SPAR Council hosted a recent Forum for Mayoral Candidates to come meet their voters, and three very colorful minor candidates showed up to face the crowd. MetroJacksonville was there to record the evening for posterity and in the process was introduced to three very brave and interesting candidates for Mayor. Join Gloria Devall and Joe Markusic as they sat in on the Candidate Forum!
SPAR Council held a mayoral candidate forum Thursday Night, April 15. Tax Day.
Three of the twelve candidates were present: Brenda White, Warren Lee and David Crosby. A nurse, a truck driver and a Juvenile Justice Officer.
A couple of dozen people attended, the moderator asks several oddly phrased questions (how do you feel about alley lighting? Were for it! They all sing out.) And there was a brief period for questions and answers. Of course the neighborhood' legendary issues pop up, but the candidates, blissfully unaware, step all over the mine fields.
Brenda White shyly approached the podium to answer questions when asked. She looked nervous although her voice was strong and filled with determination. She rather defensively explained away her inexperience in politics by stating that I save lives for a living. I ran SHANDS ER for 14 years. When asked by Clinton Bush about the importance of financial literacy for the citys children, she told a story of her own financial education.
As the baby in a family of seven children, she watched her mother try to raise the family on $64.00 per week. The impact of this was great -- she carried the image of herself as poor well into adulthood. It took a comment from her son to change her life. Mom, you make more money than a lot of people, why are we still living in an apartment? She had to develop a new image of herself. She has worked as a lobbyist and managed union finances.
She is a self-made woman who believes that as a city: We need to take care of ourselves.
When an audience member was rather harsh with a critical comment (he merely stated what we all were thinking "How can any of you even think of running without any experience?") Her voice faltered
Brenda White may be tough, but she is not fearless.
David Crosby walked up to the podium in his snake skin boots and announces that he is a truck driver from the Westside.
Crime? Community involvement is the key, and it is not a problem in the Westside everyone owns guns.
He liked how Springfield handles its neighborhood watch. Block Captains .thats cool. When asked the tough political question -- what would you do as mayor, he simply stated that I havent read the job description so Im not sure what I can do as mayor.
He did respond with these thoughts on other issues: Anyone who receives social services ought to be drug tested, small businesses are the answer to Jacksonvilles economic growth, and returning to good ole fashioned days of Jacksonville Southern Pride is what is needed in the urban core.
The audience loved him. But not as a potential mayor.
Warren Lee has the look, the grace and the confidence for a political career. His comments were concise and focused around children are our future answers. Why are we talking about building a new convention center when our schools are in trouble? On homelessness: as a former Marine, I find it an atrocity that men who have served our country are now sleeping on the sidewalk. His answers often got applause from the audience, and in addressing a Springfield crowd, this is no small feat.
I suspect he could find himself on the city council some day.
The evening, although hopelessly impractical, was delightfully entertaining.
by Gloria Devall.
with additional notes provided by Joe Markusic and photos by JC.