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Jacksonville Charter Review Commission picks sail through

One candidate got three no votes. Many were unopposed.

The Jacksonville City Council ratified the majority of picks for the once-every-decade Charter Review Commission on Tuesday.

Most of the picks were largely uncontroversial. However, a number of picks were pulled off the consent agenda by newly re-elected Democrat Garrett Dennis.

Dennis noted that those he pulled did not meet with him.

“I’m inclined not to support any of them,” Dennis said.

Thus, “hyperconnector” Betzy Santiago moved with a 14-1 vote.

Anne-Marie Knight, an administrator at Mayo Clinic, moved 14-1.

Heidi Jameson, the director of business development for the Chamber’s JAXUSA wing, 14-1. Same for Nick Howland. And non-profit director Nelson McCoy.

Councilman Matt Schellenberg ensured he was pulled so he could recuse himself. Dennis graciously voted for him.

Former Florida Times-Union editor Frank Denton cleared without a no vote. As did Charles Griggs.

W.C. Gentry, the former head of the School Board and the Jacksonville Journey, got voted through on an emergency basis. As was Historical Society head Emily Lisska. And Jessica Baker, a former mayoral staffer who is married to Curry’s political strategist, Tim Baker, got through.

Not everyone was so lucky.

Former School Board member Scott Shine, often at odds with the rest of the board, cleared the Rules Committee last week despite questions about missed meetings. Shine contended he only missed workshops, but his critics pointed to a more robust commitment to absenteeism.

Councilman John Crescimbeni asked for a two-week postponement but was rebuffed. Shine carried 12-3, with Dennis and Ju’Coby Pittman in opposition.

Finally, Lindsey Brock, a politically connected Republican lawyer, was nominated by Democrat Tommy Hazouri to chair the Charter Commission.

Some other names have a two-week cycle to go.

Chris Hagan, out of the state, will be voted on in the Rules Committee next week. As will Celestine Mills, who was endorsed by the Jacksonville Chamber in a failed bid for the City Council this year but couldn’t get the voters’ interest.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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