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Learning from Kansas City by Rick Mullaney

Rick Mullaney shares his thoughts about the Kansas City Chamber Trip and where Jacksonville should head from there.

Published January 19, 2010 in Opinion      34 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


November 6, 2009    
Ms. Kelly Madden
North Florida Wholesale Region President
225 Water Street, MAC23055-027
Jacksonville, FL  32202

Re: 2009 Chamber trip to Kansas City

Dear Kelly:

Congratulations on a truly extraordinary Chamber trip to Kansas City.  I know I speak for those attending when I tell you it was one of the best Chamber trips ever. I am hopeful it will be a catalyst for some very positive public policy initiatives in Jacksonville.

I thought you did a particularly thoughtful job in selecting Kansas City and the substantive topics that would be addressed there.  The discussions and presentations we had on healthcare, revitalizing downtown, philanthropy, urban public education, and civic leadership were timely and important to Jacksonville's future.  In addition, the role of private, public, and community leadership throughout all the discussions was also timely and important.

On the last day of the trip, as we were picking up our luggage at the airport, you asked me whether I had some notes for you as a take-away from the trip.  My answer to you was that I did not have notes at that time, but that I would get my comments and thoughts to you.  As promised, here are my thoughts and comments.

Take-aways from the Kansas City trip

The speakers in Kansas City provided some very thoughtful ways of approaching public policy.  In particular, their former mayor, Kay Barnes, and other civic leaders emphasized vision, partnership, and implementation.  Also, it was apparent to me in the discussions of healthcare and downtown revitalization, that they had done a remarkable job of being very focused, attracting talent, and leveraging broad-based participation.

Ms. Barnes' comment that a bold vision is in some ways easier than a small one, because it can inspire and generate passion, was insightful.  We saw with the NFL and Better Jacksonville Plan that a bold vision can in fact energize and inspire a community.  With the topics addressed in Kansas City - healthcare, downtown, civic leadership, and urban public education - we need a bold vision that can inspire and energize our community.

The Kansas City partnerships and implementation approach was also instructive.  Clearly, the private sector in Kansas City has played a crucial role - financially and otherwise - in carrying out Kansas City’s bold vision for medical research and downtown revitalization.

The city's role, at times, was not clear to me.  I spoke to the city manager, Wayne Cauthen, and he said Kansas City was geographically in four counties, had 15 school districts and had little ad valorem revenue.  He said there were about two million people in the Kansas City metropolitan area.  Kansas City has a "weak mayor" form of government, in which the mayor serves on the city council.

Mr. Cauthen said most of Kansas City's revenue was dedicated to funding specific projects.  Five cents of eight cents in sales tax, he said, was for Kansas City, but the sales tax was dedicated to specific areas.  For example, 1 was for capital, 1 for police, 1 for new fire initiatives, and some dedicated ad valorem for indigent health care.  

Mr. Cauthen said Kansas City lacked discretion and flexibility in their budget.  Significant revenue appeared to come from an earnings tax on Kansas City payroll, which makes the corporate moves downtown even more significant.  Mr. Cauthen told me the $250 million in renovation to the baseball park and $250 million in renovating the football stadium was paid for by the county government.  He was obviously disappointed these facilities were not downtown.  

He also said the work of building a great city is never done and requires constant attention and focus.  Like Ms. Barnes, he was insightful.

Against that backdrop, there are four specific substantive areas from the Kansas City trip that I believe we should consider in Jacksonville:

1. Healthcare

Kansas City

The discussion on the Stowers Institute, medical research, and the healthcare effort in Kansas City was extraordinary.  While they obviously had an exceptional philanthropic gift from the Stowers ($2 billion), they also marshaled their entire community in a focused effort to develop what was to them a very clear vision:  the creation of a world-class research institute centered on the life sciences.  They then attracted Harvard and MIT-class talent, CEO support, and participation from regional partners, to develop in a relatively short period of time (nine years) something that many thought could not be accomplished.

I thought the panel discussions and presentations from Kansas City leaders on this were thought provoking and had direct applicability to the long-term future of Jacksonville's healthcare industry.

While Kansas City was clearly the beneficiary of an exceptional endowment,  I believe we have an inventory of healthcare assets that in some ways put us in a better long-term position than Kansas City.  I have believed for a long time, and the Chamber trip to Kansas City reinforced my belief, that healthcare should not just be a targeted industry for Jacksonville, it should be a defining industry for Jacksonville.


One of the great things about this trip, as with other Chamber trips, is what is learned from other participants.  Dr. Rupp with the Mayo Clinic said that he believed Jacksonville already spends nearly $100 million a year, all combined, on research in the life sciences and biosciences areas.  He said that Mayo alone spends $35 million a year on such research.

Hugh Green pointed out how critically important it is to expand the collaborative partnership with the University of Florida and the challenges involved in that relationship.  He, and others such as Carol Thompson and Bill Mason, discussed the need for an expanded  urban campus and medical school presence in Jacksonville with the University of Florida.

Carol Thompson and I, on the flight over for nearly two hours, discussed Dr. Yank Coble and the Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy ("Center") and the Health Care and Bioscience Council of Northeast Florida ("Council").  In this discussion, Carol and I talked about the extensive and significant inventory of healthcare assets that Jacksonville has and what Yank is trying to accomplish with the Center and Council.

That inventory of assets, discussed on the trip, includes:

• Mayo Clinic and the research outlined by Dr. Rupp;
• Shands Hospital, including the proton beam therapy institute; the presence of the University of Florida faculty and residents; Shands as the UF teaching hospital, with research, clinical work, and residencies;
• Outstanding area healthcare systems, including Baptist, St. Vincent's and  HCA, and the clinical work, specialties,  and residencies there;
• Our community's proximity to the University of Florida, the largest research university in the southeastern United States, only 70 miles away;
• Excellence in numerous specialty areas, including oncology, cardiology, and pediatrics;
• UNF and Florida State College.
This list is by no means complete.  Dr. Coble and others are attempting to bring a focus to Jacksonville's exceptional healthcare assets and its potential for our future.
Having served for the last five years on the St. Vincent's HealthCare System Board, and currently as Chair of the St. Vincent's Foundation Board, healthcare is an area in which I have intense interest and truly believe this can be a defining industry for Jacksonville.  This not only includes high quality healthcare, but also medical tourism, research, and the development of related businesses and industries.  Sixteen percent of Jacksonville's economy is in the healthcare industry.  This percentage is going to grow as baby boomers age and Jacksonville grows.  
We need a focused, concerted effort and a bold vision.  That broader, bolder vision includes:
• A statewide and even national branding and reputation for healthcare in Jacksonville;
• A biotech corridor from Jacksonville to Gainesville;
• Expanded partnerships between Jacksonville and the University of Florida;
• A life sciences or biosciences institute in Jacksonville;  
• A greater presence of the University of Florida Medical School in Jacksonville;
• A master plan for Shands and the surrounding area;
• Expanding residencies in Jacksonville;
• Attracting research and venture capital dollars.

We need a sense of urgency in this competitive arena, however.  South Florida, with the Scripps Research Institute (biomedical research), and Orlando with its focused approach, which includes a new medical school, Nemours, the Burnham Institute for Medical Research and Anderson Cancer Research Institute, and expanded affiliations with UF, are moving forward and attracting public and private investment.
Like Kansas City, I believe we should take a focused approach, bringing together the talent we have in the healthcare industry,  as well as community CEOs, Dr. Coble's Center, and other community leaders, and map out a bold vision, partnership, and implementation strategy.  To use your words, we should think about where we want to be five or ten years from now and beyond.
2. Downtown

Kansas City
As we saw, Kansas City did a remarkable job of bringing life and vibrancy to a decaying downtown.  As with healthcare, Kansas City brought focus, talent, and private sector participation to the downtown revitalization effort.  
In particular, Kansas City: (1) succeeded in getting people to live downtown (18,000 so far, with a goal of 35,000), (2) created a nine-block entertainment district, and (3) had major corporations and employers move and invest downtown.  The public and private partnership investment was a staggering $4.5 billion, over time.
As in healthcare, Jacksonville has an inventory of very substantial assets.  Those assets include a new arena, new baseball park, renovated municipal stadium for the Super Bowl in 2005,  the new downtown library, moving the courthouse off the river, moving City Hall off the river, and a new county courthouse.  In addition, prior to the housing bubble bursting, a significant effort was made to increase residential living downtown.  The Peyton administration also has significant plans for Metropolitan Park, Friendship Fountain and Riverwalk extensions (north and south banks).
Having identified these assets, however, it is also clear that we need  a bold, focused revitalization effort that brings life to downtown.  The soon to be acquired 40-acre Shipyards property and the JEA property across the river, as well as the inventory of assets in our sports complex, presents a remarkable opportunity for downtown's future.  
I had great discussions on this trip with Preston Haskell, Lynn Pappas and others on revitalizing downtown and specifically on creating a downtown entertainment district.  This discussion included:
• The potential creation of an entertainment district in the sports complex and extending down Bay Street;
• The possibility of a new convention center and hotel on the Shipyards property;
• Restaurants in the sports complex, with possibly one in the Stadium that would attract people year-round;
• Moving the fairgrounds out of the Sports Complex  to the Equestrian Center at Cecil Commerce Center;
• Developing a pedestrian-friendly, entertainment oriented, sports complex;
• Possibly taking down the overpass that extends from the Hart Bridge to Bay Street and rerouting it;
• Converting the existing convention center into part of a multi-modal transportation center and museum (Preston's idea);
• Utilizing the ideas in the current Downtown Master Plan.
Preston Haskell said that if a new convention center was built at the Shipyards or near the Hyatt Hotel, using the current Convention Center for a  multi-modal transportation center would be a "no brainer."
In order to accomplish this, and other public policy initiatives, I discussed with Preston the need to restructure our City's finances.  In fact, as I discussed with Preston, getting the City's financial house in order, which includes a comprehensive restructuring and changes to the City's operating and capital budgets, is essential to future public investment in downtown.
This comprehensive, long-term restructuring, which includes pension reform, changes to purchasing and procurement, consolidation of City brick and mortar assets, a new approach to City contracts (existing and future contracts), close scrutiny and potential restructuring of City enterprise funds, and many other changes, will: (1) help ensure the City's financial viability, and (2) enable the City to invest in downtown, healthcare, infrastructure (e.g., seaport, Cecil Commerce Center, parks, etc.), and other priorities.  
The restructuring should include addressing the downtown tax increment districts ("TID").  The north bank TID received approximately $6.2 million last year, according to the City Finance Department.  The south bank TID received about $3.6 million.  While these funds are used primarily for downtown, the remainder has historically been used to balance the general fund budget. Restructuring these and other funds is necessary to support downtown.  The Mayor and I discussed the need to dedicate the downtown TID funds to downtown.  
At the same time, in addition to developing an entertainment district and multi-modal transportation center, there obviously should be continuing efforts at getting people to live downtown and getting employers and corporations to both relocate and invest in downtown.
Kansas City's formula was straightforward and makes sense: get people to live downtown, create an entertainment district that makes it more enjoyable and attracts people downtown, and get the private and corporate community to both invest and relocate downtown.  The public-private partnership on the $260 million plus arena was impressive with AEG investing $50 million.  While this is heavy lifting, it makes for a vibrant and lively downtown.
A vibrant and revitalized downtown is important to the future of our City and, I believe, the long-term viability of the Jaguars.

3. Civic Leadership

Kansas City
The CEOs of the Kansas City Civic Council, as we saw, have played a critical stewardship role in shaping Kansas City.  We saw this in medical research, philanthropy, the revitalization of downtown, and corporate relocations and investments downtown.
The model used by Kansas City, quite frankly, surprised me.  With over a $2.2 million a year operating budget, a six-member staff, and an executive director, and substantial dues for participating CEOs and corporations, Kansas City obviously has made a substantial investment and commitment in the Civic Council.  
It was also apparent that the Civic Council takes a long-term, stewardship view towards Kansas City's future.
While there is much to be learned from the Kansas City model, I in no way want to minimize what I consider to be the extraordinary civic participation, leadership, and stewardship here in Jacksonville.  In fact, I believe that Jacksonville's CEOs, business community, chamber, and civic volunteers have substantially contributed to shaping and transforming Jacksonville over the last forty years.  It was that civic leadership that was instrumental in bringing about consolidation, passing the Better Jacksonville Plan, bringing the Jaguars to town, and supporting the Jacksonville Journey.
I do believe, however, that while valuable roles are being played by numerous community groups, much can be learned from the Kansas City model.  Based on what we saw in Kansas City, I believe there should be a candid discussion among Jacksonville's private and corporate leadership regarding their role in Jacksonville's future and how to go about it.
A civic council modeled after Kansas City, borrowing attractive elements and rejecting others, could very well make sense.  Regardless, it appears that the Kansas City model involves a substantial commitment on behalf of corporate and civic leadership and a stewardship which we also have in Jacksonville.  A rethinking of how we go about this stewardship and commitment is both timely and appropriate.
Private, Public and Community Leadership
While there are great lessons to be learned from Kansas City, I caution against becoming too self deprecating or losing our self-confidence and optimism.  You stated on the trip that one Kansas City leader said to you that Kansas City had finally met a city with as bad an "inferiority complex" as Kansas City.  While this was said in jest, I think it needs to be addressed.  
When I was a kid growing up in Jacksonville in the 1960's, we did have a serious "inferiority complex."  In fact, I wrote about this in an editorial to the Florida Times Union last year, in recognition of the 40-year anniversary of consolidation (copy enclosed), and stated we were viewed as a "smelly, backward southern town with an inferiority complex." Due to consolidation and public, private and community leadership, however, we have undergone a remarkable transformation.
I do not believe that is who Jacksonville is today and I believe the Jacksonville story is very compelling.  It was transformation in our thinking, including outgrowing the inferiority complex, that gave us optimism and made us believe anything was possible, including an NFL team, a Super Bowl, Better Jacksonville Plan, private development over a jet base, and Jacksonville Journey, to name a few.
Candidly, however, for a variety of reasons, we have suffered recent setbacks to our community's spirit of optimism and sense of direction.  This is a serious matter and part of why I believe the Kansas City trip was so timely.
Over the last few years, Jacksonville has lost the equivalent of three Better Jacksonville Plans in funding for its operating budget.  The Better Jacksonville Plan ݢ sales tax initially raised about $55 million a year and today raises over $60 million a year. When state rollbacks ($100 million), the recession ($40 million revenue shortfall), and pension costs ($35 million more this year over last) are totaled, the annual $175 million operating loss is the equivalent of three Better Jacksonville Plans.  Mayor Peyton diversified our revenue and recovered some of this through new fees and the property tax rate increase.
This has been an extraordinary setback.  In recent years, we have been unable to invest.  Unless we restructure our finances, our ability to invest in the future will also be limited.  
The Kansas City trip highlighted our need to get moving again.  We need to think boldly and bring together public, private, and community leaders for visionary initiatives that inspire and energize our City.  This letter outlines some of what I think we need to do.  With consolidated government, and our public and civic leadership, we can move out of the doldrums, overcome the financial setbacks from Tallahassee and the recession, and inspire and energize our City.
4. Urban Public Education

While public education was not the focus of this Chamber trip, the presentation by Thomas Block, the former President and CEO of H&R Block, was insightful and instructive.  He articulated well many of the public education challenges facing cities across the country.  He also made the case for competition, charter schools, and incentives for performance.
He also, in my opinion, did a good job of articulating how cities with struggling or mediocre public school districts come to accept it, or become complacent, over time.  In fact, as he said, when asked what is the top priority for a city, often education is not listed number one due simply to the community getting worn down over time.
Mr. Block's words are timely.
In a knowledge-based, global economy, there truly is no greater long-term priority than education.  Yet, despite some mediocre metrics and failing schools, many have come to accept a public education system that needs significant improvement.  Mr. Block was correct.  Community leaders, both public and private, need to have urgency and purpose regarding improving public education.
I am unaware of any local government in Florida, in part for structural reasons, that plays a true leadership or partnership role with the school district or public education.  Having said that, however, due to consolidated government, I believe Jacksonville is in the best position of any community in Florida to form a true partnership with the school district and play a leading role in public education.  
This leading role includes bringing about collaboration among many positive community efforts (e.g., Community Foundation, early literacy initiatives, Florida State College charter schools, KIPP Schools in Jacksonville, Teach for America, Guardian of Dreams, etc.).  It also includes a partnership and leadership on long-term planning, best financial practices, technology infrastructure, after school programs and many other education priorities.
This is a big topic that requires substantial attention.  Mr. Block's comments, however, were timely and constructive.
It is my sincere hope that the Kansas City Chamber trip will provide a catalyst and support for public policy initiatives in healthcare, downtown revitalization, private sector stewardship and public education in Jacksonville.  While there were other very valuable lessons and take-aways from the Kansas City trip, these four areas stood out for me.
I welcome the opportunity to participate in any follow-up regarding the Kansas City trip.  Following the Chamber trip to Austin, Texas, I worked for three years on technology issues, including serving as special counsel to a special City Council committee on technology, putting on two technology summits for the City and serving as Chair to a Telecommunications Master Plan Task Force that received a statewide award from Governor Bush for innovation in technology.  I look forward to participating in follow-up to this trip.  Please feel free to share this letter with others on the trip or in any way that you think may be helpful.
Thank you Kelly for an extraordinary Chamber trip to Kansas City.  Future years may show that it is one of the most important Chamber trips we ever took.
Richard A. Mullaney
General Counsel


CS Foltz

January 19, 2010, 06:40:26 AM
Sounds good for the most part, not near heavy enough on the "cut the waste" but overall I would have to agree with what Mr Mullaney had to say. Too bad some of these idea's have not been implemented by our current Administration!


January 19, 2010, 08:22:50 AM
#3 Civic Leadership is the key to it all.


January 19, 2010, 09:33:01 AM
Well stated Mr. Mullaney, however not one word mentioned is any different than the ideas and discussions that have been taking place on these boards for years.

Maybe Mr. Mullaney's political position can provide some more pull for the cause.


January 19, 2010, 12:00:08 PM
What the feasibility of building a new convention center on the shipyards site and removing the fairgrounds if we ultimately end up losing the jaguars?  wouldnt putting a convention center in that area be a stronger impetus to keep the water park at the current location with an enhanced metro park? 

im glad to see some progress is being made but things just dont seem to mesh into a grand plan.  just seems like we are moving everything for no good reason and will create some more urban blight for future generations.


January 19, 2010, 12:23:36 PM
Thanks Rick for the summation of the trip and the things learned from the mission.  Was it your sense that other people on the trip gained insights like the ones you reported? 

In talking with several of the veterans of my acquaintance, I think you are bang on with the idea that Medicine is an industry that we can not only be proud of, but has room for expansion.

Take for example how far Jacksonville vets have to go for treatment.

Apparently we have a really huge population of veterans here in Jacksonville, but the nearest VA hospital is in the college town of Gainesville.

I wonder what it would take to get the VA to open a facility here.

I wonder if we could get it built in Springfield near the current clinic location?

chris farley

January 19, 2010, 12:33:09 PM
When I first came to America in 1961 I spent time in Kansas City, I just loved the place and I got to meet Harry Truman to boot, he signed my flight book.  I wish we could follow them.


January 19, 2010, 12:34:24 PM
wow.  how old was Truman in 1916?


January 19, 2010, 12:35:04 PM
SPR would be a major medical community if / when a VA hosipital is opened near the current clinic.

Already has Shands and UF Proton Institute. Also has the only medical-magnet school in the city (middle & soon to be highschool) in Darnel-Cookman.

Getting a 3rd major medical destination would be do big things for the area.


January 19, 2010, 12:36:17 PM
SPR would be a major medical community if / when a VA hosipital is opened near the current clinic.

Already has Shands and UF Proton Institute. Also has the only medical-magnet school in the city (middle & soon to be highschool) in Darnel-Cookman.

Getting a 3rd major medical destination would be do big things for the area.

Certainly would FSU813. 

The possibilities would be literally spectacular.

CS Foltz

January 19, 2010, 01:32:03 PM
The Medical aspect of the area should be widened..........after Mayo Clinic is here and that is a nonprofit and teaching institution! Springfield or any other area would be just fine with me since the Veterans have been slighted by COJ's removal of the Veterans Day Parade.............what a way to save money! If you can call that saving! Cutting the AIMOS out would really be a savings, there is no need to not go Civil Service for those Positions!

Dog Walker

January 19, 2010, 02:59:21 PM
wow.  how old was Truman in 1916?

Now we know that Stephen is dyslexic

When I first came to America in 1961 I spent time in Kansas City, I just loved the place and I got to meet Harry Truman to boot, he signed my flight book.  I wish we could follow them.

Dog Walker

January 19, 2010, 03:01:00 PM
Stephen,  he was 32 years old in 1916.   ;D


January 19, 2010, 03:09:00 PM
Stephen,  he was 32 years old in 1916.   ;D

Well no wonder he and Chris got along so well!  She must have been like a mother to him.


January 19, 2010, 05:54:33 PM
Stephen - Why would the VA open a new state of the art facility in Springfield? There is no room to expand and grow without ticking off all the SPAR fans. Far better to put a new facility near the new VA cemetary on the northside, allow for room to grow. Every hospital in Jax has a growth problem and no land to do so in their current location. Take for example Baptist downtown or even St. Vincents, University, Memorial, all in the same boat, communities grew up around them. Not enough room in any urban area for a state of the art facility that the vets deserve!

Rick - Do you write websites on the side, that was a lot of scrolling to do. Good points all, but the one about healthcare that sticks out is endowments. We do not have enough money, old money, in NE Florida for serious endowments like KC received. So we will continue to rely on the private sector to invest in Jax.

Downtown should follow the Art Shad dance of Spend, Spend, Spend. I like the 1 cent sales tax on Fire, 1 cent on Police and 1 cent to help the areas of town pay for their own projects. If you spend in an area of town, the sales taxes collected SHOULD go to help with public improvements.


January 19, 2010, 06:04:22 PM
Mtrain.  Yeah.  No doubt.  It would take some vision and some work.  But Jacksonville apparently has the highest per capita veterans community of any city our size in the country, and the corresponding least amount of services for any similar size city in the US.


January 19, 2010, 06:06:30 PM
Stephen - I know it, it stinks. We need Ander to pull down some Benjamin's now for the VA center to get built here. We have the plots, we need the facilities. With all that land up there for the cemetary on such hallowed ground, it makes sense to put the 2 together.

CS Foltz

January 19, 2010, 07:11:28 PM makes sense so forget it! If nothing else ,this Administration has gone out of their way to do the stupidest and dumbest things possible! Beside Crenshaw is too busy trying to get re-elected than pay attention to his constituants!


January 19, 2010, 10:00:27 PM
Mtrain.  Yeah.  No doubt.  It would take some vision and some work.  But Jacksonville apparently has the highest per capita veterans community of any city our size in the country, and the corresponding least amount of services for any similar size city in the US.

and we have a VA Hospital (that is expanding btw) down the road in Gainesville


January 19, 2010, 10:03:06 PM


January 19, 2010, 10:37:49 PM

they operate VA hospitals by region....our region is served by the Gainesville hospital...there are also ones in Orlando and the Tampa Bay area.  

of course it would be nice for the Shands Jax. campus to grow...but one doesn't need the VA for can be done w/ one primary facility...just take a look at the Johns Hopkins Hospital campus in Baltimore.


January 19, 2010, 10:40:22 PM
Im aware. TUFSU.

However that doesnt change the facts regarding the proximity of patients vs. the lack of service.

The Jacksonville location has been online for a major expansion for at least a decade.


January 19, 2010, 10:51:46 PM

The Jacksonville location has been online for a major expansion for at least a decade.

as has the Gainesville location...the design was done in 2005 and construction didn't start until 2009.


January 19, 2010, 10:57:56 PM
Im aware.  I was there recently.

What is your point?


January 20, 2010, 08:47:57 AM
A brand new VA facility is planned at Jefferson and 6th Sts. Has been for a few years. SPAR shows it as pending on most of its maps that include that side of the street (which is outside the Historic District). HDR and PPS have considered it in their master planning for the park system (though as they get to the design phase for the parks project, I'm hoping for better connectivity/flow to/from it into the park system than they allude to in their concepts).

The real questions are, when will the feds fully fund its construction, when will construction begin, and how will long will that take?


January 20, 2010, 09:32:38 AM
Why add a VA Facility in town, and constrain itself? That must be Federal thinking. How many Navy personnel are employed in Gainesville? We have more than 50,000 here in NE Florida, yet the closest real facility is 2 hours from Mayport? That is Federal thinking.

hillary supporter

June 01, 2010, 09:28:59 PM
Well stated Mr. Mullaney, however not one word mentioned is any different than the ideas and discussions that have been taking place on these boards for years.

Maybe Mr. Mullaney's political position can provide some more pull for the cause.
hear, hear! Sounds like garbage to me.


June 01, 2010, 10:16:21 PM
Hillary Supporter.  If you don't mind, please cut back on the partisanship.  It is entirely wonderful that you are for Glorious Johnson.  Many of our readers are.  But it is not ok to vandalize every thread that features another candidate for no other reason than that they are running against the candidate you back.

This is not saying that you have done this, but this does look like its becoming a trend, so if you dont mind being cognizant of this frame while posting.  Rick is a fellow poster here, as are several of the candidates and is entitled to civility and consideration.

Thanks, and if this is a mistaken post, our apologies, but it is a way of doing things that this site is committed to maintaining. :)

hillary supporter

June 02, 2010, 02:00:32 PM
With all due respect, Stephen, ive been active in metro jax for approaching five years, beginning with establishing my residence in downtown jax . I tried to purchase several properties for the sole purpose of residing in downtown Jacksonville. The current administration has been nothing but a disaster for metropolitan Jacksonville. Electing any of the current (republican) candidates insures a continuation of the disintegration of our downtown. These candidates have no concern for downtown development except to applease you personally, Stephen, as you are a guiding light (not meant in a derogatory way) for their political aims at mayoral leadership of Jacksonville.
I find nothing wrong with your coverage of all the candidates in the light that you choose. But this is 2010, and this is NOT the T-U.
i have a direct outlet for my opinions provided here in Metro Jacksonville and, as long as I'm not profane, i choose to use Metro Jacksonville to my max to achieve ALL our desires for a metropolitan Jacksonville. When one like Jason states what i feel is a 100% on the nose point, i wont hesitate to echo such, even to extremes. if you disagree and feel the other candidates have downtown metropolitan development that rival Glorious' then bring it on! If not, just ignore my posts!

The fact that "Rick is a fellow poster here, as our several of the candidates doesn't allot them exemption from criticism. You yourself have numerously called out fellow posters for facts that you found wrong.
Yes, it will be a "trend" for me to state my opinions that all of these republican candidates are uttering garbage and only the said Democratic candidate Glorious Johnson provides a distinct , solid, and pr oven  approach for development of a 21st century metropolitan Jacksonville.
Additionally, i wont "cut back on my partisanship" for a metropolitan Jacksonville!


June 02, 2010, 03:30:58 PM
Electing any of the current (republican) candidates insures a continuation of the disintegration of our downtown. These candidates have no concern for downtown development

As a lifelong progressive Democrat I must you feel that way just because they are Republicans?

I can't speak for all the candidates, but both Audrey Moran and Jim Bailey have served on various downtown boards/committees for many years....and both have a strong desire to see dowtown be succssful.


June 02, 2010, 03:49:29 PM
Thanks for the reply, HillarySupporter!

Youve been posting with us for a long time, and I suppose I misused the word partisanship a bit.  Obviously were all on the same basic side, but we are really very committed to having a good conversation that sticks to the issues.

I guess its easier to ask someone what they mean, rather than just dismiss it as garbage the first blush.

I hope we agree that these elections have become so fatally flawed as a result of people shouting at each other and trying to attack and defend so much that its impossible to work on any solutions together.

You are right, politics is a cynical business, but I hope we can inject a note of civility and true discussion into this election cycle.  There are plenty of other places that will be glad to lend themselves to the excesses of name calling and reductionism and the politics of personal destruction.  We can either be like them or we can do something better.

Imagine how differently the election might have gone if people could have really questioned john peyton about his policy ideas before he got elected.

Im following this warm up period of the election pretty closely, and what I am finding out for the first time is that there actually is a class of people and group of citizens and families that do get to ask the candidates questions in an environment that the candidates can speak into without it turning into a slugfest.

It happens in the early parts of the campaigns and in the private homes and clubs of people who decide whether to give their money or not.

By the time the general public rolls around to the election, these discussions have already been had, and the policies have already been influenced, and the average voter basically gets to choose from a slate of candidates that has already done well with the smaller rounds of contributors.

I think these forums provide the first chance for us, the ordinary citizens to be a part of this process.

But it does depend on engagement.  If its a slugfest every time someone goes online, why would anyone bother putting themselves at risk?

And it doesnt do anything for the debate.  Someone gets a momentary satisfaction, but at the price of thousands of people getting insight....

So, please.  Be partisan.  Be as partisan as you like.  But lets be civil enough to give people the room to respond, and allow them to express their ideas and maybe for new ones as a result of hearing from all of us.

They are definitely reading.  As are their campaign staffs.

And lets open up this policy forming process that the candidates are going through to a much wider group of people than just the personal private networks.


hillary supporter

June 02, 2010, 04:05:49 PM
Tufsu1, ALL the candidates have a strong desire to see downtown be successful. Its a cheerleader issue. Mayor Peyton was as vigorous as any of the current candidates.  But it goes out the window real fast!  And theres a reason.  MOST VOTERS OF JACKSONVILLE COULD CARE LESS ABOUT DOWNTOWN!
Ive actually heard such repeated on numerous radio shows throughout the city! The Jacksonville republican party supports this as this is the central issue that separates them from todays local democratic party. Ask yourself, "will the mayoral candidate lend to the party (and majority of voters)  or to downtown development? They will defer to suburban development as mayor Peyton has. It seems obvious to me.
Of course, now you may question the fruitlessness of dt urban development, as many citizens are against it. but, on the bright side, most jax voters are registered democrats (like yourself) and may be convinced that next year will be one to go back and vote for the democratic candidate. Glorious has a conservative appeal with both her past and views. She will need tremendous support, but with such she does stand a good chance. And , in getting back to your question, she has always been an advocate of 1) downtown development 2) mass transit and 3) a true metropolitan Jacksonville.
When i hear these other candidates repeat such, its just the latest catch phase for such ,particularly when questioned by MJs Steven Dare), and when you hear their other rhetoric (the business of jax... is BUSINESS!)  it becomes clear their true aims will be to avoid and resist downtown growth. Just like their republican predecessor!


June 02, 2010, 04:12:02 PM
Actually, last night in the privacy of the Epping Forest Yacht Club, Jim Bailey exhorted the crowd exactly on the subject of fixing the downtown.

The crowd, which as you might guess, was heavily republican, and heavily from the Southside.

Bruce Barcelo, the Nimnicht's, Martha Barrett and a small group of about 70 were there to check out the candidate's opinions.  Now keep in mind that this was the kind of meeting where people are told to bring their checkbooks, not a pep rally.

Jim spoke for about 25 minutes, and within that time frame, 10 of them were specifically about downtown.

Its one of the cornerstones of his campaign.  Afterwards, there was a question and answer period, and I was surprised how many people had questions specifically about downtown.

These private fundraisers are where the rubber hits the road in terms of policy.

It certainly wasnt a display to make me happy.

hillary supporter

June 02, 2010, 04:35:30 PM
Thanks Stephen for your humble response.
Next years mayoral election stands to be the most important decision to be made for the future of Metropolitan Jacksonville.  The mayor will dictate ,just as John Peyton as, the direction for an urban, metropolitan Jacksonville.
This is the first chance for Metro Jacksonville to actually use our influence to make that right decision. I'm not taking it casually!


September 22, 2011, 12:17:20 PM
Kansas City School District loses state accreditation

JEFFERSON CITY | Time finally ran out for the Kansas City School District.

The state’s decision Tuesday to strip the district’s accreditation spiked a community already absorbed in saving its schools with a mixture of new fears and heightened resolve.

“Our district now faces a critical test of one of the most important lessons in life — a test of our resilience and persistence,” interim Superintendent Steve Green said. “We can, and we will, bounce back from this setback.”

The change doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1 — a purposeful delay to give Kansas City and its neighboring districts time to sort through a host of complications, including the possibility of families seeking to transfer out of the district.
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