Councilman, influential groups ask city council to postpone vote on Confederate monument removal
A Jacksonville City Counil member along with the chairman of the Jax Chamber are calling for the city council to postpone an upcoming vote to remove a Confederate moment that is still standing in a Springfield park.
Jacksonville City Council members reflect on memories of Tommy Hazouri
Democrat Tommy Hazouri, who served Jacksonville in one capacity or another for five decades, <a href="https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2021/09/11/fighter-mentor-friend-tommy-hazouri-dies-at-76/" target="_blank">died Saturday following complications</a> from a lung transplant he had last year. He was 76.
Legislation seeks to name Jacksonville City Council chambers after Tommy Hazouri
Legislation introduced by City Councilman Matt Carlucci seeks to rename the Jacksonville City Hall’s council chambers after former Mayor and current Councilman Tommy Hazouri, who recently entered hospice care at his home.
Mayoral candidate Carlucci backs proposed gas tax increase, but still has concerns
And that has some asking why Jacksonville city leaders are now thinking of doubling the local gas tax. The proposed plan would double the current gas tax from 6 cents to 12 cents, the maximum amount allowed under the law. MORE | JTA CEO: Gas tax increase for new infrastructure ‘critical for our community’AdCity councilman and candidate for Jacksonville mayor Matt Carlucci brought up the gas tax proposal Tuesday during a city council finance meeting. “I am not tone deaf about gas prices going up. Right now, the majority of the local gas tax goes to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.
As break begins, Duval County Public Schools gives food to students who depend on in-school meals
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While spring break is a fun time for students, it’s a difficult time for the children who depend on in-school meals. To fill the void, Duval County Public Schools teamed with Feeding Northeast Florida on Saturday to give children the food they need while they’re on break. On a rainy, overcast day, volunteers brought joy to children in need. Whenever school is out around the country, children who depend on in-school meals may not have any food at home. With the help of Councilmen Matt Carlucci and Kevin Carrico, they brought in Feeding Northeast Florida and Crossroads Church together to feed students that need food.
Councilman Matt Carlucci announces he’s running for Jacksonville mayor
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Councilman Matt Carlucci said Thursday that he plans to run to become the next mayor of Jacksonville in 2023. Carlucci sat down with News4Jax and said he’s been thinking about running for about three months. Recently, Carlucci has been critical of the Lot J project, a project backed by current Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. It’s time we get out of the ditch take the drama out and put the people in and move the city forward. And we have not been able to do that because of all the drama and divisiveness.”On Wednesday, Curry said he expected some of the councilmembers who voted against Lot J will be running for mayor.
Controversial Lot J deal defeated in City Council vote
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After months of debate, City Council voted 12-7 against a deal to bring a major entertainment complex to Downtown Jacksonville. “We pulled the plug on Lot J. It’s dead,” Lamping said. When asked if the Jaguars might consider another proposal for Lot J, Lamping said he thinks “it’s time to turn the page.”“We’ll leave that behind,” Lamping said. The legislative body spoke and unfortunately Lot J will not move forward. Under the deal, the entertainment district, which was planned for Lot J outside TIAA Bank Field, would have been one of the biggest investments in the city’s history.
Controversial Lot J project is nearly a done deal
City Council President Tommy Hazouri has been at odds with the Mayor Lenny Curry’s office on this deal for the past two months. After Bateh’s comments, the Lot J developer, COO Zed Smith of The Cordish Companies, responded saying the Jacksonville deal is quite different than others. “If you pull the plug on Lot J, it’s gone. If Lot J, if you pull the plug on Lot J, it’s over. On Thursday, City Council considered all of the proposed amendments to the current deal on the table.
Curry: If Lot J doesn’t happen now, it will never happen
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the Jacksonville City Council prepares for a major vote on Lot J Thursday, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said if the multi-million development project adjacent to the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium is not approved now, it never will. “If you pull the plug on Lot J, it’s gone. If Lot J, if you pull the plug on Lot J, it’s over. I think it’s time to just pull the plug on it. News4Jax asked the Jaguars about Curry’s statement Wednesday and a spokesperson said it will wait until the vote Thursday to make a comment.
Mayor & some elected Jacksonville leaders take raise in 2020, others won’t accept
Recently, the salary for most City Council members was $49,974. All but two of the 19 council members took the raise. “It’s been a tough year -- 2020 has been a really tough year and to take a pay raise at this moment in time, I just couldn’t do it. It’s the first time since Curry was elected mayor that he took the raise. Either you’ve had a pay cut, you’ve had a furlough or you’ve been laid off.
Another tense Jacksonville City Council ends without Lot J vote
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The proposal to build a $445 million entertainment complex on Lot J of TIAA Bank Field -- the sole topic of another tense Jacksonville City Council meeting Thursday -- will not be voted on until Tuesday at the earliest. The deal calls for the city to invest $233 million in direct spending or loans by the city of Jacksonville to the developer for Jaguars owner Shad Khan, the Cordish Companies. That drew a sharp response from Council President Tommy Hazouri and questioning of the rules before the review of the plan resumed. The DIA, which was asked to review the plan last week, voted Wednesday to recommend City Council approval, but with some modifications. DOCUMENTS: DIA report on Lot J proposal | Council Auditor’s Office’s things to consider/concernsMark Lamping, the Jaguars president, has asked for a vote by the council by its last scheduled meeting of the year, which is next Tuesday.
Jacksonville Mayor: If Lot J deal doesn’t go through, NFL could drop affiliation
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Monday night Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry sent a Twitter storm of messages calling on city council to make a decision on the development of Lot J. The Lot J development will send a big message to the team & NFL. — Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) December 1, 2020Curry started the thread implying that if Jacksonville residents want to remain an NFL city, the Lot J deal would help. The Mayor made it clear he supports the Lot J deal and what is stands for. He said the Lot J Development, Jaguars stadium upgrades and the Jags lease should be negotiated as one deal.
Jaguars president pitches stadium upgrades as Lot J talks continue
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While the focus recently has been on Lot J, the proposed entertainment complex outside TIAA Bank Field, the stadium itself is now in the spotlight. Mayor Lenny Curry on Tuesday issued a statement, saying: “More than 20 years ago we made a decision as a community to be an NFL city. That split was apparent Thursday when City Council President Tommy Hazouri and the mayor’s staff went at it. At Tuesday afternoon’s meeting, City Council members all asked questions about the Lot J project, what was involved and what the city’s role would be. The head of the DIA told News4Jax the group is already reviewing the deal but will follow the wishes of the City Council.
Business owner skeptical of Shad Khan’s proposed developments
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A day after Jaguars President Mark Lamping pitched city officials on team owner Shad Khan’s plan to build a Four Seasons hotel along Jacksonville’s riverfront, public reaction began to pour in. RELATED: City officials learn cost-benefit details of Lot J development“Jacksonville moves best when it moves together,” Carlucci said. This despite an auditor saying the city stood to make 44 cents for every dollar invested in the Lot J development. RELATED: City would make 44 cents for every $1 spent on Lot J developmentJackson took issue with the mayor’s statement. As for Lot J, the Council is planning to hold a special meeting on that topic on Thursday at 5 p.m.
Most Jacksonville voters oppose city’s stake in Lot J development
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An overwhelming majority of Jacksonville voters are opposed to the city’s plan to invest over $200 million in the development of an entertainment complex at Lot J near TIAA Bank Field, according to a new poll. The public opinion poll conducted by Barcelo & Company found 70 percent of those surveyed object to the city having such a huge stake in the project, with 25 percent strongly opposed to it. That’s compared to 17 percent who support it, 6 percent of them strongly in favor of it. Meanwhile, 64 percent of respondents indicated they’re generally pleased with how the city spends taxpayer money while 30 percent said they’re not pleased. Individuals surveyed were also presented with different scenarios and asked if those factors would make them more or less likely to support the city’s Lot J investment.
Jaguars reps discuss plans for Lot J, hear from public
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Representatives from the Jaguars and Jacksonville City Council members held a virtual public meeting to discuss the multimillion dollar Lot J development with the public. It was a chance for the public to ask questions about where the money is going and a chance for the Jaguars to hear feedback. That requires City Council approval. The city council is waiting for more detailed economic specifics about the Lot J financial plan from Mayor Lenny Curry’s office. “There’s a lot needed in this town, and that’s a lot of money to give to the Jaguars,” said resident Ray Roberts.
City receives costs/benefit details of Shad Khan’s Lot J development plan
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – City leaders asked to decide whether to invest taxpayer money in a $445 million development Jaguars' owner Shad Khan’s company wants to build in a parking lot of TIAA Bank Field now have some financial details on the project. The city of Jacksonville released a 14-page economic and fiscal impact analysis of the proposed Lot J development that was conducted by Johnson Consulting on behalf of Khan’s development team. City Council pulled the measure from consideration earlier this month because the proposal lacked specific information, including details about a parking garage which was supposed to help generate revenue for the city. The consulting firm says the project will attract residents, shoppers, travelers and jobs to the Northbank area of downtown. According to the study, the annual economic impact of the proposed development is estimated to include $179 million of total spending by year five.
How Duval County’s half-cent sales tax would benefit schools in your neighborhood
The half-cent sales tax money would also go towards safety and security, building upgrades and renovations at schools across the city. For instance, at John E. Ford, a K-8 school in Northwest Jacksonville, the district decided on $11.7 million for upgrades. So when our children are in school, they’re healthy, we know that they’re safe, as far as the building is concerned," Buckley said. And in some of the other Northwest areas of Jacksonville," said Carlucci, co-chair of Duval Citizens for Better Schools. To see exactly how much of the tax money would go to each school if the measure is passed in November, click through to find every school on the interactive map below.
Supporters concerned about half-cent sales tax question’s placement on ballot
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There are just over three weeks until ballot collection ends for the 2020 election and voters decide on a measure to implement a half-cent sales tax to fix aging schools in Duval County. The measure’s backers say they’re concerned about the ballot itself, particularly where the tax question is positioned on the ballot. “There are two pages to the ballots," explained Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Carlucci, who’s co-chair of Duval Citizens for Better Schools. "You go to the second page of the ballot, and it’s right at almost at the bottom of the ballot. The half-cent sales tax would provide nearly $2 billion to address improvements at public schools in Duval County over the next 15 years.
Mayor Curry, Shad Khan unveil long-awaited plans for Lot J
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Standing on the Jacksonville Jaguars indoor practice field Monday, Jaguars owner Shad Khan and Mayor Lenny Curry announced new plans for the development at Lot J, a project that has been years in the making. The total direct public investment from the city will be over $152 million which includes $77.7 million for city-owned infrastructure, Curry said. “This project will provide an immediate boost to our economy with the creation of 2,300 construction jobs,” Curry said. “We have a lot of other priorities in the city and they are going to cost some money so I don’t want to pit Lot J against those other needs. Rendering of Lot J development (Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)
Officials with city of Jacksonville, Jaguars set for Monday announcement on Lot J
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The next steps for development at Lot J are set to be released on Monday. Mayor Lenny Curry, Jaguars owner Shad Khan, and Jaguars President Mark Lamping are set to make the announcement at 12:05 p.m. at Daily’s Place. The city of Jacksonville shared details about the announcement Sunday night. “We have a lot of other priorities in the city and they are going to cost some money so I don’t want to pit Lot J against those other needs. “I believe it is because in this case it is specific to Lot J as I understand it,” he said.
Councilman proposes withholding half of JSO’s budget
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A day before the City Council approves more than $1 billion in spending, a City Councilman is calling for changes to the way the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is funded. The councilman is offering an amendment that would allocate $234 million to the Sheriff’s Office off the bat and then release the rest in increments as the agency reports back periodically. Dennis is set to introduce that amendment shortly before the City Council takes its budget vote on Tuesday evening. Councilman Matt Carlucci, who chairs the council’s finance committee that approved the budget, as among those present for Monday’s meeting. “Make no mistake, this is an attempt to defund men and women in uniform,” Chief of Staff Jordan Elsbury said.
Organization continues push for half-cent tax to benefit crumbling Duval schools
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A virtual forum was held Tuesday night to discuss the proposed half-cent sales tax that would benefit Duval County Schools, which voters will make a decision on during the November election. Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene, School Board Chair Warren Jones and City Councilman Matt Carlucci each made presentations. The ongoing pitch to improve the district’s crumbling schools has been challenging in light of the pandemic, with many families struggling as parents have been out of work, needing assistance. Tuesday’s forum was held by Indivisible Mandarin, a grassroots organization eager to hear from experts about the proposed half-cent sales tax. The half-cent sales tax, Greene said, would supplement state revenue such that the district’s $1.91 billion master facility plan would be funded over the next 15 years.
Mother of woman killed in police-involved shooting calls for more mental health resources
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Saturday was the first time Charity Baker spoke out about her daughter, Leah, who was killed in an officer-involved shooting in April. Where is their help to get education, to get jobs? Charity Baker said. Carlucci said there are agencies that can provide mental health help that need more funding, and the city should be putting money toward programs to make sure at-risk youth and adults dont fall into the pipeline. Intervention, prevention and public services grants -- they handle everything from Meals on Wheels to helping people that have mental health disorders to providing medicine. Thats where we should be investing but not at the expense of the Sheriffs Office, Carlucci said.
Demonstrators at drive-up protest demand peoples budget & police accountability
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. The Northside Coalition and the Jacksonville Community Action Committee are demanding a city budget for the people and police accountability. On Saturday, there was a drive-up protest, with cars filling the parking lot across the street from the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office headquarters. People painted Peoples budget now on car windows and held signs saying So no to JSO budget.Ben Frazier with the Northside Coalition called the proposed budget weak and said it lacks the strength needed to revitalize underserved and marginalized communities. Consider this: By reallocating the JSO money proposed by the mayor by about 25% would actually free up $100 million. We want to see that money used for social and community services like a comprehensive mental health care response team.
City councilman wants to see Jacksonville school named after Earl Johnson
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. As Jacksonville looks at the possibility of renaming several schools in the city that have names tied to the Confederacy, one City Councilman is pushing for the name of Earl Johnson to be placed on a school. Johnson was an African American city leader who was involved in a lot of local and national history, particularly in the 1960s. And also, as well, when MLK would come to Florida, Earl Johnson was his attorney, Carlucci told News4Jax on Sunday. Carlucci said Johnson could realistically have been Jacksonvilles first mayor back when the city decided to consolidate in the late 60s. Earl Johnson gave up the opportunity to probably be Jacksonvilles first Black mayor and instead supported consolidation.
Elected officials spread message of unity, change
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Jacksonville elected officials took part in a demonstration Sunday outside City Hall and then a walk. Despite the heavy rain, about 100 people gathered beneath the awning at City Hall to unite as one. After the demonstration, the group took to the streets to spread its message of unity and change. We are going to change the culture (of) Jacksonville, said Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Carlucci. Elected officials saying, Listen, we are one. Its going to take all of us together to move the needle and make a change," Dennis said.