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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Most of the city council should recuse itself from future votes on the sales tax referendum (draft)

If the people of the city lose confidence in it's elected officials, it's elected officials will no longer be able to govern.

There is a difference between disagreeing with politicians decisions and thinking their decisions serve corrupt purposes and there is enough evidence that the majority of the city council's decision to fight against a sales tax referendum serves a corrupt purpose. If the people of Jacksonville are to have any faith in their city government the members who took money from the civic council and who worked with Tim Baker should recuse themselves from anymore votes on the tax referendum.

Fighting against the referendum really flies in the face of what a city council should be doing. In addition to revitalizing our schools, making them safer and finally keeping promises to communities that have been long neglected it would have the added benefits of creating jobs, revitalizing neighborhoods, attracting business and stopping or slowing flight to the suburbs or you know what city council's (and mayors) should be fighting for. Since those benefits weren't enough to garner support there must be a reason why they didn't. 

People can argue that since Numerous members of the city council took campaign money from the Civic Council, the group arguably spearheading the fight against the referendum they have sided with them over the people of Jacksonville Several members of the civic council also have charter school interests and even though only a small percentage of the city's children attend charter schools and the district has promised to share with charter schools it hasn't been enough for the city council which  has made getting more money for charter schools an argument for resisting the referendum.

Next numerous members of the City Council have close ties with Tim Baker who they used as a consultant while running for election. Tim Baker along with former Curry, top Lieutenant, Sam Mousa attempted to get nearly a half million from the district in order to convince the city council to support the referendum. People can argue that the council has refused to support the referendum until their friend gets a large pay day, furthermore if members of the council changed their mind there would their could be questions about an implied quid pro quo down the line.

Furthermore there is the out sized influence that mayor Lenny Curry seems to have over this board. Curry is notoriously pro charter and he and his pac have taken lots of money from the civic council. The city council seems to shrug their shoulders at many important issues while fighting tooth and nail against the tax referendum. Are they doing so because of legitimate concerns or are they doing so because they are afraid of the mayor or they expect something in return if they follow his marching orders.

Conflicts of interests, close ties to parties seeking to benefit, specious reasons to oppose, what more evidence do we need?

In a vacuum you may be able to squint your eyes shrug your shoulders and go okay I don't like it but, but when taken in its totality there isn't just a whiff if impropriety there is a full blown fog.

The only way the city can truly know if this decision is being made on the up and up is for the city council members who have taken money form the civic council or who worked with Tim Baker to recuse themselves.

Do we want to live in a city where the people are led or are being ruled because if the city council despite these glaring conflicts of interests continues to vote on the referendum then we aren't being led, we are being ruled.

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