A look back: The toll Jacksonville’s toll system had on the city’s history
If you live in Jacksonville long enough, you’re sure to complain about the traffic. It’s basically a River City right of passage. But those who lived and drove in the area from the 1950s to the 1980s remember a different source of traffic complaints: Tolls.
20% voter turnout in City Council special election: Higher than anticipated
In a special election Tuesday that was triggered by a runoff for the Jacksonville City Council At-Large Group 3 seat, Republican Nick Howland clinched 51% of the vote to his Democratic opponent Tracye Polson, who received 48% of the vote.
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.
City Council president on gas tax legislation; OurJax chairman; Jumbo Shrimp owner
On this edition of “This Week in Jacksonville,” legislation to increase the local option gas tax is finally getting attention from the Jacksonville City Council. City Council President Tommy Hazouri explains the impact on transportation and infrastructure. OurJax Chairman David Miller weighs in on various city projects and developments. And it’s been a long time since the Jumbo Shrimp hit the diamond. That changes soon. Jumbo Shrimp Owner Ken Babby talks about what to expect for the upcoming season.
I-TEAM: City working on new legislation to replace more septic tanks
For the years, the News4Jax I-TEAM pointed out the broken promise by the city to repair and replace old and broken septic tanks. Jacksonville City Council and the mayor’s office are about to introduce new legislation that targets at least $100 and could go as high as $250 million to continue to fix the problem.
$379 million of proposed gas-tax revenue would fund Skyway extension
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than one-third of the money raised from the proposed 6-cent hike in Jacksonville’s gas tax would be used to expand the Skyway -- the underutilized automated downtown transportation system. At the time there was an outcry from people not wanting to see local tax dollars spent on the system. AdTommy Hazouri, who the mayor at the time, wasn’t even keen on the project, then called the ASE -- the Automated Skyway Express. I think it’s an expensive means of transportation for Jacksonville, but it’s with us. Now, despite millions that would go to fund Skyway expansion, Hazouri said the city is still keeping that promise to taxpayers.
Mayor Curry, council members pitch gas-tax/infrastructure plan as ‘Jobs for Jax’
Standing in front of a current road project on Collins Road, Curry called this the “Jobs for Jax” program, Curry said it will not only pay for long-overdue projects, including getting homes off septic tanks. By fully leveraging the gas tax like other major cities in Florida do, we can make substantial progress...” Curry said. JTA CEO Nat Ford discussed it on last Sunday’s This Week in Jacksonville program and the City Council began discussing the plan on Tuesday. “There’s no good time for a gas tax,” Council President Tommy Hazouri said. Curry is expected to present the legislation to City Council next month, which could pass it as soon as May.
Political infighting: Councilmembers call for head of Duval Democrats to resign
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County went blue in the most recent elections for president and governor but local Democrats are seeing red as infighting in the party had led to calls for the resignation of the chairman of the Duval County Democratic Party. Dennis, along with five other Democratic members of city council, called for Henry to resign during a Friday news conference. AdCouncilman Garrett Dennis calls for the resignation of Duval Democratic Party Chairman Daniel Henry. As chair of the Duval County Democratic Party, I am united with all Democrats in demanding non-gerrymandered seats on the City Council, and together we will make this happen. Duval County Democratic Chairman Daniel HenryDiamond also did not want to talk on camera but issued a statement.
‘We have to start somewhere’: City, JEA commit $26.8M to continue septic tank phaseouts
Curry, joined by City Council members Brenda Priestly-Jackson, Ju’Coby Pittman and Vice-President Sam Newby, discussed the budget shortfall during a news conference Tuesday. Ad“In 2016, my team and I committed to completing septic tank phaseouts in three Jacksonville neighborhoods with the highest need,” Mayor Curry said. The effort to remove septic tanks is meant to make good on a broken promise made in 1968 during consolidation. But to this day, tens of thousands of Jacksonville residents still depend on septic tanks, which have harmful effects on the local tributaries. We care deeply about our city; I hope JEA in conjunction with the City will soon make a commitment to further the efforts of eradicating septic tanks,” Hazouri said.
Jacksonville NAACP continues to push for vaccinations in underserved communities
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Branch of the NAACP sent a letter to Mayor Lenny Curry and City Council President Tommy Hazouri calling for more COVID-19 vaccination sites in neighborhoods that have been overlooked in the past. Rumlin writes that plan should consider the fact that the statistics show COVID-19 has disproportionately affected communities of color. “The Curry Administration and City Council Members who represent these communities should reach out to aggressively and with urgency to vaccinate these communities,” reads the letter, dated Feb. 9. AdREAD: Letter to mayor and City Council president from Jacksonville NAACPThe letter was also signed by the presidents of the Jacksonville Urban League, Northeast Florida Medical Society Foundation and First Coast Black Nurses Association. The State of Florida determines who receives the vaccine supply and they have their own distribution chains that we do not control.
Plan calls for $100M to remove septic tanks in Jacksonville’s underserved neighborhoods
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville City Council President Tommy Hazouri has filed legislation calling for $100 million to remove septic tanks in underserved neighborhoods. The plan is in addition to the effort to phase out septic tanks in the Biltmore, Beverly Hills and Christobel neighborhoods. But to this day, tens of thousands of Jacksonville residents still depend on septic tanks, which have harmful effects on the local tributaries. AdHazouri’s proposal seeks $100 million to make a sustainable long-term commitment to remove the septic tanks and hook up to city services. We care deeply about our city; I hope JEA in conjunction with the City will soon make a commitment to further the efforts of eradicating septic tanks,” Hazouri said.
Mayor Curry: ‘Vendetta over vision’ led to failure of Lot J deal
Council members Danny Becton, Matt Carlucci, Al Ferraro and Council President Tommy Hazouri also voted against the deal, which fell 12-7. He and other council members have also drawn comparisons between Lot J and the scuttled attempted sale of JEA. “The executive branch negotiates deals and they bring deals to the City Council to debate. One field, one particular development is their deciding factor to leave the city?” Dennis said. Lamping started talking about the Shipyards when, you know, the big elephant in the room is the stadium,” Dennis said.
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.
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.
Is City Council ready to make Lot J project a reality?
City Council president Tommy Hazouri deferred the vote on the Lot J bill last week and said he’d like to see a final vote Jan. 12. At Friday’s meeting, City Council members got answers to questions and concerns that the council auditor has regarding the deal. The majority of them have been addressed and those in attendance said they feel confident that the Lot J project will move forward. Those in favor of the Lot J project say it’ll bring jobs, boost Jacksonville’s economy, and lead to a thriving downtown. Councilman Garrett Dennis said this week he supports the Lot J project, but also said no decision should be rushed without making sure all questions have been answered.
Mayor Curry backs out of Christmas tree lighting ceremony amid vulgar Lot J protest
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The controversial Lot J project is still taking center stage even though the Jacksonville City Council has decided to not vote on the project until next month. Protesters shouted outside City Hall to City Council members, Curry and others, upset that the city is even considering spending over $233 million on the entertainment complex. Inside, City Council was meeting and it was expected the council would take up the Lot J issue and possibly take a vote on the matter. The lack of action by City Council tonight was seen by many observers as a good step. And while City Council is going on a holiday break, they might hold another special meeting this week to take up questions.
City Council is expected to vote on Lot J in January. That could change Tuesday
Some City Council members have said the reason they are concerned about passing the Lot J legislation right now is because of the JEA debacle. News4Jax contacted several council members about Lot J. Councilman Reggie Gaffney has scheduled a meeting to discuss Lot J at 1 p.m. Tuesday, ahead of Tuesday’s night’s City Council meeting. News4Jax asked Dennis what he thinks will happen if the Lot J project is brought up at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. So the drama over Lot J could play out Tuesday night if a majority of council members vote to bring it up for discussion.
Jacksonville City Council will not discuss Lot J at Tuesday’s meeting
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the wake of Thursday’s tense Jacksonville City Council meeting over a $445 million proposed entertainment complex on Lot J of TIAA Bank Field, City Council President Tommy Hazouri said the proposal will not be discussed at their next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday. We started interacting with City Council members then. In fact, the reason documents have changed is because there have been dozens of edits responsive to the requests of City Council members and their staff. The DIA voted Wednesday to recommend City Council approval, but with some modifications. As Council President, in honoring the legislative process, I will not be adding this bill to the addendum on December 8th.