When Does the hyperbole end and reality set in?
Is Duval County really ready for a MAJOR STORM? NO!

Editorial by R.F. Mariano - 08-11-03

The Litany of "Goofy Excuses" must come to an end!
The Taxpayers are NOT Mushrooms!

For the past five weeks.... the taxpayers in Duval County Florida have had to endure a platoon of Thunder Storms on a daily basis.  As a result, residents, businesses, professional offices and medical centers have "enjoyed" power bumps, power losses and blackouts "Due to the Storms" and "Squirrels"!!.  Or, so says JEA ( Jacksonville Electric Authority).  Again, I must add.... with the large amount of staccato bumps, breaker jumps and outages that are blamed on squirrels, truly, by this time..... squirrels should be on the endangered species list!   

Act of God? Or, act of deteriorated electrical distribution systems & bungled planning?

As an example, among the areas, I-295 north to Bay Meadows, just east of San Jose Boulevard, in particular.. an area called Mandarin (the Arrowhead-Hartley area) have enjoyed  staccato breaker jumps at least twice daily ...Accompanied by outages ranging from 10 minutes to 45 minutes.  You may say that's not excessive, but look at it this way... how long can major electrical appliances stand up to being turned on and off rapidly, while under a load, before they fail? (Would you turn your Central Air or Freezer on and off repeatedly?  JEA does!   JEA seems to think they have the entire situation under control.  The only thing they seem to have under control is the flow of babble they feed the taxpayers.   In my humble opinion, the fortune they spent putting in electronic electric and water meters would've been better spent on replacing the old and fragile overhead systems in areas like Beau Clerc.... with reliable and protected underground lines. 

Underground electrical systems are safer and more reliable? Where is Walt Bussells?

The JEA gave everyone in the Arrowhead Hartley area a big production about re-wiring and replacing the transformers in the underground system in that area, alluding to those people that their power would be wonderfully upgraded and reliable. Baloney!  What they conveniently did not tell the taxpayers was that the system there, which is underground and safe from "squirrels", tree branches, wind stress, ultraviolet rays and any other open air interruptions was entirely dependent upon an old, worn out overhead system just west of San Jose Boulevard.  Yes drearies.... JEA has seen fit to leave thousands of taxpayers at the mercy of a decrepit overhead set of electrical lines running along Scott Mill Road and Beau Clerc.  What a joke!   Every little storm has a chilling negative effect.  The "palmetto pounders" are guaranteed to knock the area out for at least 10 minutes to an hour without fail. In reality, all the overhead lines in every Duval County neighborhood must be placed underground if this city is to weather a major storm or, any storm for that matter.  At this time, reliability is at an all time low. Actually, its non-existent.

Where are the local City Council Members?  In a non-effected area?
Is Chip Patterson for real? - We are READY???  Yup!  Ready to FLEE!

The Duval County operators of the Emergency Control Center constantly tell us all about how this City is ready for a major Storm.  I say its all nonsense!  We are no more ready for a Hurricane than a girl scout troop facing a forest fire!  The joke's on us!  Chip Patterson & Co., are at this time,  no more than a dog and pony show as far as this reporter is concerned.  If each and every resident of Duval doesn't get a home generator, they will be without water & power for weeks following a hurricane.  This is "READY"? - Prediction; If Duval gets hit with a hurricane, Duval County will be down for at least a month.

Every taxpayer should own a generator....

Sure! Run right out and spend $500.00 to $3500.00 to backup JEA.  What's wrong with that picture?  If they would either tell the people the truth, that this city's utilities will go down like a house of cards or, get the long overdue job of putting the overhead systems left ...underground where they belong instead spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on "public relations" and "electronic gadgetry" the city might really be Hurricane or anything ready....  My guess is JEA needs to re-evaluate its priorities.  Since the City OWNS JEA.... take some of the billions.... from the The Better Jacksonville Plan, which are destined to make the new courthouse,  the Tower of Judicial Babble with all its fancy appointments and decorations and the new "Grid Locked" (delivery truck inaccessible) downtown library... and use it for the real purposes the plan was promoted and intended for.... making the city safer, the taxpayers more confident we'll weather major storms and enjoy the services we were promised without daily interruptions.

With all the rain we've had in the last month, the ground is saturated and soft.....

During a major storm, because of the rubber band system JEA has in use, the Police will be busy directing traffic at every major intersection, the firemen will be busy putting out electrical fires and the remainder of the members of both departments will be tied up ushering people out of threatened areas. Due to hundreds of fallen trees and downed power lines. This is wrong!  The Police should be free to help those suffering from injuries, the firemen should be ready and on call for fires and EMT work.  But no.... that's not going to be the case at all.  They'll be tied up because of the JEA's lack of preparedness and ability to withstand even minor thunderstorms. What's been happening as a result of these mild thunderstorms should be ample warning but no.... its blamed on God.  Remember JEA, God helps those who help themselves!

Please JEA, get the REAL JOB DONE! - Get the Overheads Underground Already!

With all the rain we've had in the last month, the ground is saturated and extremely soft..... a perfect recipe for the making of a major disaster if we get hit with any kind of real wind.  Trees will topple like dominos.  Lo and behold, there goes power to the entire city.  All will suffer except those with generators.  Thanks to the great planning of the JEA.  Get rid of the overhead power lines that are practically enveloped in tree branches all over the city..  No matter what neighborhood one travels through, if it has overhead lines.... its easy to see every block is threatened by trees and tree branches.  Tree huggers need not be alarmed, the real answer is putting those lines underground.  Please JEA, get the REAL JOB DONE!