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Do Candidates REALLY get a FAIR SHOT
at being Elected?


An STReport Confidential Editorial

by Ralph F. Mariano

One has to wonder after watching the Polls, taking polls, seeing all the warm bodies out there waving signs, asking questions and then.... when election time comes many candidates are bound to get hit with the "RUDE AWAKENING".  Truly, more decides these elections than what meets the eye?  You BET!  And I might add in most cases it is not pretty.

What possibly can the rude awakening mean? Oh, it means a number of things all very much part of our daily lives and yet we tend to ignore them and simply mutter to ourselves "that's the way it is".

Who really decides the outcome of the elections?

  • The Voters?

  • Political Parties?

  • Big Money?

  • Political PACS

  • Behind the scenes wheeling and dealing?

Wonder why the Voter Turnout was so sad?  Did you, by any chance, see all the GET OUT, REGISTER AND VOTE TV and Billboard ADS the County Supervisor of Elections had running?? 


It appears the "powers that be" want a poor turn-out. Why would this be?  Easy, if you basically know who (demographically speaking) is going to vote then you know where to place the emphasis to ensure a win.  In other areas, the number of candidates running was a JOKE.  It only reflected the EGOMANIA on the part of most of the candidates who lacked the knowledge, backing and savvy to manage and run sensible campaigns.  District 8 had so many candidates the vote there was hopelessly split among a few conscientious voters.  The only thing, (recognition factor), managed to carry the two run-off candidates.  Where was the Democratic Party?  Every one of the candidates were Democrats!  It was a HERD of candidates. The District itself will suffer because of this debacle.  The last thing the Council needs is old-line political HACKS who haven't a clue as to how to intelligently bring this City and County into the next Century.

For SO Important an Election,
Nobody seemed to care!

This is perhaps the most important City Council Election in decades yet The Supervisor of Elections simply carried on as if it were a normal election.  Even the results offered for download on their website holds file dates PRIOR to the elections.  This is a fine example of this office's expertise.  One comment, in particular,  that irked this reporter was when I was told by one candidate that it was thought the Democratic Party's main goal was to see a new City Council get elected that could work well with the mayor.


The product of a City Council working with the Mayor's Office is very much in evidence all over the City at this time.  Believe me, we need a City Council that'll work with the people not other power brokers, inside dealers and awful good old boy politicians.  We do not need another Council of Chaos.

Its no wonder Voter Turnout was so poor.  Unfortunately, 

Where is/was Candidate PARTY Backing?
Just for starters, have any of you any idea of what it costs just to qualify?  The bux that are paid to the City and how much of this is really kept by the city as opposed to the portion of the fee paid to the party which the candidate belongs to is outrageous!  The city gets a mere pittance compared to what the political party of the candidate gets. This falls just short of paying homage (juice, vigorish [vig])  just to be able to run.  This has to be legal "arm twisting."  Especially when the candidates can expect little or nothing in return from their party in the way of ads, endorsements or even voter registration campaigns. The candidates can be expected to "fork over the dough" for voter lists.  To that I say; Big Deal! 

BIG Spenders LOST BIG! 
What took place in these elections is most surprising in as much as those candidates who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in attempting to win the election actually LOST!  One candidate spent enough money to purchase a new home for cash!  $129,000.00 He really wanted that "Title and Office" BAD.... Why? Others spent anywhere from $20,000.00 and up. What does this mean to future candidates? Well, as I see it... it means the future candidates had better have some real merit for the Office they seek as the the Voters are not ready to swallow the "good old boy BS any longer"  They have to know what they are talking about and must be in a position to deliver.  The voters... those who DID vote and were informed about the candidates and didn't simply "dumb-up" and vote along party lines or go by the nonsense fed to them via the TV and newspaper ads voted wisely.

Watch out my friends.... the system that's in place in this county (DUVAL) begs for "behind the scenes" manipulation.  Did you know that

no-one can identify which ballots are absentee write-ins and which are normal ballots? 

That's right my friends.... the absentee ballots can be used to DECIDE an election.  Its time the Election ....especially in District 8 was closely examined for all the right things.  Like total number of registered voters.. total number of SIGNED registered voter sheets from the precincts in District 8 and then we may SEE who in heaven's name were the absentee voters who seemingly SWUNG this election for Gwen Yates.  Face the truth people... Yates did NOT really campaign.... James Breaker appears to have gotten just enough votes to force a a sacrificial runoff with him being the sacrifice. The person who SHOULD be in the run-off against Yates is E. Omega Allen.  Something smells awful bad in the District 8 Election.  Why was district 8 passed over so many times during election night when results were coming in like crazy for all the other districts in the city?  (Perhaps to give enough time for the ballot box stuffers to do their thing?)

 This is one election in the City that REEKS!  We, as an intelligent voter base, should call for an investigation.  Split Votes, Strange Delays in tabulations.., Late Outcomes, and supposedly impossible to track absentee ballots?  Baloney!!  Why do I feel as if WE have just been placed in a mushroom patch?  This election must be thoroughly investigated.  If they can RIG an election in Miami, they definitely can do it here too!  Who is they???   The Powers that BE!  Those who are thumbing their noses up at all of us on a daily basis.  Folks, they caught the criminals who rigged the elections in Miami and we can do the very same thing here.  The time is at hand.

Good Ole Boys are DEAD!

The usual system of endorsements CHOKED!... BIG TIME in this election.  We saw old political "hacks" come forward endorsing a particular candidate left and right.  The Guy lost and lost big.  My opinion is, these "endorsements" killed this guy's chances dead. 

People in this city are sick and tired of the OLD LINE POLITICS and POWER STRUCTURE.  Watch and see, you'll soon see the behind the scenes power and money brokers fall out of favor because of their actions in playing "Big Daddy Warbucks".  Two players in this city/county come to mind and I really expect to see BOTH of them take a back seat and quietly remove themselves from the frontline of politics. 

People are becoming aware of their names and the manner in which they swagger about slaying their critics and opponents with well placed bux. The worst is the show of wealth and power when they want a particular appointment made at the State Level.  All this "behind the scenes" garbage is about to hit the light of day. Cracker Barrels and their politics are Poisonous.

This Year will REVEAL a GREAT DEAL.
Once the new Council is in place, the two major political parties will begin (at least they are expected to) the push for the National Elections.  Of course, the "housecleaning" at the city level should begin in earnest this fall. 

The behind the scenes "string pullers" with the deep pockets had best be out of the picture or, at least, out of the way when the "stuff" hits the fan. Its time Duval County entered the Twenty Second Century whether or not the downtown Power Club likes it or not.  The old line politicians and influencers have got to go.  They and their pork barrel politics are killing this City. 

They are very busy running the City like its a private club there for their pleasure at the gross expense of the taxpayers.  Many of these problems will see the light of day in the coming year as will those who have a great deal to hide and still are on the County Payroll..  Keep an eye on the School Board.

One Final Observation.....

Do the Voters and Taxpayers
get a Fair shake?

Not really.  When you consider the members of the City Council are voted upon by only those people in their respective districts, yet when the City Council votes upon critical matters that affect the entire City it affects all the taxpayers. 

The time has come for the entire City to be able to vote for each and every candidate running for a seat on the City Council.  Regardless of District Boundaries.  Keep the district boundaries as a means of identifying areas that need extra attention from those on the Council who are responsible to each district. 

As it stands now, taxpayers/voters living 40 miles south of the northern most sections of the city are directly affected by the voting behavior of a council person from that northern most district but those taxpayers/voters in the southern areas of the city have NO say-so in who is elected in the northern areas or anywhere else within the city/county limits.  This is wrong!  We ALL live in this city! 

The simple solution would be to have a City Council member head up and appoint members to a committee.  A committee for each Council Seat. (Sanitation, Transportation, Ports, Aviation, Streets & Highways, Fire, Police, Recreation & Parks, Public Awareness, etc..   All Candidates for the Council Committees are voted upon by every registered voter in the County.  This a basic and workable solution to the problem of "compartmentalized voting."  That voting scheme is criminal. 

Speaking of GARBAGE... because of the present structure of the City Council and directly because of some of the BIMBO's we have had on the Council, (who could've cared less... they used their council seat for a stepping stone to national aspirations) we are stuck with once a week garbage pickup.  So, those fish guts and trimmings along with thrown out leftovers get a full week to foment, brew and breed all sorts of new bacterium and micro-organisms. Have you ever been behind a garbage truck going down the street slowly?  Sure you have!  Everyone has!  Notice that wonderfully aromatic soupy slop that always drips out of the bottom of these trucks all over the street?  Yup!  It is NO WONDER we have all sorts of strangely virulent " super colds" and then we see an increased susceptibility to killers like Meningitis.  The once a week debacle in garbage pick-up NEVER would've gotten through the City Council had there been a City Wide Election Process.  Also, did you know this recently past City Council saddled the City with a (20yr) TWENTY YEAR contract with the Cable Company?  The City will live to see the day they'll deeply regret that DUMB move and spend a few million to get out of it..   

We ALL should vote for each and every candidate who can affect our daily lives and livelihoods.  What we have now is unfair, inequitable and a throwback to the Dark Ages.  Such a system plays right into the hands of the power brokers and good old boys.   Not to mention it offers the Organized Criminal Element compartmentalized politics where it is easier to "buy" a council-person.  Speaking plainly, I want the opportunity to either vote in or out the council member or candidate that can cast a vote and directly affect how I and my family lives.  At this time, this is impossible. 

It kills me to know a certain newly elected Council Member is referred to by many taxpayers/voters and fellow Council Members, who know this person, as "No brighter than a Box of Rocks".  This clown DOES speak for me on the Council and I had no vote for this dud!  SHUDDER!  It is no wonder governments large and small throughout our land are in trouble. Its time for real change to take place.

Agree? Disagree?  Let us hear from you!

JAX 1999 Election Results

Duval County -- 267 of 267 precincts reporting (100%)
W Nat Glover [I] 75,771 81% (X)
  Lem Sharp Jr. 17,745 19%  
Supervisor -- 267 of 267 precincts reporting (100%)
of Elections
RO  John Stafford 28,419 31% (X)
RO Warren Jones 26,677 30% (X)
  Al Kinard 15,765 17%  
  John Crescimbeni 14,977 17%  
  D. Katz Pueschel 4,388 5%  
Property -- 267 of 267 precincts reporting (100%)
W Ernie Mastroianni [I] 61,107 70% (X)
  David Adams 26,102 30%  
Council At Large -- 267 of 267 precincts reporting (100%)
Group 1
RO John Draper 28,384 38% (X)
RO Faye Rustin 21,792 29% (X)
  Richard (Dick) Berry 15,710 21%  
  Brad Straley 8,500 11%  
Council At Large -- 267 of 267 precincts reporting (100%)
Group 2
RO Elaine Brown 40,180 46% (X)
RO Eric "Brian" Smith, Jr. 36,588 42% (X)
  Chic Holliday 10,879 12%  
City Council -- 19 of 19 precincts reporting (100%)
District 1
W Lake Ray 4,910 70% (X)
  Terry Diperna, Sr. 2,115 30%  
City Council -- 20 of 20 precincts reporting (100%)
District 2
Lynette Self 4,109 67% (X)
  Craig Jewesak 2,030 33%  
City Council -- 19 of 19 precincts reporting (100%)
District 3
W Jerry Holland 4,534 68% (X)
  Ed Parpart 2,132 32%  
City Council -- 21 of 21 precincts reporting (100%)
District 4
RO Suzanne Jenkins 2,246 36% (X)
RO Gary Dickinson 1,760 28% (X)
  Alan Mosley 1,326 21%  
  Moses Henry 615 10%  
  Allen Carter 314 5%  
City Council -- 20 of 20 precincts reporting (100%)
District 5
W Matt Carlucci 5,249 65% (X)
  Stephen Bloomfield 1,978 25%  
  David W. Ferguson 802 10%  
City Council -- 18 of 18 precincts reporting (100%)
District 6
RO Bruce Scott 2,763 36% (X)
RO Mary Ann Southwell 2,646 35% (X)
  Greg Youngblood 2,220 29%  
City Council -- 21 of 21 precincts reporting (100%)
District 7
W Pat Lockett-Felder 2,762 56% (X)
  Ju'coby Pittman 2,213 44%  
City Council -- 24 of 24 precincts reporting (100%)
District 8
RO Gwen Yates 2,399 37% (X)
RO James Breaker 1,066 16% (X)
  Omega Allen 981 15%  
  Brenda Priestly 631 10%  
  Albert Wilcox 339 5%  
  Lorenzo Denmark 322 5%  
  Annie Brown 266 4%  
  C. Barney-Newman 255 4%  
  Darryl Whitehurst 137 2%  
  Almanda Murphy 66 1%  
City Council -- 22 of 22 precincts reporting (100%)
District 9
RO Reggie Fullwood 1,277 29% (X)
RO Audrey Gibson 1,175 27% (X)
  Garrett L. Dennis 713 16%  
  Vincent S. Cameron 591 14%  
  William Holt Liptrot 386 9%  
  R. Miles-Carswell 231 5%  
City Council -- 15 of 15 precincts reporting (100%)
District 10
W King Holzendorf [I] 3,094 51% (X)
  James Prime 1,560 26%  
  Earl Sims 1,376 23%  
City Council -- 15 of 16 precincts reporting (94%)
District 11
W Warren Alvarez 3,173 62% (X)
  Elizabeth Leggett 1,908 38%  
City Council -- 15 of 15 precincts reporting (100%)
District 12
W Doyle Carter 4,218 61% (X)
  Daniel Davis 2,706 39%  


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