Jacksonville’s mask requirement is now in its second week, and ahead of a press conference Tuesday, Mayor Lenny Curry is attempting to defend the policy.
Monday evening saw a local news story, via Action News Jax, become the object of his ire.
“Is this an editorial, news or a joke? Just Wear the damn mask,” Curry tweeted.
The story, from veteran reporter Ben Becker, involved a critical view of the “legality” of Mayor Curry’s mask edict. A legal expert quoted in the story said it was toothless, with the city “trying to … convince you they have authority where they don’t.”
“According to Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson, ‘In order to establish an ordinance to wear masks, it would be necessary to have a hearing before city council and a vote so citizens can have a say in actions of their government’,” Becker wrote Monday night, responding to Curry.
Curry did not engage Becker further, but Jacksonville’s general counsel did.
Jason Gabriel offered to tell Carson what “city law” said on the subject, asserting the Mayor’s Office had authority to issue its problematic proclamation. For his part, Becker offered to “moderate” a “Zoom meeting” between Carson and Gabriel.
As Curry faces media pushback, a Republican lawmaker from Lake County is taking the fight to the Mayor on the legal front.
Rep. Anthony Sabatini has cornered the statewide market on lawsuits targeting mask requirements throughout the state, and Monday saw him in Jacksonville, where he spoke to about 100 people at the Duval County Courthouse after filing suit on behalf of a Jacksonville client.
Try as we might, we couldn’t get Sabatini to opine directly on Mayor Curry, who has broken with the right on a number of issues, ranging from signing LGBT rights legislation this year to beginning the process of removing Confederate monuments.
But for Curry, a mask order he was reluctant to order (indeed, he was out of office when staffers attempted to explain it last week) continues to have unintended consequences.