Jacksonville Bold for 7.26. 23: Lack of loyalty
A man wants to fire an employee. Ruin a career. Head Offset. Capture control of business. Remove disloyal and toxic worker. Violation of rights and labor code. Abuse of power, political repression.

A man wants to fire an employee. Ruin a career. Head Offset. Capture control of business. Remove disloyal and toxic worker. Violation of rights and labor code. Abuse of power, political repression.
Daniel Davis’ loss comes down, in part, to a lack of party ‘loyalty’ among Republicans.

Analysts from Jacksonville (and beyond) are still figuring out how Republican Daniel Davis lost the mayoral election in May.

The latest example comes from Victory Insights, which offers a “data-driven” analysis of how Donna Deegan won despite a GOP turnout edge.

“Despite strong Republican turnout — bolstered by the Florida GOP’s get-out-the-vote efforts — the Republican candidate had lost, and many on the right were left scratching their heads and asking, ‘What went wrong?’”

Victory Insights asserts that the issue comes down, in part, to a lack of party “loyalty” among Republicans.

Jacksonville politicos are still wondering why Daniel Davis lost the mayoral race.

“Our analysis finds that, in 65% of the scenarios, Democratic loyalty was stronger than Republican loyalty. And in 52% of the scenarios, nonpartisan loyalty was below 50%, meaning that nonpartisan and third-party voters sided with Deegan more than with Davis. In 100% of scenarios, at least one of these aforementioned factors were to blame for Davis’s loss and in 17% of scenarios, both factors were at play,” the pollsters contend.

“While it’s impossible to know for sure, we can conclude that it’s more likely that Daniel Davis lost to Donna Deegan due to a lack of Republican loyalty than due to a lack of nonpartisan loyalty.”

The way the post-March election played out would bolster that analysis. Defeated candidate Al Ferraro didn’t endorse Davis (who had roughly 25% of the vote and half the Republican vote in March). Ferraro’s on track to run the Neighborhoods Department for four years. Another defeated Republican, LeAnna Gutierrez Cumber, also didn’t endorse Davis.

The analysis misses what the Davis campaign did, unsuccessfully.

“Davis could have ‘pushed’ moderate Democrats away from Deegan by associating her with far-left progressives and ideas like Defunding the Police or he could have ‘pulled’ moderate Democrats over to the Republican side by focusing on issues that resonate with moderates, like a strong economy or public safety. According to the Victory Formula, if Davis could have decreased Democratic loyalty by 4.97% or more, he would have won the race.”

While Davis did try to “push” and “pull,” those efforts didn’t work. The strategy was to skip all but one debate with Deegan while shoring up his right flank ahead of the May election.

“By uniting and energizing the Republican base, courting nonpartisans with common sense conservative policies and fracturing the Democratic base, Republicans could avoid more heartbreaking losses like the 2023 Jacksonville mayoral race,” the pollsters argue.

The irony, of course, is that on paper Davis was the prototypical “common sense conservative” candidate. But he failed to make that case, which may have carried against a candidate who didn’t work as hard to win as Deegan. He certainly had the financial advantage, but the obituaries are still being written despite having the money behind him.

Jinko no-no

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is speaking out about Jacksonville’s Jinko Solar and the need to “decouple” from Chinese solar after a May raid of the company’s domestic production facility in Duval County.

Rubio said, “There is every reason to think the company in question — Chinese-owned JinkoSolar — violated United States customs laws.”

“Like most of the world’s solar panel companies, JinkoSolar previously relied, and likely still relies, on polysilicon from [Xinjiang]. This is where the Chinese Communist Party subjects Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups to forced labor …. The DHS investigation of JinkoSolar is a welcome and long-overdue step toward cracking down on these companies,” Rubio added.

Jacksonville’s Jinko Solar and the need to ‘decouple’ from Chinese solar.

The Senator said that Jinko Solar relied on “slavery” by arguing for an onshoring of solar.

“To honor our sacred values, uphold the law and advance the national interest, President Biden must lead the U.S. in decoupling from Chinese solar,” Rubio said. “If opposing slavery means a slower “green” transition, it’s a small price to pay.”

A little more time

Florida homeowners concerned about spiking insurance premiums should prepare to wait a little longer.

That’s one takeaway from House Speaker Paul Renner’s interview that aired Sunday on WJXT’sThis Week in Jacksonville.”

“It took years to get in the ditch, and it will take a couple of years to get out of it,” Renner said in an interview that aired Sunday morning.

Renner pointed to legislative changes that ended the “wild, wild west of litigation practices” driven by “unscrupulous contractors” that put undue pressure on insurers.

Paul Renner says it will be some time before Florida digs itself out of the insurance hole.

“And that had caused a lot of our insurers to go out of business and leave the state billions and billions of loss and dollars of losses. And so, people looked at the state of Florida from the insurance market and said, stay away,” Renner said.

The Speaker acknowledged that the “reforms have not yet hit the consumer,” beset by “price increases” due to claims made during Hurricanes Ian and Nicole last year. These “are really creating some pressure on the back end of these reforms that we haven’t got out from under yet, but we will get out from under it,” Renner said.

The Speaker noted that “new insurers are coming into the market,” they are needed given the state’s exposure via “a record number of people that insurers that are trying to take out Citizens Insurance policies.”

“And for those that don’t know, it’s supposed to be a last resort. If you can’t get anywhere else, you go to this government-run Citizens program. And we have a real big number of folks that are on Citizens. We’ve got to depopulate that.”

Locals only

Deegan isn’t interested in conflating local politics with “national politics,” despite her meeting with Kamala Harris during her visit to Jacksonville Friday, in which the Vice President pilloried Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration’s new standards for teaching Black history.

During an interview on WJCT’s “First Coast Connect,” the recently inaugurated Democrat explained her position, even as she backed VP Harris’ take on Florida’s newly adopted approach to teaching subjects ranging from slavery to massacres of the state’s Black citizens in the past.

Even a visit from Kamala Harris fails to get Donna Deegan engaged in national politics. Image via the City of Jacksonville.

“My message has been and will continue to be national politics should not play a role in local politics. It’s about customer service,” Deegan said. “It’s about roads and bridges and sidewalks and potholes and making sure that people in Jacksonville have what they need to be successful.”

The Mayor stressed the importance of working to “build relationships with people,” saying that’s what she’s worked to do in her first weeks in office.

“I think you saw in this last election, really, a repudiation of the type of politics that is just zero-sum totally focused on the destruction of the other person. And people said, ‘You know what, we want our city government to get along with each other, and we need to get things done.’ There’s too much potential in this city to continue to have a food fight over politics when really it shouldn’t play a role.”

Despite Deegan asserting that people want to move beyond national politics, she endorsed Harris’ speech criticizing the DeSantis administration for imposing standards that include teaching middle school students that “enslaved people benefited from slavery” and high school students that the victims of racially motivated massacres were somehow also perpetrators.

“It’s not a political issue. This is an issue of recognizing people’s humanity and we’re going to continue to do that in Jacksonville. It doesn’t make any sense to me that we would educate our Children in a way that is not honest to the history of slavery. And I think as with any issue, you look at that, and you say, how does that impact students in Jacksonville, and you have to speak out about it,” Deegan said.

Daniels denounces

A Jacksonville Democrat on a board that helped formulate controversial new Black history standards is rejecting the product that came out of it.

In a statement Monday, Rep. Kimberly Daniels rejected the work product of the African American History Task Force, to which Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz appointed her.

Specifically, the Jacksonville legislator noted she “never participated in any conversation about the state’s Black history standards,” which include an assertion that slavery had “benefits” for the enslaved.

Kimberly Daniels is rejecting the work product of the African American History Task Force.

“I was never consulted about these standards; I disagree with and would have immediately challenged and resisted any notion that slavery was a benefit to African Americans,” Daniels said before pointing to her own history.

“I am a Black woman who was born in the early 1960s. I understand the atrocities of racial oppression and Jim Crow. I lived it,” Daniels said before turning her attention to a statement she made years ago that was attributed to her.

“The ‘Thank God for Slavery‘ political ploy was taken out of context from a message I preached 15 years ago,” Daniels, an evangelist, asserted.

“The message was not about slavery but about overcoming obstacles in life as a believer of Jesus Christ. Taking it out of that setting and putting it in any other context is simply slanderous.”

Do the locomotion

A local railroad company is ensuring the new University of Florida campus in Jacksonville is on track.

CSX is chipping in $10 million over the next five years for the new graduate campus located somewhere downtown (perhaps near the remodeled Jaguars stadium if Shad Khan gets his way).

“We are proud to partner with the University of Florida and the City of Jacksonville on this ambitious project to establish a world-class graduate center in the city’s urban core,” said Joe Hinrichs, CSX president and chief executive officer.

“Investing in education is an investment in the future and we believe this contribution will have a lasting impact on the region by fostering innovation, economic development, and creating bold new opportunities. This project will yield countless benefits for our community, including an influx of top talent, which will help shape the future of Northeast Florida for generations to come,” Hinrichs hopes.

Joe Hinrichs and CSX are proud to support the proposed UF downtown Jacksonville campus. Image via Ford.

UF’s president is pleased, naturally, with the eight-figure commitment.

“Gator Nation is excited and grateful to be engaged in this work with our extraordinary state, local and philanthropic partners,” UF President Ben Sasse said. “We’re putting our shoulder to the wheel and pushing hard in the same direction to create a space in Jacksonville that will shape the state’s future workforce and build a pathway to prepare the high-skilled, high-tech employees of tomorrow. UF is ready for the next phase of this work and to lead the way toward making this shared vision a reality.”

DeSantis approved $75 million of state money for the project, a priority of megadonor Mori Hosseini. The city of Jacksonville is adding $50 million of its own, and private contributions are up to $62.5 million, CSX claims.

Back again

A bill affecting Jacksonville’s last standing Confederate monument will be back in 2024, reports Jake Stofan.

Sen. Jonathan Martin and Rep. Dean Black, who chairs the Duval County GOP, carried a bill in 2023 that would require cities to keep up all historical monuments. That would include Confederate monuments erected during the Jim Crow era, such as Springfield Park’s tribute to the “Women of the Southland.”

A new bill is floated to protect Jacksonville’s last standing Confederate monument.

The re-filed bill would include retroactivity, meaning that legislators would require the reconstruction of monuments removed even before the bill passes.

“So, we want everybody to know that if they’re going to be removing American history thinking that (there’s) a loophole between now and the time any bill is signed that they may still be held accountable,” said Martin.

Deegan won’t comment until this bill is filed. Her budget includes a $500,000 carry-over appropriation from the Lenny Curry era to relocate the structure off public land.

Bean backing

In a less-than-surprising 2024 endorsement, Daniel Bean took to the Daily Caller to endorse DeSantis.

Bean, of course, endorsed DeSantis in 2022. And why not? He was the Governor’s former U.S. Navy commanding officer, whom DeSantis appointed to the JAXPORT board.

DeSantis has pledged to wipe the “woke” out of the military (no more “drag queen” recruitment pitches, for example); Bean’s letter of recommendation speaks to DeSantis as a reformer.

Daniel Bean is again standing tall for Ron DeSantis.

“He is the one who can restore our military to its proper glory because he knows exactly what needs to be done because he has done it. He is one of the very few that volunteered to serve with elite forces in a combat zone. He is the only one that combines the required academic, military, and political skills that are necessary to fix our military.”

Additionally, Bean argues that DeSantis will return the armed forces to a “mission first” posture.

There’s a simple, unifying theme to everything Gov. DeSantis will do with the military: he will get our brave service members focused on the mission first. If he is elected President, the military will focus on readiness, capability and lethality — not ideology. That’s exactly what’s needed, and it’s one of many reasons I’m proud to support him for President.”

Club Med

JAXPORT is doubling its shipping schedule via the Mediterranean Shipping Company’s ScanBaltic service, starting next month, from every two weeks to weekly.

“Offering this service weekly helps support growing demand from manufacturers who are choosing Jacksonville because of our port’s capabilities and close proximity to major manufacturing and import distribution centers,” said JAXPORT Chief Commercial Officer Robert Peek. “As our service offerings continue to grow, so does our ability to enhance cargo flow between the U.S. Southeast and the sustainable and growing Northern Europe market.”

JAXPORT ramps up its shipping schedule for Mediterranean Shipping Company’s ScanBaltic service.

The port rotation includes the following: Klaipeda, Lithuania; Gdynia, Poland; Gothenburg, Sweden; Bremerhaven, Germany; Felixstowe, England; Antwerp, Belgium; Le Havre, France; New York; Philadelphia; Norfolk; and Jacksonville. The cargo includes automotive parts and components, medical supplies, home furnishings, and food and beverages.

Comp plan

DeSantis made a quintet of judicial appointments Thursday to the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims (FLJCC), which maintains Florida’s mediation and adjudication system for disputed workers’ compensation claims.

Two of them (both reappointments) have ties to our region.

Ron DeSantis makes five judicial appointments, two of which affect Jacksonville.

Ralph Humphries of Ponte Vedra has been reappointed to the FLJCC Jacksonville office.

Humphries has served as a judge of compensation claims since 2010. He holds a law degree from the University of Florida.

Ray Holley of Jacksonville will continue serving on the FLJCC.

He also has been a judge of compensation claims since 2010 and holds a law degree from Stetson University.

Drug doldrums

Who’s to blame for the high price of prescription drugs?

If you ask the chair of the Duval County Democratic Party, it’s DeSantis.

“When it comes to reining in the major pharmaceutical companies, Gov. Ron DeSantis talks a big game,” writes Daniel Henry in the Florida Times-Union. “Unfortunately, however, when it comes to reining in the major pharmaceutical companies, the governor always talks the talk, but he never seems to walk the walk.”

As for rising drug prices, Daniel Henry points a finger squarely at DeSantis.

Henry takes issue with legislation that limits the powers of PBMs or pharmaceutical benefit managers, saying the real culprit is the oligopolistic arrangement wholesalers enjoy.

“If DeSantis truly cares about lowering our drug costs, he would be going after the big drug companies, not the thorns in their sides. Three drug wholesalers, which nearly every attorney general in the country (including Florida’s) has investigated for price-gouging, distribute more than 90% of this country’s wholesale drugs. They have too much power and influence over the U.S. health care system.”

“Perhaps Gov. DeSantis will one day wake up and begin taking on the major pharmaceutical companies rather than their pro-consumer adversaries. Perhaps he will stop cashing PhRma’s political contributions and start doing what’s best for the residents of this state rather than what’s best for lobbyists and paymasters. With more than three-fourths of this state worried about affording future health care bills, one can only hope. But I won’t hold my breath,” Henry adds.


St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, Cathedral District-Jax, and the University of Florida School of Architecture are launching a graduate degree program in architecture and sustainability in the Cathedral District on Cathedral Hill.

“JaxLab is another exciting addition that will bring more people to live, learn, earn, and play in a thriving downtown. The program’s focus on architecture, sustainability, and urban design are subjects that will benefit from the unique location along the St. Johns River, and these are areas where our local workforce must grow,” Deegan said.

A new architecture degree program is coming to the Cathedral District. Image via Cathedral District-Jax.

JaxLab CityLab-Jacksonville is a special-purpose educational site that will be located adjacent to St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral on the third floor of an academic administrative building, Cathedral House, 256 E. Church Street.

UF, St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral and Cathedral District-Jax have been in negotiations on the project since 2020. It was made possible with assistance from Chip Bachara, the managing partner of Bachara Construction Law Group, who represented the landlord pro bono throughout.

JaxLab will offer three master of architecture degree tracks through blended delivery, affording students a mix of online and in-person courses. The JaxLab facility is available for student use 24/7 during the semester. Students can access studio space, plotting and printing equipment, and digital conferencing equipment to link students with their peers in Orlando and Gainesville and facilitate online learning.

Due to the city’s connection to the St. Johns River and Jacksonville’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, JaxLabstudents will explore design ideas within the context of the city with an academic focus on the city’s relationship to the natural environment.

JaxLab will provide year-round graduate programs to facilitate student employment while in school. Participation in the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) allows them to complete both the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) and the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE) simultaneously and achieve licensure.

Cuppa Jax

JEA’s Chief External Affairs Officer Laura Marshall Schepis will be the guest speaker at Cuppa Jax Wednesday, Aug. 2.

Since September 2021, Schepis has led government relations, media relations, communications and environmental services teams. In an appointed role, she also serves as JEA’s designated interim chief compliance officer.

Laura Marshall Schepis will be having a nice Cuppa Jax.

For over two decades, Schepis focused on improving energy utility service for their customers and communities. In leadership positions at the American Public Power Association, the Edison Electric Institute and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, she directed advocacy, political, and communications campaigns on energy efficiency, renewable resources, national security, telecommunications, and climate change.

Schepis received her Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law and practiced civil and criminal law in Georgia before relocating to Washington, D.C. in 2000. She formerly chaired and now serves on the National Energy Resources Organization board. Schepis also serves on the Board of Downtown Vision, Inc. and the Greater Jacksonville Cultural Council.

The event begins at 8 a.m. in the Riverplace Tower Skyline Room. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online — breakfast provided by Village Bread Café.

Four Seasons makes it official

As Jaguars’ veterans were reporting for Training Camp 2023, the Four Seasons announced the luxury hotel would be a part of Khan’s Shipyards redevelopment plan. Finally.

Khan had mentioned the Four Seasons as far back as the early Lot J conversations in 2020. As recently as May, the attorney for Khan’s development company said the Four Seasons was “signed up.”

Now, it’s officially official.

The Four Seasons will have 170 rooms and suites, 29 private residences and a spa.

Jacksonville will soon welcome its own Four Seasons hotel.

The presence of the Four Seasons had been questioned by some critics, a point which either bemused or annoyed Khan when asked about it. Khan also owns the Four Seasons in Toronto, the company’s flagship location.

The Jacksonville location will be the sixth Four Seasons in Florida, with a seventh scheduled to be built in Naples.

The next question is whether the city of Jacksonville will approve the plan to renovate the stadium. That process is ongoing with Deegan installed at City Hall and new members elected to the City Council; a new approach is in place. Deegan said she was bringing in an outside negotiator to represent the city in conversations with the Jaguars.

Once it is determined that the stadium renovations will begin, the next decision on the docket is to find a temporary home for the Jaguars for the 2026 and 2027 seasons. In the interim, the Jaguars have held conversations about playing at the Daytona International Speedway. The team could schedule the renovations in the offseason, allowing the team to play all home games in EverBank Stadium, but that would push the schedule for the completion of the upgrades from two years to four or more.

Staff Reports


  • Igary salters

    July 26, 2023 at 2:48 pm


  • Lynda

    July 26, 2023 at 3:01 pm

    Mayor Deegan’s own analysis of why she won had nothing to do with a “loss of loyalty” from voters choosing her over the GQP candidate and policies described to voters by the party formerly known as Republican. Mayor Deegan attributed her victory to voters knowing her well and trusting her as a well- known local resident.

    Voters in Jacksonville seem to be as tired as national voters of the plea for loyalty to a party which shows no loyalty to those who vote with them. Only a few extremists have influence on what the former Republican party stands for. Voters do not understand the vile language of the GQP candidates or spokespeople or the laws passed by a FL legislature which votes as deSantis wants and does not follow the wishes of their constituents. Any law which in the mind of deSantis shows him as he wants to be seen when pushing for national recognition is passed without calmer, more in tune with what real Floridians want for their children, and for their communities. It was time for a change,

    I wish Mayor Deegan many successful terms leading her home town. I hope she is never persuaded by transactional politics to forget her voters come first as citizens of a healthy Jacksonville community.

Comments are closed.


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