A.G. Gancarski, Author at Florida Politics - Page 5 of 379

A.G. Gancarski

Jacksonville City Council candidate passes away

“I passed away today. Show blessing to my family.”

These words, posted to the personal Facebook account of Jacksonville City Council candidate Derek Washington, shocked and stunned friends and family Saturday morning, causing people to have to overcome their own disbelief to re-confirm the tragedy.

Washington, an alumnus of Raines High School, was one of three candidates who had filed to replace Katrina Brown in District 8.

As was the case with one of the other filers, Diallo Sekou, Washington offered a sharp critique of Brown’s legal troubles, telling Action News Jax reporter Jenna Bourne that Brown’s “refusal to answer questions [about the] city lawsuit against her family business [will] be considered as a testament of malice in the court of public opinion and also among the [constituents] of District 8, [who] deserve better. Answers are not only needed but are demanded.”

Sekou, in comments offered Saturday morning, called Washington a “good man.”

Brown, who has yet to file for re-election, now will have to face Sekou and Brandon Byers, neither of whom have reported fundraising.

Overdose transports continue to rise in Northeast Florida

The city of Jacksonville passed a six-month pilot program for opioid treatment last week — and the program, which could help 600 addicts, can’t get going soon enough.

As of Jun. 21, Northeast Florida has seen 1,562 rescue transports for overdoses … a number very near the 1,739 in all of 2015.

The year 2016 saw 3,017 transports, indicating the timeframe of the crisis taking root.

The hospital with the most traffic: UF Health’s main campus on 8th Street.

331 overdose victims have gone there so far this year, delineating a possible reason for the hospital’s reluctance to be the primary E.R. for overdose victims; after all, the safety net hospital already bears the impact of many of these calls.


The aforementioned treatment pilot, intended to address the mounting body count from fentanyl and derivatives, would see a local emergency room used as a feeder for two in-patient treatment programs, which would (at least in theory) help some of Jacksonville’s addicts beat the habit.

Gateway and River Region would be the in-patient facilities; UF Health will be involved to aggregate data, and a competitive process will determine the ER facility that would feed them (likely, St. Vincent’s in Riverside).

The program includes the following: residential treatment; outpatient services; medication costs, physician fees; access to medical and psychiatric treatment; and urine fentanyl test strips.

Factors such as reduction of recidivism, relapse, and other indicators will be metrics of success — key, given that one of the pervasive impacts is repeated emergency calls involving the same users, sometimes multiple times in a day.

Drug testing, early and often, will be a hallmark of the program — covering all substances of abuse and analogues thereof, including fentanyl and carfentanil.


In May, Jacksonville was visited by Sen. Bill Nelson, who showed up at UF Health to call attention to the youngest victims of the crisis — newborns grasped by withdrawal as they struggle for their earliest breaths.

“Politics is getting in the way of care for babies,” Nelson said. “The poor child, through no fault of its own, is born addicted.”

“It’s another symptom of our times. We have a lot of opioid addiction. It has become a pandemic,” Nelson said, noting that 2,000 babies in Florida yearly are born “addicted because the mothers are addicted.”

Without federal Medicaid money, which is still a question given President Donald Trump‘s zeal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Nelson noted that there was no possible solution.

Paul Renner wins, and so does ‘Team Northeast Florida’

For Paul Renner, the path to winning Friday’s 2022 Florida House Speaker election in Orlando — with 16 votes in the first round — was not a sure thing.

First of all, he lost his first election for the House — a three-vote defeat to Rep. Jay Fant, a current Attorney General candidate, in House District 15 on Jacksonville’s Westside.

Renner was undeterred; he moved to Palm Coast, took a safe seat there, and then figured out the House very quickly.

Renner was a chief lieutenant of Speaker Richard Corcoran this last term, burnishing his conservative credentials and policy chops, and as time progressed, the Speaker’s race gradually went his way.

And despite the slight re-location, Renner is still a Jacksonville fixture, an attorney with deep roots in the community — and it was the Jacksonville and Northeast Florida establishment that went his way and made a key difference down the stretch.

A major fundraiser earlier this spring saw Renner bring in over $250,000 from everyone who mattered in the Northeast Florida donor class.

That liquidity — whether people want to believe it or not — was also intended as a signal to those voting in the race, including a lot of local freshman legislators: there is a regional priority in this leadership race, a chance to get something that has eluded Jacksonville since John Thrasher in 1999. Before that, in 1969, Democrat Frederick Schultz held the gavel. The city had four speakers between 1913 and 1937.

Local and regional power players see it as Northeast Florida’s time. As Renner’s time.

And Friday’s election ensured that the man who lost a squeaker to Jay Fant will be in a unique position to respond and push forward the region’s priorities.

Smart local politicians were ready to reach out to Renner to offer congratulations; a rising tide lifts all boats.

And by 2022, Jacksonville will have a lot of boats to lift: a dredging project that likely will be midstream; a septic tank phase out, for which state money proved elusive in the just completed session; a desired renovation of the Hart Bridge offramps to route traffic onto Bay Street, by new capital investments such as the amphitheater and whatever Shad Khan has planned otherwise.

Local politicians and “stakeholders” have long agonized about Jacksonville’s identity crisis, and a big part of that crisis in recent years has been the city being relatively ill-positioned to score big wins.

This, to be clear, was a big one.

“It’s been a long time,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry told us Friday afternoon regarding the Renner victory and its significance for the city and the region.

Efforts in the past were not successful: this one was, Curry said, as the business community was all in for Renner, as well as many of Curry’s key supporters — especially Tom Petway and John Rood, who we are told particularly engaged in driving the effort.

“I engaged,” Curry said, “and my full political operation engaged.”

Central to that engagement: Tim Baker and Brian Hughes, the visionary architects of triumph after triumph in recent years. They parlayed relationships throughout the state to help broaden Renner’s draw.

There was some resistance to coalescence among certain voting members of the Duval Delegation. That was not an option for Curry.

“We expect our team to be aligned — Team Northeast Florida,” Curry said.

Rep. Clay Yarborough, the former Jacksonville City Council President who was one of those 16 Renner votes, noted that the outcome lined up with his count.

Yarborough saw “tremendous positives” for the region and the city both — positives that will be seen before 2022, as in the years leading up to Renner’s Speakership, he will be in “conversations with leadership,” and his “place at the table” will help him advocate for regional priorities.

The region, Yarborough said, can be “lining stuff up” that takes years to make happen — a generational opportunity for Northeast Florida.

Duval Delegation Republicans Yarborough, Cord Byrd, and Jason Fischer are all Renner’s contemporaries; meanwhile, there could be a new person in Rep. Fant’s seat soon also. This means, realistically, that long-range planning is uniquely possible for the GOP delegation locally and regionally.

Yarborough respects Renner’s “steady hand,” how he “weathered the storms of challenging issues during the Legislative Session.”

“Some thought he’d crash and burn,” Yarborough noted. However, Renner responded to the challenges, getting support “well beyond Duval County” and Northeast Florida.

Rep. Fischer was likewise optimistic about the “tremendous opportunity for Northeast Florida … the beginning of great things to come.”

Fischer also noted the importance went beyond the region: “We united as a class,” Fischer said, saying that today’s result is “great for the state.”

Indeed, Renner talked about the state to media Friday.

“I think one of the things I spoke about is that every member of the team is critical. That is something I learned in the military, from the first day of boot camp. You learn that you succeed or fail as a team,” Renner told FloridaPolitics.com’s Scott Powers.

“The focus I would like to have is we have a great class, we can do great things together, and I want to be the facilitator,” Renner said.

Indeed, the class is uniting: Rep. Jamie Grant and Renner were seen joking ahead of the conclave, and the appropriate statements of congratulations are coming from those who didn’t win this one.

“I want to congratulate my friend and colleague Paul Renner on his election as our 2016 Republican class leader. I am confident he will do an outstanding job in the role, and I look forward to working with him. I was honored to be a candidate, and I also congratulate Jamie Grant and Erin Grall on the fine races they ran. Now that this election is behind us, let’s look forward to working together to put conservative policies in place that will create jobs and a brighter future for all Floridians,” Rep. Byron Donalds asserted.

Former State Rep. Lake Ray, a veteran of eight years in the State House, described how that work — and Renner’s influence — would build over time.

Renner’s pull will really be significant when he is Speaker-Designate and going forward, Ray said.

As Speaker, Renner will have a number of prerogatives, Ray noted.

One key one: a direct impact on appropriations, especially regarding unencumbered money, which he and the Senate President will figure out how to allocate. Ultimately, Ray said, up to 30 percent of what could be anywhere from $250-$450M could find its way to regional projects.

Renner’s leadership team is also worth watching, in terms of commitments made down the stretch — and especially key, timely commitments. The posts to watch specifically: the chairs of Appropriations and Rules, which can serve a gatekeeper role in terms of killing any bills that may need to die for whatever reason.

An unsung hero of the effort outside of this class and Duval County: Rep. Travis Cummings.

As an extremely reliable source put it, Cummings was instrumental in the push for Renner, helping to steady some members who were prone to wobbling.

Gwen Graham to Rick Scott: Keep voter data out of Donald Trump’s hands

It remains to be seen what pull Gwen Graham has with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who finally has a “partner in the White House” in President Donald Trump.

However, when it comes to witholding Florida voter data from what she sees as a sham investigation into “non-existent” voter fraud, the Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate wants Scott to just say no to Trump.

The perceived need for the data by Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity — data which includes partial Social Security numbers — nettles Graham.

“This commission is designed to prove something that has already been established as demonstratively false: President Trump’s ludicrous claim that 3-5 million Americans voted illegally in the last election,” Graham asserts in her letter to Scott.

Graham throws some heat at the Governor also: “As your administration learned after its costly, partisan attempt to purge our state’s voter rolls, there is no evidence of significant voter fraud in Florida. With these facts in mind, it would be irresponsible to send sensitive data on Florida voters to President Trump’s phony commission.”

Such rhetoric isn’t likely to sway Gov. Scott, of course; however, the press release from the Graham camp spotlights her plan for reform — also included in the letter.

It is full of familiar Democratic tropes: universal voter registration; re-enfranchisement of reformed felons; expanded early voting; and greater facilitation of voting on college campuses.

As the Andrew Gillum campaign becomes mired in one news cycle morass after another, Graham here makes a calculated play to progressives, delivering the partisan fire that it will take to get her through the primary with an energized base.

‘Stronger Together,’ says new Jax City Council President Anna Brosche

The question as of Friday morning in Jacksonville: will “stronger together” work better for the new City Council President than for Hillary Clinton?

Anna Brosche was elected Jacksonville City Council President weeks back. On Thursday night she assumed the role officially.

The installation ceremony sprawled out over two hours, and included a selection from an opera about political intrigue and betrayal.

A cynic would say that, given the shambolic, chaotic, and pitched race for Council President, that such was appropriate.

The smooth jazz song? Well, Chris Hong of the Florida Times-Union noted the lyrics: “The things we do to make each other feel bad … taking up time with the silly games we play … sometimes I feel we try to make each other sad.”

As a rule, smooth jazz signals my time to step into the lobby — and so it was in this case. But, as luck had it, I caught enough of the song to know that there was a jarring pathos in the lyrics, an attempt to bridge a gap of disharmony and rediscover a common mission — that ol’ One City One Jacksonville magic.

Outgoing Council President Lori Boyer‘s remarks touched on something each of her colleagues accomplished in the previous year, but really boiled down to one wistful sentiment: “Despite occasional personal conflicts … we accomplished so much together.”

Those conflicts simmered through the first part of Boyer’s year, with a familiar hierarchy of council members on the prime-time committees and what Bill Gulliford candidly dubbed the “lesser committees.” That same Bill Gulliford, it turned out, flipped the script without acknowledging it in January.

First, Gulliford said to John Crescimbeni that he needed to close the deal quickly — which didn’t happen, not at all, as all but two of his pledges were there at the kickoff.

Then, in a spectacular moment of hubris, Gulliford said that he would not serve in a standing committee in the Brosche administration. And that, despite his attempt to walk it back, came to pass.

Gulliford got dealt out. Also moved off the hot stove: another big Crescimbeni backer, Tommy Hazouri. Gulliford got no committee slots; Hazouri got one, and it’s not exactly marquee. That’s the way it goes when you go all in for a losing cause.

The balance of the votes went to Brosche. And though there are those on the fourth floor who maintain — persuasively — that there is a vast difference between cobbling together 11 votes and building real policy consensus, the reality was that the Mayor’s Office wanted one outcome, put its thumb on the scale, and it went the other way.

Whether one believes that the past is prologue, or per William Faulkner, it ain’t even past, it was up to Brosche to provide a unity message during her speech — which was deep into the program, an installation ceremony that ran half an hour longer than did the inauguration of Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams two years prior.

The “stronger together” theme permeated the remarks, with Brosche making the case that the Council’s strength was in its diversity and multiplicity of perspectives. In that, her remarks echoed those made when she won the vote on Council.

“We each see the world differently and are stronger together,” Brosche said during that portion of her remarks.

Brosche also extended encomium to Mayor Curry, thanking him for showing up (which, well, it would have been news if he and his senior staff hadn’t).  And she lauded Curry’s commitment to downtown development: ““Downtown represents economic vitality … Jacksonville is fortunate to have a mayor who understands importance of downtown development.”

Indeed, Brosche’s boosterism for downtown was another purposeful, Chamber-friendly theme of the speech; downtown’s density, she contended, boosted the tax rolls, and if the impact of that is maximized, a thriving downtown could be the rising tide that lifts all boats — specifically, the neighborhoods of the city, some of which are “safe and healthy” while others experience “distress.”

The root causes of such distress, of course, take many forms — and Brosche, as is the case with every other person in elected office in Jacksonville, didn’t address the disproportionate impact of aggressive policing in certain areas, the gaping maw the prison-police-industrial complex has left in African-American family structures for generations now, or the realities of educational feeder systems that fail in perpetuity.

People don’t vote on those issues anyway. The public discourse is sclerotic; this is, at its heart, a red meat town.

Brosche’s remarks, as are always the case with Jacksonville leaders, had more modest aims — consensus aims that suit everyone from GOP gadfly Danny Becton to the “pack” of African-American Democrats that secured Brosche’s winning margin and will join Becton on Finance next year.

One of those Democrats — Reggie Brown — will chair a special committee on “safe and healthy neighborhoods.” A Republican who supported Crescimbeni, the universally-liked Scott Wilson, will chair a special committee on parks; Jacksonville’s park system, like so many other aspects of its infrastructure, fell into disrepair over years and decades of millage rollbacks designed to secure the political futures of a previous generation’s best and brightest.

Brosche’s vision?

“To make Jacksonville the best city in the world for a child to grow up in,” she said.

As is this writer’s habit, he beat a retreat for the door of the auditorium before the closing benediction. And he wasn’t alone.

Staffers from the Mayor’s Office also found their way to the door, beating the crowd — understandably given that many of them have been mired in the Mayor’s Budget Review Committee all month, which — though not as taxing as the Great Council Office Swap of 2017 — has its own attendant pressures. And it was a school night.

So, “stronger together”?

That formulation blew up in Hillary Clinton’s case, as Donald Trump bet on the obvious reality that once one gets outside the boardrooms and the country clubs, what coalescence might have existed decades back, when unions weren’t just for the government sector, when churches were thriving hubs of community, when Jacksonville’s core neighborhoods had more homes with edged lawns and tidy streets than investment grade properties, simply doesn’t exist anymore.

But that message wasn’t for the people: 30 percent of them, maybe less, will vote — this is a transient town, one in which the supervoters and the 50+ crowd hold disproportionate sway over the renters from elsewhere, the corporate transfers, and the Navy folks who liked the climate and affordable housing and decided to retire here.

The message, ultimately, was for the people on Council who didn’t vote for her. For those “influencers” who may have had those quiet conversations with generally malleable Council members.

For all the strum und drang ahead of the vote, for all the tales told out of school in its aftermath, the “stronger together” message boiled down, as it did for Clinton, to a simple, familiar concept of collaboration: “business as usual.”

The first test of that: July 17, when the Mayor drops his budget on Council.

While some key crowd-pleasing initiatives almost certainly will be leaked to friendly reporters between now and then, the rubber will hit the road during the budget process — especially in August, when a radically reconstituted Finance Committee gets to test the limits of one of the bigger cliches in Jacksonville politics: that “Council is the policy-making body.”

Council can do a lot of things, definitely; but in terms of the game of retail politics, no one on the body has demonstrated the ability to craft the narrative like the political side of the Lenny Curry operation — a big-city shop that has, since its inception, outclassed the parochialism of virtually every political operator it saw as an obstacle.

Event management highlights review of Jacksonville venues budgets

On Thursday, the office of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry took its annual romp through budgets of venues managed by SMG.

SMG, which saw its contract renewed for five more years this week via the Jacksonville City Council, manages Jacksonville sports and entertainment facilities.

Highlights? For masochists and budget obsessives, they are below. The struggle, as ever, between SMG asks and what the city seeks to provide.


As ever, the most interesting parts of these hearings — the enhancement requests.

Changes are on the way for management of city events, and those changes illuminate the symbiosis between the city and Shad Khan.

Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa noted, in request for a seemingly quotidian FTE request for a SMG housekeeping supervisor, that the city is negotiating a deal with Bold Events  — a Jaguars subsidiary — for managing city events at the flex field and the amphitheater.

Such events could include gameday concerts at the amphitheater.

This led to an interesting exchange, with SMG balking at new information being provided.

“The gameplan is Bold Events is going to manage our events,” Mousa said, everything from finding artists to promoting the events. “I don’t see you working for us under that scenario. You’d be working for Bold Events.”

Other expenses are incurred due to the integration of the stadium and the amphitheater, such as an additional $100,000 in the SMG budget for security.

SMG expressed concerns regarding the Jaguars covering overhead on Bold Events also; Mousa wanted to ensure that SMG had separate books, so that no “commingling” of revenue streams existed.

“It’s going to be a heck of an auditing process,” CFO Mike Weinstein mused, with the City Council auditor.

Eventually, discussion revealed that there was one set of books, coded by SMG to carve out and track budget line items and expenditures.


Among other fun facts: the lack of Jacksonville Armada rentals at the Baseball Grounds cost the city $91,000 in revenue.

Sod at EverBank Field: $600,000 a year typically. The NFL is issuing more exacting guidelines, however, and the cost of high-level sod is going to cost more — $725,000 a year.

The plan is to assume the whole field, and not just the center of the pitch, will have to be resodded.

The last time the Jaguars resodded the whole field: during the playoffs in the late 1990s.

Mousa offered to do the resodding himself, if the playoffs were an actuality instead of a sepia-tinged memory.


Mousa, as happens yearly, pushed back against SMG’s budget requests on line item after line item, with SMG maintaining a $556,000 deficit exists between budget and actual spending on equipment, including food service equipment.

Mousa’s take: “you’re looking to rob Peter to pay Paul.”

SMG, meanwhile, said their budgetary projections are realistic, with “risk” involved.

“We’re giving you $3.4M more in surcharge,” Mousa said, “to help you get through the routine. Capital repairs and maintenance. I find this hard to bump this up another $1.7M to add to $3.4M.”

Eventually, Mousa offered to hold that number in abeyance.

Mousa noted, later on, that $4.3M is budgeted for maintenance and repairs for the stadium.

Regarding debt service, $19.3M is budgeted, from a variety of subfunds including Better Jacksonville Plan funding.

Tommy Hazouri endorses Gwen Graham for Governor

Former Jacksonville Mayor and current City Councilman Tommy Hazouri endorsed Gwen Graham for Governor Thursday.

“From the first week of her campaign, Gwen Graham has shown she understands how important Jacksonville is to winning back our state. From her commitment to human rights to her passion for protecting our natural resources and environment,” Hazouri said, “Gwen Graham is focused on issues that matter to Democrats, the City of Jacksonville and the entire state of Florida. For these reasons, among many more, I’m proud to support and help Gwen win Jacksonville and win the governor’s race in November 2018.”

Graham also rolled out another Jacksonville endorsement Thursday: Soil and Water Board Chair Shannon Blankinship.

Florida Congresspeople: No to seismic testing in Atlantic Ocean

On Thursday, over 100 Congress members, many from Florida, signed off on a letter to the Department of the Interior opposing Atlantic Ocean seismic testing.

In April, the Trump Administration announced that it is considering opening the Outer Continental Shelf Planning Areas to oil and gas exploration and drilling, via seismic testing

Even for Congressmen like John Rutherford, a stalwart Trump supporter, seismic testing is a bridge too far.

Congressman Rutherford said, “Traveling through my district I have heard from countless business owners and residents along the North Florida coasts who are concerned about the risks of seismic testing to our healthy ocean fisheries. While future offshore drilling activities in the Atlantic would put our communities at risk down the road, seismic testing threatens our fragile coastal economies today. Our coastal economy should not be put at undue risk at a time when our booming oil and gas production is more than enough to meet our current energy needs.”

The letter asserts that the “decision to move forward with permits for seismic airgun surveys for subsea oil and gas deposits puts at risk the vibrant Atlantic Coast economies dependent on healthy ocean ecosystems.”

The letter also notes that information obtained from seismic surveys is proprietary to the oil and gas industry, with even Congress restricted from the information.

Rutherford was not the only Florida signatory to the letter.

Joining him: Reps. Ted YohoAlcee HastingsDennis RossFrancis RooneyDebbie Wasserman SchultzRon DeSantisTed DeutchLois FrankelAl LawsonStephanie MurphyIleana Ros-Lehtinen, and Fredrica Wilson.

Foreclosure auction Thursday for Jax Councilor’s BBQ sauce plant

From sauce to loss, the story continues.

Thursday sees a foreclosure auction of the former Jerome Brown BBQ sauce plant in Northwest Jacksonville.

There is an interesting gap between the assessed value of the plant ($958,700) and the final judgement amount ($2,795,533.89).

CoWealth LLC, one of Councilwoman Katrina Brown‘s family’s shell companies, entered into an economic development deal with the city of Jacksonville, with a Small Business Administration loan helping the Browns secure the warehouse on Commonwealth Ave.

The cheerless space, an older building in one of Jacksonville’s more economically distressed areas, was intended to be a job creator for the neighborhood — 56 jobs were to be created, and the idea was that Jerome Brown BBQ sauce would be a national success story.

Alas, it didn’t quite go down like that, and now everyone is suing the Browns’ companies for whatever they can get

CoWealth originally borrowed $2.65 million from Biz Capital, via the SBA loan, in addition to $380,000 of loans from the city of Jacksonville and $220,000 of grants, for the sauce plant.

However, after five years plus, the plant created exactly zero permanent jobs, 56 jobs short of the 56 job goal.

And now everyone wants their money.

The city of Jacksonville is suing the companies for $220,000 in clawback money for failure to satisfy the agreement; however, Biz Capital will get paid first, as Jacksonville is subordinate to the primary creditor.

Despite the failure of the BBQ sauce plant and the legal morass described over and over again on our site, the fortunes of the companies’ title manager have only gotten more favorable.

Brown is a first-term Jacksonville City Councilwoman who will spend her second straight year ensconced on the Finance Committee, in which capacity she evaluates economic development deals that, in all likelihood, will work out better in terms of tangible goals than the BBQ sauce swamp in which millions of dollars of incentive money was sunk this decade.

Brown, who drives a Porsche SUV, had shown up recently at the Jacksonville City Council for an Ethics Meeting, at which point we attempted to ask her the status of this case.

“I continue to tell you no comment. You can ask me a thousand times and I would still say no comment,” Brown said.

This sad story goes unremarked on the record by anyone in City Hall, as they like Brown and are too polite to offer criticism.

Union head, Council leaders laud Lenny Curry family leave proposal

In a move that will certainly shore up union support for his likely-uncontested re-election bid, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry rolled out a paid family leave proposal Thursday for all city employees.

Family leave for city workers was an agenda item for Curry, which the administration had to get pension reform resolved to make happen.

This is, we are told, part of a larger commitment to ensuring that city policy facilitates strong, healthy families, a comprehensive vision that will encompass reforms of programs involving what Curry calls “at-hope kids,” and economically-challenged neighborhoods.

“I know first-hand the tremendous value and benefit our family received when Molly was able to stay home with our new babies. I believe all families deserve an environment where parents and newborns get an opportunity to bond without the worry of work demands and stresses of a reduced income,” Curry said.

Sen. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, added the following in the press release.

“I’m excited Mayor Curry is working to provide paid family leave to City of Jacksonville employees,” said Senator Marco Rubio. “From the rising cost of living to the historically high cost of raising children, affordable family formation is one of the great social challenges of our time.”

Conceptually, the proposal aligns with talk from the Donald Trump administration, where Ivanka Trump has spoken out in favor of family leave policies.

Meanwhile, City Council President-Designate Anna Brosche, who will be President later Thursday after an installation ceremony, offered conceptual support — a quote not in the press release.

“I conceptually agree with the Mayor’s plan to support families and provide a great start for children. The Mayor’s history shows he doesn’t introduce proposals without study and understanding fiscal impact. I look forward to seeing the details and timeline,” Brosche told us Thursday morning.

Incoming Finance Chair Garrett Dennis — an important ally as this will have a financial impact — likewise backed the play.

“As usual,” Dennis told us Thursday morning, “Mayor Curry puts families first.  Whether it is promoting safe neighborhoods, creating jobs, or helping kids learn how to swim to prevent drowning, Mayor Curry is always thinking about improving the quality of life of every citizen in Jacksonville.   I can’t wait to see the details and I will be a partner with the Mayor as he works to improve lives in our city.”

And Fraternal Order of Police head Steve Zona likewise lauded the Mayor’s move.

“I have always told people that work with me “family first always”. There is nothing more important. I applaud Mayor Curry for his leadership on this issue and willingness to take a bold step in that direction,” Zona said.

While costs of the plan have not been disclosed, the conceptual support and the obvious need for the initiative, coupled with Curry’s own political machine and capital, mean that any resistance to this proposal likely is futile.


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