Author Topic: Let’s Get to Work, Jacksonville  (Read 1610 times)

benmarcus

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Let’s Get to Work, Jacksonville
« on: January 08, 2017, 09:12:30 AM »
In one sentence, Jacksonville suffers from a leadership deficit.

From lackluster support for expanding anti-discrimination ordinances, to waiting until it’s too late to speak up for public employees and their earned benefits, to spending our time on pettiness instead of getting work done, something needs to give.

While the mayor plays games with compensation packages for police new hires, many parts of the city are seeing significant bumps in robbery and car theft, as the department already struggles to stay on par with industry norms and just filling the ranks, in general.

While members of a school board facing complex, difficult issues throw shade at each other, the state legislature cut millage by 2% (literally a few dollars savings per home owner, but millions lost for the district), with no plans to put a measure on the ballot to get it back, let alone ask for a much-needed increase.

While members of the City Council ink their rubber stamps and look the other way as colleagues walk thin ethical lines, decisions seemingly can’t be made on many issues of great importance to the future, and current state, of the city (protecting people from discrimination and building a stronger urban core, to name a couple).

And, while we’re obsessed with a losing football team that studies of other NFL cities would suggest has a net negative economic impact for the city, we sit by, many idly, as mediocre people with mediocre policies are elected and reelected.

This is the best Jacksonville can do? I don’t think so.

We don’t have to settle for this. Some may think the 2019 municipal elections are still pretty far off, but trust and believe it will be here sooner than you think. Being a good citizen doesn’t mean just going into a voting booth every couple of years (or 4 as is the case with many). It means holding those who are already elected accountable, and pushing people who should run for office to do so, especially if they are not part of the existing corral. And it means volunteering for those candidates and helping them reach enough voters to win. The good side of the low turnout double-edged sword is there are always votes to get.

Forget protests, angry letters and dissident Facebook groups. What we need is some good ol fashioned changing of the guards. It’s time to hold people accountable for their actions, or inaction as the case may be. I know for a fact this city has some brilliant, motivated people who want to see all of us succeed. And I don’t mean the people jabbing elbows to the top of their respective party ladders. I mean the people who lead in everyday life. The people everyone in their neighborhood or office knows they can go to for solid, smart advice. The ones who just seem to naturally have a grasp on what it means to convene equitable groups of people to solve problems.

We can do better, Jacksonville. Let’s go.
"The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is all comprehensible."
-- Albert Einstein

Murder_me_Rachel

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Re: Let’s Get to Work, Jacksonville
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2017, 01:50:54 PM »
I agree, and please don't let this be misconstrued as any criticism of your points.  That said, I just don't see it happening. Jacksonville is a conservative city; it's a city where wealthy white people (like my extended family) are scared to come downtown and cannot, even when smacked in the face with evidence, see the utility of a vibrant downtown. 

I am all for change, but let's be real: this is a city that elects yahoos like Clay Yarborough, Don Redmond, Lenny Curry and Jason Fischer, just to name a few.  There's a vocal minority, which is growing, to the status quo and the tired, outmoded way of thinking and doing things, but it IS a minority. And I think a large part of that minority just doesnt see that the other folks do not, and will not ever, see their point of view or agree with them.  They just want to shop, go to church, watch the Jags, and stay at home.

Tacachale

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Re: Let’s Get to Work, Jacksonville
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2017, 11:07:16 PM »
There are a number of reasons for the "leadership gap". Chief among them is that various parts of our system aren't really set up for finding and retaining the best leaders.

Another is that the parties are increasingly important, and only one of them is able to be competitive consistently. With some exceptions, the Democrats are uncompetitive in county-wide races and are now almost entirely confined to district races in African American majority areas. I said this elsewhere, but I believe there are now only 3 Democratic politicians at any level of government that aren't representing solidly Democratic districts: Tommy Hazouri, John Crescimbeni, and Joyce Morgan, all in City Council. Hazouri and Crescimbeni are both 60+ and Crescimbeni's term limited. It's hard to think of any Democrat who could win their their seats after they leave them. In many races, the Democrats don't bother running anyone at all, even though voters have proven they'll support Democrats if conditions are right.

The leadership gap is so bad that the Democrats will make a big stink on losing issues, and then fall eerily silent on issues they can win on. Only one Council Democrat (Hazouri) co-sponsored the current HRO bill, even though 2 Republicans did, and it's possible that not all the Democrats will even vote for it. That's frankly an embarrassment.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 01:04:09 PM by Tacachale »
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

Tacachale

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Re: Let’s Get to Work, Jacksonville
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2017, 10:30:20 AM »
Some of the problems Ben mentions are structural. Entities like the School Board, and arguably the Sheriff's Office, are run by elected officials, making them political positions in areas where politics can hurt the mission. The School Board especially has always been dysfunctional, and would benefit from a real overhaul and the ability to appoint people who know what they're doing, rather than people who know how to get elected. The Sheriff may well also be better as an appointed official like the fire chief. Of course, if these positions were appointed, we'd have to count on having good people in office appointing them, and that's been a problem for us as well.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

finehoe

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Re: Let’s Get to Work, Jacksonville
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2017, 12:58:17 PM »
Of course, if these positions were appointed, we'd have to count on having good people in office appointing them, and that's been a problem for us as well.

Word

RattlerGator

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Re: Let’s Get to Work, Jacksonville
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2017, 03:57:41 PM »

Another is that the parties are increasingly important, and only one of them is able to be competitive consistently. With some exceptions, the Democrats are uncompetitive in county-wide races and are now almost entirely confined to district races in African American majority areas.

Exactly right. That is what happens, however, when you structure yourself to appeal primarily as a municipal identity politics party rather than a national party.

Tacachale

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Re: Let’s Get to Work, Jacksonville
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2017, 04:11:46 PM »

Another is that the parties are increasingly important, and only one of them is able to be competitive consistently. With some exceptions, the Democrats are uncompetitive in county-wide races and are now almost entirely confined to district races in African American majority areas.

Exactly right. That is what happens, however, when you structure yourself to appeal primarily as a municipal identity politics party rather than a national party.

I'd argue it's because they focus too much on national politics and not enough on providing real solutions on a local or state level. The Duval Democrats are letting the LGBT and business community, including Republicans, take the lead on the Human Rights Ordinance for example, even though it's a major Democratic platform issue and is supported by the majority of the city.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 04:14:44 PM by Tacachale »
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

Tacachale

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Re: Let’s Get to Work, Jacksonville
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2017, 05:49:54 PM »
Gerrymandering doesn't play into the countywide races, which includes the mayor, sheriff, 5 at-large council seats, state attorney, and various other positions. The Democrats *can* win at those, but they usually don't (especially in the cases where they don't bother running anybody). And especially after the 2015 City Council redistricting, they should be more competitive in some of the district council races than they are.

Since we're talking about gerrymandering, that's another area where the Democrats have their share of the blame, as we've discussed before. Minority Democrats worked with Republicans on redistrictings in the early '90s to ensure they'd get some representation, as they'd had none in over 100 years of Democrat rule. This was bad for the Democrats in the long run, and they still haven't figured out a good counter.

The issue isn't the messaging or the national issues. It's the people, coordination, and money. The Republicans have those, the Democrats, outside of African American majority districts where they virtually cannot lose, mostly don't.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?