Media was not allowed in the meeting room where JEA linemen met with Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry Tuesday.
Yet all reports from the meeting (at least, thus far) were that it was positive for both the utility workers and the Mayor.
Curry Chief of Staff Brian Hughes noted that the mayor’s “meeting with JEA linemen this morning was part of his continued commitment to having conversations about the future of JEA with all stakeholders. The meeting went well offering him the opportunity to hear feedback and information from the people who put their lives on the line, not only in emergencies, but every day to provide service to the citizens of Jacksonville.”
Meanwhile, both Curry and unidentified linemen said it went well when asked by WJXT.
It comes after a series of news items in recent days that presented challenges for the Mayor’s office and political operation vis a vis JEA.
A political committee (Florida Committee for Infrastructure Investment) designed to stop the exploration of selling Jacksonville’s utility in its tracks rolled out its first radio ad in a mass email to media.
The claim: A $6,000 weekly ad buy on ClearChannel outlets.
The 30-second spot, which employs a child’s voice, includes a plaintive, heart-tugging script.
“Mommy and daddy, they’re saying that Lenny Curry is trying to sell JEA,” says the youth in the spot.
“Don’t let him sell JEA,” the youngster continues. “Don’t let him sell our future.”
The call to action: to call 630-CITY and tell Curry not to sell JEA.
This particular political committee has ties to one of Curry’s chief political rivals. Its registered agent and treasurer, Heather Pullen, has connections to Lisa King, the chair of the Duval Democrats.
Brian Hughes noticed.
“Baseless attacks and lies from a political committee affiliated with and supportive of Democrat Lisa King are not how we will protect the value of taxpayer assets at JEA. The mayor remains committed to ensuring that facts inform all future plans for our utility and that those plans respect taxpayers and the promises made to JEA employees,” Hughes said Monday.
Meanwhile, Council President Anna Brosche wants more disclosure from the city finance department on JEA. CFO Mike Weinstein stonewalled the Jacksonville City Council requests for financial information, saying “they’re on their own in an email last week.”
In still more JEA news, the City Council is poised to approve a bill that would set up a Nov. 2018 straw ballot as to whether or not the voters want a say into whether the utility is sold; it cleared committees Tuesday.