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1.

In recent years, the mayor and City Council have used a mix of revenue
increases and cuts in expenses to balance the city budget. Do you agree? If not,
what would you do differently? While a mix of revenue increases and cuts in expenses
have been implemented to balance the city budget, I believe the mix has been
disproportionately in favor of revenue increases. Raising revenues through tax and fee
increases always seems to be the easy approach. I instead advocate for a comprehensive
review of all expenses (granted, a more difficult approach) in an attempt to identify and
eliminate wasteful spending from city government. Despite some who may suggest the
contrary, there is still waste in local government and I don’t have to look far to find it.
For example, during my prior service on the City Council, two members shared a single
aide. Now each member has a single Executive Council Assistant (ECA) and most start
at the top of the salary range. I have chosen to not hire an ECA, and that decision
represents an annual savings to taxpayers of more than $70,000. A return to the
“sharing” policy could yield more than $600,000 in savings, and is just one of several
areas (in the City Council office alone) where substantial savings could be achieved.
Similarly, there are many other opportunities to reduce wasteful spending throughout city
government. In closing, because I believe the mix (of revenue increases and cuts in
expenses) has in fact been so disproportional, I voted against both of the mayor’s
proposed tax hikes. Until a painstaking review of all expenditures is conducted, I cannot
in good conscience support a tax increase in the face of the wasteful spending I witness
on a regular basis.

2. Do you support the Jacksonville Journey? Explain your answer. I have


guardedly supported the Jacksonville Journey but recognize that the programs therein
may need continued closer scrutiny to determine whether they are actually making a
successful impact or not. This review process becomes increasingly more important as
federal dollars, that once helped launch and sustain Jacksonville Journey are now
beginning to disappear, in turn requiring local replacement funding (from an already
strained budget). The annual report issued last year by the Jacksonville Journey
Oversight Committee (at the completion of the program’s second full year of operation)
noted several areas of improvement. Those included: secondary school suspensions
(which dropped dramatically), the success of the after school Team-Up program
(resulting in a remarkable rate of participants being promoted to the next grade level),
and progress in the rehabilitation or boarding up of more than 300 nuisance sites in
targeted neighborhoods throughout Jacksonville. However, the report also acknowledged
the need to refine the measurement process. While crime rates across the board have
decreased in Jacksonville, it is difficult to determine how much of the reduction is
directly attributable to Jacksonville Journey. Many (including the Sheriff) cite the hiring
of additional police officers and a new State Attorney as contributing factors as well.

3. What endorsements have you received? I have received the endorsement of the
First Coast Manufacturers Association, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Northeast
Florida Builders Association. I was also interviewed by the Associated Builders and
Contractors and I am awaiting their decision.
4. How much civic activity do you perform outside work? I perform a considerable
amount of civic activity outside of work. In 2000, I was the cofounder of Citizens for
Tree Preservation, Inc., the group that led the petition drive (citizens’ initiative) for the
overwhelmingly successful Tree Preservation Amendment that appeared on the
November 2000 ballot. In 2003, I helped organize the citizens’ initiative to place a litter
amendment on the ballot. After working closely with the City Council, they adopted a
litter ordinance in 2004 - saving us the need for a citizens’ initiative. In 2005, I began
working with various civic leaders, community groups and the Jacksonville
Transportation Authority in an attempt to find ways to erect and maintain bus shelters
without having to amend the sign code to allow for commercial advertising on the same.
Prior to returning to the City Council in 2008, I appeared before the City Council on a
variety of zoning issues, which included my opposition to the proposed land use change
to accommodate Wal-Mart on Atlantic Boulevard at Bartram Road (which also included
an appearance before the Times-Union editorial board) and the Craig Field runway
expansion. I also currently serve on the board of directors and devote considerable time
to a variety of civic and non profit organizations, including Arlington’s Tree Hill Nature
Center, the Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library, and the Jacksonville Humane
Society.

5. How do you intend to comply with Florida’s public records and government in
the sunshine laws? If you saw an elected official breaking the sunshine law, what
would you do? I have and will continue to comply fully with the Sunshine Law, just as I
always have during my service in office. In the event I see an elected official breaking
the Sunshine Law, I will remind them of the requirements by which we are bound. In the
past, I have reported Sunshine violations to the State Attorney. I am a strong and vocal
advocate for adhering to the Sunshine Law, ethics and transparency. Although not
technically a Sunshine requirement, as Chairman of the City Council’s Land Use and
Zoning Committee, I created a new LUZ speaker’s card which requires registered
lobbyists to disclose whether they are registered on the matter they are speaking to the
committee about, and places anyone completing the card under oath when testifying
before the committee.

6. What can you do to help support the clean-up of the St. Johns River? As a
citizen, I can conserve water, dispose of my yard waste properly and use low nitrogen
fertilizers. As a City Council member, I can continue to work to make sure failing septic
tanks are repaired or replaced, river polluters are caught and prosecuted, wetlands are
protected, growth and demands from growth are managed properly, and that upstream
users pursue similar policies. As Chairman of the Jacksonville Waterways Commission,
I participated in last year’s Health of the St Johns River Community Dialogue, which
helped lead to Senator John Thrasher’s creation of a St. Johns River Caucus (comprised
of 52 members of the Legislature). I also participated as a panelist in the River Summit
held here in Jacksonville last September.

7. How can you become engaged in the city’s high murder, infant mortality and
suicide rates? Although murder and suicide can result from a variety of factors,
economic reasons contribute heavily. It is important that we continue to strive for a top-
tier educational system to provide our students with the proper education and training
with which to enter the workplace. But the school system can’t provide that unilaterally.
It is essential that parents take more of an active role in their children’s education. It’s a
collaborative effort. Once our children are prepared to enter the workplace, we have an
economic climate that will offer them employment opportunities. The City Council
should be vigilant about creating and preserving such an environment. With proper
education and healthy economic climate, citizens can have an excellent opportunity to
lead a productive life. With specific regard to infant mortality, prenatal care and
education should continue to remain a focus of the Department of Health, a partnership
agency between the city and state.

8. Has consolidation been a good or bad deal for Jacksonville? Please explain your
answer. Consolidation has been good for Jacksonville. Prior to consolidation,
considerable corruption existed at both the county and city levels. Consolidation has
greatly reduced that corruption and it has also achieved efficiencies and economies of
scale by eliminating the duplication of services. However, various independent
authorities and government agencies have slowly sought independence from some of the
central services provided by the city. Any decisions to allow those authorities and
government agencies to provide “duplicate” services should be subject to periodic audit
to ensure that the cost for those services are not more than what those costs would be if
the city still provided them.

9. What is the role of a Council member? As mini-mayor? Or as legislator? Clearly,


the role of a City Council member is one of a legislator, not as a mini-mayor. I liken the
City Council to a board of directors: a group of individuals charged with adopting goals
and objectives, approving budgets and establishing policy – all to be executed by the
executive director (in the city’s case, the mayor).