“Hasbeen”: Jacksonville City Council school tax debate gets personal
Jacksonville City Councilman Aaron Bowman sees a certain colleague as a "has-been"

Aaron-Bowman (Medium)
More personal rancor in Jacksonville politics.

Two prominent Jacksonville City Council Republicans exchanged sharp words in an email thread this week.

The nominal subject: divergence on the timing and the specifics of a proposed referendum for school capital sales surtax.

The debate, which has heated up over the summer months, boiled over into ad hominem attacks in a very pointed email thread Thursday.

This came just two days after the Jacksonville City Council voted to withdraw the Duval County School Board’s referendum request.

The exchange started off when Finance Chair Aaron Bowman emailed Duval County School Superintendent Diana Greene regarding getting draft versions of timelines for proposed capital improvements for the schools.

Bowman wanted Greene to reach out no later than Tuesday morning about the documents that led to the district’s proposed Master Facilities Plan.

Bowman’s colleague Matt Carlucci (an at-large Councilman who notes he was the leading recipient of votes in the March elections) took issue with the “demanding” tone of the request.

This was an extension of his irritation that the School Board has not been heard by Bowman’s committee.

“Aaron, You are a councilman. Please do us and your constituents a favor and Brush up on your humility. Dr. Greene is the Superintendent of al DCPS. Your Attitude only builds walls. Think hard about this, Matt. Ps: you did not behave like this when you came to me asking for support,” Carlucci wrote.

Bowman fired back nine minutes later: “When you come to terms that you are a ‘has been’ , I suspect things will get better for you.”

The exchange continued in an unproductive fashion before Bowman terminated.

“So obviously you have issues so I will automatically divert all of your email to file folder. If you have something that you need to discuss, please call me … or get an appointment. Sad to watch you fall but I can only control one council member and certainly the way you attack your colleagues is disappointing and disgraceful and I will have no part,” Bowman asserted.

Bowman noted that his issue with the document was that Council was “told it did not exist and then it magically shows up a few minutes before our meeting from a Council member, not the board or the Supe.”

While he did not address the “has-been” jab at Carlucci, Bowman has not been averse to mixing it up with Council colleagues.

He has referred, for example, to Democrat Garrett Dennis as “Mr. Irrelevant,” citing 18-1 votes opposed to one Dennis bill or another.

Carlucci said that “maybe” he’s a has-been, but pointed to his institutional knowledge garnered in four terms on Council.

That institutional knowledge, he added, makes him a consensus builder, as opposed to “building walls.”

“The lack of wanting to build consensus has hurt this,” Carlucci said.

Carlucci had sought a postponement of the bill, keeping it live, but he could not build consensus for that move. Nor has he been able to build consensus to put the referendum on the ballot.

A statement by Bowman, saying that he would be the “worst nightmare” for a referendum as currently proposed, particularly nettled Carlucci.

While Carlucci continues to regard Bowman as a friend, it’s hard to say if the feelings are mutual.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Frankie M.

    August 30, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Better a has been than a never was. We all know the reason he wants this now…in the middle of an incoming hurricane no less. I suspect it was the same reason the school board didn’t give it to him earlier. He would just pick it apart to further his delay & decay agenda until the school board gives into the extortion from his charter school donors. In the end Bowman is just a low level functionary. We all know who he takes his marching orders from.

    • V Gutierrez

      August 30, 2019 at 5:46 pm


  • Bruce Nolan

    August 30, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    “Sanctimonious, ineffective with delusions of grandeur has been” would have been more accurate.

  • Frankie M.

    August 30, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    Bowman would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle. If I’m Dr. Greene I’d say, “I’m sorry we’re too busy with the safety and well being of our students to comply with your trivial request at this time.” In other words the health and safety of students trumps his self imposed bullshit timeline. Not that Bowman gives two shits about kids. If he wants these records get a subpoena. See you in court sucker.

  • Bonnie

    August 31, 2019 at 9:32 am

    Bowman’s authoritarian leadership style, possibly leftover from his military career, is no match for the consensus building style of Carlucci. Bowman acts as if he can order anyone around and they should obey. Bowman’s hateful comments illustrate is inability to take criticism or reflect on his actions. He demonstrates his ego driven style in City Council meetings when interacting with the public. He is dismissive of other’s ideas and combative if others disagree with him. He is unable to speak from the cuff which is probably why he only holds “invitation only” town hall meetings. Bowman cannot respond to feedback that does not align with his thinking in any respectful manner.

    Carlucci demonstrates the ability to listen, process, and respond with respect even if he disagrees with you.

    Carlucci has an inclusive leadership style which Bowman could learn a lot from if he could put his ego aside.

  • Gus

    August 31, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Bowman is an embarrassment to his constituents. Not only does he insult fellow members, he looks down on the people that he represents.
    He has no care for our public schools and it’s Future Leaders.

    I bet if 90% of the money was for charter schools he would of been for it.

  • Karen

    August 31, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    ‪Karen Carlucci here. My husband is a has been. He “has been”working very hard, “has been” expressing opinions,”has been” working to make our schools 21st century , “has been” protecting our right to elect our school board. “Has been”doing a lot. Yep, he’s a “has been”!‬

  • Karen Carlucci

    August 31, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    In addition and most important, my husband is a “has been”.“Has been” a great husband, father and grandfather ! Yep, he’s a “has been”!

  • Matthew Carlucci Jr

    August 31, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    Matt’s son here. I hope that one day my wife and kids will say that I have been a wonderful husband, father, and servant to others. Dad has already accomplished that in life, and thus has set the example to both my brother and I of how to live…and even still, continues to set that example every day.

  • Seber Newsome III

    September 2, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Mr. Bowman was doing the right thing to call out Dr. Greene for her inability to get all the needed documents to the city council in a timely mater to be voted on for the proposed tax increase. I am so happy that the bill was withdrawn. Mr. Bowman was a fantastic City Council President and is a great city council member. Those on the left, of course do not like him. Those of us on the right, do like him. He will not be bullied. And the voters of Jacksonville, at this time, will not vote for a tax increase for the public schools. Heck, the school board does not even want students to stand for the national anthem in a military town, where they put their lives on the line ever day.

    • Gus

      September 2, 2019 at 6:08 pm

      Evidently you never went to one of the many presentations the school board did to see what needed to be done and what it would cost

      Also we did not elect the city council to decide what our schools need

      You also must not been around to see the better Jacksonville plan that had all kinds of great things for us. Our great city council back then decided to make changes to it and many of the things we were promised never came about.

  • Joe Carlucci

    September 2, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    You know what my dad respects more than anything? Someone that stands up for what they believe even when it hurts. Someone that is not condescending and disrespectful. Someone that doesn’t turn their back to you in the middle of a conversation. All those things are not my dad.

    • Alyson

      September 3, 2019 at 1:43 pm

      Matt certainly is a has-been. He has been a loyal friend to me since my husband died two years ago. He has been a fabulous boss. He has been a dedicated and concerned Council Member since the moment he was elected. He has been such a faithful and considerate human being in this town that he won every single precinct – all 199. That includes the precincts of the folks who ran against him. Yep. A true has been. Wish we had more has beens.

Comments are closed.


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