A New Day is Needed in Jacksonville

I was going to write this last week after the latest crime figures from the state told us what we already knew — murders and violent crimes in Jacksonville are off the chart.
But I was angry, and I thought it best not to write while in that state.
Then Monday’s Florida Times-Union reported that two more murders had occurred Sunday afternoon — a day that has routinely become anything but a day of peace in Jacksonville.
So here it is:
Mayor Lenny Curry doesn’t deserve a free ride to re-election.
The reason is obvious: He has failed to fulfill his most important campaign promise — to make Jacksonville a safe city.
He blamed former Mayor Alvin Brown for the city’s unacceptable murder rate and rode that issue to victory in 2015.
He has not stemmed the tide, and he owes Brown and the city an apology.
Maybe if Curry had spent less time attending Jaguar practices.
Maybe if Curry hadn’t been so intent on stacking every public position in Jacksonville with “yes” people.
Maybe if Curry hadn’t been so intolerant of dissent.
Maybe if Curry had quit acting like the party boss he was.
Then maybe, just maybe, the current approach to combating violent crime now making the rounds at City Hall, the JAX Chamber and JSO wouldn’t simply be a rehash of what we did before.
That was called the Jacksonville Journey, and it was working until we forgot about it.
So now we are going to spend more time studying what we already spent months studying.
And Curry as well as City Council members seeking re-election and their backers at the Chamber will have a message for the spring campaigns — See, we are doing something.
Don’t buy it.
A strong contender against Curry needs to emerge so the debate about violence in Jacksonville will move beyond window dressing to real action. We know what to do. The Journey told us.
In the meantime, the Curry political machine is working to elect new City Council members who will join the current council chorus of “whatever you want, mayor.”
Jacksonville doesn’t need more of the same. We need a new direction.

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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.

3 thoughts on “A New Day is Needed in Jacksonville”

  1. Thank you Ron for this much needed public service. It is astonishing to me that the public at large is willing to settle for the mere crumbs tossed their way, while the issues that plague Jacksonville remain unaddressed. Mayor Curry and Sheriff Williams have much to answer for in their failures to address crime and its root causes. The bloated police administration does little to put cops in the community and political loyalty is valued over professionalism. Jacksonville, c’mon….when are you going to wake up?


  2. Betrayal. That is what defines Mayor Curry and GOP officeholders, including Sheriff William’s who promised all kinds of things when they were campaigning. Poor communities were promised long overdue improvements and jobs but were betrayed. Neighborhoods were supposed to be safer. Again, betrayal. Betrayal again in attempts to provide greater govenment transparency. And the business interests who continue funding campaigns for these people betray us all if they continue funding their campaigns.


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