Author Topic: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start  (Read 3041 times)

jaxlongtimer

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Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« on: January 06, 2019, 01:16:43 AM »
Never thought I see a hard hitting column like this in the Times Union but here it is.  Mr. Monroe will make Ron Littlepage look tame by comparison if he keeps this vein going.  Refreshing to see in print what goes on behind the scenes but is rarely so well distilled and succinctly presented in full sunshine.  With this bit of fresh air, this column will be a "must read" for those who want to better understand how this City's politicos "do their business." :), especially for those who don't regularly interact with City Hall or closely follow the goings on there through other channels.  Will be interesting to see what future columns bring forth.

https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20190104/nate-monroe-feeling-down-too-bad-jacksonville-mayoral-race-will-be-joyless

A few of the "punchier" lines are quoted below.  Read the full article for the rest.

Quote
Curry, the former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, has adopted a more divisive and smash-mouth approach to campaigning and governing, along with a partisan fervor that distinguishes him from his predecessors. Thin-skinned and suspicious, Curry and his small circle of close advisers have thrown out the old playbook and are reshaping Jacksonville politics. It’s not clear the changes are for the better.

Curry, for example, relies on dark-money groups to finance political operations even when he’s not campaigning for office, so folks like developers and lobbyists who have direct stakes in city policy outcomes are constantly giving him money. This is common in Tallahassee. It was unheard of in Jacksonville until Curry came along...

Now, ask yourself this: Why does the mayor of a mid-sized city need $1.8 million while sitting in office?

Curry has already amassed over $3.5 million between his political committee and his re-election campaign, a deep well that will allow him to out-insult and out-spend his way into a second term no matter who challenges him...

Curry, it should be noted, would probably blow a gasket if an opponent called him heartless.

This is a mayor who has repeatedly tweeted the phrase, “Winning solves all problems.” In September, linking to an image of one football player stiff arming another to the ground, Curry wrote, “This represents all that I believe must be done to accomplish our goals.”

Despite his occasional kumbaya sloganeering, negativity and combativeness are indeed the hallmarks of Curry’s political style...

So take my word here: This mayor is different.

This is the first — and likely the longest — of a regular column on city politics and government that will run in every Thursday and Sunday newspaper. Expect analysis, reporting and, yes, some opinion as the 2019 elections roll out. The goal is to help voters make sense of what is happening in this new Jacksonville political environment.

Every effort will be made to dish out offense equally...

A good number have shared with me their long-held grievances over Curry’s administration even as some of those same people publicly praise him.

That is not scandalous or even unusual. It’s unpleasant to go public with criticisms of an elected official, especially one you might have helped get there in the first place. What is remarkable, however, is the unanimity of the complaints, and the level of frustration.

I can say this with a high degree of certainty: This election will feature few true believers.

The 2019 city elections won’t be inspirational. They won’t make voters feel warm and fuzzy...

But there are some attributes and actions that characterize Curry’s first term in office whether he likes them or not, and they are often talked about among political insiders:

• Curry reacts poorly to questions or even mild criticism. Plenty of people in town — Curry supporters among them — have received nasty phone calls from Curry’s office or his political team for any number of perceived insults, like comments made in public or private believed to be insufficiently supportive or enthusiastic of some Curry initiative. Many involved in city government assume social media is closely followed as well: “Like” the wrong tweet, and it will be noticed.

This has infuriated some Curry supporters, who feel like they have given tons of money to him and have endured other burdens on his behalf, only to find themselves constantly walking on eggshells and repeatedly disrespected.

• Previous mayoral administrations cultivated a deep bench of talented bureaucrats and civic leaders to help run Jacksonville’s vast consolidated government and to serve on important volunteer boards that govern the numerous agencies and enterprises under City Hall’s purview...

Curry’s most notable public service prior to his 2015 candidacy was a stint on the Jacksonville Housing and Community Development Commission, the city’s affordable housing agency. Of the 17 meetings held during his membership on the board from 2008-2012 — during the height of the financial crisis — Curry missed 11 of them.

Fittingly, he has generally handled appointments and hires the way a former head of a political party might. A good number of hacks and pretenders made their way through the ranks in past administrations, but that was an exception rather than the rule. With Curry, that often seems to be the whole point.

• Aside from his increasingly small circle of confidants — where there is some talent — Curry tends to value loyalty over most other traits in political allies. That’s why he often warms most to sycophantic, undistinguished politicians...

• Curry prefers a similar pedigree for the heads of city agencies. Competence and experience seem less important than selecting someone who knows that — without Curry’s thumb on the scale — they’d never win out in a national search to claim a six-figure government job...

• In Curry’s Jacksonville, words don’t always take on their traditional meaning. “Reform,” for starters, doesn’t necessarily mean change for the better. It simply means Curry changed something...

Curry has built himself up as the Reform Mayor, but the fundamentals in Jacksonville simply haven’t changed all that much over the past four years.

Many Jacksonville neighborhoods, especially in the predominantly black parts of town, remain starved for city investment. Jacksonville is still broke. Jacksonville is still the murder capital of Florida, and the numbers have only trended in the wrong direction since Curry’s election...

His style is wearing thin, and while he’s shown he can bend the machinery of city government to his will, it hasn’t won him many true friends along the way...

In the face of no real opposition, and possessing virtually unlimited money, pulling the wool over the eyes of a mostly disengaged electorate is no great feat — or a ringing endorsement.

I’ve heard a version of this argument a few times before from spurned veterans of Jacksonville politics: Curry is here today, and one day he’ll move on. But we’ll still be here.

Curry can do a lot with four more years. He can build buildings and a political future for himself, and if he’s lucky, he can build a legacy in Jacksonville. But if he doesn’t tame his divisive tactics, his won’t be a legacy that lasts.

Charles Hunter

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Re: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2019, 09:30:40 AM »
Sounds like someone on the national scene - thin-skinned; making appointments based on loyalty, not competence; attacking any perceived slight ...

Steve

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Re: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2019, 12:11:43 PM »
Interesting read. I agree with some of it, but not all of it. His Intro:

Quote
Former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney was a man possessed with ambitious ideas to preserve the city’s natural resources by shielding them from developers, and to appeal to voters’ sense of civic pride by convincing them to approve a sales tax-financed expansion of libraries, parks, neighborhood services and other public amenities.

Former Mayor John Peyton, the wealthy heir of a prominent Jacksonville family, was a new father who rallied political and business leaders around an effort to tackle the city’s status as the murder capital of Florida.

Former Mayor Alvin Brown, the city’s first black chief executive, struggled with faltering City Hall finances amid the long hangover after the 2008 financial crisis.

Lenny Curry, the city’s current mayor, just seems petty.

It doesn't really have any flow to it. His point about Delaney is valid if not incomplete. His point about Peyton makes no sense (Who cares he was a new father in this context). His point about Brown doesn't undercut that while the financial crisis certainly didn't help things, Peyton and Brown's financial mismanagement is why Curry was left a financial mess. Then he just has the dig about Curry which while not completely baseless, doesn't make any sense in the context of the others.

He then brings up some points that are fair, but I guess other than having an axe to grind about Curry, I'm not sure I get the point.

Charles Hunter

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Re: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2019, 01:03:27 PM »
Monroe spends much of the rest of his piece expanding on the "petty" characterization.  Is there counter-point to his comments on Curry's demeanor or tactics?

Steve

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Re: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2019, 02:02:26 PM »
Monroe spends much of the rest of his piece expanding on the "petty" characterization.  Is there counter-point to his comments on Curry's demeanor or tactics?

If that's the point, then so be it - I think he makes his case pretty well. What did Delaney/Peyton/Brown have to do with it though?

Charles Hunter

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Re: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2019, 03:42:08 PM »
Establishing his bona fides as having covered local politics for several years?  (Just guessing)


(Edited to fix a typo)
« Last Edit: January 06, 2019, 05:55:44 PM by Charles Hunter »

avonjax

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Re: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2019, 05:21:38 PM »
Curry sounds like Trump to me.

Snaketoz

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Re: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2019, 08:14:57 AM »
This type of writing may just save Jacksonville's paper.  Thought I would never see that.  Great to see written what many of us believe.

Captain Zissou

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Re: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2019, 09:33:57 AM »
Curry sounds like Trump to me.
I think that's a bit harsh.  Curry has definitely accomplished some things while in office.  If not for his heavy handedness and the things that the article describes, I think he would be a very well regarded mayor.  Better than the previous 2 for sure.

BridgeTroll

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Re: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2019, 10:08:11 AM »
Curry sounds like Trump to me.

He certainly does... if you take our new opinion writers statements as gospel...
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

Steve

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Re: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2019, 10:33:46 AM »
I'm not intending on ripping the new guy....it's a needed voice since Littlepage retired. I really liked Ron's writing - I didn't always agree but I thought he stated his point well.

I just think this guy could have done a better job, that's all. I think some of the things he's said are valid.

BridgeTroll

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Re: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2019, 11:01:21 AM »
I'm not ripping him either...  And after Littlepage left there is a void at the TU for these types of opinion pieces.  I suppose there is hope that he can be as fair as he says he is going to be...
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

vicupstate

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Re: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2019, 11:37:58 AM »
Establishing his bona fides as having covered local politics for several years?  (Just guessing)


(Edited to fix a typo)

I agree with this, but I also think the writer was trying to establish that the politicization of the office was something that did not exist before Curry.   
"The problem with quotes on the internet is you can never be certain they're authentic." - Abraham Lincoln

Steve

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Re: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2019, 11:50:07 AM »
Establishing his bona fides as having covered local politics for several years?  (Just guessing)


(Edited to fix a typo)

I agree with this, but I also think the writer was trying to establish that the politicization of the office was something that did not exist before Curry.   

If that was his sentement, then he REALLY didn't understand the innerworkings of the Peyton Administration.

vicupstate

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Re: Monroe's New T-U Politcal Column Off to Hard Hitting Start
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2019, 12:02:22 PM »
Establishing his bona fides as having covered local politics for several years?  (Just guessing)


(Edited to fix a typo)

I agree with this, but I also think the writer was trying to establish that the politicization of the office was something that did not exist before Curry.   

If that was his sentement, then he REALLY didn't understand the innerworkings of the Peyton Administration.

That would be my expectation as well, but probably still less so than under Curry.
"The problem with quotes on the internet is you can never be certain they're authentic." - Abraham Lincoln