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? I certainly agree with cutting expenses and believe it is only fair that those utilizing a special service should pay for it. Fees for specific services used only by certain individuals seem appropriate in order to recover the actual cost of providing that special service. However, fee increases should not be imposed to facilitate inefficient government operation or fund pay increases during these difficult times. I also believe we should segregate fee revenue for the specific purposes for which it was collected. I do not like commingling that money in the general fund. I do think there are still too many examples of poor spending oversight, excessive contract prices, and inefficiency which we must strive to eliminate, and we must get control of employee expenses (including pensions). As a result, I am not convinced the millage increase was warranted. I believe we need to be honest and transparent about what we are collecting and where we are spending it. 2. Do you support the Jacksonville Journey? Explain your answer. I support the community’s effort to look at root causes of crime and to identify programs and policies to address them. I am pleased there is an oversight committee to evaluate performance and effectiveness. I was happy to see that when a program was not reaching its intended audience, such as the Intramural Sports Program, it was dropped. I am concerned however with the substitute program that was proposed and do not support just another budget within which resources are shifted from one project to another. There are a number of specific Journey programs I support, such as the Crime Free Multi-family Housing Initiative. However, there are other aspects of the Journey that are simply too new to adequately evaluate their effectiveness. 3. What endorsements have you received? First Coast Manufacturers Association; Fraternal Order of Police. I understand that I have been endorsed by several other organizations but have not received official notification. 4. How much civic activity do you perform outside work? I have been extensively involved in civic activities for the last 25 years. I would estimate that I am involved in some volunteer civic activity several days each week and
sometimes commit more than 40 hours in a week. Much of my work has been with San Marco Preservation Society and I was named an Eve Award finalist for my work on the San Marco zoning overlay. I have had an active role in park improvements and programs, library improvements, transportation studies, land use studies, roadway, streetscape, and landscape improvements, redistricting, and many procedural and legislative aspects of our City Code. I have also been involved in many other civic organizations such as the Jacksonville Historical Society, Chamber of Commerce, Southside Businessmen’s Club, SHADCO, JCCI, and the Women’s Giving Alliance. I am also volunteer/ member of many other charitable and community organizations such as the Riverkeeper, Women’s Board of Wolfson Children’s Hospital, Boy Scouts of America, Junior League of Jacksonville, American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, and the Institute for Worship Studies. 5. How do you intend to comply with Florida¹s public records and government in the sunshine laws? If you saw an elected official breaking the sunshine law, what would you do? I have attended a multi-hour continuing legal education program on the topic and fully intend to comply with the law in all respects. I will notice meetings with other Council members in order to provide an opportunity to work together on constructive solutions to issues facing the City. If I saw people breaking the Sunshine Law, I would advise them that I thought they were violating the law, suggest that they stop doing so, and report the violation. 6. What can you do to help support the clean-up of the St. Johns River? I support application of a specified portion of the revenue generated from collection of the stormwater fee to water quality improvement. I believe we should begin to implement the recommendations of the tributary creek studies that have been completed. We should encourage waterfront landscaping that prevents nutrient runoff by creating incentives for doing so. We also need to complete sewer line installation in areas served by septic systems in close proximity to waterways. 7. How can you become engaged in the city¹s high murder, infant mortality and suicide rates? In each area we are dealing with issues of self worth and hopelessness and faith-based programs are particularly effective with creating a sense of purpose. I am involved personally through charitable giving and involvement in non-profit organizations. For example, my church has partnered with Cornerstone Church and the Women’s Giving Alliance is engaged with a juvenile justice initiative and a program for girls aging out of
foster care. Real opportunities for gainful employment also would help to break the cycle. As to the murder rate, the Jacksonville Journey programs should be monitored to evaluate their effectiveness. 8. Has consolidation been a good or bad deal for Jacksonville? Please explain your answer. I believe it has been a positive for Jacksonville and other cities around the country have used us as a model. The cost savings realized through eliminating redundant layers of service have served us well. It has also prevented the jurisdictional funding and service discrepancies one sees in many areas (although that has now become an issue across county lines). There are also downsides to consolidation such as the lack of suburban interest in downtown, the difficulty of managing competing priorities and demands for improvements across widespread geographic areas (good of the City vs. good of the District). It also adds to the inability to have more personal knowledge and accountability between voters and elected officials due to the size of the City. For council candidates: What is the role of a council member? As mini-mayor? Or as legislator? Clearly, a council member’s primary role is as a legislator. However, just as members of Congress have District offices and act as liaisons between their constituents and the federal government, I believe it is a proper role for council members to serve as facilitators and advocates within the administration for issues that arise within their District. I also think Council members have a role in communicating back to residents of their Districts as an advocate for the City regarding the merit of pending proposals, etc. For me, that two way communication is one way to restore confidence in our elected officials.