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Lenny Curry warns of ‘chatter from outside groups’ opposed to Confederate monument removal

During a Jacksonville press gaggle Tuesday, Mayor Lenny Curry warned of “chatter” heard by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in the wake of Council President Anna Brosche‘s proposal to remove Confederate monuments.

Curry comments came during questions to Gov. Rick Scott and him regarding the proposed removal of these monuments — a proposal fraught with controversy locally, with that controversy even extending to the Council.

“I do think it’s important when we talk about public safety to recognize that how this is pursued in our community is important,” Curry said.

“I get briefed by the Sheriff regularly. I can tell you right now from discussions with him, based on Council’s wanting to outright say they want to remove these — there’s chatter from these outside groups. People in Charlottesville are already talking about coming to Jacksonville. We want to keep those groups out of our city, and we want to work together as a community to have a civil discourse.”

“I’m not proposing we remove these monuments,” Curry said. “Certainly, if the public wants to have that conversation — now the Council President has said this is her priority to remove them.”

“I urge the Council to have that discussion, that debate, Whatever they decide, I’ll evaluate it when it lands on my desk at that time,” Curry said, refraining from a commitment to sign or veto the bill when asked.

Council President Brosche addressed Curry’s comments later Tuesday afternoon, saying that she’s “kicked off a process for defining an orderly and respectful solution for consideration by the Council and Mayor. I hope the community can allow that process to work.”

Gov. Scott said that Florida’s “representative governments” should “discuss and review” these monuments.

“At the local level,” Scott said, “they can make a decision.”

The same holds true for the state and federal level.

“We need to go through a process where everybody comes together, makes a decision, then we go forward. My goal is that we are unifiers … that hatred, bigotry, racism should not be part of our society. In regard to monuments,” Scott said, “that decision should be made through a local process.”

“Our state comes together … we have to be the best melting pot in the world … we get together in our state. We solve problems in our state,” Scott said, urging trust in the “process,” one which includes the Mayor.

Hate mail won’t change Anna Brosche’s resolve to remove Jax Confederate monuments

Jacksonville City Council President Anna Brosche shocked many in local politics when she announced commencement of a process to remove Jacksonville’s Confederate monuments.

“I intend to propose legislation to move Confederate monuments, memorials, and markers from public property to museums and educational institutions where they can be respectfully preserved and historically contextualized. It is important to never forget the history of our great city; and, these monuments, memorials, and markers represent a time in our history that caused pain to so many,” Brosche asserted Monday in the wake of Charlottesville’s violence this weekend.

Some Council members aren’t ready. Mayor Lenny Curry, while sympathetic to the sentiment behind it, is waiting to see what legislation emerges as a remedy.

Meanwhile, as was the case with Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance, the haters are emerging from the woodwork — and they are filling Brosche’s inbox with the kinds of vituperative emails unseen in Jacksonville city official inboxes since the discussion of LGBT rights was wrapped in February.

One such email purported to be from a senior administrator at a local university; that university, it turns out, had a cyber-security breach that this episode uncovered.

“I find your caving in to nasty commie anarchist hebes and their black jungle-bunny friends to be repulsive,” the emailer wrote.

“You are an Asian!  You don’t belong here. You aren’t from here.  You just can’t cave in to these sorry people and screw everyone else.  You should not even be on the city council,” the emailer added, saying “liberals and their n*** allies are making you look bad.”

We asked Brosche her thoughts.

“While I’ve received an email with a closing salutation of ‘FU,’ that was the worst email so far. It does not change my position either way,” Brosche said.

Another emailer was more terse, and a fan of boldface and caps lock: “YOU’RE AN ANTI – SOUTHERN, WHITE – HATING RACIST! I HOPE AN ILLEGAL ALIEN DRUNK DRIVER CRASHES INTO YOU AND PUTS YOU OUT OF YOUR OBVIOUS MISERY, YOU COMMUNIST B****!”

Despite these examples, Brosche characterizes the reaction of community members as “pretty split” thus far.

“Lots of thanks, appreciation. Others very upset and disappointed,” Brosche said.

The next meeting of the Jacksonville City Council is on Tuesday Aug. 22.

Expect the discussion of Jacksonville’s Confederate monuments to be central during the public comment period.

Meanwhile, local right wing activists are also making their feelings known, such as local political consultant Raymond Johnson.

“It is disappointing but unfortunately expected from our current city council president, recruited from an organized group of liberal women seeking elected office influenced by progressive Audrey Moran,” was how Johnson described Brosche’s proposal.

Removal of these monuments, Johnson asserts, jibes with “the Socialist, Communist, Marxist agenda of the radical LGBT Homosexual sexual revolution aimed at destroying the biblical family and religious freedom through the force of law.”

Jacksonville pols, civic leaders urge Confederate monument removal

In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville this weekend, which included one person killed by a domestic terrorist, protesters in Jacksonville renewed calls to remove Confederate monuments in the city.

Such calls have increased in intensity in recent weeks, with interesting contretemps at Jacksonville City Council meetings between Confederate enthusiasts and progressives who believe those symbols, rather than being celebrations of heritage, are venerations of institutional racism that has yet to abate.

Passions are swirling.

In that context, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry offered a strong statement Monday morning after a job creation event, leaving no room for confusion as to where he stands. And, soon thereafter, Council President Anna Brosche offered a way forward to perhaps remove the controversial Confederate markers.

“Let’s first start with what happened this weekend,” Curry said, regarding the loss of life in Charlottesville at the hands of a white supremacist.

“Both of my grandfathers fought in World War II. One of my grandfathers told stories of literal face to face combat with Nazis. I heard these stories as a child,” Curry said.

“One grandfather told me specifically what he was up against,” Curry added. “He had friends who didn’t come home. I saw the effects it had on him; I condemn it.”

“I condemn and reject the KKK, white supremacy, all of these groups — Nazis, neo-Nazis. It’s not what America is about. Frankly that’s not what humanity should be about,” Curry said.

“I do believe in our creed that we’re all created equally. So it’s sickening,” Curry said.

“Should we have any kind of public assembly here on this issue,” Curry added, “I’m going to work with JSO and make sure it’s safe and we don’t experience injury or loss of life.”

Curry then left an opening for a resolution to this issue from the legislative branch.

“That said,” Curry added, “City Council is the legislative body. We have a new Council President. I’ve yet to have a member of City Council come to me and say this is their priority; however, if a Council President or members of Council deem this to be a priority, on monuments, then I urge them to have a debate in a public forum.”

“If legislation develops,” Curry added, “I’ll see what it is at that time.”

Legislation may move sooner than later, with a strong statement from Council President Brosche.

“Following the leads of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and most recently the Florida Senate who removed Confederate items from public places in Tallahassee, and in response to the horrific and unacceptable incidents that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, I am asking that the City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department and the Planning Department (Community Planning Division, Historic Preservation Section) conduct an inventory of all Confederate monuments, memorials, and markers on public property,” Brosche wrote Monday.

“In order to develop an appropriate plan of action to relocate Confederate monuments, memorials, and markers, it is important to know the full landscape of such a task. Upon completion of the inventory, I intend to propose legislation to move Confederate monuments, memorials, and markers from public property to museums and educational institutions where they can be respectfully preserved and historically contextualized. It is important to never forget the history of our great city; and, these monuments, memorials, and markers represent a time in our history that caused pain to so many,” Brosche added.

Brosche’s position was endorsed strongly Monday afternoon by Ed Burr, head of the Jacksonville Civic Council.

“The Jacksonville Civic Council opposes racism and discrimination in every form and seeks to advance a culture of fairness and respect for all. We commend Mayor Lenny Curry and City Council President Brosche for taking the lead to thoughtfully consider removal of Confederate monuments from local public property, particularly in light of the tragic events of last weekend. The Civic Council will evaluate and weigh in on any legislation introduced
on the matter. Our vision of Jacksonville holds no room for hate.”

In what seems like a retrospective contrast, City Council members were reluctant to offer opinions Monday morning at City Hall.

“No comment,” said Councilman Sam Newby. Councilmen Doyle Carter and Scott Wilson also gave essential no comment statements.

Others were more voluble, if no less conflicted.

“I’m willing to listen to both sides,” Council VP Aaron Bowman said. “What happened last weekend in Charlottesville was despicable.”

Regarding Jacksonville’s Confederate momuments, Bowman suggested “some could be taken down, while others stay up.”

Jacksonville’s most high-profile Confederate monument in Hemming Park, Bowman said, could fall in either category.

“I’m willing to listen,” Bowman said, “and do what’s right for the community.”

Councilman Greg Anderson described himself as “very disappointed” with what went down in Charlottesville, a situation that exemplifies the perils “when groups decide to stop talking.”

On Jacksonville’s historical monuments, meanwhile, Anderson has yet to take a position.

Councilman Jim Love noted that he’s getting a lot more “anti-monument emails” in recent days, but he hasn’t “made up his mind” on the matter.

Love described the “death in Charlottesville” as “terrible,” and noted the “vitriol” in recent public comment periods as concerning.

“I understand both sides,” Love said. “It’s a tough call. You want to make the people happy.”

The Hemming statue, said Love, “has been out there 100 years. If we take another two or three years to figure it out, it won’t hurt.”

‘Jacksonville is hot,’ says Lenny Curry at Macquarie ribbon cutting

Early in the term of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, Australian financial sector titans the Macquarie Group came to town.

Jacksonville beat out other competitors in what was called a robust global search in 2015; in 2017, Macquarie doubled down with an expansion of its Southbank Riverwalk location.

The incentive package driving that was rolled out in May.

 City incentives helped MacQuarie decide to bring 50 new operations jobs and $1.7M in capital investment to the River City instead of a city in Northern India.

Jacksonville assumes 20 percent, or $50,000 of the cost, via the QTI Targeted Tax Refund Program. The state meanwhile assumes $200,000 of the financial impact.

On Monday at Macquarie’s Jacksonville HQ, Mayor Curry said that the expansion is one more piece of evidence that “Jacksonville is hot.”

Curry cited the private sector, universities, and the regulatory environment as reasons why that is.

Council President Anna Brosche added that “once businesses come here, they grow here.”

The partnership between the Mayor’s Office, the City Council, and the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce has been pivotal toward closing deals, Curry said.

The Mayor added that, despite changes in incentives on the state level, there’s still room for economic incentives to drive similar relocations.

While the economy is necessarily “cyclical,” Curry said that “if you have a wave, it’s smart to ride that wave.”

Chamber Chair Darnell Smith noted that the Chamber has already announced 2,600 new jobs with a $550M economic impact this year.

Matt Carlucci clears $100,000 on hand in 2019 Jax City Council race

When it comes to fundraising in Duval County 2019 races, the landscape comes down to two City Council candidates, then everybody else.

As has been the case in recent months, Jacksonville City Council hopefuls Matt Carlucci and Ron Salem are the two declared candidates demonstrating fundraising traction thus far.

Carlucci is in an especially impressive position; just two months into his campaign to succeed termed-out Greg Anderson in At Large District 4, he’s already raised $106,000, with almost $101,000 of it on hand.

July saw Carlucci bring in $46,025 of new money. His donors include former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford ($500) and his “Committee for a Stronger Florida” ($1,000), former newscaster Deborah Gianoulis ($500),  School Board member and potential 2019 City Council candidate Warren Jones ($250), JSO Spox Lauri-Ellen Smith ($300), former Alvin Brown spox Dave DeCamp ($100), former Mayor and current Councilman Tommy Hazouri ($250), former Mayor John Peyton’s Gate Petroleum ($1,000), Stephen JoostKaren Bowling ($250), and the Fiorentino Group and Marty Fiorentino ($500 and $500).

Carlucci has no opposition on the ballot yet.

Ron Salem, running to succeed termed-out John Crescimbeni, inched closer to $100,000 raised with a $3,415 July.

No other 2019 candidates have raised more than $1,800.

Summer doldrums dog northeast Florida lawmakers’ fundraising

Certainly, this will be a different story in 2018. But in July 2017, fundraising for Northeast Florida State Representatives and Senators was slow.

The two incumbent state Senators on the ballot, Republican Aaron Bean and Democrat Audrey Gibson, each raised under $10,000 in July.

Bean raised $9,500 and spent $1,915 in July, giving him just under $31,500 on hand. Of that $9,500, $4,000 came from Disney subsidiaries.

Gibson raised $6,500 and spent $177 in July, giving her just under $58,000 on hand. The bulk of Gibson’s July haul came from political committees.

State House fundraising likewise was a snoozer for incumbents, most of whom lack even nominal ballot opposition.

House District 11 Republican Cord Byrd raised no money, and entered August with roughly $12,000 on hand. No worries for Byrd, though, who carried the general election last year with 98 percent of the vote against a write-in.

HD 12 Republican Clay Yarborough raised $7,500 in July.

Yarborough has raised nearly $49,000 this cycle, and has just under $41,000 of that on hand, as he prepares for a general election challenge in the deep red district.

Yarborough is slated to face a general election opponent: Tim Yost, a local college instructor running as a Democrat.

Yost has raised $2,215, largely from small-dollar donors, with a few bearing the surname of Yost.

HD 13 Democrat Tracie Davis didn’t raise money in July, and remains with just over $16,000 on hand.

HD 14 Democrat Kim Daniels likewise took the W; the charismatic Democrat, beloved by Tallahassee Republicans, has $100 on hand — a number that will change when Daniels deems it necessary.

HD 15’s only candidate, Republican Wyman Duggan, filed to run in August and has yet to report campaign finance activity.

HD 16 Republican Jason Fischer raised $2,500, with $1,000 of that from the political committee of Mayor Lenny Curry. Fischer has just over $53,000 in hard money. and his own political committee (“Conservative Solutions for Jacksonville”)

HD 17 incumbent Cyndi Stevenson brought in $1,500 in July; the St. Johns County Republican has just over $50,000 on hand.

One notable exception to the above: “Working for Florida’s Families,” the political committee of Sen. Rob Bradley, had a strong month.

The Fleming Island Republican’s committee raised $77,500 in July, boosting the total north of $450,000.

Reserve fund row rocks Jacksonville budget hearing

Taking advantage of budget relief after pension reform, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry‘s new budget proposed raising the emergency reserve.

When Curry came into office, there were worries that — absent pension reform — Jacksonville would have to tap into the reserve.

Curry’s team proposes a bump up to 6 percent this year, and the hope is to eventually boost that number to 8 percent. To that end, a proposal was made to trasnfer over $10M from the general fund to boost the reserve.

However, a former Council President and political ally sounded concerns that too much money is being socked away.

The measure was ultimately postponed, striking a blow at the fiscal policy of the Lenny Curry administration, with Finance Chair Garrett Dennis scoring a political victory as the week drew to a close.

____

“It’s our hurricane or catastrophe subfund,” Council Auditor Kyle Billy said, noting the budget ordinance would change the threshold from 7 percent to a more elastic 6 to 8 percent.

The actual proposed budget requires $68.7M to hit that threshold, an additional 3.1 percent over what is proposed.

Councilwoman Lori Boyer had qualms, noting that we have an operating reserve, this emergency reserve, and a “special Hurricane Matthew reserve that we’re putting $7M in.”

Billy balked at the phrasing; Boyer kept going, saying the latter two categories were “similar.”

The operating reserve was $97.301M at the end of the last fiscal year, Billy said. This year, the “worst case scenario” is that drops to $67M.

Boyer wanted a “better understanding” of the current balance than Billy provided, noting that the current debt management policy, passed a year ago, has 5-7 percent targets for each reserve fund.

“We were between 8 and 9 percent actually,” Billy said of the operating reserve, though the emergency reserve had been below 5 percent.

Boyer noted, on last year’s bond rating trip, that no concerns were raised about too much borrowing or insufficient reserves. She continued to press for details on increasing the percentage target.

“That’s ten million dollars on our budget,” Boyer said.

Billy noted estimated Matthew damages of $50M.

“We have to front the money for years,” Billy said. “We are probably $26M negative cash even without doing repairs [with expensive] debris cleanup.”

Boyer continued to press against “socking money away” rather than taking care of city needs.

“If it’s just how conservative and how safe I want to be, I have a problem,” Boyer said of raising the percentage.

CFO Mike Weinstein noted that this transfer is akin to putting money into a “secure lockbox.”

“The budget was driven by a great extent by pension reform,” Weinstein said, noting that spending would go toward non-recurring expenses, such as the $100M capital improvement plan this year.

“We recommend greatly to put more money there,” Weinstein said, noting AA- bond ratings being predicated on strong reserves.

“They understand we have obligations coming,” Weinstein said.

Boyer continued to press, noting that an operating reserve over 7 percent was mandated to be moved to emergency.

“A 5 to 7 range puts us below what would normally be a AA rating,” Weinstein said, noting that an AAA rating would be predicated on 12 to 15 percent.

“If we’re criticized for trying to save too much,” Weinstein added, “I’ll accept that decision.”

“I never thought we’d have this much debate trying to build up a savings account,” Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa said.

The “very healthy” operating budget includes, said Mousa, raises and a $131M CIP.

“It’s extremely important to keep raising the reserves,” Mousa said, urging that the $7M in the Hurricane Matthew fund is “spent,” given that $7M is the lowest threshold of the city’s share of the at least $50M in costs.

“We’re moving it from an operating reserve that is more likely to be used,” Mousa said, to savings — necessary in light of pending litigation that will cost the city big money.

“Why now?,” asked Councilman Reggie Brown, given the unfulfilled “promises of Consolidation.”

Finance Chair Garrett Dennis referenced dead bills on increasing swimming lessons and after-school programs, defending his sponsorship of them as deriving money from an overweight operating reserve fund.

“This is the opportunity for our city to finally become a bride as opposed to a bridesmaid,” Dennis said. “We control the purse strings.”

Indeed, from libraries and issues in the medical examiner’s office to parks, Dennis agitated for “bold decisions.”

Boyer cautioned against “raiding the reserves for regular appropriations,” putting the brakes — temporarily — on the Finance Committee’s impersonation of Supermarket Sweep.

The measure was postponed, striking a blow at the fiscal policy of the Lenny Curry administration, with Finance Chair Garrett Dennis scoring a political victory as the week drew to a close.

Banter, of sorts, closed the meeting.

“I have fun with you guys all the time, except when you guys don’t want to save money. I don’t understand that,” Mousa said.

“Buckle up your seatbelt,” Dennis advised. “This is the first week.”

___

Meanwhile, FEMA has yet to reimburse Jacksonville for allocation; the city’s RFPs had to be redone, as FEMA doesn’t consider Jacksonville’s minority business program (“Small and Emerging Businesses”) or geographic location as meaningful criteria.

Audrey Gibson: ‘Corrine Brown says she’s innocent and that is that!’

Monday saw post-conviction motion hearings for acquittal and for a new trial in the matter of Corrine Brown, the former Congresswoman who was found guilty on 18 counts in a fraud trial earlier this year.

Rulings have yet to be rendered on either motion, yet the hearings were lively.

Brown’s attorney, Orlando barrister James Smith, asserted Monday that Brown’s guilt was a “myth.”

And one of Brown’s allies and friends — State Sen. Audrey Gibson — backed that up, telling us exclusively on Friday that she believed that Brown was innocent of the 18 counts.

Gibson’s emphatic statement: “CB says she is innocent and that is that!”

We asked Gibson why it was so difficult to prove that innocence, suggesting that an outmatched lawyer or systemic bias against the Congresswoman may be factors.

“You will have to ask the jury,” the Senator said.

We also asked Gibson for her take on the viability of the motions still under consideration by Judge Timothy Corrigan.

“That will be determined by the judge,” the Senator said.

Gibson has been unwavering in her support for Corrine Brown, even if she hasn’t been able to be in the courtroom.

Committees and the Legislative Session, Gibson asserted, made it “less realistic” to be “‘visible’ in a courtroom at multiple hearings.”

“Offering support and uplifting is not about photo ops and neither is real work in the community!”

Rick Scott wants F-35s in Jacksonville

Florida Gov. Rick Scott joined a chorus of state and national politicians calling for the selection of Jacksonville as the best location for the next Air National Guard F-35 Base.

Jacksonville is among five finalists for the base; Gov. Scott, well-connected in the White House, made his case Friday in a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

“There is no doubt that Jacksonville and the 125th FW are the nation’s ideal choice for the basing of these aircraft,” Scott wrote, citing value-adds.

“The benefits of the 125th FW include the exceptional airspace and range capacity for training, low cost for facility construction and modifications, access to joint training opportunities, and the ability to meet other regulatory criteria,” Scott wrote.

As well, some local boosterism from Scott: “Florida’s First Coast is one of the best places in the country to live and raise a family.”

Scott follows in the recent footsteps of the man who hopes to succeed him as Governor: Adam Putnam.

“With Jacksonville’s unparalleled airspace and infrastructure, no other place in the nation is better suited for a new squadron of F-35 fighters,” Putnam wrote in July to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.

The Florida Congressional Delegation likewise banded together in May with the same request. Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham also urged officials to pick Jacksonville in 2016. State senators, lad by Jacksonville Democratic Sen. Audrey Gibson, also passed a resolution in March in support.

At stake: $100 million in estimated economic impact, 200 jobs, and — crucially — a guarantee of continued air presence once the F-15s are inevitably phased out.

Jax Councilors tackle public library budget

The eternal struggle for Jacksonville Public Library funding continued Friday in the City Council Finance Committee’s budget hearing.

Budget cuts took effect in a major way in 2013, leading to cuts in hours and commensurate reductions in services. Since then, advocates have wanted expansion of hours and services.

The major improvement in the last two years: the Library Enhanced Access Program.

That program, which improves educational access via the library for young families and children who need it, has been lauded. But for library advocates, it’s just a beginning.

The library’s hours are among the lowest in the state. Its purchasing power: down 56 percent. Hold time on popular titles: three months, with one John Grisham novel with a 388 day wait time.

And budget for material purchases: $650,000 below last year.

Budget overall: $500,000 below last year, in the Mayor’s proposal.

Ahead of the hearing, one insider predicted that “libraries will get everything they want.” Going into the hearing, Council Contingency was at $1.064M.

The library started off with a request for an $850,000 enhancement, to make up for some of those funding shortfalls. And a $1.1M enhancement to expand service hours, key to crime prevention, claimed a library official. The move would bring Jacksonville to the middle of the pack in state library hours.

However, the proposed hours in the Mayor’s budget are the same year over year, and the Council Auditor had no recommendations for change.

Council members, responsive to constituent pressure, felt differently.

When asked to prioritize enhancement requests, library representatives put materials over service hours.

Last year, Councilwoman Lori Boyer noted, capital dollars were used for $500,000 in materials — of one time money.

Boyer also drilled down into the LEAP program, described as very successful with 6,000 people served this year already, with multi-generational education in textual and digital literacy. LEAP is now in ten zip codes, and would like to expand, including into Mayport.

Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa noted that the Kids Hope Alliance proposed ordinance would accommodate LEAP, taking the budget from Jax Journey.

If the program is deemed “successful” by the KHA, it will continue — however, because KHA is solely for minors, the adult education component would not be funded, he said.

Councilman Reggie Brown wanted to allocate longer hours and weekend hours to libraries with more traffic, and wanted a measure of foot traffic.

Total traffic, system-wide, is up 3 percent from the 3.4M last year. Libraries would need more staffing to go with more hours, with Sundays staffed by volunteer overtime. The goal currently: six-day service at libraries that currently have five, a library representative said.

Councilwoman Lori Boyer pressed for Sunday hours in the future, noting that “Saturday is the sports day” for kids. However, the future isn’t in this budget.

Councilman Danny Becton wanted a deeper understanding of a library’s purpose in the age of e-books; library reps claimed the core mission was unchanged, for research and for community.

“Someone said a library isn’t very sexy. I actually think it’s very sexy,” library director Jennifer Giltrop said, describing the library as a community hub “where neighbors come to connect … an active space.”

Becton suggested a rebranding of libraries generally.

CAO Mousa noted that the library got “some enhancements”, including raises in salaries and part-time hours.

“We did what we could,” Mousa said.

When asked the future of the library, Mousa noted the biggest issue is “trying to crawl out of a hole. They took a heck of a hit years ago,” Mousa said, and “we will do what we can to ramp them back up” over a period of years.

Some regional libraries, Giltrop said, are “bursting at the seams,” fulfilling functions in neighborhoods with unique issues and needs.

Councilman Matt Schellenberg suggested a relocation into strip malls, where vacant anchor stores often are bigger than some of these regional libraries — some as small as 3,500 square feet.

“I would suggest finding other spaces … parking would be substantially good at shopping centers,” Schellenberg said.

Also discussed: people sleeping in libraries, such as those with permanent housing challenges.

There are a lot of “customers without homes” who spend the day in the library, and the library is partnering with social service and health agencies — and wants to amp that up further.

Councilman Reggie Brown notes some of the dispossessed handle personal hygiene in the restroom, which can be jarring for some patrons; that is against the rules.

Ultimately, money wasn’t moved in form of enhancements on Friday. But on budget night in September, that may be a different story.

“What I keep hearing from my colleagues is that the library is a priority,” Finance Chair Garrett Dennis said.

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