Debuting today: Jacksonville Bold (like Sunburn, but just about Jax and NE Florida) - Florida Politics

Debuting today: Jacksonville Bold (like Sunburn, but just about Jax and NE Florida)

Jacksonville Bold.

When we were kicking around titles for this new, twice-a-week email looking at the important political news happening in Jacksonville and northeast Florida that seemed like the logical title.

Bold, as in the Bold New City of the South.

Bold, as in our approach to coverage.

Our contributors – Julie Delegal, longtime Business Journal editor John Burr, Melissa Ross, and yours truly – have a wealth of experience covering Jacksonville business and political happenings and trends. Publisher Peter Schorsch, who has been publishing his must-read daily agenda-setter, Sunburn, is leading the effort.

We know the players. And we know the games that are being played.

In our first edition of Jacksonville Bold, there is a lot in play.

The ongoing drama with U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, which is happening in the legal realm as much as the electoral.

The scaled-back but still-on One Spark festival, timed this year to have its day of public presentation at Art Walk under the name Spark Walk.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, meanwhile, is also busy. His neighborhoods department is up-and-running, and the first real test of his popularity comes soon enough, with a referendum this fall on the Pension Tax (the extension of the BJP tax).

This is going to be a year when Jacksonville is under myriad spotlights. Our local officials are still settling into office. Meanwhile, we have myriad competitive State House races in Northeast Florida. And, of course, we have a stake in whatever comes of District 5 as well.

We want to hear from you. Tips and feedback are welcome: a.g.gancarski@gmail.com or @aggancarski. If you would like to subscribe to Jacksonville Bold, please email Peter@FloridaPolitics.com.

Decision in Texas redistricting case could be setback for Corrine Brown” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a Texas redistricting case that everyone must be counted in the redrawing of congressional and legislative districts. The 8-0 decision is a potential legal setback for Brown, whose legal challenge to Florida’s court-ordered redistricting plan includes complaints that nonvoting prison inmates are counted in her district’s population … justices turned back a challenge that could have dramatically altered political district boundaries and disproportionately affected the nation’s growing Latino population. In Florida, as in Texas and other states that have large immigrant populations, urban districts include many more people who are too young, not citizens or otherwise not eligible to vote. Civil rights groups said forcing states to change their method of constructing districts would have damaged Latino political influence. Brown … says that Florida’s reconfigured 5th Congressional District illegally diluted the power of African-American voters by including 18 state prisons, mostly along the I-10 corridor in North Florida. That means the district’s population includes thousands of black inmates who are not allowed to vote under Florida law.

“Busting myths about Brown’s redistricting battle” via Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union – MYTH 1: Under a new District 5, an African-American cannot win … no one has a crystal ball, and in Florida politics anything can happen. So no one can guarantee an African-American will be elected in a new District 5. But that is different than saying one cannot win. Here is how data consultant Matthew Isbell … put it in a blog post. “Brown claims several things when arguing her district must not be changed, none of which hold up to scrutiny. (1) She claims the district is not a Democratic seat: However, the district gave Barack Obama 63 percent of the vote and Charlie Crist 59 percent. (2) She claims the district is not African-American: Fact is African-Americans are 63 percent of the Democratic primary, which picks winners.” MYTH 2: The counting of prison inmates when drawing the boundary lines improperly skews election predictions. Yes, the inmates in prisons were counted in population estimates … But that has nothing to do with the voter turnout data used to determine whether a seat is truly one that will give minorities a chance to elect someone who looks like them to Congress. Prisoners don’t vote, and remember that actual results from previous elections were used to determine whether District 5 could elect an African-American to Congress. Brown doesn’t see it this way.

Top talker – “Brown’s arguments self-serving” via the Tallahassee Democrat – The more politicians insist they’re doing something for us, not themselves, you can bank on it: They’re looking out (for) their own political preservation. So it was that Brown brought three busloads of constituents late last month to hear arguments before a three-judge federal panel in Tallahassee’s U.S. District Court, in her long-running challenge to keep her meandering congressional district. Brown could probably get re-elected in either district, although the Jacksonville-Gainesville-Orlando one is safer for her. But the new map could result in four black Congress members from Florida, rather than the current three. It would be easier to believe Brown is gallantly pursuing justice if the outcome she seeks were not so self-serving. Despite what she called “a perfect storm to get rid of Corrine Brown,” the Legislature and the courts are not conspiring to stop having a minority-access district in North Florida. This paper opposed splitting Leon and Jefferson counties between Brown’s district and a new tract that bends from about Panama City to near Ocala. But, as they say around the Capitol, that train has left the station. Playing every card she could deal, Brown also told her supporters there are 25 prisons in her pending new district, compared to only three in the old one. You can’t blame Brown for wanting to keep her old district. She’s spent 25 years cultivating constituent services and getting well-known from Jacksonville to Orlando. She’s not well-known out this way.

Counterpoint – “One step forward …” via Claire Goforth of the Folio Weekly – Congresswoman Corrine Brown deserves our compassion. It’s arguable that some of the shitstorm raining down upon her is of her own making, long-coming political fallout from years of scandals, bizarre behavior, questionable ethics and a seemingly unquenchable thirst for power and, possibly, for money. Even so, she deserves compassion and respect befitting the office to which she serves … Before you give in to the giggles, ask yourself why people find it so easy to laugh at Corrine Brown. Then consider the fact that our culture has a history of demonizing, caricaturizing and mocking African-Americans. Sure, Brown is brash and, obviously, she’s a character prone to curious behavior and unique fashion choices. But when she says evil forces are conspiring against her, when she says that politics is far from colorblind, she is not wrong.

“Top staffer for Brown had key role in group under federal investigation” via Florida Times-Union – “A Times-Union review of emails, contracts and other documents related to One Door show that Ronnie Simmons, Brown’s long-time chief of staff, played important roles in helping the organization function, at one point receiving payments to One Door at his home.”

Al Lawson may not be sure thing in CD 5 race” via John Burr – To believe the conventional wisdom, there’s no reason to even hold an election for the newly redrawn Florida 5th Congressional District this fall, just hand the seat over to Democrat Al Lawson, the former state senator from Tallahassee. But wait just a minute. Seems to me there are a heck of a lot more voters in Jacksonville than Tallahassee, and the power players in Northeast Florida have really appreciated having Jacksonville’s Corrine Brown bringing home the bacon from Washington since 1993.

Let’s take a closer look at this so-called Lawson layup: True, it’s unlikely Brown won’t answer the bell this time around. She is up to her neck in a growing scandal over her involvement with fundraising for a sham charity under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. That clears the road for Lawson. But there is a former Mayor of Jacksonville who would probably love the 5th District gig, and that’s Democrat Alvin Brown and is currently a fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service. Alvin is not without flaws, but he’s made some powerful friends in Jacksonville, and those powerful friends would like to see that congressional seat held by someone with a closer connection to their region than Lawson.

Taking nothing away from Lawson – he’ll make a strong candidate and his record is solid – but there’s still plenty of money and votes in Jacksonville. Just ask Corrine Brown.

CD 6 candidate Brandon Patty’s leadership team has Jacksonville flavor” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics – Heavy hitters from the Duval County GOP abound on his team, including Herb Peyton of Gate Petroleum, Bill Gay Jr. of WW Gay, Jay Demetree and John Baker, both of whom were instrumental in helping to get Curry elected Jacksonville mayor. Baker described Patty as the “pro-growth, problem-solving conservative fighter needed in District 6.”

Happening Monday night – U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis continues a series of town hall meetings as part of its “Defeat The Jihad Tour.” Event begins 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Panama City, 2001 MLK Blvd. in Panama City.

Happening Wednesday – DeSantis, state Sen. Travis Hutson and state Rep. Paul Renner will speak to the Flagler County Republican Club beginning 6 p.m. at the Palm Coast Community Center, 305 Palm Coast Parkway N.E. in Palm Coast.

Young Democrats offer crash course on grassroots activism” via Melissa Ross – Young and left-leaning politicos in Florida’s mostly conservative Northeast corner are continuing their grassroots organizational efforts. This week, the Jax Young Dems kick off “Local Politics 101,” a free two-week course on the political system. Sessions begin Monday night and include everything from an introduction to precinct organizing to a class on political vs. advocacy operations. The progressive movement on the First Coast has been interesting to watch. While very much the underdogs on the local political scene, which is run by an entrenched GOP power structure, the Young Dems have moxie and understand the long game. They are also quick to point out how high Barack Obama‘s margins were in Duval County both in 2008 and 2012 (although of course, he did not win the county either time).

Gov. Scott attends Anheuser-Busch aluminum bottle plant groundbreaking” via Katie McKee of Action News Jax – Anheuser-Busch is investing $178 million into the project set to be completed by January 2017. Jay Hamm and his family stood alongside Scott during the ceremony. Hamm has been with the company for decades and began as a warehouse employee in 1975. Now Hamm is one of the company’s top equipment experts, and will be heading to Japan next week to make sure the right equipment is coming to Jacksonville for this new project. “For all of us this is an all new concept. We are all going to have to re-learn what we have been learning over the last few years so it’s going to be exciting,” said Hamm … Scott said 75 people will now have the same opportunity as Hamm, and so far, only 11 of those have been filled.

“Scott appoints William Burney interim Clay commissioner” via Teresa Stepzinski of The Florida Times-Union – Scott appointed retired Florida Air National Guard Lt. Col. William “Buck” Burney as interim Clay County commissioner, filling in for Commissioner Gavin Rollins, who is being deployed overseas with his national guard unit in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Burney’s appointment begins April 7 and concludes when Rollins completes his military leave. Burney, 62, is president of Mission: On Target, and serves as the state of Florida coordinator for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He served 30 years in the Florida Air National Guard, finishing his service as Battle Commander for the Southeast U.S. in 2002. In 2012, Burney ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Clay County school board.

Inside the ‘borderline miraculous’ effort of getting the pension tax through Tallahassee” via David Chapman of the Jacksonville Financial News and Daily Record – A detailed retrospective of the multiprong effort by Sen. Rob Bradley, Rep. Travis Cummings, and Mayor Lenny Curry about the effort to get the BJP tax extension referendum bill through Tallahassee. No word on what the politicians and their wives ate at Orsay, though.

HD 11 contest gets crowded, as 7th Republican enters race – David Bunk of Fernandina Beach will now face Republicans Cord ByrdJack DanielsBarry Holloway, Donnie Horner, Tom Taylor and Sheri Treadwell in the race for Janet Adkins’ seat.

Happening Thursday: The Florida Chamber of Commerce Regional Board is holding its Northeast Regional Reception beginning 5:30 p.m. at the home of Quintin and Anne-Marie Kendall, 3256 Riverside Ave. in Jacksonville. More information or RSVP with Frank Ryll at fryll@flchamber.com.

Save the date – State Reps. Paul Renner and Cyndi Stevenson host a joint fundraising reception in their re-election campaigns for House District 24 and 17, respectively. Event begins 6 p.m. April 19, at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, 11 Magnolia Ave. in St. Augustine. RSVP at Katie@kballardconsult.com.

New regional lobbying registrations — Albert Balido, Anfield: city of Flagler Beach; Kevin Andrew Doyle, Wexford StrategiesConsumer Energy Alliance – Florida; Elite Parking Services of America; First Light Maritime Society; Berdell Knowles, John Worley Jr.: JEA; Rhett O’Doski, Advantage Consulting Team: Florida Psychological and Associated Healthcare (Fernandina Beach); Derek Whitis, Whitis Consulting: Florida Psychological and Associated Healthcare; Florida Psychological Associates (Fernandina Beach); Stephen Wise, Stephen R. Wise Consulting: Beaver Street Enterprise Center

Appointed — Kevin Hyde, Stephen Joost to University of North Florida Board of Trustees

Transitions – Former John Peyton communications director Misty Skipper is leaving Dalton Agency to rejoin her former boss at Gate Petroleum.

Jacksonville City Council VP race in full swing” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics – Though Councilman John Crescimbeni, with six commitments, was the front-runner through last week, it appears the ABC (Anybody but Crescimbenin) contingent may be falling in behind Doyle Carter. The (potential) fall of Crescimbeni, who has more tenure on Council than any other active member, could potentially affect some issues. Including, perhaps, the position of the taxicab industry as it relates to the Vehicles for Hire debate.

Consider the following: It was known during the 2015 election cycle that Crescimbeni was very much against ridesharing. Crescimbeni’s bumper stickers, along with those of former Mayor Alvin Brown, were donned by the fleet of one of Jacksonville’s largest cab companies. He also received $1,000 from Grady Braddock, the taxicab baron who dropped $25,000 into Brown’s campaign near the end of the election.

The Vehicles for Hire committee has been contentious, with a meeting scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Broadly speaking, Crescimbeni has been pro-taxi cab, and Councilman Matt Schellenberg has shown more willingness to embrace the free market competition offered by TNCs.

“Jax to launch citywide health initiative Thursday with ‘controversial’ surgeon general” via FloridaPolitics.com – “Journey to One” will launch, officially, on Thursday (World Health Day) at 3 p.m. in Hemming Park. On hand for the festivities will be U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. The joint appearance of Curry and Murthy, deemed a “controversial” Surgeon General in some quarters for, among other things, forthright comments on gun violence that are diametrically opposed to the position of the National Rifle Association (which backed Curry in his campaign), should make for an interesting media availability.

Reggie Gaffney featured in April Straight Allies workshops in Jax” via A.G. Gancarski of FloridaPolitics.com – The Jacksonville Human Rights Ordinance expansion is on hold, yet education efforts continue from local LGBT activists at the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality. The latest, in the form of We Are Straight Allies initiatives, is designed to “reaffirm those who currently support fundamental human rights for all citizens and to further engage those who are ambivalent, or who are uninformed about the real challenges that face members of the LGBT community.” To that end, two April workshops are scheduled … and the second one features Councilman Reggie Gaffney. The first, starting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, is at the Legends Community Center on Soutel. The second, April 14, is at Gaffney’s Community Rehabilitation Center.

More info – We are Straight Allies Workshops” via the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality – On Wednesday, the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality will be talking with Spark Walk participants about the HRO. From noon to 10 p.m. (rain or shine) Spark Walk will feature live music stages, a Food Truck Village and will be a great opportunity to engage with thousands of people. Sign up for a shift via the link to help spread the word about the HRO at Spark Walk.

“Open enrollment law creates worries in fast-growing districts like St. Johns” via Tia Mitchell of The Florida Times-Union – House Bill 7029 is 160 pages long, a legislative “train” that contains parts of other bills that otherwise would not have passed. Among the highest-profile additions was a statewide open-enrollment policy — to be applied starting in fall 2017 — that allows students to transfer to any public school as long as there is room for them. Technically speaking, a Jacksonville family could enroll a student in a school in Miami as long as the school has space and the family can provide transportation. But what is more likely is that families with students zoned for low-to-middling Putnam or Duval county schools might look for slots St. Johns County, the state’s top-performing district. St. Johns Superintendent Joseph Joyner said the open enrollment law may make it harder for the district to accommodate its own students. “Any seat we give up is ultimately going to be hurtful,” he said. The Florida Department of Education is expected to provide districts more guidance on how to implement HB 7029 in the coming weeks and months. Then, each school district will approve its own policy for implementing open enrollment. Florida Education Association, the statewide teacher’s union, has been critical of other school choice proposals but is holding back on commenting about open enrollment for now.

“The Awful Legacy” via A.G. Gancarski for Folio Weekly – “The millage rate has been cut so often that Council should be sponsored by X-Acto. Cut so often it doesn’t mean a thing to chop it again. Except that it does mean something. It means your roads are jacked up. It means the kids will linger in geographically inconvenient HUD complexes this summer, doing what children do in those situations. It means that everyone in office now is going to have to explain why Jacksonville’s infrastructure looks like that of the cities up north all those Yankees moved to Nocatee to get away from.

Julie’s reading list via Julie Delegal – Juvenile justice is important to Jacksonville’s crime reduction efforts, and it’s even more crucial to building this community’s future. The Florida Times Union’s Tessa Duvall has covered every aspect of how Jacksonville strives to handle juvenile offenses outside of the criminal justice system.

Juvenile Drug Court serves children with addictions. Volunteer-based Neighborhood Accountability Boards assess consequences for juvenile offenders who receive civil citations. In Teen Court, the juries comprise other kids. And the State Attorney’s office conducts its “scared-straight”-style jail visits via its Youthful Offender Program.

Comparing the four diversionary programs is difficult because data constraints, Duvall writes.

A consortium of criminal justice leaders in Jacksonville, The Children’s Rights Initiative, hosted a panel discussion Tuesday night, where they differed sharply with State Attorney representatives on the controversial practice of charging juveniles as adults.

Meanwhile, according to research conducted by the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, young girls are beginning to fare better in the Jacksonville-area 4th Judicial Circuit. The Weaver Center’s “laser-focus” on “care management and treatment interventions,” one girl at a time, has helped reduce female juvenile commitments here by 67 percent.

The Weaver Center’s report emphasizes that many girls in the system have suffered severe cumulative trauma, and addressing their needs requires consistent, long-term intervention.

Kinder Morgan halts work on controversial Palmetto pipeline” via Walter Jones and Mary Landers of Bluffton Today – The Texas-based company that has planned to build the $1 billion Palmetto Pipeline to carry gasoline and diesel fuel from Belton to Jacksonville … has “suspended further work” on the project. The announcement blames action by Georgia lawmakers who passed legislation this month that put a moratorium on the pipeline until July 2017. Kinder Morgan is one of the nation’s largest energy infrastructure companies and operates hundreds of miles of pipeline in Georgia as well as the Elba Island LNG facility on the Savannah River in Chatham County. The company already had secured contracts to transport fuel in the Palmetto Pipeline, with construction initially scheduled to begin this spring. Its statement expressed frustration but left open whether the project would be restarted later.

Mayo Clinic making $100M investment in Jacksonville” via the Financial News & Daily Record – Mayo Clinic will invest $100 million in construction projects at its Jacksonville campus, including a four-story medical building with the potential for 11 more floors. “With our vision to be the destination medical center of the Southeast, we are making significant investments in people, facilities and technology to meet the needs of all of our patients, especially those who come to us for help with complex medical problems,” said Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida … Mayo Clinic will add about 40 physicians and scientists and 250 allied health employees to support the 150,000-square-foot medical building and a new PET radio-chemistry facility … The health care organization has 5,351 employees in Jacksonville and said it contributes more than $1.6 billion to the Florida economy. Mayo Clinic will begin construction this summer on the destination medical building that will provide integrated services needed for complex cancer care, as well as neurological and neurosurgical care.

“BBQ sauce plant investment scheme not paying off for Jacksonville” via David Bauerlein of the Florida Times-Union – “Given a chance to help a homegrown company go national with Jerome Brown Original BBQ Sauce, Jacksonville agreed in 2011 to put up $640,000 for the venture … Five years later, the building at 5638 Commonwealth looks more like a vacant warehouse than it does a place of business. The parking lot sits empty. The 34,000-square-foot-building has no signs for Jerome Brown BBQ. The partners in Cowealth and Basic Products are Jo Ann Brown, who is the wife of Jerome Brown, and their daughter Katrina Brown, who was elected last year to City Council. They did not return phone calls and email requests for comment.”

Not in my neighborhood” via Josh Gore of the Folio Weekly – If developers receive approval from the Jacksonville City Council next month, Riverside residents may soon have another dining option. Some see the proposed development as contradicting the area’s zoning practices, tantamount to an assault on the fabric of their neighborhood; others are thrilled to have another dining option steps away from their doors. The proposed 150-seat restaurant, The Roost, will take over the location of the former Deluxe Laundry & Dry Cleaners in the 2200 block of Oak Street, between Osceola and Copeland streets near Five Points. Developers for the group say they hope to offer a much-needed café to the area. Naysayers, though, call it an encroachment on the residential streets of Riverside. Some Riverside residents are crying foul, saying a restaurant development jeopardizes the community’s unique character. As a result, these people have organized the growing group called Positive Riverside Optimized Urban Development, otherwise known as PROUD.

St. Johns Riverkeeper files petition to block permit for dredging project” via Nate Monroe of the Florida Times-Union – The St. Johns Riverkeeper filed a legal challenge to block a state permit that greenlights the Army Corps of Engineers plan to dredge the St. Johns River, a project long-desired by Jacksonville’s business community but viewed skeptically by environmental advocates. The watchdog group’s petition for an administrative hearing against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection argues the state agency issued a dredging permit despite evidence indicating the Corps and JaxPort underestimated the potential environmental damage of dredging and failed to build in adequate protections. The Corps has repeatedly defended its findings that the project will have essentially a minimal effect on the river’s health, asserting that based on “certified Corps of Engineers models and other relevant information, deepening the St. Johns River is projected to have a positive economic benefit and only minor environmental effects.”

Happening Wednesday – The Jax Chamber Professional Women’s Council luncheon begins 11:30 a.m. at Maggiano’s Little Italy, 10367 Midtown Parkway in Jacksonville. $20 for PWC members, $25 for nonmembers. Register at www.pwcjax.org.

Happening Thursday – The Jax Chamber Health Council luncheon begins 11:30 a.m. at the Deerwood Country Club, 10239 Golf Club Drive in Jacksonville. Tickets are $20 for Health Council members with advance registration; $25 for nonmembers; and $30 at the door. Register at JaxHealthCouncil.org.

Happening Thursday – The Florida State University College of Social Work is hosting a Military Caregiver Appreciation Luncheon honoring those who care for veterans and military service members. Event begins 11:30 a.m. at the Epping Forest Yacht Club, 1830 Epping Forest Drive in Jacksonville.

Hundreds expected to attend tech conference in St. Augustine” via WJCT – More than 200 web developers and technology professionals will be in St. Augustine to hear from local and national tech experts during the Ancient City Ruby Conference, which runs Wednesday through Friday of this week at the Casa Monica Hotel. This is the fourth year that Hashrocket, a design & development firm based in Jacksonville Beach, has hosted the event. Hashrocket CEO Marian Phelan said workshop instructors and 12 guest speakers will give participants the opportunity to learn about the latest in programming technology.

JEA Linemen take first place in Power Association Rodeo” – On Saturday, a team of JEA linemen won first place in the American Public Power Association (APPA) national lineman rodeo in Minneapolis. Established in 2001 by APPA, the Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo is where public power lineworkers come together from across the United States and some U.S. territories to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in the craft of linework. At the rodeo, journeyman and apprentice lineworkers compete for professional recognition and practice essential skills in a safe environment. The JEA lineman team also won first place in the Florida competition, which took place in Orlando last month.

What Deno Hicks is reading – “How this local drone company is benefiting from the FAA’s newest amendment in a big way” via Jensen Werley of the Jacksonville Business Journal – ASEC Inc., a Jacksonville drone company, was waiting for FAA approval to fly 12 drones commercially. It got approval for 1,100. In a surprise move, the Federal Aviation Administration gave any company that has been previously awarded its commercial flight license the authority to fly any drone model that has been approved, not just the one it was licensed for. Under the FAA’s previous rule, every drone a company wanted to fly had to have individual approval. ASEC filed for authorization to fly 12 models in September 2015. Now, under the new rule, not only does the company have approval to fly those 12, but it — and any other commercially licensed drone company — has approval for about 1,120 models. What’s more, the FAA said that a licensed company will also automatically have approval for any future models that are approved for flight by the FAA.

Jax’s One Spark grows up” via John Burr – Jacksonville’s One Spark Festival is growing up.

Originally conceived as a crowd-funding extravaganza to spark fledgling businesses, last year’s five-day Downtown festival turned into a mishmash of bleary-eyed boozy late night bashes featuring lots of ear-splitting rock music and craft beer. The entrepreneurial business fair was almost an afterthought. Even so, it was a winning combination attendance-wise, as the 2015 version drew over 300,000 people.

This year, the festival, which has been largely bankrolled by former Disney executive Peter Rummell, has been cut back to two days, and the business underpinnings of the festival have been re-established. This has caused not a small amount of grumbling around town, especially among the millennial beer-swilling legions, who feel that the fun part of One Spark has been exorcised, and they see little reason to attend this year. So you can expect far fewer attendees at this year’s festival, on Wednesday and Thursday.

“It’s time for the city to grow up, it really is,” said Kate Stewart, head of Jax Community of Entrepreneurs Inc., and one of the collaborators who redesigned the business innovation festival. Creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem from scratch in Jacksonville is hard work, she said, and the time has come for One Spark to focus on the task at hand. Stewart said the first day will contain the party atmosphere of earlier festivals, but Day 2 will be strictly business, with workshops for entrepreneurs on funding, growing and promoting startup companies.

Fingers crossed, that could be quite the buzz kill for One Spark.

Check out these renderings of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ new team entrance” via Alexa Epitropoulos of the Jacksonville Business Journal – The Jaguars announced plans to build a south end tunnel and a new team entrance, among other upgrades. There are also plans to build an exclusive club area, which will be located behind the south end zone. The new club area will allow guests access to Jaguars athletes, premium food and beverage options, as well as a “technologically advanced viewing area.” The renovations will be part of the same $90 million project as the previously announced amphitheater and flex field.

Happy birthday to Rep. Reggie Fullwood.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons