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Jacksonville Bold for 6.7.16 – The meaning of Vernell Bing’s life and death

Is Vernell Bing, Jr. an outlier? Or a harbinger of a summer of violence and misunderstanding to come?

It depends on who you ask.

Bing was, by every account, shot in the head last month after a 3.7-mile chase, which ended with Bing’s stolen car colliding head-on with a police cruiser at 9th and Liberty streets.

Councilman Reggie Gaffney called for an independent investigation into the incident.

Pastor R.L. Gundy puts this episode in a larger tradition, one involving African-American “children being shot down like wild animals in the streets while our women are being beaten and abused by JSO Officers.”


Gundy also says that this pattern of police violence precludes the passage of the pension-tax referendum.

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, meanwhile, said that “a death like that has to mean something.”

Protesters have been standing vigil at the corner of 9th and Liberty for two weeks since Bing’s killing, and they have no plans to leave anytime soon (though there may have been a weather-driven pause Monday evening).

And someone claiming to be with Anonymous also has taken notice.

“Our police have become judge, jury and executioners. We will not stand for this … We are calling for the doxxing of all JSO officers involved, along with State Attorney Angela Corey for her lack of action in this and mishandling in many other cases … as well as boots on the ground to join us in solidarity with this community and to contest the police fear they have been placing on this assembly on Saturday, June 11, 2016, in a Rally 4 Li’l Redd.”

For the uninitiated, “doxxing,” involves the release of private information into a public forum.

Opinions on the death of Bing run the gamut, and tend to fit the interpretative bias of the speaker.

There is a huge camp that says that the police shooting of Bing was justifiable. Indeed, it could be said that the head-on collision was an attempt to use lethal force against the officer. And for someone born in 1992, Bing’s rap sheet is substantial.

And then there is the camp that says that Bing’s killing is yet another in an endless series of lethal police violence against citizens.

Can the concerns of these camps be reconciled?

That’s ultimately the question upon which the legacies of all incumbents – Mayor Lenny Curry, Sheriff Mike Williams, and Angela Corey – will be predicated.

If a dialogue can be created, it will have to bridge a gulf – over decades of aggressive policing, over generations of resource and outcome inequities, and over social dynamics whose roots go back centuries.

The dialogue is going to have to be created.

Otherwise, another Vernell Bing, Jr. incident is inevitable.

And those questions that weren’t answered this time will be posed again, this time with a feeling there is even less to lose than before.

“Jax Council Finance talks Zika prep” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics – John Shellhorn, chief of mosquito control, said the Zika problem ‘continues to grow,’ with 19 Florida counties with travel-related cases … ‘The situation will get worse,’ Shellhorn said … ‘Zika is new to us and that’s what we’re pushing our efforts toward,’ but there are other concerns beyond that … In Latin America, Shellhorn continued, Zika has become ‘endemic’ in mosquito populations. This has not happened in Jacksonville yet.

“Jax Director of Strategic Partnerships position takes shape” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics – More details about the position are being codified via a memorandum of understanding, which is currently still in draft version and pending City Council approval. The goal of this $130,000 a year position: to create a member of the senior staff who would report to the chief of staff and coordinate efforts between the mayor’s office and the nonprofit sector. The position, authorized for three years and five months, has the city providing benefits and office space. Meanwhile, $295,000 of private donations have been secured to offset the salary for the director position. Private donations will pay the entire salary in its first year, eventually sliding to a 50-50 split by FY 17-18 … This position came out of Lenny Curry’s transition committees last year, described then as a director/liaison for nonprofits. Recommended by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, this was called a ‘dynamic’ and ‘forward-thinking’ approach. Jacksonville would, if this happened, be the first city in the Southeast with such a position, it was said at the time.

Shift in Jacksonville’s financial industry also a shift away from downtown” via Andrew Pantazi of the Florida Times-Union – The economic recovery has not brought back all the banking jobs of old, but it has produced 4,800 new high-paid positions since 2011 as more and more financial companies set up shop or expand their operations in Jacksonville. The city aims to attract financial sector jobs with incentives, taking advantage of big banks’ desire for low-cost real estate and quick flights to New York. But the city still struggles to bring the new jobs into downtown, which has a 10 percent vacancy rate for Class A office space, according to a Colliers International research report earlier this year. Officially, JAXUSA Partnership, the economic development division of the JAX Chamber, says it focuses on six industries — finance, health care, logistics, aviation, advanced manufacturing and information technology. But finance growth has led the way since the recession, JAXUSA President Jerry Mallot said. The organization doesn’t track layoffs and job reductions, though, he said.

“Jacksonville sees huge rise in entrepreneurial growth” via the Jacksonville Business Journal – Jacksonville once again ranks in the middle of the pack in a new survey of the country’s largest metro areas that ranked an area’s entrepreneurial growth placing 23rd out of 40 in a survey, but has shown an impressive 20 percent growth in the number of startups. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation introduced the Kauffman Index in 2015 with the intent of measuring U.S. entrepreneurship by focusing on the outputs of business creation and growth …  The First Coast’s rate of startup growth increased from 72.66 percent in 2015 to 93.04 percent this year. The share of scale-ups decreased from 1.41 percent to 1.35 percent and the number of private businesses with more than $2 million in annual revenue went from 74.8 to 79, according to the index.

From 1993 – “Thomas Sowell talks Economic Decision-Making versus Political Decision-Making’ in Jacksonville” via American Enterprise Institute — I was in the audience for that event as a new faculty member in the Department of Economics at Jacksonville University, which was home to the now-defunct Institution for World Capitalism. I have no idea how this rare video surfaced on YouTube, but it’s a great opportunity to watch Sowell at his best discussing a wide variety of topics including price controls, health care and income inequality … “One of the reasons that people in the upper-income bracket receive such a high percentage of the total national income is that they have more people [and earners]. That is, if you look at the top 20 percent of families and income, and look at the bottom 20 percent, you discover that there are 28 percent more people in the top 20 percent than in the bottom 20 percent. And since it is people who earn money, that is one reason that the top 20 percent earn more.”

“Meeting set for future of Hemming Park” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics – Changes may be in store for the beleaguered management of Jacksonville’s Hemming Park. A meeting on the ‘Future Plans of Hemming Park’ is to take place Wednesday in the office suite of Jacksonville’s City Council. The meeting will include CFO Mike Weinstein and Chief of Staff Kerri Stewart from the mayor’s office, as well as Daryl JosephJake Gordon of Downtown Vision, Aundra Wallace of the Downtown Investment Authority, and Vince Cavin, CEO of Friends of Hemming Park … Last month, committees in Jacksonville City Council debated, and approved, $250,000 for a stage, money to be defrayed with a private sponsorship. However, a day before the Tuesday council meeting, the Florida Times-Union reported that Hemming Park was out of money and needed operating capital. From there, a fractious public notice meeting and a contentious council discussion followed. Hemming Park got $100,000 to fund operations through the first part of August.

Times-Union building offered for sale or redevelopment” via the Florida Times-Union – Morris Publishing Group, parent company of the Times-Union and Jacksonville.com … will consider proposals to sell the 18-acre property on the St. Johns River, or consider possible partnerships to develop the site for mixed use, including offices, a hotel or multifamily housing. “Newspaper-based companies across the country are adapting to the explosion of digital technologies,” said Mark Nusbaum, president of Times-Union Media. “Most of their buildings were designed to accommodate industrial typesetting machines that have been replaced by computers, requiring substantially less space. Digital communication also means that, while offices like the newsroom and advertising can remain in the central city, the presses and distribution facilities can be located on major truck-transportation routes.” Morris is working with Louis Nutter, senior vice president of investment properties, and Brian C. Moulder, executive vice president, with CBRE, a commercial real estate services and investment firm, which soon will issue an offering memorandum. Nusbaum said that, under any plan, Times-Union Media remains strong and will continue operations without interruption … also said the Times-Union is committed to maintaining a major downtown presence.

Florida Times-Union building up for sale” via John Burr – The rumor had been circulating for months: The Florida Times-Union’s riverfront campus was going up for sale. Late Saturday, Morris Publishing Group made it official in time for the Times-Union’s Sunday print edition – the company was now seeking bids on the paper’s iconic headquarters at 1 Riverside Avenue.

The company spin was positive: The sale and redevelopment of the property would build on the new commercial and residential growth on Riverside Avenue in the Brooklyn neighborhood, while having the potential to spark more progress in Downtown’s redevelopment. The decline in the newspaper’s size and influence was hinted at by the company by stressing that the digital future does not require the size of a plant needed in the past.

“Newspaper-based companies across the country are adapting to the explosion of digital technologies,” said Mark Nussbaum, the president of Times-Union Media.

True enough – in Florida, the Miami Herald and the Tampa Tribune sold their prominent downtown headquarters in recent years because the explosion of digital technologies that Nussbaum referred to has blown up their business model, leaving their once-proud and highly profitable enterprises as hollowed-out shells of their former glory.

In the Times-Union’s case, 1 Riverside Avenue in the early 1990s had more than 1,000 employees, but now it hovers around 300. The newsroom at its peak had 200 people; now 50 or fewer are corralled into a fraction of the largely vacant newsroom office.

The best guess is that the site will be completely razed for a combination of uses – office space, luxury residential and retail, even a hotel. The familiar “wedding cake” five-story tower on the St. Johns River with the four-sided Times-Union signage will likely be torn down, a visual confirmation of the rapid decline of print media and the ascent of a new, and so far less profitable, digital age.

T-U building sale not a reaction to Brooklyn renaissance” via Derek Gilliam of the Jacksonville Business Journal – The timing of the move comes as the Brooklyn neighborhood has seen massive redevelopment projects including two apartment projects — the 294-unit 220 Riverside and the 310-unit the Brooklyn Riverside — and a Fresh Market-anchored shopping center. Since Mark Nusbaum arrived in Jacksonville in 2012, he’s thought about the potential sale or redevelopment of the 18.8-acre property where the The Florida Times-Union has operated since 1967. “I’ve got excessive overhead,” Nusbaum said. “… We simply do not need that amount of space for our operations today.” Morris Publishing Group, the owner of the Times-Union and about a dozen other newspapers, announced Saturday night that it would be putting the Times-Union’s riverfront property for sale.

TV station consolidation – join forces, cut costs” via John Burr – Graham Media, which owns top-ranked Jacksonville news television station WJXT-TV 4, has purchased WCWJ TV-17, an affiliate of The CW television network.

And so completes the TV network consolidation in Jacksonville, with Tenga-owned First Coast News controlling the local NBC and ABC affiliates, and Action News Jax, owned by Cox Media, controlling the CBS and Fox franchises.

Graham Media, which also bought a station in Roanoke, Virginia from Nexstar Broadcasting in the TV-17 deal, paid a combined $60 million for the two stations, according to a press release.

Graham spokespeople could not be reached for further comment, but major questions arise from the acquisition of CW-17: Will Graham consolidate the operation of both stations into its WJXT station headquarters in San Marco to cut costs, and will Channel 17 viewers get some access to WTLV’s local news programming, the highest-rated local TV news station and website in the market. TV-17 has no local news programming currently?

The closing of the TV-17 studio seems a no-brainer. That’s what happened when the other Jacksonville stations consolidated their affiliates, it makes no financial sense to keep two studios open when it can all be done in one place, by one staff.

The sharing of the news from TV-4 would be a nice gift to CW-17 viewers, and would increase the footprint of the quality news brand that Channel 4 has enjoyed for many years in the Jacksonville market. Back when TV-17 had a local news report, it was in perennial last place in the ratings, so it would be something different for the station to be associated with a top-ranked local news operation.

Graham media is what’s left of the former Washington Post company, and is made up of the broadcast operations of that former print and broadcast media juggernaut.

“TopGolf, WaWa on the move” via Roger Bull of the Florida Times-Union –  People still seem surprised at how big the TopGolf is going to be when they see it under construction from Interstate 295 near the St. Johns Town Center. Yeah, it’s big: three levels, 65,000 square feet, $25 million price tag, 350,000-400,000 customers expected a year, between 450 and 500 employees with 100-150 of those being full time … The company has not started interviewing or hiring yet. Opening is planned for early October, though no date has been set … WaWa won’t discuss its plans for Northeast Florida until later this week, but proposed sites for the convenience store chain are growing. Plans have been filed with Clay County to put a 6,119-square-foot store and gas station at 664 Blanding Blvd. … follows applications for two locations filed with the city of Jacksonville: Beach Boulevard/Central Parkway and Gate/Town Center parkways … WaWa expects to open 20-25 stores in the area.

“Gwen Graham visits Jax, talks river, NE Florida” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics – As she mulls over a potential gubernatorial run in 2018, Graham is visiting areas throughout the state … Graham noted that she’s ‘spent a lot of time in NE Florida’ … Graham pushed this week for F-35 fighter jets to be deployed in Jacksonville and Homestead, in her role on the House Armed Services Committee. ‘I believe that as the third largest state, Florida should be working together. We made sure Jacksonville was considered for F-35’s,’ Graham said. Graham is leaving Congress this year – and vows to finish strong. Also leaving, Rep. Ander Crenshaw, who co-signed the letter to the Air Force Secretary. Graham has an “extremely positive” relationship with Crenshaw, and the rest of the Florida delegation, she said.

Hans Tanzler goes up with first TV ad via Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida – … taking aim at the Obama administration. The cowboy-themed ad, titled “Rawhide,” accuses “some bad guys in Washington” of putting the country in debt, failing to protect the borders and weakening the nation’s military. Tanzler rides up on horseback with a rifle by his side as a narrator describes why Tanzler is the “hero” who can help save D.C. “Mr. Obama, you and your gang have made a mess in Washington,” Tanzler says. “And I’ve got one message from We The People: Get out of our town.”

“Steve Kaufman enters GOP race in CD 4” via A.G. Gancarski of FloridaPolitics.com – Kaufman, a marketer in the Riverside area, acknowledges that he’s a “long shot,” but he’s jumping in the Republican race in Florida’s 4th Congressional District anyway, “to represent those First Coast workers, businesses and families struggling to get ahead in the Obama economy.” Kaufman will ‘be accepting no special-interest Super PAC, or PAC money—strictly individual contributions: I’ll answer to no one but the voters’ … Kaufman also pledged to only serve four terms if elected, though he didn’t take the extra step of challenging his opponents, which include former Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford, State Rep. Lake RayHans “Rawhide” Tanzler III, St. Johns County Commissioner Bill McClureDavid Foxx, and retired Naval Intelligence specialist Julia Fletcher, to make the same pledge.

Happening Saturday: Democrat Al Lawson, who is running for Florida’s Congressional District 5, will hold a campaign fish fry beginning noon at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum, 6800 Mahan Dr. in Tallahassee.

“Angela Corey’s campaign manager resigns” via A.G. Gancarski of FloridaPolitics.com – Rumors of a shake-up at the top of the troubled re-election campaign for State Attorney Corey this week permeated Jacksonville’s political circle. The rumors, it turns out, had some truth. Campaign manager Alexander Pantinakis, who controversially filed the paperwork for a write-in opponent Kenny Leigh in Tallahassee, “resigned a few days ago,” he told FloridaPolitics.com. Still on board: Matt Justice, the political consultant who is apparently best friends with Leigh, who (word has it) arranged for Leigh to stand in as a write-in to close the primary to only Republicans. Bottom line: Pantinakis dropped off the paperwork — and ended up dropped off the campaign.

Judge steps down from state attorney’s election lawsuit case after write-in candidate accuses him of bias” via Larry Hannan of the Florida Times-Union – A judge who was expected to rule on whether the 4th Judicial Circuit state attorney’s election can be reopened to Democrats and people with no party affiliation has stepped down from the case after an attorney who filed as a write-in candidate accused him of being biased. Circuit Judge James Daniel made the decision after Kenny Leigh filed a motion asking him to recuse himself for saying “I do not care about your rights” during a conference call regarding the case. According to the motion, Daniel followed up seconds later with “I meant that your rights are not relevant as to this issue.” Leigh says Daniel’s original comment shows bias against him. Chief Judge Mark Mahon appointed Senior Circuit Judge Richard Townsend to take over the case. Leigh and the former campaign manager for State Attorney Angela Corey have been sued over their roles in closing the state attorney election to everyone but the 320,000 registered Republicans in the 4th Judicial Circuit, which is made up of Duval, Clay and Nassau counties.

“Red meat served up at West Nassau GOP Reagan Day BBQ” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics – The barbecue at the Westside Republican Club Reagan Day BBQ was legit, if the reactions of those eating it were any indication. Serving it up: politicians, including a number of candidates in Florida’s 4th Congressional District. Red meat was on the menu, and in the speeches as well. State Sen. Aaron Bean got off the line of the day: ‘What is our federal government concerned with? Housing for illegal transgender aliens.’

Reggie Fullwood: Florida Division of Elections is no ‘victim’” via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools – Facing wire-fraud and tax charges, Fullwood is asking a federal judge to block prosecutors from arguing that the state Division of Elections is a victim of an alleged scheme to divert campaign funds to personal use … Fullwood’s attorney, Robert Willis, filed the request last week as he prepares to seek a dismissal of wire-fraud charges that are a major part of a federal indictment unsealed in April. Fullwood, who has served in the House since 2010, was accused of illegally using campaign contributions to pay a wide range of expenses. In the filing, Willis took issue with prosecutors contending that Fullwood used a wire-fraud scheme to defraud the state Division of Elections, along with campaign contributors. “To be absolutely clear, by this motion the defendant does not seek to prohibit the government (prosecutors) from offering whatever evidence it may have of the defendant’s handling of campaign funds and the reportage thereof as required by Florida election law,” Willis wrote. “Rather, this motion seeks to prohibit the government from inferring, suggesting, or arguing that the Florida Department of State Division of Elections is the ‘victim’ who Fullwood is alleged to have defrauded.”

“Dem Tracie Davis files in HD 13, against Fullwood” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics – A big unanswered question regarding Jacksonville races for the state House: When does Fullwood get legitimate competition? The time is now. Former Deputy Duval County Supervisor of Elections Davis announced her candidacy in HD 13 … “After much deliberation, I am extremely excited to announce my candidacy for State Representative District 13. As a resident of the district, preserving priorities is critical, and my community and professional experience enable me to hit the ground running,” Davis said.

Don Gaffney, former Jacksonville lawmaker convicted of mail fraud, running for seat in Florida Legislature” via Steve Patterson of the Florida Times-Union – Gaffney, 62, filed papers to join four other Democrats and a Republican seeking to represent House District 14 in northwestern Jacksonville. He’s trying to succeed Mia Jones, who can’t run again because of term limits. Gaffney, who was the University of Florida’s first black quarterback, is a storied figure in Jacksonville politics. Elected to Jacksonville’s City Council in 1983, he won a seat in the House in 1986, but was indicted the following year on federal charges that included extortion and conspiracy. He was convicted of conspiracy, extortion and attempted extortion, but the conviction was overturned and he was indicted a second time on more counts. He was still serving in the Legislature when he was convicted in 1988 of four counts of mail fraud. He promised a comeback, declaring: “I may be down, but I’m not out.” News coverage from then says Gaffney maintained his innocence, insisting racial prejudice played a role in his conviction. Gaffney served two years in prison, and in 1992 received probation on a state charge of altering a prescription.

Fast settlement triggers county policy review” via Jessica Waters of the Nassau County Record – A three-year-old sexual harassment complaint against Tax Collector John Drew and a settlement agreement with the woman who made it has prompted County Attorney Mike Mullin to review current policies and procedures. On April 14, 2013, Teri Murray – a customer service representative working in the Nassau County Tax Collector’s office since June 2012 – tendered her resignation. During an exit interview with two office supervisors, Murray reported she had been subjected to repeat acts of verbal sexual harassment. According to case documents from the resulting investigation, Murray told department manager Tracy Bazar and then-Finance Director Michael Love, who also handled human resources, that she was resigning because of the harassment, but at first refused to identify who harassed her. At a follow-up meeting, she alleged Drew made the comments. No record of Drew being formally interviewed by investigators for his side of the story was included in county records or the insurance claim case file. Per the stipulations of a 2013 settlement agreement, the tax collector’s office paid Murray $20,000 and covered $1,652 in attorney’s fees for a mediation session. The settlement bears no evidence of approval or personal input from Drew, the county attorney or county commissioners. The county’s liability insurance company approved it. The total amount was below the county’s $25,000 insurance deductible and was paid directly by the tax collector’s office.

Must-read: “Best and brightest? A failure of equity” via The St. Augustine Record – [I]n Florida, politics and common sense education are consistently at odds or in parallel universes. This is nowhere more current or clear than the awarding of Best and Brightest Scholarships to state teachers… awarded on the basis of college admissions (SAT or ACT) scores, combined with ‘highly effective evaluation by districts. The former has nothing whatever to do with the ability of a teacher to mold young minds or be otherwise effective. The latter is so subjective it’s meaningless … Of the 67 district Teachers of the Year, just four of them were judged best or brightest among the 5,500 teachers who shared the $49 million spiff from the legislature – each receiving an $8,250 bonus check.

Resident’s lawsuit claims St. Johns County’s memorandum with UF violates state law” via Jake Martin of the St. Augustine Record – A lawsuit filed against St. Johns County and the University of Florida’s board of trustees claims a memorandum of understanding between the two entities unlawfully grants the university authority to hire faculty and staff at the county’s Agricultural Center without first getting approval from the county. St. Johns County resident Charlie Henley, a retired attorney, filed the complaint with the 7th Judicial Circuit. He claims the memorandum is in violation of Florida Statute … which deals with cooperation between counties and UF regarding extension programs, and is seeking a judgment declaring the memorandum invalid. “Both the County and the University maintain that [Florida Statute 1004.37(3)] is not mandatory but permissive and does not require County approval of faculty and staff at the County’s extension facility … Plaintiff is in need of a declaration as to his and other St. Johns County residents’ and taxpayers’ rights, status, immunities, powers, and/or privileges relative to validity of the Agreement.” The county issued the following statement: “The Office of the County Attorney is currently reviewing the complaint and will respond accordingly at the proper time.”

NTSB schedules mission to retrieve El Faro’s ‘black box’” via The Associated Press – The National Transportation Safety Board said NTSB, U.S. Coast Guard and Navy personnel will depart in early July for the site near the Bahamas where the El Faro sank. They’ll be accompanied by engineers from a private company that specializes in underwater projects. The ship’s voyage data recorder couldn’t be retrieved when it was located in April because of obstructions that require specialized equipment. The 790-foot freighter sank in 15,000 feet of water after losing propulsion between Jacksonville, Florida, and Puerto Rico, during Hurricane Joaquin. All 33 crewmembers died. The recorder may hold audio from the ship’s bridge that can shed light on its final moments.

Sea level rise – a tale of two Floridas” via Melissa Ross of Florida Politics – With Tropical Storm Colin set to roll through Florida this week, it seems like a good time to revisit the vastly different approaches different Florida cities are taking when it comes to the issue of sea level rise around the state.

Down in Miami-Dade, where the waters are already rising and flooding out businesses regularly, they’ve hired a sustainability expert who’s on the city payroll. Republican mayors like Tomas Regalado of Miami and James Cason of Coral Gables have become climate change believers. That’s because the reality of the rising seas has become a serious and IMMEDIATE municipal challenge for these politicians.

Up here in Jacksonville, not so much. If you go to the website climatecentral.org, you can check out the “Surging Seas” forecast for Jax and the timetable of its potential impact. (By the way, there’s detailed data there for every city in the country). There’s a lot to pore through, but long story short, while rising seas will threaten the 904, as they will all Florida coastal communities, the real-world impact is anywhere from one to two to three decades away.

And even though groups like the Northeast Florida Regional Planning Council and the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization have begun actively, well, PLANNING for how to deal with sea level rise in this region – you don’t hear much about it from the rest of officialdom. In fact, Jacksonville is no longer even part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 Resilient Cities” project, which is designed to help urban areas become more sustainable and also deal with the infrastructure issues created by a changing climate.

That worries retired UNF professor Allen Tilley, who runs a listserve that curates reports on climate change. According to the projections, Tilley says higher seas will change the area’s water table within 10 to 15 years- enough to pollute septic tanks and wells, and generally gum up vulnerable city infrastructure. Meanwhile, the Planning Council has urged, to little avail so far, that governments begin the planning process for up to SIX FEET of rising waters over the next century. These projections are in line with those from the Army Corps of Engineers. Six feet of rise means downtown landmarks like EverBank Field would be underwater, not to mention the impact at the beaches.

Dump the Pump and Ride Public Transit Day June 16” – JTA will join other public transportation systems nationwide to participate in the 11th annual National Dump the Pump Day Thursday, June 16. Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the 2016 National Dump the Pump Day is a day that encourages people to ride public transportation instead of driving a car. According to the April APTA Transit Savings Report, individuals in a two-car household can save an average of more than $9,312 annually by downsizing to one car. Public transportation drives community growth and revitalization. It can improve personal mobility and access to job opportunities for millions of Americans. Nearly 60 percent of trips taken on public transit are work commutes. Public transportation use in the United States reduces our nation’s carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons annually. This is equivalent to Washington, DC; New York City; Atlanta; Denver; and Los Angeles combined stopping the use of electricity.

Aaron Bean honored” via Melissa Ross of Florida Politics – Sen. Bean is one of 10 legislators chosen to receive the 2016 Champions for Business Award from the Associated Industries of Florida. Each year, AIF recognizes lawmakers whose extraordinary efforts provide leadership on key legislation for the success of Florida’s business community. Bean was singled out by AIF for his leadership in tort reform and what the organization calls “safeguarding the legal system from stealth attacks by the trial bar” that AIF says undermines the state’s friendly business climate.

Save the date – The Sunshine State Conservatives PC is sponsoring state Sen. Travis Hutson’s Second Annual Deep-Sea Invitational through Wednesday, June 8, at the Casa Monica Hotel, 95 Cordova St. in St. Augustine. For more information, contact Breanna Jordan at 203-313-4695 or Rihanna@FrontStreetFlorida.com.

UF Health Jacksonville first in Florida to receive top Chest Pain Center accreditation” via UF Health – UF Health Jacksonville has been awarded the top recognition for heart disease care, becoming the only hospital in Florida to receive accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care as a designated Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation. Only 24 health care facilities in the United States have received this specific accreditation from the society. The honor was awarded to UF Health Jacksonville following a two-year process that is considered one of the most rigorous in health care. “This is yet another example of why UF Health Jacksonville is considered Northeast Florida’s top destination when it comes to saving lives,” said Russ Armistead, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville. “We are the only Level I trauma center in the region and we are home to one of the leading stroke care programs in the country. Now, on top of those accomplishments, we have been recognized as the top center in the community for cardiac care.”

Happening tonight: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will be hosting “Reflections on a Half-Century of Sea Turtle Conservation in Florida & Beyond” as part of its Conservation Speaker Series. The talk, featuring David Godfrey, executive director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy, begins at 6 p.m. in the Zoo’s Samburu Room.

Save the date: On Friday, June 17, and Saturday, June 18, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will sponsor the 26th annual Bowling for Rhinos/Bowling for Good at Beach Bowl, 818 Beach Blvd. in Jacksonville Beach. For details and registration visit JacksonvilleZoo.org/BFR. Proceeds go to rhino conservation.

Armada record scoreless draw with Carolina” via Kartik Krishnaiyer – Jacksonville’s difficult NASL Spring Season continued in the Cary, NC rain Saturday night. The Armada FC drew with the Carolina RailHawks 0-0 in a match that endured a 90-minute weather delay. The clean sheet was Jacksonville’s first of the NASL campaign, which in itself says a great deal about the side’s defensive struggles. The Armada were without regular starters Pascal Millien and Mechack Jerome who were playing at very same time for Haiti against Peru in Seattle. Haiti lost that match 1-0 in the Copa America Centenario tournament. Meanwhile Millien and Jerome’s Jacksonville teammates endured a match with little flow and inconsistent officiating.

“I thought the performance was good,” said Tony Meola, Armada head coach. “Clearly we played a very good team in Carolina. They attacked very well, but I thought we were pretty organized for the most part. In the second half, we had our opportunities to win the game, but we’ll take the point on the road.”

While the point on the road is a positive step for Meola’s side coming days after advancement in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the Armada remain rooted at the foot of the NASL table with just six points through nine games. Just nine games into the campaign, Jacksonville already sits nine points adrift from fourth-placed Fort Lauderdale who currently hold the final spot in the NASL postseason.

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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Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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