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Jacksonville Bold for 4.15.16 – The post-Crenshaw era begins

Outgoing 16-year Congressman Ander Crenshaw was cut from the same mold as Tillie Fowler, his immediate predecessor who would be considered a RINO in today’s environment, and Charlie Bennett, who served as a Blue Dog Democrat for 44 years before Fowler did her eight.

Never the loudest in the room. Never the most controversial. Never the farthest right.

Sure, he gave the wingnuts some quotes, from time to time. After he voted for TARP in 2008, he nonetheless lauded the Tea Party in a pro forma quote a year later. He didn’t really mean it. And they must have known it, given in 2014 they got Ryman Shoaf, who wasn’t even from the district, up to almost 30 percent against Crenshaw.

It was hard to tell if anyone would have run against Ander this time around. Maybe someone would have gotten in the primary. Maybe not.

But Ander was done.

He told his staff days before he told the world, so they could prepare. Kent Justice tweeted that Ander thought it over during Easter and realized that, at 71 years old, it was time.

Crenshaw is leaving celebrated as a man with the same honor that Fowler and Bennett left with. It’s been a good run for the district since 1948, when Bennett was elected.

The question for CD 4: what now? Or rather, who? Many politicians stuck their foot in the water. Property Appraiser Jerry Holland says he might put $500K into his campaign account. State Rep. Jay Fant could do the same, if he wants in. Duval County Tax Collector Michael Corrigan is looking at it. And there are others, including Lake Ray, kicking the idea around. It’s hard to resist. It’s a safe, safe seat, if you can get elected as a Republican.

About the only person to formally rule it out: former Mayor John Delaney.

It looks like, at this writing, the establishment is inclined to coalesce around former Sheriff John Rutherford, who has great name ID and credibility with Republicans in the region. Curry, who owes a lot of his election to Rutherford, and his money men said so. Others will follow.

Rutherford won’t do 16 years like Ander did. 8, like Fowler, is more likely. That would set up an open seat in 2024, and in 2023, Lenny Curry would be cleared to run, if he wanted, and win, almost for certain.

People say Curry isn’t interested in the US House after his mayoral tenure is up. However, it’s a long way to 2023. And that seat is, and will be for the foreseeable future, Jacksonville’s bread and butter.

By the time he’s through in City Hall, Curry may well want to reconsider.

A.G. Gankarski‘s round-the-clock coverage: “John Delaney decides against congressional run“; “Jerry Holland, Michael Corrigan consider CD 4 runs, will decide soon“; “John Rutherford strongly considering congressional run

How Crenshaw’s retirement is playing” — Orlando SentinelAnder Crenshaw to retire from Congress – “He said it was ‘time to turn the page on this chapter in my life.’ Despite recent changes in Florida’s congressional map, Crenshaw‘s district is considered to be reliably Republican.” WOKV, Rep. Crenshaw: ‘Time to see what’s next’ – “Crenshaw led the way to bring the National Veterans Cemetery to Jacksonville. In 2013, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus recognized Crenshaw’s dedication to the nation’s Sailors and Marines and awarded him the Navy’s highest civilian honor – The Navy Distinguished Public Service Award.” Politico, Defense appropriator Crenshaw to retire – “Crenshaw’s departure means the loss of another experienced defense appropriator in the next Congress.” Tampa Bay TimesVeteran Northeast Florida congressman Ander Crenshaw stepping down – “Mario Diaz-Balart … Called Crenshaw ‘a great mentor, colleague, and friend on the Appropriations Committee … a tireless advocate for our men and women in uniform, supporting them and advocating for naval assets in Northeast Florida.’” St. Augustine RecordAnder Crenshaw’s retirement brings a flurry of interest from potential replacements – “Within hours … speculation quickly spread about which of the many prominent Republicans would replace him. One name, more than any other so far, has stood out: former Sheriff John Rutherford.” Roll CallFlorida’s Ander Crenshaw won’t seek re-election – “Republican operatives mentioned several Florida Republicans … state Sen. Aaron Bean …  Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, state Sen. Travis Hutson, state Rep. Janet Adkins, former Jacksonville City Councilman Richard Clark.” News 4 JaxRep. Ander Crenshaw not running for re-election – “Qualifying begins in May … Republicans are scrambling to take the seat. Among them is Jerry Holland, Duval County’s current property appraiser and former supervisor of elections … Current state Rep. Lake Ray said Crenshaw’s announcement came as a surprise to him, but he is ready to run.” Florida Times-Union, Crenshaw’s retirement brings a flurry of interest from potential replacements – “Duval County Tax Collector Mike Corrigan … University of North Florida president and former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney … Former Jacksonville City Council President Clay Yarborough …  Wouldn’t consider leaving that [House District 12] race … Hutson also denied interest … Others didn’t say they were considering but also didn’t rule out a run … Jax Chamber chief executive Daniel Davis, a former City Council president and former Florida House representative, said simply that he is ‘happy serving where I am.’ A Facebook page also urged people to ask Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan.” Florida Times-UnionLenny Curry would back former Sheriff John Rutherford for Ander Crenshaw seat – “’If he’s in, I’m in,’ Curry said … Rutherford: ‘Holy cow, my phone has just blown up with encouragement … It’s been great. It’s been very flattering actually. I’m putting together a team to strongly consider this. I don’t want to make an announcement at this time.”


— @SpeakerRyan: @AnderCrenshaw has done so much to help people w/ disabilities realize their potential. A great public servant.

— @Apantzi: Q: Who is Ander Crenshaw? A: A pro-military, fiscal conservative representative known for civility.

— @LakeRay3: Thank you @AnderCrenshaw for your service to Northeast Florida, appreciate all you’ve done for our region.

@WJXTJustice: .@AnderCrenshaw made decision last week, told staff Tuesday, then public announcement today Knows staff is disappointed

@apantazi: Jacksonville faces an unprecedented primary: Senate, 2 House seats, State Attorney, Public Defender, Sales Tax

— @AbelHarding: Brace yourself, Jax. The stench of dirty laundry being aired to block potential candidates might overwhelm us.

— @NateMonroeTU: In a 2014 UNF poll, Rutherford had a 66 percent approval rating. Curry’s campaign recognized his popularity, made him a visible surrogate.

— @mcimaps: Dem chances of picking up #fl04 are somewhere between 0% and negative 20%

Crenshaw’s retirement could drastically change Jacksonville’s voice in Washington” via Andrew Pantazi and Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union – With the decommissioning of the aircraft carrier USS Kennedy and all of Naval Station Mayport’s frigates, [Crenshaw] fought to bring in new ships. He also helped approve the 526-acre National Veterans Cemetery in Northside. And two years ago, he sponsored the ABLE Act, which created tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities … Corrine Brown, who also represents Jacksonville, has not yet filed to run again for her seat, and she has already attracted a primary opponent … Ron DeSantis, who represents St. Johns County, is running for the U.S. Senate instead. Losing DeSantis, Brown and Crenshaw at the same time would create a significant and rare shift in Jacksonville’s voice in Washington. Before Crenshaw, only two people — Tillie Fowler and Charles Bennett — had represented that part of the city since 1949. Mayor Lenny Curry said Crenshaw had institutional knowledge and could get things done. His retirement, Curry said, was “a big loss for Jacksonville.”

Hot take – “Crenshaw packs it in … Amen” via John Burr – The Republican stalwarts are tripping over themselves to heap praise upon Crenshaw. At the risk of being accused of throwing a turd in the punchbowl, here’s an alternative view: It’s time. Ander has been a laid-back congressman who did what was required, little more. The political summaries of Crenshaw’s accomplishments stress his support of military funding in general, and the Navy and Mayport’s naval base in particular. All well and true. Can you imagine any member of Congress person representing Jacksonville not being a champion of the Navy? That’s like praising a bank president for making loans.

Nice guy, absolutely. A gentleman? Sure, of course. A charming dinner companion? Absolutely. Time to step down? The right call.

As to Crenshaw’s replacement, the rush is on to crown Sheriff Rutherford as the GOP candidate. Rutherford was a fine Sheriff, whether that translates into a strong congressman is up for discussion. Whoever the Republicans choose, please let it be someone with energy, and a sense of urgency to represent Northeast Florida.

Hearing that Curry’s political brain trust, Brian Hughes and Tim Baker, are lined up to work for Rutherford, if he jumps into the race.

— Definitely not running for Crenshaw’s seat: State Sen. Aaron Bean — @TiaReports: @AaronPBean says he will NOT run for Congress. Eligible for 6 more years in FL Senate

“Tim Tebow eyed for open Florida House seat” via Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner – The news about the GOP’s interest took flight earlier Thursday when the Examiner’s sister site Red Alert Politics called on Tebow to run for the 4th Congressional District

Happening Tuesday – State Reps. Paul Renner and Cyndi Stevenson host a joint fundraising reception in their re-election campaigns for House District 24 and 17, respectively. Event begins 6 p.m. at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, 11 Magnolia Ave. in St. Augustine. RSVP at Katie@kballardconsult.com. Minimum suggested donation per candidate is $50.

Ric Keller files to run for CD 6” – Former Republican U.S. Congressman Keller filed papers to run for Florida’s 6th Congressional District. The seat is open as a result of Ron DeSantis leaving to run for the U.S. Senate. “I am running for Congress because Washington is dysfunctional, our country is headed in the wrong direction, and we’ve been betrayed by the Republican Establishment,” said Keller. Keller is considered to be a conservative Republican, and was ranked as the #1 most conservative member of Congress from Florida by National Journal magazine (2003, 2005). Keller also bucked the Republican establishment by voting against the $700 billion Wall Street bailout in 2008, and by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Rick Scott honors Jax company, ceremonially signs tax cut bill” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics – Scott announced that Novolex will be expanding their Hilex Poly brand manufacturing facility in Jacksonville, which will create 25 new jobs and invest $6 million in the local community. Novolex makes plastic bags for grocery stores throughout Florida … Novolex, with 37 plants across the country, employs more than 100 Floridians … During the announcement, Scott also ceremonially signed HB 7099, which includes the permanent elimination the sales tax manufacturing machinery and equipment and a three-day back-to-school sales tax holiday. Over the past two years, Florida has cut more than $1 billion in taxes.

Tweet, tweet: @JaxPort: Thx @Adamputnam for stopping by. We appreciate your interest in what we do!

DOH backs off contested trauma center rule” via Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union – A copy of the “notice of withdrawal” was published … in the Florida Administrative Register. That means the Department of Health is no longer pursuing a new policy that would have added another trauma center to the five-county area that includes Duval and Clay counties. University of Florida Health Jacksonville challenged the new rule on the grounds it could affect profitability and quality of care, but Orange Park Medical Center asked to intervene on the grounds that it intends to apply for a new trauma center.

Mia Jones email spotlights uninsured medical need” via Melissa Ross of Florida Politics – Jones is sharing news via e-blast of an event that demonstrates the ongoing medical needs of the thousands of under- and uninsured in her district (and across the city). The Florida Dental Association is holding its annual Florida Mission of Mercy (FLA-MOM) event in downtown Jacksonville April 22 and 23. The MOM event is a two-day dental clinic that provides free dental care on a first-come, first served basis. Services includes cleanings, fillings, extractions, limited root canal therapy, limited transitional partial dentures and pediatric dentistry. The free dental care will be offered both days from 6 a.m.- 6 p.m., at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. Because the state opted not to expand Medicaid, there is a large population of low-income Floridians who aren’t covered for routine dental care services like these, so expect a good turnout.

Jacksonville City Council discusses controversial property donation bill, defers action” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics – Expectations that a controversial bill on increasing the value of property the city may donate to developers from $25,000 to $50,000, would be discharged for discussion came to pass, At the urging of Councilman Bill Gulliford, during Tuesday’s Jacksonville City Council meeting. Council had already promised further discussion on 2015-519 in the Neighborhood Improvement and Community Enhancement Committee and in public notice meetings, as it attempts to address concerns of Council members, who believe the bill could serve to backdoor development of independent living facilities, rental properties, and other functions that typically parallel neighborhood decline. District 10 Councilman Reggie Brown, who was a staunch critic of the bill in committee, reiterated his criticisms, saying that the community needed more time to “vet this process.

Joyce Morgan backs John Crescimbeni in Jax Council VP race” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics –Ten Council members … had made pledges in the Jacksonville City Council VP race: six for Crescimbeni, and four for Doyle Carter. This left nine pledges to be fought over by the veteran Councilmen. Morgan, met with both men; Carter in the morning and Crescimbeni in the afternoon, before signing on with her fellow Arlington Democrat Morgan, a freshman Councilwoman, said in the morning that while she thought Carter was a “wonderful Councilman” and that she feels strongly for him, the VP choice was “very difficult for her.”

Councilman: Richard Hamlet should be ashamed” via Lynnsey Gardner of News 4 Jax – City Councilman Tommy Hazouri wants the landlord for the troubled Eureka Gardens and Washington Heights housing complexes to pack up and leave Jacksonville … Hazouri [said] city leaders will step in to help the 200-plus families at Washington Heights, like they have done at Eureka Gardens. For six months, the I-TEAM has exposed squalor at both properties, which are owned by the Rev. Hamlet‘s Global Ministries Foundation. The conditions are so deplorable that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has told Hamlet to sell both complexes. 0Eureka Gardens barely passed its HUD inspection with a score of 62c. The latest HUD report confirmed Washington Heights was in even worse condition. It scored 60.01. A passing HUD score is 60.

Derek Igou out as acting head of Jax Neighborhoods Department” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics – One of the primary policy initiatives of the Curry administration in Jacksonville has been the reinstitution of the Neighborhoods Department. As of April 15, however, the search is on for a new permanent head, as Acting Director Igou has tendered his three sentence resignation letter. Igou wrote Curry that while he wanted to thank Curry for the opportunity to serve as Acting Director, effective April 15 he would no longer serve in that capacity. Kim Scott will take over as Acting Director, pending the selection of a permanent replacement. The full story on the Igou resignation, with one-day notice, no doubt is an interesting one. In March, he told the Jax Daily Record that “I just want to be part of it. I think we can do some good things.” Just two weeks later, the man described as a “former deputy chief administrative officer and longtime City Hall veteran” had second thoughts.

Hemming Park nonprofit says no plans to remove Confederate statue via Lindsey Kilbride of WJCT – “That confederate statue is an offense to some, but it’s a pride to me,” [Barlow Curran] said. “People need to understand although it is a statue of a confederate soldier, that statue is a part of Jacksonville history.” Curran’s views were echoed by commenters at Tuesday’s Council meeting. Some Northeast Florida residents expressed concern that the Confederate statue might be removed from Hemming Park. One man said concept drawings for the park online don’t include the statue. The concepts were drawn by the planning nonprofit Project for Public Spaces earlier this year. But the nonprofit Friends of Hemming Park said … the mock-ups are just suggestions, not official, and the organization isn’t planning to remove the statue. Plus, removing the statue would take a Council vote and funding, Councilman Bill Gulliford said.

John Delaney responds to Matt Schellenberg’s ‘Teflon John’ attack on Jax pension issue” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics – “I recently read your piece with Schellenberg; a portion of which spoke about the pension issue, blaming me for ‘not negotiating hard for the City.’ The blame for the pension issue has become Greek mythology. And about as accurate,” Delaney asserted. “Matt’s is a naive and uninformed statement. He and I have never even spoken about it or I could have explained the real history and rebut the myth,” Delaney added, before levying responsibility on Schellenberg, his Council class, and the Council class before his. “If anything,” Delaney continued, “the failure to act during Matt Schellenberg’s first term in office and during the term before his is more to blame for the ballooning problem. I don’t recall a single action by Schellenberg to solve the problem during his first term, until its closing days. That and sloppy proposals from then Mayor Brown demonstrated a lack of leadership.”

Matt Shirk challenged over his lobbying for business that was represented by his wife” via Larry Hannan of the Florida Times-Union – Fourth Circuit Public Defender Matt Shirk faces conflict of interest questions over his lobbying on behalf of a for-profit drug and alcohol program for which his wife was a representative. Shirk is being criticized by a lawyer who filed an ethics complaint against him and a retired judge now running for Shirk’s job as public defender. In a filing with the Florida Commission on Ethics, attorney Thomas Duffy said Shirk used his office’s prestige to benefit his wife financially. The retired judge, Charles Cofer, said Shirk lobbied the judges of the 4th Judicial Circuit to refer criminal defendants to the program, called Sober 101, before revealing his wife’s role with the organization based in Sarasota. Shirk denies doing anything wrong. He said his wife was not paid for her work and is no longer involved with the organization. “I can assure you that we did not benefit financially from this,” Shirk said.

First Coast Tea Party says HRO expansion advocates herd them ‘like sheep to the slaughter’” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics –The expansion of Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance is on the backburner to LGBT people, but the First Coast Tea Party sent Mayor Lenny Curry a recent letter opposing HRO expansion. It describes the “movement to promote and normalize the LGBTQI lifestyle” as a “specter haunting America,” a movement which is “utterly cynical and possibly racist,” given its use of the “rhetoric and imagery of the U.S. Civil Rights movement.” HRO expansion would be “undue affirmative action,” the Tea Party asserts. “‘Gayness’ has not yet been determined to be immutable… Homosexuals want to be designated a ‘class’ so they can game the legal system for the spoils of discrimination lawsuits… Relegating same-sex attraction as immutability distorts reality.”

Project Rex is likely Amazon — and here’s where it’s going” via Jensen Werley of the Jacksonville Business Journal – “If it’s not them, then this is the greatest trick played on Jacksonville industrial real estate,” said one local commercial real estate broker. The $200 million Project Rex facility will be located on a plot of land at the corner of Interstate 295 and Duval Road, according to project documents. The bulk of the site — 148 acres known as Broward Signature — is owned by Signature Land, while another 22 acres belong to CRM Florida Properties LLC of Atlanta. To make the site work, a 2,000-foot-long section of Pecan Park Road would need to be realigned, during which it would be turned into a four-lane road … Other road improvements would include installing a traffic signal on Pecan Park Road, relocating a water main and possibly adding a signal at the I-295 ramp. The client for that work, according to the documents, would be Seefried Industrial Properties. That company’s website shows it has built Amazon sites in Tennessee and Virginia.

Business, si! Cuba, no!” via John Burr – Unlike other Florida cities, notably Tampa, which are making strong efforts to capture the tourism and trade business once Castro’s Cuba is truly opened for business, Jacksonville leaders show no interest in getting into the game.

The big stumbling block? Politics. Gov. Scott opposes doing business with Cuba, and Mayor Curry is certainly of the same mind. President Barack Obama’s pushing of the issue has much to do with Republican opposition to reestablishing ties with Cuba, but one might think that Republicans in Florida, so fond of growing business opportunities at every turn, would wink-and-nod at the national GOP position while seeking out ways to make a buck in the Communist nation 90 miles off our shore.

But no, politics is trumping economics when it comes to Cuba, certainly in Jacksonville. The subject came up at a recent Florida Tax Watch panel discussion at the Holland & Knight law firm Downtown, and the audience chuckled when Tax Watch Counsel Robert Weissertasked if Jacksonville was “in the game.” “No!” was the unanimous reply.

It’s true, trying to build business ties to Cuba is not a slam dunk – the Castro regime is notoriously volatile, the Cubans have no money to buy our goods, and they produce little of value at this point that we would buy. That said, we are at an historic inflection point. Who would have thought that China would become our largest trading partner in 1972 when President Richard Nixon made his surprise visit?

“I used to drive warships between Cuba and Puerto Rico, and it’s not that far,” noted Holland and Knight Jacksonville Executive Partner Daniel Bean, a former U.S. Navy captain who said he favors opening up trade. Bean’s reference to Puerto Rico is directly on point – Jacksonville’s port is far and away the largest transit point for goods shipped to Puerto Rico from the U.S. mainland.

Port of dreams: if we tragic, will they come? And is it worth the risk?” via Claire Goforth of Folio Weekly – Money is the driving force behind the push to deepen the St. Johns River shipping channel to accommodate larger Post-Panamax ships that will begin traversing the Panama Canal later this year. Hungering to increase its share of both that cargo and the Asian container trade, the Jacksonville Port Authority, or JaxPort, has spent the better part of a decade pursuing deep water; it’s done a rather good job selling the dredge to politicians and other holders of the purse strings. Dredge the river, make money; don’t dredge, lose money: It’s a digestible argument that is easy to get behind. But in spite of the fanfare of press releases and pink-cheeked politicians like Scottparachuting in for smiling photo ops whenever JaxPort lands a big fish like Maersk Line or Volkswagen, many economists and environmentalists are not buying what the port, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Martin Associates and Xicon Economics are selling. They do not believe rosy projections about the economic benefits of deepening; they aren’t convinced by the Corps’ optimistic predictions that scooping 18 million cubic yards of river bottom will have negligible environmental impacts on the river, its inhabitants and adjacent areas.

JTA receives six dollars million ferry grant via JTAFla.com – The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) was awarded a $6 million Passenger Ferry Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The grant application was a partnership between the JTA and the St. Johns River Ferry Commission. The grant funds will be used to fund the second phase of the St. Johns River Ferry Slip Walls Replacement and Capital Improvement project. “It’s always a great day when you can announce that a longstanding problem is finally resolved for the St. Johns River Ferry, and that a secure and stable future is at hand,” said JTA Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. “With 20 years of operational funding guaranteed for the ferry, and the joint efforts of the JTA and the St. Johns River Ferry Commission in advocating for capital funding, we will finally have a safe and reliable infrastructure for future generations of ferry riders.”

Spotted – At the Florida Recycling Summit at Anheuser-Busch: Jacksonville City Councilman Scott Wilson; Dr. Charles Moreland, Jacksonville City Director of Community Affairs; Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie LathamJose GonzalezSamantha PadgettErin Ballas; and Liz Castro DeWitt, Executive Director of the Florida Beverage Association.

Spotted – At the Pearl Jam concert Wednesday at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena (for a fundraiser for Sen. Rob Bradley): Richard Reeves, Alan Suskey, Jorge Chamizo, J.C. Flores, Trevor Mask, and Joe Mobley.

Must-read: “Is Nassau County on the fiscal brink?” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics – Citizens for a Better Nassau County contends in a white paper that if changes aren’t made, problems are imminent. The paper was presented during a meeting of the group, in which Shanea Jones, the director of the Office of Management & Budget and assistant county manager of Nassau County, discussed the county’s financial state, problems related to underinvestment in depreciating assets, and the depletion of the capital reserve accounts, and Brian Martin, a vice president of Robert Charles Lesser & Co., discussed the fiscal sustainability of Nassau County. The paper notes that “recently a highly respected financial consulting firm, Burton & Associates, presented the findings of a comprehensive audit of the county’s finances to the county commission. The audit painted an undeniable picture of a looming fiscal crisis that could lead to the insolvency of the county, downgrades of the county’s bond rating and the inability of the county to meet its financial obligations.” The problem is, says the group, severe. If unaddressed, “this crisis will impact every county resident and property owner and will inhibit the county’s ability to pursue economic development opportunities that are vital to restoring the economic sustainability of our community. County services will be severely restricted, our ability to adequately fund our A-rated schools will be challenged and our governing decisions could ultimately be dictated by the state.”

SJC: Controversial billboard protected under First Amendment rights” via John Engel of WOKV –The controversial billboard at A1A and Seashore Avenue is protected under the First Amendment right of free speech and won’t be forced down, according to a St. Johns County official. Reading “Islam Bloody Islam,” the billboard has garnered international attention through an online petition to have it taken down. The petition, started by a St. Augustine Beach resident, has more than 15,000 signatures from people around the world. “While its message may be offensive for some members of our community, it is protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which precludes the County from taking action,” Michael Ryan, director of communications for St. Johns County said.

“Commissioner to host meet & greet” via the St. Augustine Record – James Johns, St. Johns County District 1 commissioner and vice chair, will host a Meet & Greet from 6-8 p.m. April 21 at the Main Branch Library, 1960 N. Ponce de Leon Boulevard The meeting will provide all St. Johns County residents with the opportunity to meet Johns and provide feedback regarding county programs, initiatives, facilities and other topics. County residents are invited to attend and participate in the informal question-and-answer session and talk with Johns about what’s important to them. For information, call 904-209-0301.

What Julie Delegal is reading

Briefs submitted to Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeal” – regarding Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis’s involvement in a gambling enterprise

Archived coverage of the Allied veterans of the world case” via The Florida Times Union  In March 2013, 57 people were arrested for their involvement in operating Internet cafes, including then-Fraternal Order of Police President Nelson Cuba, who pleaded guilty to several charges in 2015 and served a year of house arrest. Lieutenant Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned her post in the wake of the arrests, which have been criticized as “overreach” by Jacksonville attorneys. Carroll was never charged for her alleged ties to the gaming centers.

Much like McDonald’s Monopoly game pieces  Mathis and his attorney, Mitch Stone, contend that the Internet games involved were not gambling but legal “sweepstakes.” At issue on appeal is whether the judge made a mistake in excluding evidence that Mathis says shows the gaming centers were legal. Also on appeal is whether the judge should have excluded a juror whose husband had a gambling addiction.

“An extensive interview with Mathis published last year via Marilyn Young of the Jacksonville Daily Record – He is out on bond pending appeal, and faces six years in prison and disbarment if the trial court conviction is upheld. No other actor in the Allied Veterans case has been sentenced to prison time. The 5th DCA’s ruling is not expected for several months.

— Happy birthday to @MetroJ: We turned 10 years old, two days ago…enjoy some cake.

Burro Bar to close its doors” via WJCT –After five years at the corner of Ocean and East Adams streets, the owners have decided to call it quits …  Owners describe their establishment as a neighborhood bar without a neighborhood … people attending events at Hemming Park rarely found their way to the bar, just 4-blocks to the east. Burro Bar will close its doors in July.

9-year-old Flagler surfer earns spot in national competition” via Andy Mikula of the Daytona Beach News-Journal – A 9-year-old Flagler County surfer scored top-five finishes in two different short board divisions during the recent National Scholastic Surf Association’s East Coast Championships at New Smyrna Beach, earning him a spot in the upcoming national competition in California. Braeden Kopec … advanced through every elimination round to place in both the Explorer Super Groms and Open Mini-Groms. He took third in the Open Mini-Groms with an overall score of 7.03 and was fifth in the Explorer Super Groms scoring at 6.26 … he will be training at a location in South America and has plans to surf in several contests in the interim, his dad said. The next major event for him will be the Eastern Surfing Association Southeast Regional Championships April 15 through 17 at Paradise Beach Park in Melbourne.  Braeden is sponsored by O’Neill, Quiet Flight Surfboards, SunBum, Surf Station and Dakine.

Jacksonville Jaguars sign nutrition sponsorship deal with Nue-Well Physicians” via Drew Dixon of the Florida Times-Union – Nu-Well, on Monument Road, specializes in developing plant-based products designed to enhance nutrition … Nu-Well is now the official cold-pressed juice provider for the NFL franchise. Part of that sponsorship deal includes Nu-Well providing nutritional products to the football players. Nu-Well will also provide a “Health Tip of the week” message and nutrition advice on the Jaguars’ social media through this summer leading into the 2016 season in the fall.

Rashean Mathis retires with Jaguars: ‘It’s great to be back home’” via Mike Kaye of WTLV – The Jaguars’ all-time interceptions leader inked a one-day contract with the team that drafted him and housed him for the majority of his 13-year career …  “It’s great to be back home,” Mathis said, as he made his opening remarks. “I guess I kind of feel like I never left in a sense because every offseason we were rooted back here. The ceremonial contract signing was a full-circle experience for Mathis. “This moment is special,” Mathis said. “It’s even more special to me as I stand in front of you because I’m not an emotional guy, but it’s touching. This means a lot. It was a little more than I thought it would. While getting dressed today, I didn’t know I was going to feel the feelings I have today. That says a lot for this organization.” Mathis went to a Pro Bowl in 2006 and was among the few Jacksonville stars of his era to gain national recognition.

3 questions heading into tonight’s Armada home opener” via Kartik Krishnayer

The Jacksonville Armada opened its season in the inhospitable confines of James H. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, New York on Sunday against the reigning NASL Champion New York Cosmos. The 2-0 scoreline probably flattered the home side, as the Armada took away a lot of positives from the match. Tonight, Jacksonville plays host to NASL newcomers Miami FC at Community First Park. Kickoff is set for 7pm.

Miami FC has yet to leave the state of Florida this NASL season opening away to Fort Lauderdale and then facing Tampa Bay at home. Here are three things to look for from for Jacksonville’s game against Miami. The visitors have two 1-1 draws in their first two matches, while the Armada will be looking for its first points of the season.

– Can Miami FC keep a lead? Miami has scored early in its first two matches only to get sloppy late and concede late penalty kicks that led to equalizing goals. It is worth noting that Miami FC has still not conceded a goal in the run of play. However, Miami has shown a clack of composure in defending leads late in games. Given what has transpired the first two matches if the Armada fall behind they will be confident they can rescue a result, especially at home. Adailton has been a rock for Miami as the holding midfielder covering up for a number of mistakes from defenders in the first two matches.

– How will Miami FC cope with the Armada midfield? Both Kevan George and Richie Ryan were outstanding in their Armada NASL debut last week in New York. With George and Ryan in the midfield, the Armada have the ability to control the tempo of the match and involve wide players such as Pascal Millien, Patrick Otte and Bryan Burke often in build up play. Miami has thus far faced two lackluster midfields in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa Bay. Coping with the tempo the Armada can provide as well as the quality on the ball will be a stern test for the expansion club.

– This will be the first Armada game on national TV This match will be the first time Jacksonville has featured on beIN Sports. It will be first of a number of Armada games televised on beIN or CBS Sports Network this season.  The match features a rare Friday night kickoff for the Armada and will also be televised live locally on CW 17. Season openers always feature a lively crowd and for beIN Sports it will be an opportunity to showcase a signature NASL team in a venue that should be close to full. The optics will be perfect for NASL who would love to see viewership increase from the average of 14,000 national viewers in beIN’s first two broadcasts of the season.

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

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