $72.3 million of those funds between 2021 and 2023, throughout the Lenny Curry administration.

But the oversight was lacking.

“On account of these circumstances not being beforehand reported to the OIG, COJ, or regulation enforcement, our workplace referred 5 fraud circumstances involving $314,614.25 of ERAP funds to state and federal prosecutors for felony prosecution,” the Inspector Common report reads.

The Emergency Rental Help program is underneath the microscope.

Town “did not adequately assess the sub-recipients to find out in the event that they had been in a position to present the companies in accordance with the phrases and situations of the Metropolis Contracts on account of their employees dimension and bodily location. COJ additionally did not adequately monitor the sub-recipient’s efficiency and keep funds for file retention,” the report notes.

“Additional, the OIG decided that the sub-recipients failed to determine an ample fraud detection system to determine circumstances of fraud. The sub-recipients additionally did not report suspected and recognized fraud circumstances to the OIG, COJ, or regulation enforcement.”

Compounding the issue: a glitch in doc retention protocols that affected the present administration.

“Probably the most notable fraud case concerned a singular landlord (Landlord 1) related to 49 submitted ERAP tenant functions. Of those 49 tenant functions, 13 had been authorized, leading to Landlord 1 receiving ERAP funds totaling $217,389.25. Of those 13 tenant functions, 9 had been paid by Jewish Household & Group Providers (JFCS), Downtown Ecumenical Providers Council (DESC) paid one, and three had been paid by Civitas earlier than figuring out the potential fraud and halting any extra funds,” the report reads.

Contractors count on to implement fraud detection programs and to maintain PDFs going ahead, and laws could be required by the Metropolis Council.

CEO chosen

OneJax has picked the previous chair of the Duval County College Board to guide it ahead.

Elizabeth Anderson will lead the nonprofit ahead, notes OneJax Board Chair Mobeen Rathore.

OneJax faucets Elizabeth Anderson as its new chief.

“After an intensive nationwide seek for the suitable particular person to guide OneJax into the longer term, we discovered her in our personal yard,” mentioned Rathore. “Really, we discovered her in our personal board room, as Elizabeth joined the OneJax board in July. When the place grew to become accessible this previous fall, she determined to throw her hat within the ring, and we’re delighted that she did.”

“We see Elizabeth as a catalyst for constructive change, championing initiatives targeted on social fairness, useful resource accessibility, and the widespread good. She is devoted and involves this place with a terrific sense of goal. Her multidimensional involvement with group initiatives speaks to her values and her imaginative and prescient. It is a smart way for OneJax to kick off a brand new yr,” Rathore added.

Reno bucks

Persevering with the house enchancment theme, the Governor’s Workplace is slotting $247,365 to the town of St. Augustine by way of the Florida Small Cities CDBG program.


The cash will go “to renovate 5 100-year-old houses and restore as much as 9 different houses for homeless households,” per a information launch.

St. Augustine is the one Northeast Florida metropolis to get funds from this launch.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says the cash will “enhance infrastructure in Florida’s small cities to draw new companies, develop development-ready infrastructure, and help workforce housing.”

“By investments like this, we’re strengthening future alternatives for Florida’s rural communities and the households that reside there,” he added.

“Beneath Gov. DeSantis’ management, FloridaCommerce repeatedly invests in initiatives that help infrastructure enhancements, which strengthens communities and makes Florida the perfect place to reside and lift a household,” mentioned Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly. “FloridaCommerce is proud to help our communities, as we proceed to speak with native leaders on the wants of their residents.”

Seasick, but nonetheless docked

Cruisers leaving Jacksonville returned this week with abdomen bugs, notes First Coast News, with gastroenteritis bringing a way of deflation to the Carnival Elation.

“Company on Carnival Elation have been suggested to observe our protocols to handle gastroenteritis after we noticed numerous friends report back to the ship’s medical middle with varied signs. There aren’t any reviews of great sickness and we have now applied enhanced cleansing procedures and requested our friends to be diligent in incessantly washing their palms. When Carnival Elation returns to Jacksonville on Monday, the ship will bear an additional layer to our vigorous cleansing procedures forward of friends embarking for the following cruise,” the cruise line promised.

Carnival is warning passengers to pay attention to a nasty abdomen bug.

As FCN notes, there are two methods to get this abdomen bug: contact with contaminated meals or with individuals who merely don’t wash up after relieving themselves.

In concept, eradicating sick individuals will assist, apart from eradicating doubtlessly questionable meals.

That 70s Present

Whether or not you’re a fan of Lou Reed or not, the Museum of Up to date Artwork has an exhibit launching this week that will take you again to his bygone period.

A Walk on the Wild Side Opening Celebration” is slated for Thursday night time on the downtown location.

it’s time to stroll on the wild aspect in Jacksonville.

“The museum will kick off the yr with an thrilling exhibition exploring the dynamic tradition of New York within the Seventies that spurred a decade of collaboration and innovation between artists working in quite a lot of genres. The exhibition, A Walk on the Wild Side: ‘70s New York from the Norman E. Fisher Collection, contains a particular assortment throughout the museum’s everlasting assortment paired with loans from across the nation and options artists like Andy Warhol, Philip Glass, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Robert Mapplethorpe, and others.”

Can’t make it in particular person? No worries — there may be an internet part.

Be a part of the livestream of the dialog between MOCA Jacksonville Senior Curator, Ylva Rouse and Jessamine Fiori beginning at 7:15 p.m. Zoom link here.

— New associate —

Melissa Langley Braude has moved as much as Accomplice on the high Northeast Florida lobbying agency The Fiorentino Group.

A Jacksonville native, Braude joined the agency in 2014 to guide fundraising operations and rapidly superior to help lobbying efforts in Jacksonville and Tallahassee, turning into a Principal earlier than her promotion to Accomplice this week.

Melissa Langley Braude strikes up the ladder at TFG.

“We’re thrilled to formally welcome Melissa as a Accomplice,” mentioned TFG president Marty Fiorentino. “She has constantly demonstrated the strategic acumen and unwavering dedication to her group that outline a Fiorentino Group chief. I’ve little doubt she’ll proceed to be a useful asset to our agency.”

Melissa graduated from Florida State College with a bachelor’s diploma in felony justice. She can be concerned in group service as a member of the Rotary Membership of South Jacksonville and serves on the Board of Administrators for The Allison Brundick Haramis Basis, also referred to as Angels for Allison, a nonprofit that works to offer monetary help to folks who’ve misplaced a baby.

“Melissa is an indispensable member of The Fiorentino Group,” mentioned Allison Carter, Chief of Employees to Home Speaker Paul Renner. “I’ve watched her profession blossom yr after yr within the legislative course of, as she has change into a trusted adviser to her shoppers, colleagues, and elected officers alike. It’s thrilling to see her many skills being acknowledged at TFG, and I look ahead to seeing what the longer term holds for her.”

— Port push —

Northeast Florida’s fundamental port operations will quickly develop cargo capability on 79 acres of riverfront property close to downtown Jacksonville after a considerable public-private partnership was introduced this week.

JAXPORT, Jacksonville’s port authority, authorized a 30-year lease settlement with logistics firm Enstructure LLC. The phrases name for a notable $136 million lease cost to JAXPORT over the size of the settlement.

The deal clears the way in which for the event of a considerable 79-acre tract of land within the Talleyrand Marine Terminal on the St. Johns River, simply northeast of downtown and inside eyeshot of EverBank Stadium, which is dwelling to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

JAXPORT's Talleyrand marine terminal in Jacksonville.
JAXPORT authorized a brand new 30-year lease cope with Enstructure that can add extra coated cargo capability at Jacksonville’s Talleyrand Terminal close to downtown. Picture by way of JAXPORT

Enstructure Co-CEOs Matthew Satnick and Philippe De Montigny issued a ready joint assertion on the deal, noting the corporate has a long-standing affiliation with JAXPORT courting again 27 years. Enstructure is the mum or dad firm of delivery agency Seaonus Stevedoring, which already has operations on an present 35 acres of land on the Talleyrand facility.

“We’re excited to construct upon our partnership with JAXPORT and make investments additional into the high-growth Jacksonville market,” mentioned Satnick and De Montigny. “Increasing our Talleyrand Marine Terminal operations is a strategic precedence for Enstructure, and we look ahead to working intently with the JAXPORT workforce to additional diversify our cargo combine.”

Whereas the lease was authorized this week, it goes into impact in 2025 after the present tenant on the 79-acre web site, Southeast Toyota Distributors, strikes its operations to what’s often known as JAXPORT’s Blount Island Terminal. That’s a number of miles northeast of downtown Jacksonville and only some miles from the mouth of the St. Johns River.

— Extra modifications coming to Jaguars? —

The large information from the Jaguars this week was the hiring of Ryan Nielsen as defensive coordinator.

Nielsen, 44, involves Jacksonville after one season because the defensive coordinator in Atlanta. Earlier than his time with the Falcons, he spent six seasons on the defensive employees in New Orleans.

Whereas not a family identify for many followers, Nielsen has a strong popularity as a defensive coach. In Atlanta, the Falcons ran a 3-4 protection, because the Jaguars ran the previous two seasons underneath then-defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell. The distinction in Nielsen’s method — one which would appear to translate with the Jaguars personnel — was within the secondary. Atlanta predominantly ran man-to-man protection schemes. With cornerbacks Tyson Campbell and Darious Williams on the roster, the Jaguars may benefit from an identical method. Beneath Caldwell, the Jaguars performed quite a lot of zone behind the entrance.

Hiring Ryan Nielsen as defensive coordinator might recommend massive modifications to come back.

Finally, the rent will likely be judged on how the protection improves in Jacksonville. All through the 2023 season, Jacksonville’s lack of ability to cease the run was uncovered. The defensive position is an space the Jaguars are anticipated to handle within the offseason by way of free company or the draft.

Simply who will make these choices is a little bit of a query after CBS Sports activities senior NFL author Pete Prisco talked about on a podcast a rumor that Jaguars’ common supervisor Trent Baalke may not be deciding for the Jaguars this offseason.

On CBS Sports activities’ “Decide Six Podcast,” Prisco mentioned, “There are rumblings that perhaps he’s going to stroll away, however I don’t know if that’s true.”

Whereas there are at all times rumors and innuendoes within the offseason for groups who did not make the playoffs, the query of Baalke’s future is cheap to debate.

Within the Jaguars’ final three drafts, Baalke chosen some key parts, together with Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Campbell, and Andre Cicso, all starters chosen within the first three rounds of the 2021 Draft. 2022 alternatives included Trevon Walker, Devin Lloyd, and Luke Fortner. The 2023 draft was highlighted by first-round choose Anton Harrison, who began each recreation at proper sort out as a rookie. Different contributors chosen within the final three drafts embody offensive lineman Walker Little, tight finish Luke Farrell, linebacker Chad Muma, and defensive again Buster Brown.

It’s not a horrible draft file. Lawrence gave the impression to be on the verge of turning into a star this season however fought accidents over the past half of the yr. Etienne’s manufacturing decreased this season behind a struggling offensive line, together with Fortner, who took a step again in his second yr within the league.

Maybe the largest knock on Baalke was how he noticed the Jaguars offensive line throughout final offseason. The one addition made to the road was the number of Harrison within the draft to switch Jawaan Taylor, who signed with Kansas Metropolis in free company.

It wasn’t till mid-season that one other transfer was made, the commerce for guard Ezra Cleveland. Most reporters thought the offensive line was a weak spot heading into the 2023 offseason, however Baalke didn’t do sufficient to handle it.

To be honest, most thought the cross rush was a weak spot as nicely, however Josh Allen set the Jaguars single-season sack file and Walker recorded 10 sacks, together with 6.5 sacks within the remaining eight video games of the season.

With draft and free company planning already underway, it will be an odd time for the Jaguars to be trying to find a brand new common supervisor. It’s value keeping track of.

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