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Coalition forms to ‘shine light on JEA process’

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A group of concerned citizens -- including one former JEA executive -- has formed OurJax to “promote transparency, integrity, accountability and local control in governmental and quasi-governmental entities in greater Northeast Florida,” including the city of Jacksonville and its related governmental entities.

Organizers said OurJax was formed after the actions of the JEA over the last several months related to the potential sale of the city-owned utility, which the group described as “one of the most controversial governmental dealings in recent Jacksonville history.”

Mike Hightower, former JEA executive and one of the founders of OneJax, said their first goal was to get documents

“Until all of the documents are out there, we cannot get the answers to the questions, and that’s what our objective is,” Hightower said. “Because, until we get the facts, until we get the answers, the citizens of Jacksonville are not going to focus on the other things we need to do.”

Hightower said they are supporting members of the Jacksonville City Council’s efforts for a thorough investigation.

The group plans to provide educational events on the issues and grassroots advocacy, including contacting elected leaders to promote public confidence and trust in government.

“The purpose of OurJax.com is to prevent a situation similar to what has transpired over the last few months, where the community’s faith in their government was rocked to the core," said Michael Ward, former chairman, CEO and president of CSX who is a director of the new group. “OurJax.com seeks to bring like-minded individuals to not only prevent the sale of JEA for the foreseeable future but to also shine a light on the dealings of JEA.”

“Thanks to public records requests and reports by local media, we now know the millions spent on the ITN process and the billions pledged by big corporations to buy JEA,” said David Miller, executive chairman of Brightway Insurance. "OurJax.com focus will be on this issue and future issues, including any legislation that is counterproductive to transparency, integrity, accountability and local control for our community.”

People are invited to sign up on the OurJax.com website for additional information and ways to become engaged in its education and grassroots advocacy efforts.

About the Authors:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.

Created WJXT.com in 1995 and managed The Local Station's website ever since.