Funded by the City These dollars (yes, both monies) were supposed to be used for economic development, not gymnasiums. This area does not need an economic stimulus in the way of public tax dollar hand-outs. Dan Davis, as Finance Committee Chair and Mayor Peyton were two key figures in this mess. They both should be ashamed for letting public dollars be extorted this way. Why was the JEDC not involved in this process at all? Ron Barton and his team oversee the way the NW Quadrant Cash Account Fund is allocated. How did this happen on his watch?
Why did Locket-Felder want the PUBLIC access hours to the gym restricted?
CM Warren Alvarez has requested the OGC investigate the legality of the legislation. Although, this is like asking a JSO officer to report his on-duty partner for a speeding violation, has CM Alvarez heard anything back from the OGC yet?
Beth Kormanik of the Times-Union broke the story, saying the Council “bent the rules”. Tonya Weathersbee has written against this legislation. Ron Littlepage has written TWO columns raging against its lunacy.
As far as the Council members themselves, quite a few have been outspoken about the legislation. Councilwoman Glorious Johnson has expressed regret for voting for the Ordinance. The passage of the Ordinance made Council President Hyde say it may make the Council look at private/public partnerships. Councilwoman Elaine Brown had reservations from the start. Art Shad has gone public saying that he only voted for the legislation because he felt it stood little chance of passing anyway, what with the Mayor’s and Council President’s support.
What kind of precedent does this set for other churches/synagogues/mosques? Can my church apply for one of these grants? I know we aren’t in as good a neighborhood as Biscayne Bay Boulevard (and we don’t have a Council Member on our attendance rolls), but we sure could still use the money to build our new sanctuary. I emailed Pat Locket-Felder, asking her as much, and I have yet to receive a reply.
What about the Florida Constitution? Did the Office of General Counsel even know about Article 1, Section 3 which prevents taxpayer money from going to a religious institution? If they did know, they knowingly broke the law. If they did not, are they qualified to be overseeing our city’s legislation?
There are so many things wrong with this wasteful government act, that it is hard to pin down which is the most offensive to the taxpayers of Duval County. In any case, the best clause set forth in the passed ordinance is the one that states the City reserves the right to cancel the deal for any reason with a 60 day notice to First Timothy. Send that letter out now and we can all have a fun fouth of July and have this whole little nasty ordeal behind us.