Jax Archives - Page 5 of 387 - Florida Politics

Momentum stalls for Jacksonville Confederate monument removal

Jacksonville City Council President Anna Brosche took a chance in the wake of Charlottesville violence this summer when she requested an inventory of the city’s Confederate monuments, followed by a potential removal of the monuments.

Brosche got hate mail and harassment, and her proposal catalyzed public comment at a number of Council meetings, along with grousing from Council rivals.

As of now, Brosche is still the highest-profile figure in Jacksonville to propose monument removal, and in that context came her remarks at the Urban League Thursday, in which she signaled that removal may not be the ultimate fate of the monuments.

Brosche noted, regarding monuments, her original “desire to respectfully relocate the monuments … on the heels of Charlottesville.”

She also discussed feedback, which included emails and public commenters “relatively split” on the issue.

“With all the letters and the emails and the public comment,” Brosche has heard a “wide spectrum” of historical interpretation.

Brosche noted that, in addition to getting the inventory (three monuments, eight markers), she has gotten “suggestions for alternatives” to taking the monuments down.

“I am in conversations with organizations interested in conducting independent third-party research,” to provide “input” on a potential way forward for the monuments.

“That’s where things are. I’m in conversations … those conversations are continuing,” Brosche said.

There is no legislation for this, not even in draft form. And the issue may be dead in Jacksonville, with public comment on both sides dwindling in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Tuesday’s Council meeting — which otherwise will be highlighted by the future of Mayor Lenny Curry‘s Kids Hope Alliance bill — will tell the tale of whether the monument issue has gone quiet again or not.

More Shad Khan money for Lenny Curry committee

While Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry may disagree with Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan on national anthem protests, the two align politically.

The most recent piece of evidence: the September finance report for Curry’s political committee, “Build Something That Lasts.”

Khan’s $25,000 contributed in September comprised the majority of the committee’s $38,000 haul last month — which brought the committee over $1.4 million raised in total since its inception (with roughly $410,000 of that on hand).

Khan personally has given Curry’s committee $175,000 since the end of 2015, and the Jacksonville Jaguars have ponied up $35,000 more.

September spending was fairly routine for this committee, with just over $21,000 spent — the bulk of it on consultant fees.

Plategate abates: Jax Sheriff clears Councilman on ‘stolen’ tag

The latest twist in the case of Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney‘s license plate that he reported stolen in 2016: it wasn’t stolen at all, and the councilman did nothing wrong by reporting it stolen then using it anyway.

This pronouncement came forth Wednesday afternoon from Sheriff Mike Williams, closing the door on an investigation of inconsistencies regarding Gaffney’s license plate with a media release depicting a chain of events closer to a comedy of errors than a criminal conspiracy.

Gaffney, who told officers that he couldn’t remember if he’d reported the tag stolen or not, saw his exculpatory narrative amplified by the city’s chief lawman.

“Our Integrity Unit investigated and determined that no laws were broken,” Sheriff Williams wrote.

Gaffney has two cars of the same “model and type,” and both have “specialty license plates,” Williams wrote.

Unbeknownst to Gaffney when he reported his tag stolen while one of those cars was at the repair shop without a tag: the repair shop apparently had a habit of removing tags on vehicles in for service.

Williams’ version of events had no clear answer for why Councilman Gaffney simply didn’t ask the proprietors of the auto repair shop where the tag was.

Regardless of interpretations of Gaffney’s narrative, the Sheriff’s press release offers a resolution — and essentially validates Gaffney’s version of events, one that seemed improbable to many observers in the wake of the event.

Questions still remain for some skeptics, including one about why it took the Sheriff to tell a story Gaffney easily could have told to media members in the two and a half weeks since the initial incident.

Rory Diamond launches run for Jacksonville City Council

Rory Diamond, a member of the Neptune Beach City Council, filed Tuesday to replace termed out Bill Gulliford on the Jacksonville City Council.

Diamond, a former federal prosecutor and current CEO of “K9s for Warriors“, currently has no opposition on the 2019 ballot.

Diamond was first elected in 2016; the Island Times reports that in 2014, a tied election was decided in a novel way — by a drawing of numbered ping-pong balls.

He lost that drawing, but clearly recovered.

Diamond’s name has been linked with a run for Jacksonville City Council since he took office in Neptune Beach, and it will be interesting to see if and when other competition emerges.

Diamond, an alumnus of the George W. Bush White House, told the Jacksonville Business Journal that 9/11 inspired him in public service.

“I served in the White House on 9/11. I was as low down on the totem pole as you can get but I went with the president to the National Day of Mourning and watched these two wars unfold. And I supported them fully but I didn’t appreciate until later that there are all these unpaid bills once you come home. I want to do my part with those unpaid bills,” Diamond said.

Expect a more comprehensive interview with Diamond in the coming days.

Panel defers Lenny Curry’s ‘Kids Hope Alliance’ proposal

Monday saw a Jacksonville City Council committee move Mayor Lenny Curry‘s children’s program re-orginization — the Kids Hope Alliance (KHA) — through by a 6 to 1 vote.

Discussion of the bill to replace the Jacksonville Children’s Commission and Jacksonville Journey was brutal.

It took over three hours, and it became clear that one primary skeptic of the bill was Council President Anna Brosche.

As the committee lurched through its fourth hour of deliberation, Brosche advanced at least a dozen line-item criticisms of the bill. However, Brosche was not a voting member of the committee.

The lone “no” vote in that committee: Councilman Garrett Dennis, a Democrat who has been willing to buck both the Curry Administration and political team.

Dennis was vocal with criticisms, suggestions of amendments to the bill and other procedural tricks — including an attempted stall to force deferral as the committee reached what had been thought to be a hard stop time of 1:30 p.m.

As luck would have it, Dennis chaired the Tuesday morning meeting of the Finance Committee — and therefore it was widely expected that Finance would be the toughest of the three committees for the KHA bill.

That impression was augmented when an occasional Curry political adversary — Council President Anna Brosche — showed up for bill discussion.

And sure enough, the bill — a priority of the Curry administration — didn’t even get a vote.

For the second straight committee meeting, Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund, offered critiques of the KHA model. She wanted a dedicated funding source, expressed concerns about KHA becoming political and took issue with the KHA’s reliance on decreased crime stats as a metric.

Council President Anna Brosche honed in on questions about the funding source, noting that in FY 05-06, funding was just over $21 million, but since then had an erosion in funding, while Jacksonville Journey investment was “all over the board.”

Brosche surmised that she thought legislative intent was that funding would keep going up, not that it would be cut — as happened earlier this decade.

Dennis then took issue with Curry’s assertion on Monday that support for the Jacksonville Children’s Commission is tantamount to supporting “special interests,” saying “the only interests are the kids of Jacksonville.”

“That kept me up all night last night, thinking about special interests,” an impassioned Dennis noted.

In response to a provider’s assertion that the KHA would send children’s services “backwards,” another frequent Curry Administration sparring partner — Finance Vice-Chair Danny Becton — said this concerned him, given that the reforms were supposed to represent progress.

“That thought process is certainly contrary to the objective to the bill, where we are trying to enhance and raise the bar for kids,” Becton said.

Dennis addressed another of the provider’s concerns with the bill, calling it “problematic” when small providers had to compete with city agencies for contracts.

“It’s almost like picking and choosing based on the priority of the leadership in the Mayor’s Office,” Dennis said, adding that he is “inclined to defer the bill.”

That didn’t go over well with Ali Korman Shelton, the mayoral liaison to Council, whose father Howard Korman is both a former chair of the Children’s Commission and a very strong proponent of this bill.

In fact, as Mr. Korman began his remarks, Dennis said he intended to defer the measure two weeks.

“The Children’s Commission right now has a lot of uncertainty … the longer it takes to do this, the more uncertainty there is,” Korman said, noting that “good people … have their future up in the air” while the city mulls the re-orginization.

____

Chairman Dennis had more surprises that doubled as absolute non-starters for the Curry Administration.

One amendment that went up in flames: a referendum to set up KHA as an independent taxing district, one which could levy a tax not exceeding .5 mill, which would come out to roughly $26.7 million.

“Let the voters decide the commitment to the children,” Dennis said.

Boyer noted that the Consolidation Task Force had opposed carve-outs like this, and so she “strongly opposed” this proposal.

Councilman Reggie Brown was concerned, meanwhile, that amount wasn’t enough, and “maybe a full mill” is required. Brown ultimately said he wouldn’t support the amendment.

Bill sponsor Scott Wilson said this was a “bad idea” and he’d vote against it if lumped into this bill.

Other amendments were successful, including a Reggie Brown one to ensure that all high school students — including those over the age of 18 — would be eligible for youth services.

____

Near 1 p.m., Dennis urged deferral.

But there were fireworks, with Councilwoman Lori Boyer noting that the version being voted on had three hours of work and multiple amendments, and that there needed to be a vote or a continuance of the meeting at some later time to preserve the work done.

“We’ve shotgunned this, we’ve rushed this,” Dennis said, urging a potential Committee of the Whole to resolve “tons of questions” he had on the bill.

Boyer then motioned on the substitute as amended, and the motion was seconded — wrapped as the Finance substitute.

Some committee members pushed for a vote, but Democrats on the committee — mindful of a deferral of a Reggie Brown bill in a different committee — said that to not defer this bill would be a different standard.

Brown’s bill: a resolution of support for a bill in the Florida Legislature requiring school crossing guards at all schools serving students up until eighth grade. There were questions about funding what would be a state mandate, and other logistical issues.

Council President Brosche added that if her questions on the bill were not answered, she would push for deferral at Council Tuesday.  As of late Tuesday afternoon, her 17 questions had not been answered.

“Hopefully we can do that before Tuesday so we don’t need to defer it on Tuesday,” Brosche said.

Discussion continued, with the Curry Administration vowing to answer any residual questions on Monday, while urging that the committee vote the bill out.

Despite that vow, Chairman Dennis deferred the bill. A special meeting of the committee looks likely for Monday.

____

The Rules Committee took up the measure Tuesday afternoon, with many of the same speakers making increasingly familiar points about the bill.

Howard Korman noted that, while this has been a “difficult process,” Councilors should “move this forward — either up or down” to alleviate uncertainty among current members of the Jacksonville Children’s Commission regarding whether they’d have jobs or not after the re-orginzation goes through.

Amendments from the previous two committee stops occasioned more discussion, with more technical amendments offered before a substitute version was moved through and approved without a no vote.

Bill Bishop running for Jacksonville City Council

Former Jacksonville Mayoral candidate Bill Bishop is back in the game — running to serve on the City Council on which he served two terms.

WJCT was first to report this.

Bishop, a Republican, is running to replace John Crescimbeni, who is termed out in At Large Group 2. His only filed opponent, Republican Ron Salem, has over $100,000 banked.

Back in February 2016, Bishop told Florida Politics he was looking at this race.

Bishop, who ran a strong third in the March mayoral First Election in 2015, crossed party lines and endorsed Alvin Brown toward the end of the runoff, campaigning with Brown in high-visibility visits to the Riverside area, where Bishop won some precincts.

This happened after Bishop reportedly told Curry that Brown’s re-election would lead to a “lost decade” in Jacksonville and after Bishop supporters jumped the gun by announcing that they backed Alvin Brown in an email that seemed to convey Bishop’s endorsement to Brown — which they clarified soon after sending.

The ill will between the Bishop and Curry camps continued through the election, with Bishop (who had previously done a press conference saying that he was running for mayor in 2019), taking fire from the GOP establishment throughout the election.

Since Curry’s election, Bishop has had business in front of City Council, and the dynamic has been friendly with his former colleagues, suggesting that regarding the campaign, there may be momentum in City Hall to let bygones be bygones.

This momentum doesn’t run to Curry’s political team: Tim Baker and Brian Hughes are on Salem’s campaign, and they will embrace another shot at Bishop.

Reggie Brown rejects conflict of interest charge

Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Brown has became a point man on Mayor Lenny Curry‘s push to boost after-school program funding this year.

However, Brown’s 2016 financial disclosure form reveals that he has received secondary income of almost $10,000 from one of those organizations tasked with running after-school programs.

Brown says there is no conflict of interest because the money he received from the organization had nothing to do with the $360,000 allocation to “Communities in Schools.”

This assertion was made despite the allocation coming after he took an active role in the process.

____

“Communities in Schools” got $360,000 in an August round of funding from the city of Jacksonville, for three sites serving 80 kids. One of those sites — at Pickett Elementary School — is in Brown’s district.

According to a press release from the mayor, Brown, a member of the Council Finance Committee, was slated to “introduce an amendment at the proper time during the budget process to appropriate the funds,” during the budget process in August.

And the funds were appropriated. However, despite Brown having gotten paid $9,375 from CIS — a fact reported on a disclosure received by the Florida Commission on Ethics on July 21, 2017 — Brown asserts that money or any previous contractual relationship had nothing to do with CIS getting $360,000 that may not have been available otherwise.

“CIS summer and afterschool programs were granted their sites based on rankings from RFP scores,” Brown asserted via text Monday.

There was, said Brown, “absolutely not a conflict.”

“My vote was for all after school providers. I’ve worked for other providers in the past that received funds,” Brown said.

Brown said he would have recused his vote had there been a conflict.

“If I was currently employed with any provider receiving funds,” Brown said, “I know to recuse my vote.”

“Tell the world to keep trying,” Brown added.

Brown had gotten paid from CIS for his participation in the “AmeriCorps Veterans to Success Program,” which was intended to use veterans to “recruit military speakers” and “coordinate activities for miliary students in Duval County.”

____

Brown sought to take an active role in the process of revamping funding formulas for afterschool programs and summer camp programs as early as June, reported the Florida Times-Union.

The second-term Democrat called a special Council meeting to address these issues.

Parents and non-profits, said Brown, were “not calling the [Jacksonville Children’s Commission] board members. They’re calling me. So if they’re calling me, let me be a part of the process.”

At least one of those affected non-profits had a direct line to Brown, per the financial disclosure report.

____

Amidst all of this drama, City Council is mulling Curry’s proposal for the Kids Hope Alliance, which — ironically enough — would replace the Jacksonville Journey and the Jacksonville Children’s Commission.

The summer camp budgeting of the JCC — which decided to spend more per-pupil for students, despite having a fixed budget, thus ensuring a shortage of openings compared to previous years — was what kicked off the KHA push.

A “frustrated” Curry introduced a measure for summer-camp funding that was framed as a “band-aid” and a prelude to reforms such as those currently under consideration by Councilman Brown and his 18 colleagues.

Despite pushback, ‘Kids Hope Alliance’ bill clears first Jax City Council committee

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry‘s Kids Hope Alliance bill cleared the first of three City Council committees  Monday.

And he was on hand, at least at the outset of a discussion that sprawled for almost three hours, to make sure that happened.

The bill, which seeks to consolidate functions and programs of the Jacksonville Journey and Jacksonville Children’s Commission into one omnibus body, was substantially reworked since its initial introduction, with an aim toward reassuring Council members that the board would be independent.

In the bill’s current iteration, board members can be removed by the Mayor, with a 2/3 vote of Council.  The board would also pick the CEO, and the Mayor would no longer have to concur with their decision.

Both of these changes: framed by advocates as assurance of the board’s independence, despite being housed in the executive branch. However, other questions loomed — including those of whether boards should be comprised of Duval residents.

In opening remarks, Mayor Curry positioned the bill as part of his “commitment to reform” and “challenge to the status quo.”

“There is much room for improvement in how we invest in the kids of our city,” Curry said, noting that despite the investment in afterschool programs and summer camp programs, kids are still killing kids.

KHA would be about “outcomes,” Curry said, not “entitlements” for the provider class. Anyone who contends otherwise, Curry said, is either driven by an agenda or benefiting from the current schematic.

Administration member Ali Korman Shelton qualified “entitlements,” saying that “people get used to that money every year.”

Korman Shelton noted that the current bill — a substitute — incorporated many of the criticisms that had come in from the original.

“This is after 25 years of a process. We are examining the process,” Korman Shelton added, noting that there was no expectation that this would be a “rubber stamp” board.

Despite an attempt to forestall some criticisms, not all were precluded.

Jacksonville Children’s Commission board member Lee Harris expressed concerns about repealing the ordinance that enacted the JCC, including a smaller board removing subject matter experts. Harris also expected that a lack of community input would lead to an erosion in services.

Another JCC board member, Cathie Shimp, noted that the current bill language allowed for people from outside Duval County, such as a “political contributor from St. Johns County,” to be on the board — which wouldn’t be in the interest of the “most vulnerable families.”

Councilman John Crescimbeni, a proponent of local residency for local offices, noted that even in the original JCC language, there were allowances made for people with philanthropic or business interests in Duval County. However, the voting members of the JCC are all residents — a key break from the current bill.

Residency requirements, said Korman Shelton, are the same as other boards in the code.

A representative of the United Way (CEO Michelle Braun) noted, meanwhile, that the independence of the KHS board was a key factor for their organization — and that’s assured in the board’s current iteration. Braun is a non-voting member of the JCC currently.

Councilman Garrett Dennis, who frequently butts heads with Mayor Curry, marveled at the fact that in Jacksonville — with 850,000 people — it’s somehow impossible to find seven actual residents for the board.

“For us to think we can’t find seven people here in Jacksonville out of nearly a million people,” Dennis said, “that’s ludicrous.”

Howard Korman, a former JCC Board Chair, said the JCC and the Journey have deviated from their original administrative mission, and have become too active in hands-on program implementation.

“The role of a board is not to micromanage,” Korman said, but to provide “evaluation” in an advisory framework.

“The purpose of a board is to understand the mission,” Korman said.

Korman likes the combination of the two current entities, a board comprised of experienced people, and provisions in the bill for small providers — which allow disbursements below $65,000 to be handled outside of the city’s procurement code.

“What we’ve failed to do over the years is to look at things as a continuum … we’ve looked at it isolated,” Korman said, echoing Curry’s own concerns about a lack of measurable outcomes in the current model.

Despite Korman and others expressing confidence in the bill, Councilman Dennis pushed for deferral given the preponderance of open questions.

“I feel rushed,” Dennis said.

Korman Shelton noted that all Councilors have been briefed, including with the changes, and that copies were provided Thursday.

“If KHA does pass,” she said, “we want to come back with board appointments. We ask you to let this go forward.”

Just as the vote was about to drop, Dennis dropped an amendment: that members reside in Duval school districts, one member per district, precluding residents of other counties with business or philanthropic interests from serving.

The goal: a “good cross-section” of people throughout this city.

The administration balked at that amendment. An amendment to the amendment, which proposed six members from Duval school districts with another member from the outside, was also a non-starter.

Council President Anna Brosche noted that, despite administration qualms, it’s a priority of hers to have Duval County residents in these roles — and that the ordinance should reflect that.

Dennis offered a revision to his amendment, striking the school district clause, yet maintaining that “these seven members need to be from Duval County.”

“Is there a short list? Have we identified people from outside Duval County?”

Dennis wanted “transparency” on that count. The amendment passed, ensuring that Duval County residency would be a factor in board composition — and allowing Dennis to score a political victory over the administration.

Dennis noted that he had questions also, and suggested — again — that deferral was the best course of action.

Dennis motioned for deferral. The motion died.

The bill was approved 6-1, with Dennis in opposition.

The bill has two committee stops Tuesday — Finance, which is chaired by Councilman Dennis, followed by Rules.

Council President Brosche had at least a dozen detail questions that she put on the record for those committee discussions, so expect those meetings to be lively games of inside baseball.

“There seems to be a throwing out of the baby with the bathwater,” Brosche said in the midst of a lengthy recitation of qualms about the legislation as currently drafted.

More crossing guards for Jacksonville schools, if local bill passes Tallahassee

On Monday, the Jacksonville City Council Neighborhoods, Community Services, Public Health and Safety Committee mulled a local bill requiring the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to station crossing guards at elementary and middle schools.

But a lack of specifics and data led to a motion for deferral.

The bill, to be carried in Tallahassee by Rep. Kim Daniels, would only apply to Jacksonville — a concern of multiple committee members in agenda, one that didn’t fully abate in the committee discussion.

Councilman Reggie Brown, who carried the bill in committee discussion, noted that because of changes in school structures, 7th and 8th graders are deprived of crossing guards.

K-6 is mandated by the state, Brown said, and expanding this program would mean more safety and more jobs, Brown said.

“The time to me is right now,” Brown said, noting that the city is well-positioned financially this year compared to the past.

“Most people think middle school aged youth are responsible enough to cross the street. That’s probably true when you get to 14 years of age,” Brown said, but given Jacksonville’s history of pedestrians being hit by cars, caution should prevail.

Councilman Greg Anderson wondered why this needed to go to Tallahassee; Brown’s thought was “it would have more teeth” if handled on a state level, and that Daniels has gotten input from constituents demanding the change.

Anderson came around to the idea, on the grounds of “safety for our children,” but lack of details concerned him beyond the committee stop.

Councilman Aaron Bowman harbored similar concerns, wanting the formula extended to private and charter schools to “figure out how big a bogey this is for us.”

Councilman Scott Wilson also had qualms about potential recurrent cost impacts, saying that further evaluation is needed — and that this matter isn’t one of urgency, allowing for that kind of review.

The cost, per the Council Auditor: $300,000 for 27 public middle schools. Expect an uptick to that number if private and charter are thrown into the mix, as a floor amendment mandated.

And given the Oct. 20 Duval Delegation hearing on this bill, the matter is time-sensitive.

Rules will mull this measure Tuesday, at which point some of these questions raised by bill language and scope may be answered.

If all is clear, this could be on Council agenda next Tuesday regardless of deferral in this committee.

How Lenny Curry won the Jacksonville City Council budget vote

To those not looking at the Jacksonville City Council budget process closely, the end result Tuesday night was clean and uncontroversial.

A unanimous vote for the city’s $1.27 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year, one with $131M in capital improvements, and 100 new police positions.

However, a closer look at the budget process reveals that — after a summer in which some City Council members waxed poetic about re-asserting Council’s prerogatives as the legislative body — Mayor Lenny Curry got everything he wanted despite some obstacles in the process.

He got the new police positions that were controversial in some quarters since they were proposed. He got his money for Edward Waters College: $8.5M for dorm and track improvements, under the guise of public safety.

And in doing so, he put some rivals in check … and all of that without being in the room.

Even before the vote, Curry was pretty confident in how it would go. He had no plans to be in City Hall to do a post-vote press gaggle; his plans, instead, were to coach his son’s football game that evening.

And it worked out well enough, as he tweeted Wednesday morning: “Budget passes w/ my public safety priorities including 100 new cops,investment in Edward Waters College , & infrastructure.”

As the Florida Times-Union headline blared: “Priorities intact.”

And in getting there, Curry — or more aptly, his team of senior staffers that worked the Council and the room — ensured that anyone on Council who might challenge him might want to think twice.

Whether coincidentally or not, two of the biggest obstacles to Curry’s agenda in recent months got checked,

Finance Chair Garrett Dennis, ahead of the August budget hearings, promised scrutiny and questions throughout that three week period.

Reviews of the process were mixed: especially nettled were department heads who waited well past their slotted time, as Finance Committee members turned what normally is a linear look into administrative tedium like head counts and part-time hours into philosophical inquiries that seemed a world away from the budget process as it happened in June in the Mayor’s Budget Review Committee.

One major sticking point: the Mayor’s call for 100 new police officers. Finance Committee members felt “targeted” by a poll saying that people wanted them. Yet, though only 80 of the positions were funded due to training class schedules, the Mayor got what he wanted.

And as budget night moved forward, it was clear that the unique approach to budget hearings from this finance committee may have slowed down the process.

Councilman John Crescimbeni, amidst a series of floor amendments authored by Finance Chair Garrett Dennis, noted with frustration that the vast majority of the 13 budget floor amendments came from Finance Committee members. Leading to the obvious question of why these issues — many of which were minor allocations — had to be worked out on the Council floor.

In part, that was because of the unique drama of that particular round of budget hearings, which didn’t seem able to go an hour without some sniping comments from Dennis toward the city’s chief administrative officer, Sam Mousa.

“You’re the man,” Dennis kept telling Mousa, with unmistakable condescension in his voice.

Finance Vice Chair Danny Becton — who has butted heads with the Curry administration for months, contending that the pension reform plan ratified in the Spring deferred payments to future generations and was little more than making minimum payments on one’s credit card.

Becton dropped three floor amendments.

One of those amendments sought to move $8.5M from projects at Edward Waters College (dorm renovations and a new community track and field) to water and sewer projects.

The other amendment: almost $23 million to be moved to pension from two accounts ($8,638,343 from Pension Reserve for an extra pension payment for 2017-2018, and an additional $14,078,555 from Pension Reserve to bolster the contribution further).

All these amendments died for want of a second.

With Dennis and Becton effectively stiff armed on budget night, what does the future hold?

Monday, Mayor Curry’s administration brings back the Kids Hope Alliance proposal.

The bill was deferred in committees, after meeting resistance in the Jacksonville City Council Finance Committee in August budget hearings.

For Curry, this plan to roll up the Jacksonville Children’s Commission and Jax Journey into one omnibus board (appointed by the Mayor’s Office in the current proposal, though that could change) is a major priority.

“I’m not going weak on this,” Curry said regarding the reform legislation.

Lenny Curry built a political machine to get into office, and he did so even with many GOP office holders backing his Democratic opponent’s re-election effort.

In office, he has some of the best operators working the room — and he has become increasingly adept at giving Council members photo opportunities, the kind that allow them to take credit for something tangible happening in their districts.

For those looking to take the temperature of City Hall in October, the deployment of the Kids Hope Alliance bill, the robustness of the debate, and the ultimate vote will be good thermometers.

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