RNC in trouble, Jacksonville City Council president warns
Rest in peace, Tommy Hazouri.

City Council to hear legislation Friday, vote Tuesday. But it's a heavy lift.

The Republican National Convention is slated to come to Jacksonville in weeks, but major roadblocks remain, warns City Council President Tommy Hazouri.

Ahead of a meeting of Jacksonville City Council members Friday in which they are to “workshop” 2020-399, an in and out bill authorizing the $33 million spend for the convention, Democrat Hazouri told a number of media outlets Thursday that the bill authorizing the event would have an uphill path given numerous open questions.

The bill, which will need 2/3 approval of the body to pass, will also need 2/3 approval (13 votes, in each case) to get introduced on an emergency basis on Tuesday night. It’s a “dead issue if the Council votes it down,” Hazouri notes.

From contracts to a parade route and designated protest zones, the bill is a monster, Hazouri noted, contending that the bill must be approved for the event to go forward, including to move the $33 million of pass through money.

“It’s a 37 page bill,” Hazouri said, “that we’re trying to digest,” he told Melissa Ross on WJCT Thursday morning.

Hazouri said previous questions he had for Republican Mayor Lenny Curry, who also serves as the convention co-chair, weren’t fully answered.

“I got a few answers back … but there are more questions to follow,” Hazouri said. “We cannot move forward unless we get answers.”

“Time is not on our side, and we are about at the point of no return,” Hazouri warned.

“The two major issues is finance, how that $33 million is going to be spent. It’s got to go through Council for approval, takes 2/3 votes for that … the other issue is coronavirus.”

The safety issue, meanwhile, was spotlighted by Sheriff Mike Williams, who said the resources weren’t there.

“I think the Sheriff kind of put an exclamation point on the safety side,” Hazouri said. “I don’t think anyone’s put in any kind of effort into the other side of the equation, the coronavirus.”

“The public health, safety, and welfare is very much at risk,” Hazouri added,  calling the convention “unsafe at any speed.”

Florida Politics spoke to him, and he told us similar things, noting that the Council “can’t be rushed” through this vote.

“I don’t know if they can get there,” Hazouri said, noting the “explosive potential” for protests.

“I don’t want a Portland Oregon here in Jacksonville,” Hazouri told us.

Hazouri has other concerns, including federal money coming through for the $33 million, given a complex formula for reimbursement. He does not want the money coming out of the city’s budget, however.

“There’s too much at risk … our budget can’t afford it,” Hazouri said on News4Jax.

For Hazouri, a Democrat who endorsed Mayor Lenny Curry’s election and then was backed by the Republican in his bid for City Council President, these are frustrating times.

For his part, Curry backed Hazouri for the presidency over Republican Danny Becton, who historically is not aligned with the Mayor’s Office. While that seemed like a savvy play at the time, the Mayor, as has been the case in previous years, is now at loggerheads with the president on a major issue.

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


  • Stella

    July 23, 2020 at 11:20 am

    This is not the time for conventions. How dare you even think a out entertaining this idea while people are out of work and suffering in Jacksonville. This is why people riot and protest, this, Let them eat cake attitude.

    • Sonja Fitch

      July 23, 2020 at 2:10 pm

      If the City has $33million dollars to throw away on a damn joke of a convention of racist sexist sociopaths then give it to the schools! Putin loving traitor trump is not worthy of coming to Jacksonville a proud. Military town! Looting Lenny has. Now gotten into a damn Fing mess! City council do not bail him out! Our children are more important !

    • Ralph W Harding

      July 23, 2020 at 3:29 pm

      Given that Trump draws protesters like excrement draws flies, the city would be better off withdrawing the invitation. Why ask for trouble?

    • Sonny B

      July 23, 2020 at 5:20 pm

      It’s funny no one says a thing about Covid-19 when these thugs protest I mean riot, Everytime there’s a Trump rally it’s a problem Orlando opening theme parks and again no one says a thing.Lets just get to the real issue here,you hate Trump and you’re angry these Marxist Anti-Americans will not win on November 3rd,Dump fake news, you might learn something

      • Tampa Bay Friend

        July 23, 2020 at 7:40 pm

        INDOOR activities are far greater danger than OUTDOOR activities for Covid transmission. It’s not “every time there’s a Trump rally” – it’s everytime Trump ignores the SCIENCE and holds a dangerous event.

        ->The Black Lives Matters protest have all been outdoors where nearly every person wears a mask. OUTDOOR activities are less dangerous for transmission. Mask-wearing helps too.
        ->The Oklahoma City Trump rally was indoors with sparse mask-wearing. INDOOR activities are much more dangerous for transmission. Going bare-faced doesn’t help either.
        ->Theme parks are typically formatted as large outdoor parks. OUTDOOR activities are less dangerous for transmission. Mask-wearing helps too.

  • Hypocrite

    July 23, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Hazouri is as liberal as they come. He told me in person, he cannot stand President Trump. I have a picture of Hazouri from many years at an event, having fun, with a Confederate Flag right behind him, He is such a hypocrite. I will publish the picture today. Retire old man.

    • Harriet N BRINKER

      July 23, 2020 at 1:56 pm

      Thank you that is the appearance we find here in Florida. Like a real mad dog. Get the event President Trump.

  • Tony Jenkins

    July 23, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Hazouri is a career politician, thoroughly corrupted by his perceived power. He hates the President, and is holding the RNC hostage for his own pettiness. He’s a child, and should be dealt with as such.

    • Kate

      July 23, 2020 at 7:47 pm

      Don’t know him or Jacksonville politics, so nothing to say about who this guy is.

      But was in Tampa for the RNC and can speak to how much work the city did over a very long period leading up to it, including security and many other logistical details. An RNC (or DNC) is not an event to be taken on lightly by a city. There are unique, valid concerns in throwing something together hastily. Plus spending a bunch of $$$ during a pandemic + economic crisis + period of unrest concerning black civil rights. This equation adds up to something that may not be worth having in your City.

  • Asher F.

    July 23, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    Tony Jenkins ……You mean like tRUMP! Biggest fucking child I know of!!!!

  • andreas zieser

    July 23, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    Give the 33 million to small businesses

Comments are closed.


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