State Sen. Audrey Gibson is the most prominent Jacksonville Democrat thus far to weigh in against the appointment of a Republican (Terrance Freeman) to represent a historically Democratic Jacksonville City Council seat.
Six weeks ago, Councilman Reggie Brown was indicted, along with colleague Katrina Brown, for a scheme to defraud, via misappropriated economic development funds. The two were suspended, and both seats stayed vacant until this week.
While few have issue with the replacement appointment for Katrina Brown‘s seat (Democrat Ju’Coby Pittman), Freeman is a different matter.
A Mandarin Republican, he has moved in recent days, establishing residency in two rooms in a friend’s house.
Many people are saying his residency claim is tenuous at best (even as Jacksonville City Council President Aaron Bowman called it “bothersome”). And a legal filing challenging the ruling is pending.
“I have read with interest, descriptions of an impending legal filing concerning the recent appointment to City Council-District 10. Characterizations of bothersome, distraction and political game are certainly disheartening when constituents of our city seek relief from an egregious wrong,” Gibson asserted.
“Clearly,” Gibson added, the phrase “troublesome act of disenfranchisement and political maneuvering describes the shenanigans that overlooked the ideals of the majority of residents in Council District 10.”
“Given there were perfectly capable applicants who actually live and have long history in the district,” Gibson added, “the bothersome issue is the disrespectful manner in which the true residents of the district have been treated.”
Gibson continued: “Why is it a distraction for individuals to stand up for what is right and fight against subterfuge? Why is it that certain people have to accept what they are ‘handed’ when they deserve so much more?”
From there, she decried the “murky circumstances” around the appointment, contrasting them to “the moves to try to make it acceptable [which] are certainly transparent.”
“The latter transparency however, is not that which the public seeks nor that which they should expect. The District 10 appointee is a nice young man from Mandarin and were there an appointment opportunity in that district for him, there would be no issue. I guarantee no Democrat from District 10 would be appointed,” Gibson concluded.