Lenny Curry Archives - Page 6 of 105 - Florida Politics

New Duval delegation members face a learning curve

Last March, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and members of the Duval delegation convened at Jacksonville’s City Hall, to discuss “what winning looks like.”

The city got 90 percent of its appropriations goals. Jacksonville got money for public safety, such as the COPS program, and infrastructure needs, asking for $2 million and getting $1.8 million.

And legislators brought home significant money: over $11 million for the University of North Florida, over $4 million for Edward Waters College, and $2 million for Florida State College Jacksonville’s North Campus, along with a million dollars for the USS Adams Museum.

Of course, some of those legislators on the House side have moved on.

Of Janet Adkins, Lake Ray, Reggie Fullwood, Mia Jones, and Charles McBurney, four of them were termed out and one resigned after pleading guilty to felony fraud.

The Duval delegation lost over three decades of cumulative legislative experience on the state level as of the November election, and an open question among Jacksonville insiders is how quickly the new class conquers the learning curve.

Republican Rep. Cord Byrd of House District 11 and Democratic Rep. Tracie Davis of House District 13 hit the ground running without legislative experience.

However, the other three newbies — GOP Rep. Clay Yarborough in HD 12, Democratic Rep. Kim Daniels in HD 14, and Republican Rep. Jason Fischer of HD 16 — come in with experience on Jacksonville’s City Council in the case of the first two, and school board experience in the case of Fischer.

That experience may be helpful in terms of accomplishing meaningful priorities sooner rather than later.

In comments earlier this month, Mayor Curry didn’t project concern about a drop off in performance.

“I have a very productive relationship with the current Duval delegation, and I will continue to build relationships with the new members of the delegation. I have and will continue to work with a team of professionals who ensure getting the highest return for the investment of taxpayers. The successes of our team include a solution to the pension crisis and earned us state resources for infrastructure and public safety,” Curry said.

In short, the city is going to reinforce its own priorities with robust lobbying. It likely won’t be as urgent as it was last year, when the city pushed all of its chips to the center of the table to get authorization for a pension reform referendum. But that probably won’t be so bad, especially given that there was a point last summer when legislators who made the push for the referendum in Tallahassee (Sen. Audrey Gibson and Rep. Mia Jones) essentially politicked against the measure when it was on the August ballot.

Worth watching this year: is Sen. Aaron Bean finally out of the governor’s doghouse?

We saw last year a premature celebration of money appropriated for the St. Johns River Ferry that Gov. Rick Scott vetoed in the end.

Scott’s veto pen is the price of doing business. With so much new talent on the delegation, however, it will be up to the two senators and Rep. Jay Fant to carry the water for Duval County in the state capital.

New Jacksonville department heads are promoted from within

Two heads of Jacksonville departments are being promoted from within, it was announced Friday by the office of Mayor Lenny Curry.

Diane Moser, chief of Talent Management, has been promoted to serve as director of Employee Services. Stephanie Burch, chief of Real Estate, has been promoted to director of Neighborhoods.

Curry described these roles as “critically important” to his administration.

Moser has almost a quarter-century of experience in city government, with stints managing personnel services, and managing human resources at the Jacksonville Public Library.

Previous personnel services director Kelli O’Leary now works for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, having left City Hall in September.

Neighborhoods chief Burch, a former counsel for the Florida Department of Transportation, is a recent addition to city government.

She was hired in March 2016 as chief of real estate.

However, the position heading the Neighborhoods department is a considerably more high-profile slot, especially in light of Neighborhoods being a major organizational priority for the Curry administration.

Neighborhoods was re-instituted in a much-ballyhooed reorganization, after the previous administration eliminated the department.

Finding leadership for the department has been a challenge. Derek Igou resigned the post without much warning in April, due to having a degree from an unaccredited university.

Kim Scott served as acting head of the department in the interim.

Rick Scott on Donald Trump: ‘I’ll do everything I can to help him be successful’

In St. Augustine for his monthly jobs numbers presser, Florida Gov. Rick Scott took questions about his meeting with President-elect Donald Trump and discussed the 2018 political landscape.

Scott said he had a “great meeting yesterday with President-elect Trump” lasting roughly 45 minutes.

When asked if he might be part of one of Trump’s “landing teams,” designed to help with the transition on a departmental level, Scott was not especially specific.

“I’ll do everything I can to help him be successful. I’m going to help him repeal Obamacare. We’ve got to replace it with something that will be better for Americans. We’ve got to reduce our costs. We’ve got to have better access to health care,” Scott said.

“I’ll work with him with Republican governors. We’ve got 32 Republican governors with great ideas. I’ll be a liaison with Republican governors,” Scott added.

“On top of that,” Scott continued, “we have to redesign government. Government’s got to work better at the federal level. We’ve done it in our state by cutting regulations and reducing taxes. We have to think about what’s better for our citizens.”

“I told Donald Trump I’ll do anything I can to help him. Whatever he wants me to do, I’ll do,” Scott continued.

Althought that apparently doesn’t include accepting an official role with the administration.

“He’s got a lot of energy,” Scott added. “When I sat down with him yesterday, he was excited about the job. He wants to get things done … bring change to Washington D.C. He’s going to make it happen.”

When asked to elaborate on a statement Scott made earlier this week, regarding running for Senate as an “option” in 2018, Scott stuck to his talking points, saying he was focused on the job that he’s doing at the moment.

Scott likewise was noncommittal when asked to review potential successors of his in the governor’s office, a list that includes names such as Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam and — according to some Jacksonville locals who are not part of the mayor’s political operation — Lenny Curry.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of people who are running for governor. It’s a great job. If you care about people,” Scott said, “it’s the best job you can imagine.”

“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of good people running. Lenny Curry’s doing a great job as mayor of Jacksonville. You’re starting to see significant job growth here,” Scott added.

Matt Carlucci ‘seriously considering’ another run for Jacksonville City Council

Jacksonville’s Carlucci family is inextricably linked with Jacksonville history.

Joe Carlucci was a councilman from the days of consolidation.

Matt Carlucci carried on the family’s tradition of public service, serving three terms on the council, including a stint as president.

Now Carlucci is the chairman of the Florida Commission on Ethics. Yet his time there is nearing an end. And he’s considering a logical next move: a run for council in 2019, to replace the termed-out At Large Councilman Greg Anderson.

“I’m feeling my way through,” Carlucci said, “but that’s what I’m hoping for.”

Carlucci, a Republican, has been getting “lots of encouragement” from Republicans and Democrats alike; should he run, he will have a couple of strong GOP consultants: Bruce Barcelo and Tom Nolan.

“If I pull the trigger … and it looks like I will,” Barcelo and Nolan will run the campaign, he said.

Carlucci also can count on key support from outside Duval County, such as from former Speaker of the House Will Weatherford, who vowed to be Carlucci’s “first contributor.”

Carlucci describes himself as partisan on the national level, but less so in the local realm.

Illustrating that independent streak, Carlucci notably supported Democrats Alvin Brown and Ken Jefferson for mayor and sheriff in 2015, bets that didn’t pay off.

That said, Carlucci has very complimentary things to say about the “strong leadership” of Mayor Lenny Curry now, calling the mayor “very bold, very decisive.”

“History will treat Alvin well,” Carlucci said. “He brought a lot of excitement.”

However, said Carlucci, “Lenny’s got the trains running on time.”

A council run would present one irony for Carlucci.

In 2003, he ran for mayor unsuccessfully.

When asked his reason for running for the city’s top job, Carlucci quipped to the Jax Daily Record“I just couldn’t take another four years of council meetings.”

Reminded of this quote, Carlucci quipped that in the last dozen years, he’s “mustered up the endurance to get through the council meetings again.”

Carlucci, if he runs and wins, would offer institutional knowledge of the sort that veterans like Tommy Hazouri and John Crescimbeni bring to the chamber.

Downtown residents express concerns about Berkman II blight

Laura Thompson, the head of the 206-unit Plaza Condominium Board of Directors, expressed concerns this week in a letter to Mayor Lenny Curry about continued blight at the stalled out Berkman II project on Bay Street in Jacksonville.

The Plaza has 360 residents, and is just a block away from the Berkman project, where construction halted in December 2007 after a parking garage collapsed.

Since then, Thompson asserts no improvements have been made, save “feeble attempts” to clean up the site.

Thompson notes the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has been called out to Berkman 803 times since 2013, with the unfinished construction offering shelter to “rodents, snakes, and other pests, not to mention homeless [people] and drug users.”

The “unsafe structure” meets the definition of blight, adds Thompson.

A special magistrate is going to hold a hearing on this case Nov. 29. Thompson expressed frustration at the city’s Municipal Code Compliance Division, which she says wants to give the landowners up to a year to resolve this issue.

For nearby residents, that simply is too much time.

Uncertainty over Hemming Park’s future pervades discussion of park rules

On Wednesday afternoon, Jacksonville City Council members convened to discuss a recurrent topic: enforcing regulations in Hemming Park.

The so-called “front door to city hall” has encountered challenges of late, with the most recent narrative twist being the mayor’s office saying last week that it was time that the “Friends of Hemming Park” experiment end.

Funding from the city for FOHP runs out at the end of March 2017.

Despite over a million dollars of city money being spent on trying to turn the park into a showcase, the predictable problems created by the transient park population (alcohol and drug abuse, vociferous squabbling, and so on) have stymied the city’s attempts to create an oasis of gentrification in the heart of downtown.

While Hemming Park’s future is in doubt, council members sought to refine the rules governing the park on Wednesday.

Among the discussion points on Wednesday, a potential expansion of park rules, with Councilman John Crescimbeni noting that rules mandating pants, shirts, and shoes might get some “weird challenge about not being able to wear a dress, a kilt, or whatever they want to wear.”

A representative from the sheriff’s office suggested that rules “not address bottom covering at all,” as that would fall under the aegis of indecent exposure bans that exist citywide.

Park boundaries were also discussed, with the boundary of the roads surrounding the park (Hogan, Duval, Monroe, and Laura Streets), and the Skyway stop also coming up for discussion.

Those given trespass orders banning them from the park could pass through the park on the Skyway, but would be disallowed from getting on or off the people mover at the Hemming Park stop.

There is case law to back this up, said a representative from the office of general counsel.

“This gives absolute clarity,” concurred Councilman Greg Anderson.

Public feedings were also a point of discussion; some individuals and groups feed the regular park congregants, who often are divested from the workaday world of traditional employment and social mores.

These feedings raise First Amendment issues, as there have been contentions that they are protected speech.

“The council’s grappled with this feeding issue for a while,” said OGC representative Peggy Sidman.

The current cutoff for non-permitted feedings: 20 meals distributed per person distributing them.

Crescimbeni believed the number 20 was “taken out of the air,” an arbitrary designation inserted into a previous settlement agreement between the city and a rogue feeder.

Of course, the looming issue over the discussion is the mayor’s desire to take control of the park from FOHP.

“I personally feel like we’re kind of coming to the end,” said Anderson.

FOHP is funded through March 31, but there is no guarantee they will satisfy that term.

“The mayor may change his mind,” Crescimbeni said, but the council has an obligation to follow through regardless.

“The park has changed,” said FOHP head Bill Prescott, with unsavory patrons telling security that they’ve been “fired.”

Prescott said that the uncertainty created by the mayor’s office regarding the management of the park is an example of “one step forward, two steps back.”

Americans for Prosperity issues call to action on Jacksonville pension debt

The major conflict in Jacksonville politics right now: negotiations between Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and the heads of various public sector unions.

Curry wants to move the unions beyond defined benefit “dinosaur” plans, offering raises for current workers, assurances that their plans won’t change, and bonuses for the current employees.

The unions are reluctant to move toward the 401K model Curry advocates for future workers, saying there will be recruitment and retention issues.

Curry hopes to have this negotiation wrapped up in time for the next budget year. And Americans for Prosperity is trying to help, via a website that seems to misunderstand the issue being a matter of collective bargaining with seven different bargaining units.

The website says it’s “time to fix Jacksonville” and its “broken pension system,” and includes a call to action: a form email that can be sent to elected politicians in the city.

The text exhorts site visitors to let Curry “know you appreciate him working to fix Jacksonville’s pension system problems,” and to let “the city council know that they should stand with Mayor Curry and get to work fixing the broken pension system.”

“Your city council works for you,” reads the AFP webpage, “not for Unions or special interests that are trying to keep Jacksonville broke.”

AFP-Florida state director Chris Hudson says his group is putting a full-court press on Jacksonville residents.

“Our grassroots teams have been going door to door and phone banking to educate Jacksonville’s residents about the looming financial crisis. Our goal is to have thousands of face-to-face conversations across the city to encourage citizens to take action and call on their city officials to address the $2.85 billion debt brought on by the broken pension system,” Hudson asserts.

“Mayor Curry’s efforts to reform Jacksonville’s broken pension system should be commended. While we disagree with the tactic of allowing a sales tax increase to persist, we also believe that the city should be finding ways to cut spending and live within its means. Mayor Curry’s plan is a step in the right direction to give the residents of Jacksonville relief from these financial strains,” continued Hudson.

Will these efforts help with collective bargaining? That remains to be seen.

One union leader has already contacted FloridaPolitics.com with an email linking to the AFP site and the subject header: “Koch Brothers Money!”

Kerri Stewart cleared of ethics charges

Justice was delayed for an important member of Jacksonville’s city government. But on Monday, it was finally delivered, as one of the most honorable people in City Hall was cleared of what were ultimately spurious charges.

Last year, a report from the Jacksonville City Council auditor’s office implied Kerri Stewart, the chief of staff for Mayor Lenny Curry, had acted improperly years ago in a previous role with the city.

Stewart was head of the Neighborhoods department under the John Peyton administration, when a city contract was facilitated for consulting services from a company (Infinity Global Solutions) that she went on to work for.

Local media raised a ruckus about it at the time. One local outlet called it a “dubious” deal, predicated on a “no-bid contract” and the city had nothing to show for its million-dollar deal.

Meanwhile, at least one Republican council member wondered privately if there was substance to the wrongdoing, even going so far as to muse about Stewart potentially needing to resign her position.

However, after due process, the city’s ethics director concluded Stewart had done nothing wrong.

In an email to Florida Politics, Ethics Director Carla Miller summed up the current state of the case.

“This recommendation was reviewed by the Ethics Commission last night; the case was dismissed,” Miller wrote, adding that parallel cases were dismissed against two other parties: Wight Gregor and Mayor Lenny Curry.

Miller added other insights, noting “Stewart followed the procurement process that was in effect at the time.”

As well, those who wondered about the lack of clarity in the Council Auditor’s report might find this discussion of process interesting.

“I have been told that the Council Auditor’s report did not involve taking any statements from any of the interested parties,” Miller noted.

“That is typically how they do it, though — paper audits. Whereas, the IG’s office takes sworn statements.”

Miller offered a longer statement, in which she summed up the scope of the initial complaint.

“The audit issues revolved around the city’s purchase of consulting services (through a purchase order and contract) from Agency Approval & Development (now known as Infinity Global Solutions and hereinafter referred to as IGS) and the involvement of 2 City employees, Wight Gregor and Kerri Stewart in that purchase order/contract. The time period of the IGS purchase order/contract ran from March, 2007 through September 30, 2012. The total purchase order/contract with IGS went from a purchase order in March, 2007 for $85,000 to a contract with amendments that grew to $953,000. The contract ended on September 30, 2012 and the final payment was made to IGS on October 23, 2012, roughly 4 years ago,” Miller wrote.

The charge: “that Kerri Stewart and Wight Gregor had substantial involvement in the purchase order/contract with IGS and subsequently went to work with IGS (Kerri Stewart as Senior Vice President and Wight Gregor had IGS as a client) after they left City employment (Kerri Stewart on 9/3/2011 and Wight Gregor on 10/11/2011). To be clear, all funds expended were approved through the City’s procurement process.”

If this had been valid, Stewart and Gregor would have been on the hook for a panoply of charges, including misuse of position, soliciting future employment or compensation, and post-employment restrictions.

However, Miller wrote, it was not valid.

For starters, there was no evidence Stewart or Gregor were involved in the purchase order. Even if they had been, Miller writes, the two-year statute of limitations had elapsed. And even if it hadn’t elapsed, Miller notes the initial purchase order in 2007 preceded the ethics code of 2008.

“This is an old matter,” Miller notes, “happening between 2007 and 2012. The Commission does not have jurisdiction in these cases because of the statute of limitations. Therefore, the recommendation of the Ethics Director is that these cases should be dismissed.”

Miller also advises that the Office of Inspector General is more appropriate for reviews such as this.

Stewart’s attorney, former Jacksonville City Council President Jack Webb, notes the procurement process was followed to the letter of the law, and that the document authorizing the contract with IGS was signed by a deputy chief administrative officer to Mayor Peyton. Moreover, three other city officials signed off on contract extensions.

Thus, “the question of whether Ms. Stewart’s independence or judgement was compromised is implausible at best,” Webb wrote in his formal statement addressing the ethics inquiry.

As well, Webb notes that upon leaving city employment, she sought legal advice from the office of general counsel. Stewart adhered to the guidelines put forth in the letter, Webb wrote, avoiding any conflicts of interest such as representing IGS in a “conflict” with the city, or taking a role in the project in question.

Webb also rejected the contention that funds were somehow illegally diverted from the capital project accounts in question for consulting from IGS. Webb also added that the district councilman, Reggie Brown, had “full knowledge and total involvement” in the use of the funds, including monthly updates.

The “displaced ethical scrutiny” of this audit, as Webb put it, came later.

We talked to Stewart Tuesday afternoon, who appreciated the “vindication” of how this matter was resolved after a “horrendous six months.”

“I knew all along that I had done nothing wrong,” Stewart said, “so I wasn’t worried.”

For Stewart, who continued to work through the entire process, including through high-profile and high-intensity tasks as helping to finalize the current budget and helping the city to move forward toward the pension reform referendum, this period was a test.

However, she said, “I know better than to let other people’s political agendas distract from the mayor’s agenda.”

How Jacksonville can benefit from Donald Trump

Last Saturday, I checked out a protest against President-elect Donald Trump — the Jacksonville iteration of the #NotMyPresident movement.

As protests go, it was as Shakespeare wrote: “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Those in attendance – 150, maybe 200 – were peaceful, by and large.

The signs and speakers were all earnest, in that young, leftish, dissident way. And with an exception or two, they were obscenity free.

It was a legitimate, organic, if quixotic protest.

fullsizerender-7Apparently, they were supposed to go to the Florida Times-Union to make their displeasure known at the paper that endorsed Trump as a “change agent.”

They didn’t quite make it there; they did get to the Times-Union Center, however, a performance art space sponsored by the local paper.

Presumably, they cleared out before the evening performance of “A Dream of Gerontius” by Edward Elgar.

Since the election of Trump, which few reporters saw coming, there has been a restive mood locally … perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not.

There was a wave of weekend violence low-lighted by the cold-blooded murder of an 11-month-old baby, a horrible act that finds context in other heinous acts in the last week, including the placement of “whites-only” and “colored” signs over water fountains at a local high school, and a whiteboard at the University of North Florida filled with hateful graffiti and a slogan: “make America white again.”

And, as is the case everywhere, there are people locally — specifically women and members of the LGBT community — who have legitimate reason to wonder how drastically the legal landscape for them will change with Mike Pence as VP-elect and Steve Bannon of Breitbart.com in a policymaking role.

In this context of social unrest and uncertainty, however, there is a paradox. And that paradox is that Jacksonville is positioned to do well under a Trump administration.

For one thing, Jacksonville is unique: a big city with a mayor who delivered what he called “strong support” of Trump.

Whereas the mayor’s office (and the governor’s office) were out of step with the Barack Obama White House, the support Mayor Lenny Curry offered to Trump will be acknowledged by the president-elect, who values “loyalty” to such a degree that three of his adult children and his son-in-law are integral to the presidential transition.

Jacksonville, meanwhile, has a laundry list of projects for which it could use federal help.

The deepening of the harbor for JAXPORT, which could be a billion-dollar project in the end. Funds to fix or replace failing bridges. Money for whatever the Jacksonville Transportation Authority decides to do with the Skyway people mover. New or refurbished cars are essential to maintain the integrity of the current system; however, expansion of the system has been on the wish list of many for a while.

In a Trump White House, where infrastructural renewal, including for transportation projects such as mass transit and commuter rail expansion, is expected to be financed via deficit spending, such asks are more plausible than they might have been in a Democratic White House.

Even Jacksonville’s septic tank phaseout project — ultimately at least a $300 million project — may find a more receptive federal audience than it would have if Clinton had won the election.

History tells us that domestic spending bubbles don’t last very long. Even the New Deal sputtered out as the U.S. entered World War II.

Would it be paradoxical for Jacksonville, a rare major city with a GOP city council and conservative mayor, to come out well from a flurry of federal spending?

Perhaps. But in a year of paradoxes and affronts to the conventional wisdom, what’s one more?

Murder of Jacksonville infant illustrates a larger struggle

Jacksonville’s epidemic of gun violence in 2016 (106 homicides thus far) has been bookended in 2016 by the deaths of two of the youngest, most innocent victims imaginable.

In January on Jacksonville’s Eastside, 22-month-old Aiden McClendon was gunned down as the toddler sat in a car with relatives.

Another car drove by, and bullets sprayed the car the child was in, as well as a house.

Little Aiden was the only one hit, and died soon after. Lenny Curry, who couldn’t hide his raw emotion in talking about the scene, has said that was the toughest thing he had to deal with thus far as Jacksonville mayor.

Now, incredibly, there is even a younger victim of violent crime for the city to mourn: Tedashi Williams, an 11-month-old baby shot near a hotbed of violent crime — the Cleveland Arms apartments — Sunday night.

Two adult victims, including the baby’s mother, also were killed in the shooting. Two more were wounded. But the killing of a child under the age of one was what made this murder, in one of the most violent neighborhoods in the city, go from local to national news.

On Monday afternoon, Mayor Curry, Sheriff Mike Williams, and district Councilman Reggie Brown came together to discuss Jacksonville’s youngest homicide victim this year — a crime that shocked the collective conscience, and raised other questions as well.

Curry referred to the act of “senseless violence,” describing an “11-month-old who was killed at a time when there were a bunch of other shootings.”

“I’m mad as hell,” Curry said, and “this has to stop.”

To that end, Curry cited the crime-prevention and crime-fighting techniques that have been part of his public safety platform: added and improved equipment, additional manpower, and the Jacksonville Journey.

“We are going to fight this together,” Curry said.

Curry was asked about this wave of weekend violence in the light of other heinous acts in the last week, including the placement of “whites-only” and “colored” signs over water fountains at a local high school, and a whiteboard at the University of North Florida filled with hateful graffiti and a slogan: “make America white again.”

Curry said that “what you describe is not the city I lead,” before pivoting back to the discussion of gun violence and a “police force decimated from previous budgets.”

“The point today,” said the mayor, is “this is not acceptable.”

“I go to bed thinking about this, I wake up thinking about this, I’m not going to stop until justice is served in the city,” Curry said.

When asked about the murder of Tedashi Williams in the context of the murder of Aiden McClendon earlier this year, Curry noted he’s “remained in the neighborhoods before the election [and] since the election.”

“There is no overnight solution,” Curry added, “but I’m not going away.”

“When you have a child shot and killed,” Curry said, that “wakes the community up.”

“We are dealing with these issues every single day,” Curry added.

“When this happened,” Curry continues, “there were other shootings happening in the city … and the night before, and the night before that.”


Sheriff Williams said “the goal today is to bring justice to this case … peace back to these communities.”

That, said the sheriff, has been a “struggle for many years.”

A major part of the struggle: “gun violence,” which Williams said has “always been a top concern,” especially “illegal guns” and guns possessed by those who shouldn’t have them because of their “criminal history.”

While the investigation is ongoing, and Williams wouldn’t confirm or deny whether this was the result of a shootout, the sheriff noted the shooting “seems to be [the result of] an insignificant issue.”

Williams, in law enforcement since 1991, has noticed a “drastic shift” in the usage of guns, which seems to have become more casual.

“Years ago,” Williams said, “what might have been a fight in the alley” is now resolved by a bullet from a gun.

Law enforcement, the sheriff added, cannot stop this by themselves.

“Today is not the day to wave a flag and declare victory,” Sheriff Williams continued.

Left unstated: that day isn’t coming in the near-term future.


Councilman Reggie Brown, in whose district the infant was murdered, noted that a solution has to involve developing more personal responsibility, to “decide as a community that this will not be tolerated.”

“It’s going to take all of us,” Brown said, to ensure “people initiating these crimes” are compelled to change their mindset.

Brown’s insights on the mike were an extension of what he said to FloridaPolitics.com before the presser.

Before the news conference, Councilman Brown noted that while he believes “community policing” is a means to quell the violence, “self-policing” and “personal responsibility” also are essential.

“Here we are again,” the second-term Democrat from Northwest Jacksonville said. “Unfortunately for an 11-month-old victim, a life has been taken.

“We don’t know what he could have become,” Brown said.

As Councilman Brown said that, a child by the elevators behind him screamed, a happy yell from a happy kid with years and decades ahead of her.

Tedashi Williams will never know that feeling.

Rest in peace, little one.

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