Jax City Council prefers darkness not light

The Jacksonville City Council is poised to to shoot down legislation that would make it easier for the public to understand the working of city government.
Councilman Tommy Hazouri, who has morphed into a lapdog for Mayor Lenny Curry, led the assault on the bill during a Rules Committee meeting last week.
He was joined by Council President Aaron Bowman, who also is in the hip pocket of Curry as well as the JAX Chamber, and council members who should know better, like Greg Anderson.
The Rules Committee defeated the bill 8-0, and the full council is scheduled to take it up Tuesday night.
The legislation was filed by Councilwoman Anna Lopez Broche and grew out of the work done by a task for on trasparency that she appointed while she was council president.
I was one of the volunteers who served on that task force, and we saw first hand how difficult it is for members of the public to have access to such things as emails to council members that are public record, the interactions between council members and highly paid lobbyists and to follow the money game played at City Hall between big-time donors and elected officials.
The Curry administration has been notoriously slow at providing public records, which has reinforced the need for more transparency at City Hall.
But members of the Rules Committee babbled on about “scaring” off contractors who might do business with the city, “gotcha” legislation and, as Bowman put it, impugning the “ethics” of city officials.
No, this needed legislation would simply make city government more accessible to the public it serves.
And it should be pointed out that Bowman, who was chosen as the incoming council president as the task force met, couldn’t find time to meet with the task force.
Several invitations extended to him were ignored.
Yet even with his busy schedule as council president, he found time to go to the Rules Committee, which he is not a regular member of, to rail against the legislation.
Makes one wonder, doesn’t it.

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I wrote opinion columns for The Florida Times-Union for 28 years. I retired in December 2017, but I still have a few things to say. Often those thoughts come to me when I'm at our farm in Gadsden County where life is simple and the environment still beautiful.

One thought on “Jax City Council prefers darkness not light”

  1. Thank you, Ron, for illuminating this issue. In all of government, but especially in Duval county, preserving transparency is perhaps the most daunting challenge facing our community.


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