The second budget presentation from Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, offered Monday morning, fulfilled some rhetorical needs.
Curry, who advanced an $83.3 million capital improvement plan, was able to point with pride to significant allocations toward perpetually neglected parts of town. Among the spending are large allocations for drainage projects: $6 million for countywide drainage rehab, $6.8 million for the Lower Eastside Drainage Project, and $2.1 million for the Trout River/Moncrief drainage projects.
During the press event with Curry after the presentation to Council, Curry was able to look at the front row and see pastor John Allen Newman, pastor John Guns, former Sheriff Nat Glover, and pastor Garry Williams.
Williams, speaking for the quartet, noted that he didn’t vote for theMmayor, but he was voting ‘Yes’ Aug. 30.
The significance of that?
Curry is going to need to shore up support among African-American Democrats to counteract potential attrition from tax-averse Republicans.
Curry, who campaigned on public safety, was somehow able to get 40 more cops and 40 more community service officers … an allocation with an impact of $4.3 million for six months. And he was able to earmark a provisional $3.5 million for pension costs … that is, if the pension tax referendum does not pass Aug. 30.
Ultimately, that referendum is the big enchilada.
And especially for the parts of the press that aren’t necessarily at every (or any) committee meeting, that was the intended take-away: pass the pension referendum. Or else.
Action News Jax got it: “unfunded pension costs are ‘eating our budget alive’, says mayor” was that outfit’s headline.
WOKV got it too: their report used “pension costs are ‘eating our budget alive’” in the sub-header.
News 4 Jax didn’t devote a headline to the pension costs, but did push the pension referendum in the story.
Yes, that’s TV and radio. And that’s where most people in Jacksonville get their news and their framework for their stories.
Those stories of the “fiscal cliff” have, already, “Yes for Jacksonville” ads during the breaks.
A $150,000 ad buy was in the latest finance report for the political committee, invoice date July 7.
What’s showing up so far? An ad with Curry, in sunny disposition mode, talking about the tax extension being a solution to the problem created by the pension costs.
The same team selling “Yes for Jacksonville” — Tim Baker and Brian Hughes — are the ones who helped lift Curry from an afterthought in the mayoral field to a mayor who has strong favorables throughout the community.
Curry has other assets in play, such as a City Council that thus far hasn’t demonstrated meaningful resistance to any policy initiative he’s proposed.
And one can easily imagine a second ad, perhaps featuring Mrs. Curry, as she speaks in relatable tones about how a tax extension is a key to ensuring that kids like hers — and yours — can enjoy Jacksonville as it has been.
In fact, even better than it has been.
Because the pension problem will have been solved.
“Here are the three words Curry dare not utter regarding the Aug. 30 new sales tax vote – ‘new sales tax’” via Ron Littlepage of the Florida Times-Union – By law, the Better Jacksonville sales tax ends in 2030. Kaput. Done. Over with. It can’t be extended. If Curry’s plan is approved by the voters, a new sales tax would go into effect in 2031. I know Curry doesn’t want the term “new tax” to ever pass through his lips, but that’s what it is. That doesn’t mean people should vote against it, but let’s be honest and use the correct term. There are also questions on whether the ballot summary for the sales tax meets the state requirement for “clear and unambiguous language.” For example, the ballot summary begins: “Permanently closing up to three of the city’s underfunded defined benefit plans … ” What that doesn’t say is that those plans would only be closed to new hires and that would only happen after negotiations with the employee unions. It also doesn’t say that new defined benefit plans could be put in place. For the voter who hasn’t closely followed the debate and who is simply angry about what some consider lucrative defined benefit plans that aren’t available in the private sector, that language could be considered deceiving.
Tweet, tweet: @AbelHarding: Happy birthday, @L! Take a day off from the stair climbing machine to celebrate.
Happening Wednesday – Future Leaders of Jax Coalition event at BistroAIX beginning 6 p.m., where Curry will pitch his pension tax. BistroAIX is at 1440 San Marco Blvd. in Jacksonville.
Happening Thursday – Kerri Stewart will keynote the North Council luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at the Samburu Room of the Jacksonville zoo & Gardens, 370 Zoo Pkwy. in Jacksonville. Stewart will share highlights of Mayor Curry’s first year in office highlighting priorities such as public safety, neighborhood enrichment, youth engagement and community wellness. Stewart will also discuss pension reform. Advance registration is strongly encouraged as seating is limited; RSVP and register at www.northcouncil.org.
“’Frivolous’ Hemming Park spending raises Jax Council concerns” via Florida Politics – A new council auditor’s report on FOHP detailed lots of incidental spending, including on coffee and meals that members of the council thought were out of scope. The major problem? “As of May 31, 2016, it appears as though FOHP was insolvent.” Average monthly expenses ranged between $65,000 to $75,000, claimed the auditor’s report, a number that would quickly eat up the $100,000 allocation authorized by Council earlier this summer, and that would require continual allocations along those lines. Council members Garrett Dennis, Joyce Morgan and Matt Schellenberg, in a meeting of the Neighborhoods, Community Investments, and Services committee raised serious questions about the feasibility of FOHP in the context of this audit and burgeoning concerns related to it. While there was some pushback — including Councilman Reggie Brown noting that conditions had improved — other council members noted that during weekday afternoons and Sunday, Hemming Park looked the same as it had before.
“Jacksonville City Council to more strictly enforce ban on demonstrations” via Pressly Pratt of WJCT – While applause and cheering is included, Council President Lori Boyer said it also encompasses rules during public comment. “What I’m trying to do is have a consistent rule that applies. Whatever we do, we need to apply it consistently and it needs to mean the same thing for everybody,” Boyer said. “So (I’m) just trying to look at this and say ‘where does this gray line stop?’” So, Boyer said, from now on only one person will be allowed at the microphone at a time, unless the speaker needs assistance. Enforcing the demonstration ban, she said, addresses a recent problem at city council meetings where groups of people, some holding signs, stand together at the microphone during public comment periods.
“Jax Inspector General search to be prolonged” via Florida Politics – A meeting involving \Boyer, Council Vice President John Crescimbeni, and Carla Miller of the ethics office revealed a general dissatisfaction with the shallow pool of applicants. Reopening the advertisement will be the move going forward, pending the official imprimatur of the Inspector General Selection Committee … Of the 25 or so applicants (a number down from 85 last time), eight were presented to Crescimbeni for his review. He liked three of them, to a point, but “nobody jumped out” as a slam dunk candidate. An issue, agreed the committee: those with police or military backgrounds lacked the CPA component of the job. And those who had CPA backgrounds lacked the auditor experience. Given that the office is “kind of a conglomeration of investigation and audits,” Boyer said, that presents a problem.
“Georgia court rejects Ken Adkins’ latest bankruptcy filing, claims perjury” via Florida Politics – Adkins is best known for opposing the Human Rights Ordinance expansion and, after the Pulse massacre, tweeting that “homosexuals got what they deserve.” Some would call that morally bankrupt. Adkins, meanwhile, has been trying to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy in a Georgia court, but his latest attempt was rejected by a judge in the Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of Georgia this week, who also said Adkins committed perjury. “The case was dismissed more than a year ago, April 28, 2015, for failure to file all necessary papers. Adkins, then proceeding pro se, now seeks through counsel to reopen the case in order to reopen his adversary proceeding against a creditor for violation of the automatic stay,” wrote Judge John Dalis. “However, Adkins was not eligible to be a debtor at the time he filed the case, not having received pre-petition credit counseling as required under the Bankruptcy Code. Adkins then lied by certifying that he did receive credit counseling, thereby transforming what might have been an honest mistake into the offense of perjury,” Dalis wrote.
“Editorial: Too many infants continue to die in Jacksonville” via the Florida Times-Union – Infant mortality in some Jacksonville neighborhoods is appallingly closer to the numbers you would find in a Third World country. So it was with good reason that during a “community conversation” on infant mortality — recently hosted by the Florida Healthy Babies initiative and held at Edward Waters College — Duval County Health Department Director Kelli Wells offered this blunt assessment: “What we don’t pay attention to, we can’t change,” Wells said, regarding the need to address the factors behind our community’s infant mortality figures. We can’t afford to waste time or avoid hard truths in the battle to reduce infant deaths in Jacksonville. And there are ways to begin turning things in a more encouraging direction — a message highlighted during the well-attended community conversation, which drew health providers, community volunteers, educators, city officials and others … it’s also clear that changing Jacksonville’s sobering infant mortality numbers also means reinforcing that mothers must embrace the responsibility of helping their babies thrive once they arrive — an obligation that also must be openly shared by fathers.
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“Jet-setting, galas, shopping sprees: Indictment challenges Corrine Brown’s working-class image” via Nate Monroe, Steve Patterson and Christopher Hong of the Florida Times-Union – In addition to imperiling her future, Brown’s indictment on fraud charges cuts at her political brand as a fiery champion of the disenfranchised. Claims prosecutors lodged in court papers — and a review of public records and Brown’s finances — suggest that after decades in office, Brown’s financial circumstances have little in common with the lives of many of the dispossessed constituents in her district. Her personal finances are puzzling. Nearly all of her income stems from her $174,000 congressional salary. But Brown has taken on more than $500,000 in debt, largely due to three mortgages in her name on three separate homes, and yet she has also claimed making about $192,000 worth of charitable contributions since 2008, values ranging between $20,000 and $30,000 per year. While even many of her critics have long conceded that she has worked tirelessly for good causes, Brown has also enjoyed a gallivanting lifestyle that was barely noticed in her district. She has a penchant for organizing and attending pricy receptions in her own honor. Attendees to her 65th “surprise” birthday party in 2011 at the Alhambra Dinner Theatre — organized by a host committee that included prominent pastors and civic leaders like Haskell CEO Steve Halverson and attorney Wayne Hogan — were asked to bring a minimum contribution of $650 for her political action committee, according to copies of invitations. Perhaps most damaging of all, the government accuses Brown of using her reputation as a voice for the needy, and of using the people and institutions she claims to support, for her own financial benefit.
“Feds ask judge to seal records in Corrine Brown fraud case” via Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida – Prosecutors are asking U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan to limit disclosure of the discovery material to people involved in the case, mainly lawyers, witnesses and experts. The proposed order by prosecutors would only allow the material to be used for trial and appeal purposes. Prosecutors say the material contains information that includes Social Security and bank account numbers of the defendants as well as “dozens of third-parties, including many victim-donors of the charged conspiracy and fraud scheme, One Door for Education,” the charity at the center of the alleged fraud conspiracy. They also say the discovery includes tax records, audio recordings, witness statements and grand jury testimony and personal email communications between [Chief of Staff Ronnie] Simmons and Carla Wiley, president of One Door for Education. She has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and has been cooperating with the feds.
“Congressional candidate Al Lawson reports $171K cash on hand” via Florida Politics – While $101,000 of that number is from loans, Lawson is showing that he has sufficient resources for a credible campaign in the new CD 5 … Lawson reports, for the period encompassing April, May and June, $82,712 in individual contributions. Meanwhile … Corrine Brown is experiencing some difficulty, closing the period with $99,638 cash on hand. Brown took in $114,299 through the three-month period, but $50,000 of that is from a personal loan.
“Pension tax critic Bill McClure is part of the Florida Retirement System” via Florida Politics – McClure, a Republican running in Florida’s 4th Congressional District, has messaged heavily during this campaign against both Jacksonville’s referendum to extend a current half-cent tax to address the unfunded pension liability, and against public pensions in general. However, a public records request reveals McClure is part of the Florida Retirement System. Is there a disconnect? Not to McClure. “FRS has two options, a pension plan or a pretax investment plan, which is the 401(k) option, in which I contribute a portion of my salary and invest it into funds in which I direct, for my retirement. Many private employers offer this one option, as it is investment based, with no guarantees. It can be rolled into an IRA after an employee leaves. Again,” McClure claimed, “there is no guarantee.” McClure emphasized the difference between the defined benefit and defined contribution plan also. “A pension plan is a defined benefit plan which guarantees income for life, and I do not choose to have a pension plan guaranteed by the taxpayers, nor do I wish one.”
“Self-financing the difference between Hans Tanzler and John Rutherford” via Florida Politics – Tanzler is ahead of Rutherford in total funds taken in: $558,055 to $373,570. But that topline number can be deceiving. Tanzler has put $200,500 of his own money into the campaign … this despite filing to delay his financial disclosure until the end of July, which raises questions as to the exact source of that $200,000. When that personal loan is taken out, Rutherford actually is winning the contribution race, as Tanzler has brought in $352,206. A good number, but slightly behind Rutherford’s $373,570. All told, Tanzler has $386,483 on hand, with $100,000 going to Front Line Strategies during the reporting period. Rutherford has $255,856 on hand. Tanzler is ahead of Rutherford currently, but without a $200,000 personal loan, the CD 4 money race would be a different story.
“Sheri Treadwell, Clay Yarborough, Kim Daniels show life in NE Florida State House races” via Florida Politics – In HD 11, Treadwell maintained her fundraising advantage. New money totaling $4,885 brought Treadwell to $133,676 raised, with almost $107,000 on hand … In HD 12, former Jacksonville City Council President Yarborough raised $12,153 during the two-week period, giving him over $80,000 cash-on-hand … This second major story out of HD 12 is the flat-lining of Terrance Freeman, who raised just $4,100 in the period through June 8, with $1,000 coming from Gary Chartrand. In HD 13’s Democratic primary, embattled incumbent Reggie Fullwood raised $1,000, bringing him up to $3,000 on hand. In HD 14’s Democratic donnybrook, the big story is Rev. Kim Daniels writing herself a $45,000 check, bringing her to $65,000 of her own money in the race … Opponent Leslie Jean-Bart questioned the unaccountable nature of Daniels’ approach to campaign finance. In HD 16, former Jacksonville City Councilman and State Rep. Dick Kravitz raised $3,850, much of it PAC money, in his latest fundraising report for campaign for the GOP nomination. Kravitz, as of July 8, has raised $114,600 in hard money, and has over $82,000 of that on hand. Opponent Jason Fischer raised $2,150 of hard money during that period, and has $132,000 in hard money.
“NRA Endorses Cord Byrd for House District 11” – The National Rifle Association and United Sportsmen of Florida endorses Cord Byrd for HD 11. Byrd also earns the highest ratings awarded by their organizations: National Rifle Association: A+; United Sportsmen of Florida: STRONG PRO-GUN. “Your active support of issues important to law-abiding firearms owners has been outstanding,” said NRA Past President and Executive Director of Unified Sportsmen of Florida Marion Hammer. “Your support of Second Amendment, self-defense and anti-crime issues along with your pro-sportsmen, pro-Second Amendment, pro-freedom record has earned you our endorsement and our appreciation … No other candidate in this race has the background of active, dedicated service that you have demonstrated to advancing the cause of Freedom, Second Amendment rights and protection of constitutional rights.”
“Travis Hutson endorses Sheri Treadwell for HD 11” – Hutson, who represents Senate District 6, says, “Sheri Treadwell will be a very effective legislator for Northeast Florida … District 11 voters can be confident that she knows the issues inside and out, and her conservative convictions will make her a strong leader in Tallahassee. I am very happy to support her and look forward to working with her.”
“State attorney challengers say Angela Corey lacks good judgment, offers poor record” via Larry Hannan of the Florida Times-Union – During a lunchtime debate At the Tiger Bay Club Forum … Corey repeatedly defended her record and judgment as she asked the crowd to re-elect her to a third term in office as the lead prosecutor in Duval, Clay and Nassau counties while her two opponents, former assistant state attorneys Wesley White and Melissa Nelson, said Corey’s judgment was lacking and voters could do better. Corey told audience members that she was proud of her record, improved the conviction rate and the overall performance of her office during her eight years as Jacksonville’s top prosecutor. All three sheriffs in the circuit, former Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherfordand the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police have endorsed Corey. White said he’d been impressed with Corey’s skills as a courtroom prosecutor, but came to realize that Corey was a poor administrator and manager. He also criticized Nelson, saying she’d never been a supervisor when she was an assistant state attorney under Corey and former State Attorney Harry Shorstein, and had never made partner at her law firm after she left the prosecutor’s office. Nelson said that wasn’t true. She was a division chief at the State Attorney’s Office and is now a partner at McGuireWoods. Nelson and White were critical of Corey’s decision to seek the death penalty for James Xavier Rhodes, who was charged with killing 20-year-old Shelby Farah while robbing a Metro PCS store in 2013.
“Cash crunch for Corey, as she falls under $85K on hand” via Florida Politics – The most recent period, from June 25 to Aug. 8, saw Corey bring in an anemic $5,392, against a whopping $112,481 spend. Corey, who has raised $327,173 and spent $243,681, now sits at $83,492 cash on hand. Her campaign is plagued by a burn rate that would suggest a more robust fundraising source. The Victory Group earned $25,000 for two weeks of work, but that wasn’t the biggest spend of the period. That designation went to “media purchases” and “media services” from Mentzer Media Services, which totaled $76,325. By that metric, Corey has about enough money for two more weeks of the Victory Group and less than that from Mentzer.
“State attorney race leads to unusual instance of big money Republican donors supporting challenger over incumbent” via Larry Hannan of the Florida Times-Union – The race for the 4th Judicial Circuit state attorney is one of the biggest local elections going on this year … Incumbent Republican Angela Corey is seeking a third term and a number of Republicans who have financed and supported incumbent Republican politicians over the last generation back Melissa Nelson, one Corey challenger … “I cannot think of any Republican incumbent that has been challenged like this,” said Susie Wiles, a prominent GOP political consultant who has had a hand for decades in some of the city’s largest political races and civic drives, but remains neutral in the state attorney race. “It’s rare to have a Republican incumbent challenged, and it’s even rarer to have so many people support the challenger.” Nelson’s political donations come from many who’ve supported Mayor Lenny Curry, former mayors John Delaney and John Peyton, Sheriff Mike Williams and former Sheriff John Rutherford, even though all of those elected officials endorse Corey’s re-election. A search through prior political campaign records shows many of these people donated before, sometimes they even donated to Democrats, but none appear to have donated money to someone challenging an incumbent Republican.
“Matt Shirk: Barack Obama is ‘comfortable’ with deaths from terrorism” via Florida Politics – Shirk raised eyebrows with a tweet about Obama that many found inflammatory. “Obama has deep ties to Islam. Is this why he refuses to call Radical Islam what it actually is??” … he doubled down on his position in written responses. “I completely and 100 percent agree with Bill O’Rielly’s [sic] assessment of Barack Obama as having a deep ’emotional attachment to the Muslim world has hurt the USA,’” Shirk wrote. “Barack Obama is comfortable with a certain level of violence. He is comfortable with a certain level of Americans dying at the hands of Islamic terrorists,” Shirk added, saying he’s “offended” by the recent incidents in Dallas, San Bernardino, Orlando and Nice, France … What offends me is a president of the United States who spends more time playing golf than addressing the violence and mayhem in this country and around the world that is spiriling [sic] out of control,” Shirk added, before comparing himself favorably to the commander in chief” … When asked if the public defender’s office had any Muslim clients, which may be relevant given his freewheeling tweets about Islam, Shirk pleaded ignorance.
Happening tonight – D. W. Perkins Bar Association is co-sponsoring a forum for candidates running for State Attorney, Public Defender and Judge. The forum will be held in the FSCJ Auditorium Downtown with open seating, starting at 6 p.m., 101 W State St. in Jacksonville.
Happening Thursday – Enterprise Florida will discuss proposed actions to help preserve, protect and enhance Florida’s military installations and missions. Meeting begins 9 a.m. at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, 4888 Lenoir Avenue in Jacksonville. For more information, contact Bruce Grant at 850-878-0826 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Charles Tomm named Jacksonville University Board chair, Peter Ghiloni vice chair; five new Trustees added” via WaveMagazineOnline.com – The board of trustees has elected two outstanding industry leaders to its top two posts as it emerges as a pre-eminent leadership body among private universities, while adding five new members renowned for accomplished executive leadership and vision in their respective fields. Former Brumos Cos. CEO Tomm was named the board’s new chair, and Swisher International Inc. CEO Ghiloni vice chair. Charles Wodehouse and Matthew Kane are treasurer and secretary/advocate, respectively. The officers serve three-year terms. New Trustees are Jacksonville Suns owner and CEO Ken Babby; Driver, McAfee, Peek & Hawthorne P.L. President G. Ray Driver Jr.; Mayo Clinic in Florida CEO Gianrico Farrugia, M.D.; Availity CEO Russ Thomas; and GRASP Alliance Executive Director Rachel Vitti. “These selections reinforce Jacksonville University’s rise as one of the most effective and affordable institutions of higher learning in the country today,” said JU President Tim Cost. “Every day, ingenuity is meeting passion here to help our students graduate job-ready and well-prepared to lead and give back to our communities in the most potent ways possible. We are pleased and proud to have these top-tier leaders offering their insight and expertise.”
“Could James Rhodes’ trial be postponed to next year?” via Scott Johnson of News 4 Jax – A man accused of gunning down a Metro PCS clerk in 2013 could see his trial postponed until next year if the Florida Supreme Court does not rule by Aug. 1 on the status of the state’s death penalty law. Defense attorneys for Rhodes have filed a long list of motions related to Florida’s death penalty … His trial is scheduled to start Aug. 29, but the trial will be delayed yet again if the Supreme Court does not rule on the death penalty motions. Lawyers from all over Florida have asked the Supreme Court to strike down the state’s death penalty law as unconstitutional, even with fixes made by the Legislature. The Rhodes case is one of several high-profile murder prosecutions that have bogged down in the uncertainty over the law. Gov. Scott signed into law in March a measure designed to fix the state’s death penalty sentencing process after it was found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The new law requires a jury to vote at least 10-2 for someone to receive a death sentence. Rhodes’ attorneys contend that a jury verdict must be unanimous in death penalty cases.
“Church has plan to revive St. Augustine’s Ponce de Leon Mall; Sears lawsuit battle continues” via Emelia Hitchner of the Florida Times-Union – The interior of the little St. Augustine facility has been little more than humid, empty space since July 2015. Several gaping storefronts lining the mall’s corridors collide abruptly with walls blocking access into Sears, Belk and J.C. Penney. But somewhere tucked behind the old Hallmark is a theater-turned-church, where several volunteers are painting, drilling and planning for some big changes. “We’re going to save the mall,” said Earl Glisson, pastor of Anchor Faith Church. “We want to open it back up, that’s the goal.” The mall’s interior was closed by the landlord, Hull Property Group, after plans to rehabilitate the property fell through. Smaller stores were forced to relocate, leaving only the big anchor stores with outside entrances open for business. But Glisson said the landlord has offered to finance the church’s purchase of the mall if it can pay a down payment of $1.1 million by September. “We only need $738,000 more and we can do it,” Glisson said. “I know we’ll be able to open the mall back up.” The potential changes are coming a day too late for previous Sears Hometown store owner Susan Hartley-Hooper. Sears Corp. assumed control of Hartley-Hooper’s store earlier this month, leaving her to deal with a $719,825 lawsuit filed last year by the landlord. On one end of the lawsuit, Hull Property Group states the Sears tenant failed to pay rent, among other lease term charges.
“Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament organizers say they’re in rebound mode” via Drew Dixon of the Florida Times-Union – Organizers say they hope this week’s event is part of a turnaround in popularity for a tournament that’s entering its 36th year on the First Coast. “What we’re trying to capture is the guy in the single-engine boat and bay boats and stuff like that and get them back into the tournament,” said tournament chairman Steve Thompson, who has participated or helped organize the event for nearly 30 years. There was an uptick in the number of competitors last year, when the kingfish tournament opened competition to more categories for anglers, Thompson said. And Thompson said he’s upbeat about the future of the event, which this week is expected to draw at least 300 boats competing for an $82,000 Contender boat with a four-stoke Yamaha outboard motor and trailer, which goes to the angler who catches the largest fish. “That puts that prestige back into the tournament that we’ve been lacking in the past,” Thompson said. “We’re marketing that every day. We’re putting that on social media. We’re putting that on email blasts and everything. We’re luring them with that prize. “The prize is the deal. We’re prize fishermen. If it was a $300 [prize], people wouldn’t come fishing.”
“Heroic 10-man Armada FC effort in Miami falls just short” via Kartik Krishnaiyer – Jacksonville Armada FC continue to struggle to find consistency. Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Miami FC was unfortunate in that the Armada defended valiantly for 79 minutes down a man only to give up a late winner to the team that entered the night at the bottom of the NASL table. Jamie Chávez scored a goal in second-half stoppage time to give Miami FC its first win of the Fall Season in a 1-0 win at Ocean Bank Field Saturday. But the Armada FC acquitted itself well considering they were a man down for such a long period of time. “I could not be prouder of our effort tonight,” said Tony Meola, Armada head coach. “It is always tough to play a man down, especially for as long as we did. If we can continue to show that kind of effort, good things will happen.”
Beto Navarro was shown an 11th minute red card for taking Chávez down on what appeared to be a clear goal scoring chance for Miami FC. From that point as can be expected Jacksonville played with eight or nine men behind the ball and Miami controlled close to 75 percent of possession. While the Armada was clearly playing to escape with a 0-0 draw, the team wasn’t without chances to steal a win. Zach Steinberger had a chance in the 85th minute against the run of play to record a goal for Jacksonville but his long range effort forced a diving save from Miami Goalkeeper Daniel Vega. Chavez’s late winner was heartbreaking but the resistance the Armada demonstrated shows how well-organized and drilled the side can be defensively. This performance could prove a turning point in what to this time has been a frustrating season of underachievement for Jacksonville. The Armada come back home to face the Ottawa Fury FC Saturday at Community First Park.