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JEA got another round of bad press this week.

Jax

Committee messages against JEA privatization

Save JEA now.

That’s the rallying cry of a political committee (Florida Committee for Infrastructure Investment) designed to stop the exploration of selling Jacksonville’s utility in its tracks.

The charge: “Mayor Curry and his buddies are trying to sell JEA behind your back. He has already been caught giving misleading statement to the media about the sale. Executives have already been promised a golden parachute after the sale.”

The timing of the committee is no accident; the joint meeting of the JEA Board and Jacksonville City Council to discuss the sale is at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Mayor Lenny Curry is open to exploring a sale of JEA, a proposal first floated by Tom Petway — a leading Curry supporter from when the Republican first got into the Mayor’s race.

Petway, leaving the JEA Board in 2017, said it was time to explore privatization.

A draft valuation report commissioned by JEA came to the same conclusion; the final product will be released Wednesday.

City Hall is steeped in drama: the Jacksonville City Council President’s assistant accused Mayor Curry’s chief of staff of “accosting” her on Monday.

That Council President, Anna Brosche, has stated that she wants a referendum as a precondition for exploring a sale, and made a charge that Curry wanted emergency legislation pushed Wednesday to authorize next steps. Curry has denied that.

However, this particular political committee comes from outside of City Hall. Its registered agent and treasurer, Michael Langton and Heather Pullen, both have connections to Lisa King, the chair of the Duval Democrats.

With resistance on City Council to exploring a sale of JEA, and Mayor Curry’s political adversaries sensing an opportunity to score a victory, what is clear is that Wednesday will be a day of confrontation in the City Council chambers.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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