The Duval County
by R.F. Mariano,
A Grass Roots Analysis of Current the upcoming Duval County Elections.
April 15th will have far greater meaning than simply Tax Time this year.... It will also be Election Day and that is a day many voters will take note of this time. Voter turnout should be quite heavy.
From the Mayor’s Race on down the line... to the City Council Race there are critical factors facing the voters that should and will influence the way they vote..
The FIRST AND FOREMOST factor being the integrity or, plainly put; The moral fiber and honesty of the candidates. Will they resort to lying in their campaign commercials and flyers? Will they wage a disgusting negative TV ad campaign? If some do, you can bet it’s an expression of utter desperation setting in. To witness a candidate trampling their own integrity and overall trustworthiness to win a political race is a tragedy. Serious questions have already arisen relative to certain people running for office that have skirted the rules of qualification to fit their needs. If they are willing to circumvent the Law to run in a campaign and torpedo an election, Lord only knows what they will do if elected.
The SECOND FACTOR should be ability... is the candidate you are considering capable of meeting the challenge of the office they are running for? Sure they can have advisors but ultimately are you voting for a candidate with an eye on the City’s future or, their own future. Are you voting for someone whose intelligence barely exceeds that of a box of rocks or are they smart, shrewd, capable and ready to do the job? Will the candidate represent the taxpayers’ best interests or their own? Professional Career Politicians seem to infest our City government like termites in a wooden home. Sure, some are wonderful and serve their constituency very well while others... do nothing but cater to their campaign contributors and forget the little guys. Make your choices wisely.
The THIRD FACTOR is going to have the greatest impact in the years to come. Check your favorite candidates out thoroughly. If they are an incumbent, have they really done the job they were elected to do or, have they simply coasted along tending to their private interests more than yours and the city’s? Also, do their privately owned businesses do business with the city and if yes, was it by bid or patronage? In other words, was the process of doing business with the City done completely above reproach and legally? If they are a newcomer, are they presenting fresh ideas and offering positive solutions for the problems the city faces or, are clearly part of the tired old city political machines that have hoodwinked the taxpayers and voters in years past? Are they making it their business to meet and greet the voters by attending civic group meetings, VFW meetings, K of C meetings, Foreign Legion meetings, Union meetings etc.. Or, are they banking on TV ads and saturation, impersonal mail-outs? Serious questions for a serious election.
The FOURTH FACTOR; In this current election, we have four Ex-Council Persons (Councilors) who have left or will be leaving the City Council due to Term Limits. One was even wacky enough to betray all those who recently voted for him for Florida House of Representatives Seat #13. He resigned his seat to run for City Tax Collector! That slick trick has to ring alarm bells pointing to the fact that this guy is looking for a cushy life-time position on the City payroll and nothing more. A Professional Leech. Its disgraceful and an insult to the intelligence of the voters in Duval County. All four are seeking other City Offices at this time.
Be advised, they are appearing to be only seeking a meal ticket and nothing more. None of them have any experience in managing, upgrading or, in fact caring for the day to day operations of the offices they seek. In our opinion, it's time for change. Let's forget these "hangers-on" and elect the people truly "qualified" for the office they are running for. All those who are a disgrace to Jacksonville are marked with a "thumbs-down" "wasted vote" icon. The candidates you vote for should have experience from being in the same or related fields in the private sector and they should have an adequate education in the respective fields. Also, they should have experience in the operation of computers. Needless to say, the Professional Career Politicians have bled Duval County long enough. We need fresh faces with fresh ideas and the abilities needed to expertly do the job. It's time for a change.
The Big Picture; In many cases, fresh new faces and ideas can make the big difference between a forward thinking government or a stagnant ship of fools. Duval County needs to lose the "Old Political Machine" ...the cronies and hacks who put together the deals behind the scenes and have continually run the City for 20 years. Its time for a change. Perhaps the strongest point to be made here is how many of the candidates are technologically challenged? (That means they do not know the first thing about modern technology and computers.) They should be required to know about modern technology and the competent use of computers, the use of needed software to get the job done and the basic scheme of networking all city government offices thus streamlining government efficiency and saving taxpayer money. It's time for a change.
I know of only four whom I would designate as computer capable. In that area, the City is being seriously short-changed again. COJ.GOV etc... is the worst, slowest and most user hostile, un-networked network I have ever seen. It seems to have been assembled piecemeal, a bit here and a bit there resulting in a “clockwork orange” network. In other words, an expensive, nightmarish mess. You can bet that... with a Computer Technology aware Mayor and City Council this would not be the case. We need people who are running the City to be able to use and understand computers and computing.
In looking over the Mayor’s race.... some very important underlying factors emerge.
I look to see the final chapter, when all the dust settles, showing the run-off between Nat Glover (Democrat) and Ginger Soud (Republican) and I might add, the very distinct possibility of Ginger Soud becoming the next and First Female Mayor of Jacksonville, Florida.
Many people simply do not realize just how much the flavor of the Mayoral race has changed since Nat Glover entered the picture.
Peyton presents an interesting background and some rather lackluster and worn out clichés as ideas for his “platform”; he’s going to run Jacksonville (or, is that his Daddy, Herb Peyton?) “like a business”. Sounds like he clipped that line from NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg. In reality.... Peyton should save his millions and learn how to run a business first. So far, all he is doing is following in his father’s footsteps. I do not see Peyton getting past the Primaries.
Unfortunately, as a candidate, Peyton is a weak, unknown below average candidate, part of Gate family Oil Dynasty, offered lackluster performance on The Jacksonville Transportation Authority Board. A Gate Petroleum executive without any experience in elected office. Perhaps, He is looking for a hobby? Mike Tolbert and McCormick & Co. had better communicate better if this candidate is to try to earn credibility. So far, Peyton's in the minus column. Not only is Peyton short in stature, he's short on ethics and extremely short on governmental experience. "The Only "successful" business man..." imagine that! Next Lie plz.
One can only imagine what "nonsensical tripe" will spew forth in the expected barrage of Peyton TV campaign ads. So far, this campaign rings loudly "loser". Ad1 sez.... Today at 38, John Peyton runs a business with a thousand employees, (His father, Herb Peyton, runs the business) so he knows about customer service, sticking to a budget, creating jobs. And John Peyton's the only candidate who's a true conservative, (That's patently not true) who opposes any new taxes." He's using old, worn out clichés left and right. Peyton has never held a city office.. Not even a council seat. It appears he's only BIG Money (Daddy's)... seeking BIG Power.... Out of the cradle, into a cash-lined chute aimed at the Mayor's Office.... very sad. A True Snow Job and A NO Vote.
About the first Mayoral Debate - Did you Say Debate???
As most saw, Delaney wasn't there or was he? I heard his name mentioned so often, it sounded like a litany of admiration for the outgoing mayor rather than a "debate" between the new candidates for Mayor. Could it be certain of the candidates are using Delaney's name to give the impression they're "endorsed" by him? Fact is, this wasn't a debate at all. It was more of an introduction of the candidates to the voters.
A few noticeable notes;
Candidate Holzendorf was fast becoming a candidate for the "Gong Show".... she had to be "belled" twice to remind her she had exceeded the time limits for each candidate to speak. Obviously the lady doesn't feel the "rules" apply to her. Perhaps its because she's been around too long and is on an arrogant mission to hurt Glover's campaign.
Then, there's "Johnny Boy" Peyton.... Oh my, the "new boy wonder" needed a pillow to sit on. Amazing what lengths they'll go to in making certain they're not shorter than anyone else while they're seated. Talk about vanity. Or, does Peyton have other unknown problems? One of his spokespersons said he used the pillow (on a padded chair) for "comfort". Now, I've heard it all. Anyone notice the dramatic difference between his boyish, REAL voice on live TV and his "DUBBED-OVER, ECHO-ENHANCED" voice in his sleaze TV campaign ads?
Truth is, this University Club event hosted by Channel 4's Deborah Gianoulis was not a debate at all. It was simply put, an introductory exercise. A sort of, "get acquainted with the candidates showcase". In my opinion, a waste of time. We know who the candidates are. The real deal is further down the campaign trail, its far too early for the fur to fly.
About the Second Mayoral Debate - Did I say Debate???
Sorry, but that "showcase" was not a debate. Truth is, it was an exercise in waffling by most mayoral candidates. Once again, Holzendorf had to make herself seen. This time over "mic" problems and in coming forth promising a Tax Increase... allegedly to build a "fund" for health care. Maybe we ought go on a fact finding mission and stay in 600.00 night hotel rooms eh, Betty? Then there was Johnny Boy Peyton all 5'6" of him on a pillow again.... notice the difference in his voice as compared to his campaign ads? He wants all the candidates to sign a "protect the Taxpayer Pledge.... that's nice... but the big question with the pledge is ... is it enforceable? Of course not. Its nothing more than a Barnum & Bailey Circus Act. Peyton is actually very funny... I think he's missed his calling. He should look up Emmett Kelly. Soud stood pat on no new taxes and Weinstein added a little "juice" to the no new taxes with a promise of a property tax reduction.. annually.
All great stuff...... but where was the debate? This was nothing more than a podium for campaign speeches. Where are the facts behind all the rhetorical hot air? When are these candidates going to back up their mouths with facts and figures? Sorry folks... I felt I went to see a debate... all I got was a snake oil sales show with Holzendorf the main attraction. Up till now, I must say the voters are getting nothing but hot air.... Lord help this City. Its going to need it.
In the Race for Sheriff, John Rutherford (R) is our favorite and we see him easily winning his election.
For Property Appraiser, There is a field of four candidates running. Of the four, Fran Beach Worked in Duval County Property Appraiser's office for 13 years in the commercial and tangible personal property sectors, is a CAE (Certified Assessment Evaluator). We need experienced, knowledgeable people in government. Fran Beach is the obvious choice.
As for Jim Overton, he appears to only be looking for many more years of city paychecks. In my years of political observation, I’ve grown to dislike these Professional Career Politicians who really go nowhere but to the city paymaster. They take up space, do nothing for the taxpayer and simply play the “big-shot” role. We need to see them go. Truly, its time for change.
For Tax Collector, we find two candidates thus far, John Winkler (D) and Mike Hogan (R). Hogan, another late entrant Professional Career Politician! Why would he QUIT his new Florida House Seat # 13 after he vowed to represent the voters of District-13? He was just sworn in! Could it be this position pays MORE money? Or, is it more Politics as Usual? This guy is a loser and a wasted vote! John Winkler (D) is highly qualified, experienced in the world of tax laws and has an outgoing personality. John Winkler is definitely the man for the job.
Supervisor of Elections has three candidates in the running, Terry Wood (D), Kathy Finn (D) and John Stafford (R) - Wood and Finn are late entrants. Terry Wood appears to only be looking for more years of city paychecks. In my years of political observation, I’ve grown to dislike these Professional Career Politicians who really go nowhere but to the city paymaster. They take up space, do nothing for the taxpayer and simply play the “big-shot” role. We need to see them go. Truly, its time for a change.. This candidate is A wasted vote!
On the other hand, John Stafford has been with the Election Supervisor’s office forever and knows the ins and outs of that office completely. Additionally, he knows the rules and regulations and is supposed to enforce those governing applicants qualifying and running for office. At times, we feel John Stafford could be more assertive in his leadership role. Look for Stafford to win handily. John Stafford is the only person qualified for the job in this race. Vote for John Stafford.
The City Council Races....
The very first thing a Candidate for City Council should be required to do is sit down and prove they can use a computer. Today, Most will fail.
First, let’s look at the current City Council’s Record of working for and representing the taxpayers and voters of this City. Plainly put, its an exercise in ultra mediocrity. They’ve done little or nothing for the common man, the taxpayer, the voter. Oh, they’ve made headlines grand standing on dumb “waste taxpayer money” issues or handed up grandiose plans and schemes to spend the taxpayer money to a point where a higher Sales Tax or some other Tax increase will be warranted for the City to survive. But as a whole all they’ve done is manage to insult the intelligence of the voters and taxpayers.
Second, They’ve been disgraceful. Especially after Jerry Holland proposed that disgusting Shut-Up Ordinance that enraged three fourths of the city. The current City Council, save for three or four members, have seemingly proven they are experts at wheel spinning and nothing more.
At Large Group-1 Faye Rustin is now facing two late entrants; Ron Higginbotham (D) and Henry H. Mooneyhan (R). Faye Rustin will easily win.
At Large Group-2 Elaine Brown (R). Is unopposed.
At Large Group-3 has two Democrats; Catherine J. Chadeayne-Goldman and Ernie G. Perez running against incumbent Lowery A. “Lad” Daniels, a Republican. Daniels favored the shut-up Ordinance which alienates him immediately... then comes his $93,000.00 campaign fund. That much money to run for City Council? It’s disgusting! What it looks like is the purchase of the office. The only people who can afford to contribute that heavily seems to be big business and special interests. That’s sad.. Because Catherine Goldman is far better qualified and more for the people. We say, vote for Catherine Goldman.
At Large Group-4 An interesting race indeed, four candidates, three Democrats and one Republican, the Democrats are Tiwanna Flagg, Domonique Torrence and Attorney Kevin S. Sanders. The lone Republican, Kevin F. Hyde actually is trying to win this campaign, he has made himself available to voters and is conducting an intelligent campaign. There is little or no information on either Flagg or Torrence. Sanders is known but really only for having run for US Congress and losing. This entire race presents an enigma if there ever was one. Three Democratic Candidates to split up the votes and guarantee Kevin Hyde a slot in the run-offs if not a win. Brilliant strategy on the part of the Democrats on how not to win.
At Large Group-5 is a picture of sensibility a Democrat, Ju’Coby Pittman and a Republican, Glorious Johnson is vying for this seat.... we see Pittman winning.
The City Council Districts
City Council District-1 We have two Democrats and a Republican running in this race.. Terry DiPerna (D), John Crescimbeni (D) and Lake Ray III (R) the incumbent, fighting to keep his seat. Again we see multiple Democrats running against a single Republican. More vote splitting, more weakening in favor of the single Republican Candidate. Brilliant Strategy on the part of the Democratic Party... who is running the Democratic Party? A Republican? Of the candidates running in District-1 we have in DiPerna a fresh face with new and very positive ideas on how to better serve the taxpayers and voters in district one.
Lake Ray and Terry DiPerna had better wake up and holler! They’ve been had!
Last, we have Lake Ray III (R) the incumbent fighting to keep his seat. He has every reason to fight. So far, in his last tenure on the Council, he’s proposed a litany of goofy city ordinances for “Pool Police”, “Pet Police” and now a $50,000,000.00 project to put surveillance cameras in the city... “Big Brother controls”... but bear in mind, the extremely high cost of this scheme could easily warrant another Sales Tax or, another type of TAX increase.
We like Terry DiPerna; he’s honest, knows computers and has worked for the City all his life as a Policeman and now, a Court Bailiff. We vote for DiPerna.
City Council District-2 In this Race we have two candidates, Adam Davis (L) and incumbent, Lynette Self (R). In our research, we find the incumbent Lynette Self winning simply because the other candidate is not well known and seemingly, is doing little to make himself known.
City Council District-3 A bright, shining star has emerged in this race; F. Scott Shine (R) has all the attributes to be a fine City Council member. In fact, he “outshines” his opponent, incumbent Jerry Holland in the terms of light years. Holland has made a number of “blunders” the voters are not likely to forget, one of which was his proposing a “Shut up Ordinance" that outraged voters from all over the city. The ordinance was poorly written, poorly thought out and could easily cost Holland the election.
City Council District-4 Suzanne Jenkins (D) an incumbent challenged by Don Redman a local businessman (Barber).... Not much to say here. Everyone knows Suzanne.... she is well liked and will easily win.
City Council District-5 This race has so many candidates it looks more like a horserace than a political race. There are five Republicans and two Democrats. The Democrats are Stephen Bloomfield and Jerrold “ Colonel Jerry” Cohn. The Republicans are Jack Daniels, Dan Davis, Arthur “Art” Shad, Deno A. Hicks and Karl “Jay” Jabour III... of all the Candidates, only Jerry Cohn has made it his business to get out and meet the Voters consistently. I personally have bumped into him at most every political rally and function I’ve attended and believe me, I miss very few. Jack Daniels (R) has some notoriety from having battled with Mayor Delaney over labor relations issues involving City Employees. At this point, this race is a toss-up but we do favor Jerry Cohn.
City Council District-6 There are two candidates in this race... Sharon Copeland (R) and incumbent Mary Ann Southwell (D). In our opinion, due to a lack of any solid activity on behalf of the voters on Southwell’s part. There is only one choice in this race, vote for Sharon Copeland.
City Council District-7 Incumbent Pat Lockett-Felder (D) is unopposed and for good reason.... She’s well liked, does the job and will crush anyone running against her.
City Council District-8 Incumbent Gwen Yates (D) is such a strong candidate she can hardly be beaten in this race. Karen Richardson (D) a late comer, doesn't stand a chance.
City Council District-9 Incumbent Reggie Fullwood (D) has served his constituents well.. is quite popular and will easily win. His opponent, Valveta L. Turner (D) (Dr. ? - Dr. of what?) may be the greatest candidate in the world but is not well known at all.
City Council District-10 Once again, we find four Democrats running against each other. There’s Earl Sims, Reginald Brown, Juanita Franklin and Mia Lanese Jones. Of the four, only one candidate has taken the trouble to put up an informative website letting the voters know about her and what her ideals and goals are. We vote for Mia Lanese Jones.
City Council District-11 A Republican, Frank Hardin and a Democrat, Warren Alvarez face off in this race. Being inclined to go for fresh faces and fresh ideas, we like Frank Hardin even though an incumbent like Alvarez, who is popular, is hard to beat.
City Council District-12 George Addington (D) & Daniel Davis (R) have entered this race as late entrants.
City Council District-13 Two Republicans face-off in this race. Holly Kartsonis and Arthur L. Graham. We like Kartsonis but this race is anybody’s guess. To amass almost one hundred thousand dollars for a city council race, as Arthur L. Graham has done, makes one believe a candidate having been given that much money is heavily supported by Big Business and special interests. We like Holly Kartsonis.
City Council District-14 Here’s something different. Four Republican candidates; Paul Linville, John Draper, Richard A. Darby, and Michael L. Corrigan Jr. face off against the sole Democrat, Cebil Riley. Corrigan has garnered a strong campaign war chest which would normally indicate he has the resources to reach the people. This race is still a toss-up even though we, at this time, see Corrigan winning