Donna Deegan invokes Martin Luther King Jr. in first-year recap

Deegan We Did It
The selective excerpt came from the civil rights leader's Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

Jacksonville’s Mayor Donna Deegan is looking back — way back — in an email recapping the achievements of her first year in office.

Deegan quoted the 1964 Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech of Martin Luther King Jr. to close her “From the Mayor’s Desk” communique, which intended to “celebrate the one-year anniversary of the dawn (of) our New Day.”

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word,” the first-term Democrat wrote.

The quote falls somewhat short of King’s entire thought, which included the phrase “in reality” at the end of the sentence. The remarks came directly after a meditation on “the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction,” which was a topic of speculation during the 1960s that has abated since.

Deegan often has quoted historic figures, like when she cited French theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin during her inaugural speech last July. The MLK close to her email trumpeting a “New Day marked by hearing new voices, having new ideas drive change for good, and flinging open the doors of City Hall to welcome everyone” is just the latest iteration.

The Mayor’s communication takes a trip around some of the high points of the administration, including how Jacksonville’s “city-owned stadium will be renovated into a world-class facility for the 21st Century” after the City Council approved a plan to spend $775 million in tax dollars on the Jaguars’ stadium.

She also noted that “Riverfront Plaza (is) taking shape on the site of the former Landing,” as funding “dedicated as part of the stadium agreement ensures the completion of the three Riverfront Parks in 2027.”

Another unfunded mandate, yet to be approved by the City Council, involves pension plans for public safety workers.

“Our police and fire departments will now be able to compete for new recruits thanks to an agreement which fixed the problems of the past by making an historic investment in the future,” Deegan said.

Her administration has said the exact costs of this “historic investment” putting police and fire in the Florida Retirement System can’t be told yet, however, due to that being a product of “collective bargaining,” but they have promised the figures eventually will be released.

The email went on to tout achievements in affordable housing, feeding seniors, getting children to read, and relegating a Jim Crow era “monument to our nation’s darkest days” to “the dustbin of history” before working up to another flourish.

“There’s one more thing I want to share,” Deegan added. “It’s the thing that I think I am most proud of in my first year serving as your Mayor. It’s the thing that I hear most often when I’m out in the community. That feeling of hope people tell me they have about the future we are building together. A future built by harnessing the energies of love to spark each New Day.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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  • Nope

    July 2, 2024 at 3:01 pm

    There have been no flinging open of doors to City Hall or hearing new voices. Actually it’s been one solid lockdown. Paying billions to a billionaire with no citizen right to referendum and bankrupting a city for generations is not love, it’s disdain, and dismissive of taxpayers who are hurting and need real progress on fulfilling basic promises heretofore unkept. She can quote whoever she wants to, it doesn’t change the facts or the fact she’s ignored and run over the very “community” she panders to. Talk about self aggrandizement. This is embarrassing. When a profligate politician starts flinging the word “love” around, you better check your wallet.

  • Seber Newsome III

    July 2, 2024 at 9:05 pm

    I cannot stand Khan the Con, he is sucking the taxpayers dry. He just bought a $400,000,000 Yacht, he could pay for the stadium by himself.. He wants the biggest most expensive stadium a massive edifice to his massive ego… go back to Pakistan and take the Jaguars with you Con.

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