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Saturday, January 9, 2021

Lot J and the school referendum are both reflective of Jacksonville's problems.

 There are many similarities between City Hall's battle to get Lot J passed and their battle against the school tax referendum in the summer of 19.  

Lot J was unpopular with the citizens of Jacksonville, and the Referendum was popular, but in both instances, they ignored the will of the people. 

Fighting for Lot J and against the referendum are both going to cost taxpayers a lot. The city auditor and other professionals with insight into development have come out and said the Lot J deal as is, is a bad one, and taxpayers will end up losing out. 

Then when the city fought against the referendum delaying its pass, Tallahassee was able to change the rules, and now hundreds of millions of dollars will not go into our schools but instead into the pockets of charter school owners and then out of the city.

Finally, both involved big donors of the mayor, Shad Kahn with lot J and Gary Chartrand, and a few other charter interests have given heavily to Mayor Curry and more than a few others on the city council.  

I believe there should be another similarity, and that's a vote by the city's citizens. One of the specious arguments several city council members gave when opposing the referendum, was they didn't believe it would pass; well, if Lot J is such a great idea, they should believe it would pass with no problem.

I understand we shouldn't have referendums for everything. Running the city is exactly why we have a city council and mayor. The thing is, this is a huge and controversial issue that will cost taxpayers over two hundred million in investment. Maybe when things get that big, we should let the citizens weigh in with a vote.

What would be wrong with having a special election in two months and letting the citizens decide, I mean, unless not letting the citizens decide is what they want all along. 

We have a city that worked very well for those at the top, those connected to city council members and the mayor, but the thing is it doesn't work so well for the rest of us as the broken sidewalks around the corner from my house and the hundreds of millions raised with a referendum that won't go to any of our public schools show. 

233 million dollars would fix many potholes and help a lot of people; instead of giving of city hall just giving it to a multi-billionaire, let us let the people decide. 

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