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Jax Beach mayoral candidate gets cease and desist order for slogan

In the latest dollop of drama from the Jacksonville Beach mayor’s race, challenger Cory Nichols got a cease and desist order over his slogan this month.

At issue: the phrase “a better Jacksonville Beach for everyone,” which Jon McGowan of “Better Jacksonville Beach, Inc.” frames as “inappropriate and in violation of common law trademark rights.”

In a letter to Nichols, McGowan asserts that the slogan “implies an association between your campaign and our organization. Better Jacksonville Beach, Inc. does not endorse nor support candidates.”

Contacted Monday, Nichols was emphatic in response.

“I have no intention on altering my vision for ‘A BETTER JACKSONVILLE BEACH FOR EVERYONE’ and I will not and have not conveyed any association with his group. Additionally, [I] have no desire for people to believe that I’m associated with his group,”

In an email about McGowan’s “ridiculous claim,” Nichols asserts that “unlike the current mayor, I would not intentionally seek nor desire an association with Jon McGowan or an entity that he runs, after learning of the unprofessional manner in which he runs things. Obviously, ‘A better Jacksonville Beach for everyone’ has no relationship to his organization and I believe that only him alone would come to that conclusion.”

Nichols then goes on to malign McGowan some more, as well as Mayor Charlie Latham.

Latham, asserted Nichols, “unilaterally gave his ‘WaveMaker’ award to McGowan a few weeks ago for outstandingly representing Jacksonville Beach. It was initially written up to be from the ‘Mayor and City Council’ until other council members forced the removal of the award being from the ‘city council’ because they knew nothing of it and did not agree with it.”

McGowan put that one in context.

“And he is correct about the the WaveMaker, Phil Vogelsang unilaterally requested his name be removed from the award because I’m his opponent’s campaign treasurer,” McGowan wrote.

McGowan, meanwhile, stands by his claim that the slogan is an appropriation of his group’s trademark.

“His capitalization of Better,” McGowan writes, “is a clear reference to Better Jax Beach. My board is in agreement as well.”

“As far as his claims about the ‘unprofessional’ way in which the Jax Beach Art Walk is organized. There has been a very small group of people at the beach who have worked to shut down the Jax Beach Art Walk since it was founded three years ago because they do not support our mission to make the Jacksonville Beach Downtown family friendly. It appears as if Cory has decided to associate himself with that group and that is unfortunate,” McGowan wrote.

McGowan also notes his group, which puts on the Art Walk, receives no taxpayer money, even as it confers $250,000 in yearly benefit to Jacksonville Beach.

“About two years ago,” McGowan asserts, “Mayor Latham offered city funding to help promote the events. I turned it down because I didn’t want to use taxpayer money. When Cory first began his campaign, unaware of Mayor Latham’s offer, he offered to do the same thing if he was elected, claiming the mayor didn’t support Better Jacksonville Beach. I turned it down as well.”

Nichols also solicited McGowan for his endorsement, but that clearly didn’t happen, and isn’t happening now.

“He begged for my endorsement,” McGowan asserts. “He just asked for my endorsement repeatedly, I explained to him I was backing Charlie. This was months ago.”

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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