Jacksonville Bold for 7.13.22: Rinse, repeat

Closeup young man washing hair with with shampoo in the bathroom
In Jacksonville, history may not repeat, but it certainly rhymes.

History repeats

The news in Jacksonville?

One could say the only things that change are dates and names because some trends just seem to recur.

To illustrate our point ….

Regional news outlets reported on a recent spate of hateful flyers found in Jacksonville neighborhoods — the second such batch this year.

“Wake up white man” was the call-to-action from a recent piece of hate literature scattered in parts of the Southside, as News4Jax notes.

Same as it ever was: Racists deliver hate mail — again — in Jacksonville. Image via News4Jax.

This is far from the first time for nonsense like this, as longtime Jacksonville residents know.

Back in 2017, local news reported on antisemitic handouts dropped by the Ku Klux Klan, a story that was picked up as far away as Israel.

Then (and now), the official response was muted. From a legal standpoint, little can be done — whether in 2017 or 2022.

Another bit of déjà vu: Alleged Sunshine Law violations by a quartet of Jacksonville City Council members.

After a recent meeting, Aaron Bowman, Kevin Carrico, Rory Diamond and Nick Howland stopped off at Volstead for a drink or two; one of the (again, alleged) objects of discussion — Matt Carlucci — wants to know what his fellow Republicans talked about.

“The optics are horrible,” groused Carlucci.

Horrible optics, perhaps, but recurrent all the same.

The Florida Times-Union documents more than a decade of the Council’s Sunshine Law resistance. Florida Politics experienced the limitations of the Sunshine Law firsthand, when attempting to cover bygone City Council leadership races.

One group of Democrats said they were a “pack” in deciding to move their votes to Republican Anna Brosche in that year’s vote for President but held no public notice meetings formalizing such a vote. Meanwhile, the vice-presidential race was a mystery to the loser — another indication that pledges were formalized in the shadows.

“If I had known how they felt,” Scott Wilson said after losing the VP race (by five votes), “I would have withdrawn.”

Trump won?

A new mailpiece from a local congressional candidate floats the argument that elections are illegitimate.

Erick Aguilar, a Republican running in Florida’s new 4th Congressional District, posits that former President Donald Trump “won” the 2022 Presidential Election.

You don’t say.

The mailer urges a move to “strengthen election integrity,” a nebulous phrase, as well as moves to protect what the candidate calls “God-given rights.”

Aguilar ran in the CD 4 that’s under the current map but lost the Primary to Rep. John Rutherford. It was a campaign where the Congressman didn’t target his challenger with any advertising whatsoever.

Redistricting made the old CD 4 into CD 5 (more or less), with the new CD 4 taking over western and northern Duval County, along with Nassau and Clay counties.

This time, the establishment is backing state Sen. Aaron Bean; Aguilar’s response has been to ramp up the rhetoric compared to two years prior, with daily personal attacks against Bean, one of the most-liked people in Florida Politics.

Aguilar got 20% of the vote last time. Will he top that number this time?

Going once …

One hat Bean wears is part-time auctioneer, a talent that’s on display in the second ad of his CD 4 Primary bid.

20 Seconds” will run concurrently on broadcast, cable and CTV, joining Bean’s first ad, “Best Days,” according to campaign spokeswoman Sarah Bascom.

The focus of Bean’s latest ad is Joe Biden, with images of the President and a voice-over: “Is it possible to list all of Joe Biden’s failures in just 20 seconds?”

Bean has an answer.

On camera in a bare white space, Bean takes a drink of water and sets a kitchen timer.

“Massive inflation crisis, border crisis, spending crisis,” Bean rattles off. “Killed Keystone, blocked drilling, hiked prices, turned energy independence into ‘energy nightmare.” Worsening gas prices, food prices, car prices, home prices.”

Then he picks up a shirt that says, “Let’s Go Brandon,” a euphemism among Republicans to say instead of “F*** Joe Biden,” the uncensored version which can also be widely found on various forms of merchandise.

“Even prices for these little numbers,” Bean quips.

He goes on in that vein until the timer dings, when the voice-over says: “It’s just too long.”

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Who won?

A new mailpiece on behalf of Senate District 6 candidate Tracie Davis burnishes her bona fides on voting rights and makes one questionable claim in the process.

Davis, a Democrat who worked for the Duval County Supervisor of Elections, suggests in the flyer that the Congressional seat currently represented by Al Lawson — and drawn out of existence in the 2022 map — was actually a win for Democrats.

“Tracie Davis is a voting rights expert who stood up to Gov. Ron DeSantis and stopped his attacks on our voting rights,” Davis said. “When DeSantis and Republicans tried to cut the only Black Congressional seat in North Florida, Tracie stood up, fought back, and won.”

Tracie Davis touts her electoral bona fides.

The old Lawson seat was divided into the new CD 4 in Duval, with territory further west allocated to GOP incumbent Reps. Kat Cammack and Neal Dunn.

We reached out to Davis to get clarity on how Democrats “won” redistricting. She noted that the DeSantis map was “deemed unconstitutional” in a lower court and will “continue to be challenged,” even as she acknowledged the state of play in 2022, which does not include a district that will perform like those represented by Lawson or Corrine Brown.

Though the Legislature originally passed a product that kept a Minority Access District in Northeast Florida, the Governor vetoed that bill and forced the House and Senate to pass a product he would sign.

Nixon now

State Rep. Angie Nixon is running for re-election, albeit in a newly redrawn HD 13.

This week, Nixon will host a campaign event outside of both her old and new districts with a Beachside meet and greet with the Beaches Activist Movement.

The event is at the Adele Grage Community Center at 7 p.m.

Nixon faces a Primary challenge from a candidate who bills herself as a “prophetess.”

Delaine Smith, a Realtor who has served as a real estate investigator for the state of Florida, will run in House District 13, facing off against Nixon. She is aligned with former Rep. Kim Daniels, who seeks to retake the HD 14 seat Nixon defeated her for in the 2020 Democratic Primary.

Fundraising has proven elusive for both candidates’ campaign accounts. Smith lent her campaign $12,000 and raised $450 thus far. Nixon has roughly $43,000 on hand.

An NPA candidate qualified for the ballot, closing the Primary.

In the Black

Dean Black picked up more than $6,000 in the last couple of weeks in June, most of which went to the campaign’s consulting firm, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

Black, the Duval County Republican Party Chair, is running for the GOP nomination in House District 15 and had $200,788 in the bank as of the beginning of July. He has a significant fundraising lead over military veteran and retirement planner Emily Nunez, who was a couple of hundred short of $30,000.

HD 15 covers all of Nassau and parts of northern and western Duval.

HCA entities gave Black a combined $3,000, joined by fellow thousand-dollar contributors Hanania Automotive Management, Sunshine State Conservatives, and Jacksonville resident Harriet Vazquez.

Jacksonville City Council President Terrance Freeman gave Black $100, while Jax entrepreneur John Falconetti gave $500.

Terrance Freeman and Dean Black after Freeman was named Council President.

Nunez drew $2,100 at the end of June, spending less than $100. Her largest contribution was $300 from a Callahan resident.

Nunez’s contributions include $250 from Jacksonville Beach attorney Heath Brockwell, who considered running for the Nassau County seat in the House when then-Rep. Cord Byrd announced his intentions to run for state Senate last year.

Baker backers

Republican Jessica Baker’s House District 17 campaign is claiming a sweep of first responder endorsements.

The Florida Police Benevolent Association is the latest to support Baker, a current Assistant State Attorney in the 7th Judicial Circuit. The union joins the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters and the Fraternal Order of Police, which previously endorsed Baker for a new House seat in Southern Duval County.

First responder unions have broken the way of the Jacksonville Republican establishment in recent years; this endorsement provides the latest example of that trend ahead of Baker’s August Primary versus political newcomer Christina Meredith.

Baker has a commanding resource advantage in the HD 17 race, which covers a territory that includes the University of North Florida. As of the end of June, she had nearly $400,000 remaining between her campaign account and her Friends of Jessica Baker political committee.

Meredith launched her HD 17 campaign in May and has not been able to match Baker’s fundraising prowess. At the end of June, she had on hand roughly $75,000 between her Fostering American Leadership political committee and her campaign account.

Meredith raised just over $7,000 last month.

Expect Baker to try to make a statement with the August Primary results, sources close to the campaign tell Jacksonville Bold.\

Taco Tuesday

The fallout from First Lady Jill Biden’s description of Latinos as unique as breakfast tacos drew snarky reactions from across Florida politics, including from Jacksonville mayoral candidate LeAnna Cumber.

“Love it when they try to turn us into tokens (or tacos as the case may be which is especially interesting as a Cuban) when they don’t agree with our message,” Cumber tweeted. “Only Hispanic women who agree with you are the ‘real deal’? Noted.”

Key endorsement

Duval County Property Appraiser Jerry Holland is endorsing City Council member Cumber in her bid for Jacksonville Mayor.

Holland is a longtime public servant in the area. He was first elected Property Appraiser in 2015 after 10 years as Duval County Supervisor of Elections. Holland is also a former Jacksonville City Council member and Council President.

“I’m proud to announce my support for LeAnna Cumber as she runs to restore the public’s faith in Jacksonville’s leadership. Cumber’s record on the City Council, supporting first responders and victims of human trafficking, makes her the ideal candidate to lead Jacksonville,” Holland said.

Jerry Holland jumps on the Cumber train.

“She’s the only candidate who steadfastly opposed frivolous tax hikes and directed local and federal resources to our policemen and women. Her vision for Jacksonville will make her a fantastic Mayor.”

“I’m thrilled to have Jerry by my side as we work to get Jacksonville moving. He’s served our community honorably and I am grateful for his support. With the help of more amazing residents like Jerry, we will win this race and turn the talk about a better Jacksonville into action,” Cumber said.

Cumber, a Republican, is one of several candidates running to succeed term-limited Mayor Lenny Curry and is among the best-funded with about $2.4 million on hand at the end of June. By comparison, Democrat Donna Deegan, who recently released a poll showing her leading the field, has less than $500,000 in the bank.

Ethical inquiry

If you are one of those local citizens who complain about potential corruption in politics, Jacksonville may have an opportunity for you.

The Ethics Commission needs you,” contends text on a city webpage soliciting applications for the opening.

“The Ethics Commission has a long, distinguished history in the City of Jacksonville of ensuring transparent and open government for the citizens,” the pitch continues. “Among its many outstanding accomplishments, the Ethics Commission has drafted and implemented the Jacksonville Ethics Code and successfully assisted in the establishment of an independent Office of Ethics, Compliance and Oversight that is primarily responsible for administering the Ethics Code.”

Applicants still have some time to move. Applications are due July 26, with consideration of candidates to follow the next day with the Nominating Committee.

Tweet, tweet:

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Parental Rights in Education legislation passed in Tallahassee continues to have an impact on Duval County students. The latest example is from Jacksonville Today: The removal of an anti-bullying video.

Reporter Claire Heddles says the “12-minute anti-bullying video taught middle and high school students how to support their gay and transgender peers,” and presents the removal as “the latest in a string of vanishing LGBTQ resources in the district.”

An anti-bullying video is removed for … too much respect? Image via Jacksonville Today.

“The materials you referenced have been removed for legal review to ensure the content complies with recent state legislation,” a district spokesperson told Heddles.

These moves come as the Duval County School Board faces two high-profile elections this year. Incumbent Charlotte Joyce, who filed a failed resolution to support the DeSantis “parental rights” law, faces a challenge in her Westside district from Tanya Hardaker. Another incumbent, Elizabeth Andersen, faces a challenge from April Carney, who aligns with Joyce ideologically.

Beach time

The Amelia Island beach harmonization project is no small feat — just explaining the basics took about an hour for a consultant to do for the island’s Tourist Development Council.

Those parks go from the north to the south end of the island — North Beach, Main Beach, Seaside Beach, Peter’s Point, Scott Road, Burney Beach and South Beach Access.

It takes money to get through all the infrastructure upgrades and everything else involved, which will come out of the room tax. But there’s not enough cash on hand for the full project.

“What I’m getting to is, where is the money coming from for this?” asked TDC member and Fernandina Beach City Commissioner Len Kreger. “When we started all of this, and the county determined, and the TDC, that Seaside/Sadler would be the priority park, we probably need a million dollars plus, just for that.”

The island’s beaches are key to the local economy.

The harmonization project, however, is more like a master plan, per Assistant County Manager Marshall Eyerman.

“From the broad perspective, basically, as we’re looking at this plan that’s laid out — transition and harmonization of the beach parks that will occur 10, 20, 30 years as funding in all those items come into place,” Eyerman said. “But as we look at each item, once we get a view of what we want, there’s going to be a process of selecting which parks, which pieces come forward, how we do them incrementally over time.”

He later added, “Funding will basically vary depending on the time and projects and how we want to implement this over that period.”


Ukrainian children who’ve arrived in Northeast Florida following the Russian invasion of their country have a little bit of childhood normalcy provided this summer by the First Coast YMCA.

The Y is holding summer camps at two locations for the children, who can meet other displaced kids and re-form a sense of community and support.

“They’ve all been moved away from their friends, moved away from their country,” Michelle Orts, senior program director for the YMCA’s New American Welcome Center, said to WJXT. “Moved away from everything that made them feel that they were home.”

The First Coast YMCA is helping a group of Ukrainian children have a fun-filled summer and feel more at ease settling into their new home. Image via News4Jax.

The New American Welcome Center is as the name indicates a place focused on refugee families and their needs, to help get them settled in a strange, new place they may never have been or knew much about before.

“You see the first day when they were barely speaking,” Orts said. “And now, when they come in with the other group of peers, they’re sitting and they’re laughing, they’re participating more. That’s very fulfilling to us.”

Archer in the outfield

Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp shortstop Charles Leblanc opened up on his archery preoccupation in a new profile by Matt Davis.

It’s not just baseballs flying around the outfield at 121 Financial Ballpark.

“I got my bow last year, around June and just kind of picked it up with a few teammates I had back with the Rangers,” Leblanc said in the feature. “I’ve been probably shooting it three or four times now. It’s pretty cool, the grounds crew is really cool here, they just allow me to bring my stuff out here and shoot.”

Charles Leblanc, slamming balls and slinging arrows.

He and the rest of the Shrimp (46-39) remain atop the International League East division, albeit tied with the Durham Bulls. Three teams are tied in third place at one game back, so it’s not hard to go from the top to the middle of the table following any couple of games.

Jacksonville split its home series last week with the Norfolk Tides (41-44) and is getting a break from the oppressive North Florida heat and humidity with a trip to Syracuse for a series with the Mets (37-48).

The Shrimp got a shutout win Tuesday night in the first game of the series, with starting pitcher Cody Poteet allowing two hits and striking out four in a three-inning rehab start. Jake Fishman pitched the next two innings and ended up with the win, his fourth of the year.

The Shrimp get a rare few consecutive days off after the Syracuse series and will return to action back home in Jacksonville with a game July 22 against the Charlotte Knights (32-53), the first in a three-game series.

Staff Reports


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