Issue 167, February 26

This week’s meeting was another interesting platform for the candidates of City Council District 11. Unfortunately, Raul Arias was a “no-show” but the two other candidates who accepted our invitation were happy to share their backgrounds and political stand. This Council District is from JTB South to Nocatee N and I-295 & Philips Highway combo Eastward toward the intracoastal (primarily 32256). I looked at the map online and it is a little chopped up but mostly East Mandarin, the Town Center, and the Philips Highway business zone of Southside.

First up was Norman Brewer, an 11th generation Floridian. He is a retired Lieutenant for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. His number one priority is safety. He said that our backup of cadets for the police department is down 90%, as well as workers for the jail, being down substantially. Those officers are working a mandatory 50-60 hours a week. We desperately need more officers in all areas, but of course, proper security for all comes with a price.

His second priority is working for the future of our children. He does not like the fact that we are missing the skills centers for students that we’ve had in the past. Some teens just want to go into a trade, instead of college. Also, very few work programs are offered with the school system.

Also, he spoke at length about the pension funds of city employees. He said dedicated funds were pilfered for other projects. He wants the city to come up with money to fund these projects or come up with a hybrid system of paying these workers.

When asked about homelessness, he stated that panhandlers had a First Amendment right to do so. He believes that this problem should start at the National level.

Ramon Day spoke second. He is a fifth-generation Floridian and a local realtor. He was the Chief of Staff for Charles Bennett and got a taste for politics.

His first priority was the same as Brewer’s. He agreed that there should be an adjustment in the city to fund more officers. He said even the emergency phone lines are not being answered because of staff shortages. He felt new technology will permit us to be more efficient.

Day’s second priority is for smart growth in Jacksonville. He wants a better commuter rail system which he felt, with a new ad valorem tax, could cover the programs he is proposing.

When asked about homelessness, he said most of the situation is a mental health issue. We need to act compassionately and responsibly.

Also, on pensions, he disagrees that he ever said to delete the 3% increases to retirement programs. He supports those that have given service to the city and earned their pensions.

Overall, the two candidates present were very similar in their platforms: Just two very different employment backgrounds and tactics.

Join us this Wednesday as we take a break from the elections and hear from A. G. Gancarski, a political journalist who tells it like it is. His columns were a staple in Folio Weekly for nearly two decades and has been a local correspondent for Florida politics since 2014. Please bring a guest and share the comradery of our great club. Have a wonderful week!


Jeanne Maron
2023 President

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