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WOKV Interviews Metro Jacksonville's Stephen Dare

Metro Jacksonville has had the opportunity to speak with WOKV (106.5FM & 690AM) about the major issues facing the city of Jacksonville on multiple occasions. In this interview, Tiffany Griffith on First Coast Forum asks Stephen Dare to provide input about "growth management and development." As to be expected, Stephen gives a thoughtful and entertaining discourse on a number of topics including white flight, suburban sprawl and urban decay.

Published February 3, 2012 in Urban Issues      28 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Suburban Sprawl (1:00)

Sprawl's Paradise: Beach Boulevard

Stephen Dare gives his opinion on the history of suburban sprawl and his belief that its continued proliferation throughout Jacksonville is bankrupting the community.  During this conversation, he ponders how constructing one less $50 million overpass could benefit the public education system at the local level.


Top Priorities for Getting A Handle on Suburban Sprawl (8:00)

Baymeadows may be one of Jacksonville's most culturally diverse neighborhoods but lacks synergy and vibrancy due to it's autocentric scale.

Stephen believes that you can't really live in the suburbs without a car while using Baymeadows as a key example of an unsustainable community. His suggestion is to go back to more simple and more capital based self organizing development pattern by modifying permitting and zoning regulations.



What to do with Downtown Jacksonville? (12:00)

Downtown's new $350 million Duval County Courthouse.

Stephen claims less city oversight and allowing the downtown core to naturally develop through private sector innovation and creativity is the right path.  He asks what would happen to the St. Johns Town Center if its customers had to pay for parking, if its streets were one-way, and if the jail was located in the middle of it?  If such a condition would not be suitable for the St. Johns Town Center, why would we consider this type of environment as okay for downtown?



Urban Cores & Urban Decay (16:30)


A. Philip Randolph Boulevard (formerly Florida Avenue) is representative of many urban core districts that were once vibrant pedestrian friendly environments.

Why is there no center to our culture? Why do our brightest young leave to go to more progressive communities? Why do we not promote our remarkable history?  Stephen suggests that we destroyed it by provides a historical summary of the decline of downtown and urban core environments throughout Jacksonville and the country, including vilifying controversial mid-20th century planner, Robert Moses.



Trips to Other Communities (21:00)

Sidewalk dining in Chicago.

Stephen believes that many of the trips made to peer communities by our officials have not panned out because the average citizens aren't involved in the decision making process.



Bringing Diversity to the Table(23:00)

Downtown's Hemming Plaza.

Stephen suggests that community buy-in is not necessary to move downtown and the city forward.  In short, here is his advice for the City, concerning downtown: "Get the hell out of it and it will come back by itself."



White Flight in Jacksonville (25:30)

Jacksonville Public Library Special Collections Department Archives

Stephen provides his opinion on White flight, Civil Rights, and Racism in Jacksonville.  He claims Jacksonville has the longest history of "stupid and boneheaded" decisions concerning downtown development.



Recommendations for Moving Downtown Revitalization Forward (29:00)

Above Downtown Jacksonville.

Stephen provides his list of recommendations, including removing parking meters, reconnecting adjacent neighborhoods, and modifying zoning regulations, for revitalizing downtown Jacksonville.



Thoughts on Mayor Alvin Brown (30:00)


Stephen believes that Mayor Alvin Brown is doing a good job but needs to broaden the number of people who are making decisions regarding downtown development.  He claims nothing will change if the same "nifty-fifty" continue to drive the decision making process.


If you've followed Metro Jacksonville throughout the years, you won't be surprised to discover that Stephen makes some pretty controversial statements during this interview that are sure to promote discussion.  Enjoy.

Interview outline written by Ennis Davis







28 Comments

Noone

February 03, 2012, 06:14:37 AM
I'm giving props to Mayor Brown for his kayaking initiative.

Who's next for an Ever bank to bank to bank to bank to bank to bank padlle Downtown?

We are Downtown! We Khan Make It Happen.

jcjohnpaint

February 03, 2012, 08:38:10 AM
Thanks Stephen.  Enjoyed every minute. 

Captain Zissou

February 03, 2012, 11:16:46 AM
Hilarious.  While it was maybe a little intense for the everyday listener, the reality of how we destroyed downtown is  almost too absurd to believe.  I can imagine the host was cringing at a couple points, but you really need to be blunt about the issues that caused our city's current situation.

"The least sexy thing since a traffic accident...."

"That's just crazy talk, but it's understandable crazy talk because..."

" People that own muckity muck business, and they're all swillin' bourbon down at the university club."

"It's all empty, it's a hell of a park, and that's where the homeless sleep."

AWESOME

jcjohnpaint

February 03, 2012, 11:25:09 AM
I loved the Bourbon Swillers talk.  Hey I'll tell you what... any leaders who can't figure out what they are doing after 50 years of failure have to be drunk on something.  I think it is time to sober these guys up or get them the hell out of the way!  Great observations/ true observations all the way. 

IamAmerican

February 03, 2012, 12:50:51 PM
This is awesome. Well done, Stephen Dare. I laughed. I cried. I cringed. 

Tacachale

February 03, 2012, 01:15:55 PM
Good work, Stephen. "Racoon City". Nice.

Captain Zissou

February 03, 2012, 01:27:29 PM
I sent it to my girlfriend.  10 minutes in she said "did he just say defecating??? GROSS!"  after she listened to the whole thing  her reaction was:
 
"I really liked it and I learn a lot- lets clean that island (exchange Island; we have been talking about doing a cleanup with first coast outfitters) in a kayak! I'm motivated! I wanna make jax the best"

Looks like we have a new convert to the cause.

fsujax

February 03, 2012, 01:30:37 PM
Very good Stephen. It seems so simple, yet for some reason our leaders can't or will not make it happen.

thelakelander

February 03, 2012, 01:34:09 PM
I sent it to my girlfriend.  10 minutes in she said "did he just say defecating??? GROSS!"  after she listened to the whole thing  her reaction was:
 
"I really liked it and I learn a lot- lets clean that island (exchange Island; we have been talking about doing a cleanup with first coast outfitters) in a kayak! I'm motivated! I wanna make jax the best"

Looks like we have a new convert to the cause.

Nice!

stephendare

February 03, 2012, 03:23:49 PM
Thanks everyone!

Its been amazing how much reaction Ive gotten from the interview as it has played on WOKV a couple of times.

WOKV is the conservative politics go to channel in this town, but its amazing how much in common we have on these issues.  As many of our readers know we have been cooperating with Rich Jones and Mike Dorwart from the station, and Ive been a semi regular guest on the news show in the morning.

Its a very sharp group of people over there, and this goes to show that our issues have a very very wide audience.

Thanks for the kind comments.  I think people like being told the simple truth no matter how surprising they might find it.

John P

February 03, 2012, 05:04:11 PM
I enjoyed the interview until near the end. Is it appropriate to say that theres nothing to do downtown over and over again when there are many things people enoy there every day? I understand why you would trump it up a little to make a point but by repeatedly stating over and over that theres nothing to visit there but a few things you are reinforcing peoples INCORRECT strereotypes about downtown aren't you? Regular readers of metrojacksonville may know you are hamming it up but the average listener of wokv probably just had their assumptions confirmed by a downtown "expert."

jcjohnpaint

February 03, 2012, 05:06:23 PM
..and to learn.  Learning is key.  I learned a lot I did not know.  I mean whatever side if our core fails then all of us fail. 

stephendare

February 03, 2012, 05:25:05 PM
..and to learn.  Learning is key.  I learned a lot I did not know.  I mean whatever side if our core fails then all of us fail.

Thanks JCJohn.

I think this is the real truth.  Despite being in the game for 25 years, I don't think I really learned why downtown declined until I dug into the actual history and stopped listening to the assumptions and analysis starting about 6 years ago.

It was apparent that the redevelopment schemes kept failing, and like everyone else, I just couldnt understand why.

It was only after I realized that 'redevelopment' is just an industry, like any other--based on sales, spin and promotions that I was able to start looking for the real reasons.

IamAmerican

February 03, 2012, 06:57:00 PM
So, what will it take to have the city get out of the way and let natural development happen. What's the first step we can rally around? Is it parking? Is it permitting? Let's find that first step and demand that our city government take the necessary "inaction".

Everyone on this site just talks about the terrible management but let's take some action. I'll be the first to say I don't know what to do but I'm willing to follow and support those that do...

Timkin

February 03, 2012, 07:32:56 PM
Good show, Stephen!

ronchamblin

February 03, 2012, 09:05:01 PM
Loved the show Stephen.  You are quite effective on your feet.  Your work learning the history and problems of Jax and other cities has allowed you to understand things I’ve certainly missed.  And it was at times humorous.  Have you ever thought about putting your analysis of the decline and fall of the Jax core, or the killing of the Jax core, into a small book, perhaps 100 to 150 pages in length?  Whereas the information and analysis of the death of the city core is somewhat available on the Internet, many of the people who need to know, will not see it.

The great advantage of writing a book on the subject is that the very process of writing will force you to improve by a factor of four or five the quality of what you’ve already accumulated inside your head.  You might discover that some of your beliefs and assumptions were a bit off, and you might discover some new insights and understandings.  The result would be a fine presentation of much needed knowledge about our downtown, and the best methods to revitalize.

And as you might know, a valid and clear presentation of a problem will, by the pressure of clarity, truth and logic, allow valid solutions to emerge almost without effort.  The book would be the vehicle to encourage profound thinking, allowing you to focus, allowing you to convey to many who would benefit, and who in turn would then be more inclined to assist in revitalization. 
     

buckethead

February 03, 2012, 10:03:57 PM
I really loved the point you made about just getting out of the way. Very little is needed regarding regulations/zoning/funding. We just need to be (feel) allowed downtown.

Is that too much to ask? 

Obviously parking meters and one way streets hamper potential patrons, but these are really easy and cheap fixes. Is there a local parking baron cabal pulling some strings?

Congratulations on a successful teaching mission!

I-10east

February 04, 2012, 09:29:05 AM
Stephen did a great job with the interview. I agree with alot that Stephen said, but not everything. Basically from "What to do with DT Jax" on down I agreed. I learned alot by hearing this interview. The main thing that I disagree with is the suburban sprawl takes away from DT. The way I look at it, people have a right to live they wanna live, you can't shoehorn people into living in DT. I wholeheartedly agree that DT needs drastic improvement esp since it have only 2000 residents, but that's a DT issue, not a surburban issue. The suburbs are gonna grow no matter what; It's a futile and unrealistic argument that we're somehow gonna dramatically halt all surburban growth, and focus solely on DT.

I was raised in Brooklyn's Bedford Stuyvesant, a very dense prodomiantly black neighborhood in NYC in the 80's. We lived on the third floor in a tenement with no elevator. IMO it was more of a struggle there logistically than Jacksonville; IMO that urban fantasy world were 'everything is there' and it's 'so convinent' is total BS. Me, my Mother and sister walked blocks upon blocks with a small push cart just to go to a half-way decent grocery store (NYC's Pathmark which isn't nothing to write home). Hell, the buses and subway weren't even an option. The only stores that were 'convinent' where candy stores, and bodegas where 3/4 of the product is often expired anyway. Don't get it twisted some inconvient things like this goes on in better parts of 'urban utopia' too. Even if I didn't have a car, I'll take a house somewhere across the street from a Jax Wal-Mart crossing a 'football field parking lot' and yall can take that 'so convinent' urban nightmare up in New York.     

thelakelander

February 04, 2012, 12:19:31 PM
I think the key to suburban development is to make sure it pays for itself. Currently and traditionally it has not. Instead, we've taken money generated by urban core residents, businesses,  and industries to invest in a financially unfeasible development pattern. Every person should have the right to live where they want. City, burbs, sticks, etc. shouldn't matter. However, is it too much to ask that we bare the full costs associated with our decisions instead of robbing Peter to subsidize Paul?

TD*

February 04, 2012, 12:20:50 PM
Excellent! I loved the interview, hopefully more people visit the site because of it, and are waking up to the things that trouble Jacksonville.

Steven Dare i loved your bus ride to hell segment also that you did a few years back.

Tacachale

February 06, 2012, 10:32:55 AM
Stephen did a great job with the interview. I agree with alot that Stephen said, but not everything. Basically from "What to do with DT Jax" on down I agreed. I learned alot by hearing this interview. The main thing that I disagree with is the suburban sprawl takes away from DT. The way I look at it, people have a right to live they wanna live, you can't shoehorn people into living in DT. I wholeheartedly agree that DT needs drastic improvement esp since it have only 2000 residents, but that's a DT issue, not a surburban issue. The suburbs are gonna grow no matter what; It's a futile and unrealistic argument that we're somehow gonna dramatically halt all surburban growth, and focus solely on DT.

I was raised in Brooklyn's Bedford Stuyvesant, a very dense prodomiantly black neighborhood in NYC in the 80's. We lived on the third floor in a tenement with no elevator. IMO it was more of a struggle there logistically than Jacksonville; IMO that urban fantasy world were 'everything is there' and it's 'so convinent' is total BS. Me, my Mother and sister walked blocks upon blocks with a small push cart just to go to a half-way decent grocery store (NYC's Pathmark which isn't nothing to write home). Hell, the buses and subway weren't even an option. The only stores that were 'convinent' where candy stores, and bodegas where 3/4 of the product is often expired anyway. Don't get it twisted some inconvient things like this goes on in better parts of 'urban utopia' too. Even if I didn't have a car, I'll take a house somewhere across the street from a Jax Wal-Mart crossing a 'football field parking lot' and yall can take that 'so convinent' urban nightmare up in New York.     

I-10, I think the real issue is that no city should be all one way or all another, there ought to be variety. Cities with great downtowns also have suburbs, exurbs, satellite cities, and bedroom communities like Jax has. In our case, we have it going on in places like that, but our urban situation is disjointed and lacking in many regards. For people who prefer a suburban lifestyle, they should have that option of living in a (preferably well planned) suburban neighborhood. But it shouldn't be the ONLY option in a city with as much to offer as Jacksonville.

Timkin

February 07, 2012, 12:43:29 AM
I think Stephen touched down on a crucial point and that is , essentially to stop micromanaging the downtown area . Stop putting so many regulations on locating there. 

While I have never met him, I have to say his segment indicated, to me at least,  that he knows what hes talking about!

jerry cornwell

February 07, 2012, 09:25:14 AM
Thanks everyone!

Its been amazing how much reaction Ive gotten from the interview as it has played on WOKV a couple of times.

WOKV is the conservative politics go to channel in this town, but its amazing how much in common we have on these issues.  As many of our readers know we have been cooperating with Rich Jones and Mike Dorwart from the station, and Ive been a semi regular guest on the news show in the morning.

Its a very sharp group of people over there, and this goes to show that our issues have a very very wide audience.

Thanks for the kind comments.  I think people like being told the simple truth no matter how surprising they might find it.
Jacksonville is for real!

heights unknown

February 07, 2012, 09:41:58 AM
Congrats Stephen...YOU GO!!!

urbanlibertarian

February 07, 2012, 12:22:24 PM
lakelander wrote:
"Every person should have the right to live where they want. City, burbs, sticks, etc. shouldn't matter. However, is it too much to ask that we bare the full costs associated with our decisions instead of robbing Peter to subsidize Paul?"

Watch out, lake.  You're sounding dangerously like a libertarian here. :D Whenever people are not paying the full cost of something it tends to perpetuate inefficiency because the un-subsidized alternatives are at a competitive disadvantage.

buckethead

February 07, 2012, 09:56:19 PM
Financial crisis???

Could it be simply a case of massive misallocation of resources?

This is a simple concept that can be broadly applied and easily understood. 

It's the a cornerstone of Austrian Economic theory, so we can't take it too seriously. ;)

ONESTOPTHRIFTSHOP

April 08, 2012, 07:43:31 AM
I have tried multiple times to speak with the Mayor Brown about some ideas and have been denied.  Due to he is too busy to speak with me as a business owner.  So now it is time that the people of Jacksonville see what is really going on in this city.   A mayor who does not want to speak to small business owners to get there input on the outer neighborhoods of downtown Jacksonville. How about getting different activities  and stores in the different neighborhoods Like Murray Hill area near Edgewood Ave S and Post Street area.  There are alot of opportunity to make the Murray Hill area better for the people who lives here.  ALSO the JSO officers  needs to notify business owners of any break ins, damage, robberies of there business at the emergency numbers listed on the building. This is the second time that we were not notified of damages done to our fence by drunk drivers who has lost control on the curb on Post Street. Something has to give.   SO MAYOR BROWN  AND SHERIFF RUTHERFORD YOU NEED TO MEET WITH ME ON ISSUES AND IDEAS WHAT CAN IMPROVE THE NEIGHBORHOODS .   OR GET OUT OF YOUR POSITION AND LET SOMEONE ELSE DO THE JOB RIGHT.

Adam W

April 08, 2012, 08:27:07 AM
I have tried multiple times to speak with the Mayor Brown about some ideas and have been denied.  Due to he is too busy to speak with me as a business owner.  So now it is time that the people of Jacksonville see what is really going on in this city.   A mayor who does not want to speak to small business owners to get there input on the outer neighborhoods of downtown Jacksonville. How about getting different activities  and stores in the different neighborhoods Like Murray Hill area near Edgewood Ave S and Post Street area.  There are alot of opportunity to make the Murray Hill area better for the people who lives here.  ALSO the JSO officers  needs to notify business owners of any break ins, damage, robberies of there business at the emergency numbers listed on the building. This is the second time that we were not notified of damages done to our fence by drunk drivers who has lost control on the curb on Post Street. Something has to give.   SO MAYOR BROWN  AND SHERIFF RUTHERFORD YOU NEED TO MEET WITH ME ON ISSUES AND IDEAS WHAT CAN IMPROVE THE NEIGHBORHOODS .   OR GET OUT OF YOUR POSITION AND LET SOMEONE ELSE DO THE JOB RIGHT.

Yeah, right. Why shouldn't you waste the time of the Mayor and Sheriff? It's your RIGHT as a taxpayer!
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