Wednesday, October 31, 2007

rude boi



Happy Halloween ya'll. I got a funny from my sis. It was true. There are some choice ones in there. Good site.

Since we are very close friends I thought I would tell you about my so called life yesterday. Figure this one out. All of this is true and I am glad I don't have comments because I probably wouldn't be able to handle any thoughts on the subject. Enjoy!

1. Got up raced down to the DVI safety committee meeting. DVI has a plan of attack to improve safety downtown. It involves more ambassadors and possibly kerchiefs. I'll do a post on it in the near future. If you have a specific concern holler through email.
2. Was a guest speaker at ImpactJax. Good audience. Good questions. I was on the panel with CM Jay Jabour, Ron Barton (head JEDC), & Terry Lorince (head DVI). Ron Barton gave out a white paper on how we are going to push Downtown forward. I'll put that out when I get a copy. There weren't enough for the panel.
3. Ran to the office and printed up a couple resumes and bios. Drove to Baymeadows. If you miss that left turn lane off 95 you are toast. Just saying. Got to the Embassy Suites (nothing says success like an indoor courtyard) and went back 10 years in time. Like I literally did this 10 years ago. I wanted to check out the corporate culture of a company that I would like to do some marketing perhaps even retailing for. I waited outside of a hotel room for my interview with 3 other dudes. One looked like Jesse Palmer, one was 15 years younger than me, and one was about 10 years older. I'll take a minute here to say that my consulting biz has been slowed by the weakened dollar and uncertainties in proposed tax cuts. I'm dead serious. Anyhoo, my partner projects don't need me day to day (with the exception of game day at el gato) so I'm definitely in the market, even for full time work. Holler if you got something. Benefits make me drool.
4. I decide not to drive off the Fuller Warren into Public School 4 and headed home. Got a bite to eat with the fam and put the blessings to bed.
5. Head to the record store to pick out a crate. The record store (not inertia) that the Royal Treatment is kicking is really choice. Three rooms of vinyl, hip hop mags, and custom sherts. I'm sure they'll have some set hours soon. Just north of Chans Chinese on Main. Same building as inertia.
6. Get my crate and get to the BG to pick up my needles. Marco says: "Who didn't invite me?". Seahorse seahell, I forgot Marco needed help behind the bar before Kings of Leon. So I was basically no call no show with 8 deep. Doh! If you had any issues with your order my bad.
7. Headed over to Marks and killed it. In fact the Kings of Leon came to Marks and said the really liked what they heard. Or said they couldn't hear eachother. Either way.
8. When walking over to greet some friends during mc 90 ft Jesus I see the guy from the job fair. Couldn't resist walking over and saying hello, since we were in a hotel room together earlier that day and all.

Life.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Your Schedule for this week.




TONIGHT: You can either hit up the KoL show at the Florida Theatre and/or catch Biggie Tea at Marks. I go on at 10 and spin until it clears out. Which is about 10:30 or so. Just kidding. Come on over. Jill from RADO will have tickets and info about Saturday's Harvest Gala and all the kick ass affordable homes, holmes. I will be MCing. My last MCing job was Chinese New Years. Gong Xi Fa Cai! I'll also have info on the Talleyrand festival which will sell out but tickets still remain. I go on before spoon. When I spin at Marks on Tuesdays if you would like to bring flyers about your urban core event (non nightclub related) bring it on. I hand out all sorts of goodies to folks with urban affinity. We are working on ways to make this night mo special for all involved.



TOMORROW NIGHT (HALLOWEEN): First take your kids out for some candy. I prefer Bettes Circle but whatever. There is a special show at Bogda



Note PBR logo. It has been said that there are 600 PBRs hiding in a Riverside house waiting to attack Bogda. I believe it. Can we face them? Can we win?

Marks is also having a big block party with and the Bay Street Rollers. Wondering if Tits McGee will make a comeback?

THURSDAY: Let me know if there is more going on. I'd hit Hip Hop Hell at TSI if I was you.

FRIDAY: First Friday YO! See Flyer. 5pts is ALIVE. Its ALIVE!



Hello everyone!

Don't miss First Fridays in 5 Points, THIS FRIDAY evening! Check out live music, special sales, shops open till 9 and much much more... only in 5 POINTS... Jacksonville's original town center!

We'll be having The Madhatter's Tee Party (or check out the attachment!) at Anomaly, 6-9PM! Check out one of a kind tees designed by top local artists in Jacksonville!!!

Plus, don't miss First Fridays $5 Flick! We'll be showing GOONIES in the 5 Points Theater!!! Doors open @ 9:15. BYOB and a blanket and/or lawn chair as there is no seating in the theater!

Call us if have any questions! Hope to see you there!!!


--
Anomaly
1021 Park Street
Jacksonville, FL 32204
ring: 904.354.7002


Also, just a couple blocks away in nearby Brooklyn (see graphic at top):

For Immediate Release

JANEGRAYGALLERY
643 Edison Avenue Jacksonville, Florida 32204 904-338-5790 janegraygallery@bellsouth.net


Emerging Jacksonville based abstract artist in her first solo exhibition.

Jane Gray Gallery is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of
new paintings by Jacksonville artist Brittni Wood. Cross-PolliNATION
will open on November 2,2007. There will be an opening reception for the artist and the Jacksonville community on Friday November 2, 2007 from 6 pm-9 pm. The exhibit will run through Dec. 3, 2007.

Cross-PolliNATION an exhibition of Brittni Wood's abstract paintings.
Wood's paintings are heavily influenced by social issues of today, with an emphasis on ideas of religion, sexuality, and gender roles.
"My work is forced into a slue of contradictions" says Wood. This battle of introspection and outward directness defines her most recent body of work. Wood's paintings entertain opposite ends of the spectrum, from gestural and dirty to hard and graphic. This combination is what interests her most, while also inspiring a mixed media approach to her paintings.

Brittni Wood graduated from the University of North Florida with a BFA in Painting and Drawing and is the founder/creator of CreateJacksonville.com, a web site dedicated to promoting the arts in around Jacksonville. In addition, Wood is an art teacher at a local high school.

Cross-PolliNATION will be on exhibit November 2- though December 3,2007. Jane Gray Gallery is located at 643 Edison Avenue (one block off Riverside Avenue). For additional information about the gallery or to request photos please contact Missy Hager at (904) 338-5790 or visit www.janegraygallery.com

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 9am- 5pm. Evening and weekend hours are by appointment.



SATURDAY: HUGE RADO GALA!



RADO TO HOST 2ND ANNUAL RIVERSIDE HARVEST GALA; RAISES MONEY FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Jacksonville, FL (October 9, 2007) --- RADO (Riverside Avondale Development Organization) will be hosting its second annual Riverside Harvest Gala at the Five Points Theatre (1025Park St.) on November 3 from 7 to 11PM. The event helps to raise funds for RADO’s affordable housing developments. Tickets for the event are $15 per person and $20 per couple. The Riverside Harvest Gala will include food, cash bar, silent auction and entertainment by DJ Triclops I and The Royal Treatment.
“RADO’s purpose is to bring quality affordable housing to the Riverside and North Riverside communities,” said Matthew Bowler, Executive Director of RADO. “Events such as the Riverside Harvest Gala are a great way for people in the community to have fun as well as be supportive of our efforts.”
RADO plans to build 10 to 12 affordable homes in 2007 and double that number in 2008. Homes are priced in the mid 100’s range and qualified buyers cannot exceed 120% of the median household income. There are many plans to help buyers qualify.
Projects that are on the drawing board for RADO include Green on Green which will be affordable single family homes on the site of the former city of Jacksonville plant nursery. Construction will emphasize environmentally friendly green building.
In conjunction with the Murtaugh Companies, RADO will be breaking ground at The Point at Riverside located at 2900 College Street. This mixed use development will offer 12 commercial spaces on the first floor and 12 two story condominiums on the second and third floors.
RADO is located at 881 Stockton Street and is a community development corporation that develops affordable housing. For more information about RADO or the Riverside Harvest Gala, log on to www.radocdc.org or call 904-381-0950.


There will also be Talleyrand info and tickets available to bid on at the gala. Do the right thing. Come see the show Saturday. It will totally be worth it. If you have never seen the Main Ingreedyantz Crew live then figure its the best 20 spot (for you AND your date) you could spend. And thats with food and booze! Lets ride out with some of the MIC.



REPRESENT!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Kings of Leon vs. Biggie Tea


Play Kings of Leons On Call


I know. Rock out. Sorry about the commercial its worth the wait. I thought I would equalize the playing field for tomorrow night if I through out a KOL track. They are playing at the Florida Theatre tomorrow night. I heard they are incredible live.

I'll be at Mark's just a block away. You should hit Mark's after the show. I spin from 10 to close. I'll be posting more about tomorrow's Biggie Tea show soon. It will involve free things. Tickets to things. Info on Saturday's RADO Harvest Festival (NOV3) and the next Saturday's Talleyrand Festival (NOV10)which will now totally sell out because biggie tea is on THE FLYER!

Friday, October 26, 2007

New Blackwater logo



Cute no? Saw these at wired. Fun. Submit your own.

What else, lets see. Oh, Joey has some remixi of everyone's favorite (OK not everyone's favorite) band.

Ummm. Oh yeah and there is a football game tomorrow. Big party at the Landing. Its weekends like these where I say thank you lord for the landing. Head on down. Show off your gator in a noose chew toy or something. Also, watch the roads. I've seen several gatordawgs driving the wrong way on one ways downtown. Be careful.

We'll be charging for parking at the BG tomorrow too, just fyi. Have fun and lets not kill anybody this year people. Seriously.

ALSO: Come back and get info on the next two saturdays. Two very big events on the 3rd and the 10th. Full bloggage coming soon. Here is a hint, I'll be spinning at both. Oh and I'll be showcasing both at Marks on Tuesday with a yet to be named drank special.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Celebrity Jax



image: shag

Thanks for not giving two craps about celebrity sightings jax. Its paying off! I just hope the Recount folks either were warned about the FL/GA game and want to stay and party or got fair warning and hit south beach or something.

I think we have what it takes to be the next Hollywood, err Toronto. Where else can Kevin Spacey and Sydney Pollack eat a burrito without incident or Russell Crowe spin his latest album on NPR? Jimmy Fallon and Lucy Lui lived in my mom's loft for a brief moment and had nothing but great things to say about Springfield and Jacksonville.

In the film industry I have heard we have great bones for making films. Things are relatively inexpensive here. The hospitality is top rate. And we have a very diverse aesthetic.

Too bad we don't have a large ass studio here.

Too late



I did not see this until today (thanks JC!)

It hits home because at the stadium on Monday afternoon, Peyton Manning walks right past me. I was thinking to myself, jeez, if it wasn't evil I could walk right up and do one of those scissorkick things we used to do to the JV at highschool soccer practice before coach got there. I would be in jail for several months but hey, jags might have had a chance. Then I remembered I was there to take 50 gallons of frijoles up to the restaurant. And also that I am not evil. But I am glad I didn't see the above video before hand.

So this seems like a good time to break down your El Gato Gameday experience. (El Gato Grande is a restaurant slash concession stand in the stadium that serves Burrito Gallery food)

1. We don't get paid for the beer. Go to another line. Our beer pouring skillz need work and we have like Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale for some season, I mean reason.
2. We don't get paid for the hotdogs. They are called downtown dogs. Big half pound dog with (our chili), cheese and jalepenos. I'd almost say don't get that but they are delicious.
3. Buy a burrito. They are only a buck or so more than at the restaurant. We make em the same size and everything. If its not too crazy busy we can make it without beans if you are with that one guy. Its easy to eat with one hand leaving the other available for a beer or to flick off gator/bulldog fan.
4. Quesadillas are made when you order it. Everything takes less than a minute except the quesadilla. When you get it in less than 3 minutes its hot as FIRE.
5. Tell your cashier whether or not you want jalepenos on your food. They ALWAYS forget to ask. Then you have some line cook asking you if you want peppers and you can't hear me and have no interest in talking to the help anyway.
6. And this will only be posted on this blog. Its a secret for my readers only. Think of it as a dirty trick to get you to buy food at our concession stand; or me being nice. Whatever you order, you can get salsa, sour cream, and guac on the side. We don't advertise this nor do we want all 85000 drunk people to know this, however we want to take care of the cool locals like we do at the Adams Street location (where none of those extras are free by the way).
7. Like downtown. The line moves FAST!

Oh yeah. With the nice weather coming, we are going to open the bar and patio for Monday lunches. Starting next Monday. YAY!


See you downtown!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

CCFT CROI Minutes

IN ATTENDANCE: Subcommittee: Bruce Ferguson (Vice Chair), Tony Allegretti, Kish Kanji, Millie Kanyar, and Isaiah Rumlin. Not attending: Christin Comstock, Pam Edwards-Roine, Albert Marchant, and Ron Townsend. Other Committee Members: Robert Champion, Don McClure, Jack Diamond, Staff: Mickee Brown, Skip Cramer, John Reyes, and Ben Warner. [Staff note: If your name is not listed above, please advise.]

MEETING TIME: 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

PURPOSE: Review the draft white paper and make a recommendation regarding the convention site most beneficial to the community.

MEETING SUMMARY
[Staff note: The write-up below is a summary, not a verbatim transcript. Please read through the document to make sure the pertinent points were captured. If anything is missing or misstated, please advise staff.]

Acting Subcommittee Chair, Bruce Ferguson welcomed the group and explained Chair Ron Townsend’s absence. At the request of JCCI Facilitator Ben Warner, the subcommittee approved the October 11th meeting summary and reviewed the forum decorum, agenda and the evening’s handouts.

Lindsey Ballas, JEDC Business Development Manager, was introduced to the subcommittee as a resource regarding the status of the proposed deals at the Hyatt and the POCC. The Hyatt deal would expand the hotel to include convention exhibit space. The POCC site is being considered by a private firm for hotel development.

Lindsey acknowledged that discussions are taking place with the Hyatt and the Hammons Group, but cautioned that the work of the task force should not be influenced by either group. Talks with Hammons are still in the prospecting stage. Lindsey emphasized that an increasing number of hoteliers have expressed interest in Jacksonville over the last 4 months at the rate of 1 new developer every 2 weeks.

Bruce proceeded to walk the group through the white paper. No substantive changes were made to the document; however the comments made during the discussion are summarized below.

• The whole of downtown should be considered as part of the same development effort. The synergy that exists between each of the areas is what will make a great downtown.

• In the past, we have been guilty of not following through on a vision for downtown. The focus keeps changing. Carrying out the vision will take downtown to the next level.

• Taxpayer dollars can not be wasted when funding public projects. [Staff note: Projects funded by bed-tax dollars are “paid for” by tourists.]

• Some consideration should be given to tapping into the bed-tax dollars that are allocated for the stadium.

• In the next five years it is projected that total bed-tax dollars will be $22 million without an improved convention center.

• Sawgrass became the catalyst for growth in Ponte Vedra, though it took many years to become a successful enterprise. Downtown needs a similar spark. An investment in making Jacksonville a stronger contender for convention business could be that spark.

• Bay Street Station is slated to happen whether or not the convention center remains in LaVilla. Should those parcels be developed it would be the beginning of reconnecting the POCC to the rest of downtown.

• After 20 years, there is no guarantee that the empty parcels at or around the POCC will be developed for uses that compliment convention business. The Hyatt site already has those complimentary structures in place, which is what makes it such a strong location.

• The Hyatt was built against the advice of many who raised concerns about its proximity to structures that sit on reinforced piers. The decision to move forward was based on a short term political decision to fulfill Super Bowl requirements.

• While increased car traffic is a concern for building the convention center next to the Hyatt, the greater issue is the number of semi-trucks and other large vehicles that would travel down Bay Street to offload cargo for high impact events. It is not clear where the docking area would be with the small (Phase I) center proposed for the parking lot in front of the courthouse. Even if the courthouse and city hall annex were demolished the “backside” of the convention center would most likely be Bay Street.

• Jacksonville does not have the infrastructure or funds needed to build a 500,000 square foot convention center. It is better to cultivate a climate for convention business using the resources currently in place. To get support for the “Big Vision” we need proven successes within the current reality.

After reviewing the white paper and having group discussion, the subcommittee reached consensus on the POCC as the site offering the community the better return on investment. The investment required for the POCC is roughly $30 million less than the Hyatt, but the consultant projected approximately the same economic impact at both sites. The community impact resulting from an expanded POCC is perceived to be greater than the Hyatt based on the information in the white paper.

The group recommended that the “Big Vision” center remains a viable long-term Phase II option. The Phase I option should be the expansion of the Prime Osborn Convention Center. The success of that expansion is dependent on the development of a headquarters hotel and amenities that support convention business. Once successful the POCC site offers enough acreage to transition from Phase I into the Phase II scenario.

The subcommittee agreed that the City should require developers to respect the history of LaVilla and create built environments that reconnect to that past.

PUBLIC COMMENT: None

MEETING ADJOURNED: The meeting was adjourned at 7:00 p.m.


Not a lot of detail here. There should be an article in the JBJ soon. Hopefully that will have some new info.

I also don't think the language is strong enough where I was told that building a facility at the courthouse parking lot site (Hyatt site) was impossible. Had I not heard the word impossible, I don't think I would have voted for the Prime O and have somewhat regreted it since. I also used stronger on the record language about celebrating LaVilla's history, but in the minutes it looks like we all agreed on that. Thats cool. Bring back the Richmond Hotel (still exsists!)

Maybe there is surprise in store for Thursday nights meeting. This task force has been full of them! Maybe I'll live blog the proceedings.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Boxsonville


Note for your calendar: Box City!



After the 9:00 a.m. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony tomorrow (Wednesday October 24) for BoxCity, currently set up in the auditorium of Pine Forest, it will move to City Hall at St James atrium next week! “Box-sonville” (as the kids call it) will be on display the full week starting October 29th.

Photo above is only a portion of the effort… note there are kids still filing-in to place their creation within this materpiece!



BACKGROUND: Over the past year two years, BoxCity Chairman of AIA Jacksonville, Joanna Rodriguez, AIA has been responsible for the initial planning and orchestration of this spectacular event. Bill Bishop, AIA has served as Chairman of AIA150 in Jacksonville, securing Grants for a number of significant projects, including “BoxCity”.



Each classroom at Pine Forest Elementary School, responsible for one city block or more, has been working for over five weeks now; each class elected a City Council representative, and the entire school elected the Mayor of Box City (complete with a voting machine on loan from the Supervisor of Election).



This is one of many projects nationally, celebrating the American Institute of Architecture 150 years of “service to the profession and the nation by working with their communities to create a better future by design”.


Here is the latest information -



RIBBON CUTTING/MEDIA DAY

Wednesday, October 24 @ 9:00 AM

This will take place in front of the school near the flagpole, with various dignitaries, a few speeches, a choral performance, etc. Then, the children will be led into the multi-purpose room one class at a time for a “tour” of Box City, along with volunteers and guests. This will probably take about an hour or so. We are inviting Mayor Peyton, School Board members, DCPS Facilities staff, city council, parents, newspaper and TV reporters, etc.



CITY HALL DISPLAY

Monday, October 29 – Friday, November 2

Let me know if you want to help with transport on Monday or Friday.







Joanna C. Rodriguez, AIA, LEED AP

DesignWorks Architects

a Powell Design Group Company


Very cool! I will definitely check this out at City Hall.

Choices



You can go to Marks and see me dj tonight. All vinyl.

You can also listen to Russell Crowe's favorite music on David Luckin's Electro Lounge.

If Marks has a receiver I will play some tracks of Mr. Crowes. Mr. Rabbitoh was in studio with David last night. How cool is that?

Not Black Kids cool. Check out all those blogs (tip to JC for Hype Machine). Urban Jacksonville has a post about the New York Times coverage of our higglytown heroes. There are great photos of mactruque's mural all over the interwebs.

At Mark's I will have info on RADO's GALA. Look for a post on that soon. Hit us up after city council.

3220Sexy



You can now purchase "Women of Springfield 2008" calendars for $25 at http://www.9thstreetcharities.org/.

We are planning a kick off party for the calendar launch on November 1 at the Pearl from 5-8pm. Please Food will be provided by Hola! And drinks will be provided by the Pearl. A donation of $25 is required to get in and includes the calendar drinks and food.


Who doesn't have $25 for a calendar of Springfield ladies? Buy it at the party and the drinks and food are on the house. Plus, good cause. Yay.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hello Prime O



Sorry it has taken so long to get this update out but its been a busy week, month, year, you feel me. Hope you all have your teal on (sorry about that video but I couldn't help it. Sounds like someone actually said lets get some tea on her) and are saving room for an Urban Nacho, Steak Burrito, or something. El Gato Grande is ready for the chaos. Lines move fast.

Back to the subject at hand. Thursday night was our Convention Center Task Force subcommittee on Community Return on Investment (whew). This was the meeting where we (the selected mini-public - but hey I invited you!) decide on where the Convention Center should go. Good turn out surprisingly and quite a few non-committee members showing up. What an interesting and nice surprise. This meeting was the last of the committee meetings. The next big one, the larger CCTF meeting will show our CROI findings and wrap up the entire Task Force. Lest you thought this thing was over (see articles of its demise about funding, no city support, yada yada, yada, don't forget your teal) there are two relatively strong ideas with developers with experience and monies for the two remaining sights.

Each site has a developer supposedly ready to work the deal. At the Prime O, the developer will build a Hotel. At the courthouse parking lot, the developer will build a convention center. The Hyatt next door (and also part of the convention center development group, natch) has 900 rooms and is like taco bell, good to go. The Prime Osbourne is an iconic underwhelming convention center and their developer, John Q. Hammons, would build a 400 room hotel.

Some other notes:
1. JCCI will send me the minutes and I will post them here. Don't go by what I post, wait for the official record.
2. Downtown sucks. Its lame. No verve. Nothing to do. These guys wouldn't walk their dog downtown. It hasn't been worth a crud since May Cohens left and nobody can possibly have fun there now. The guy that works the gate in my neighborhood wouldn't even go there. (paraphrasing but you get the picture)
3. JTA's plan for an intermodal transportation hub is somewhere behind the courthouse in its planning. That is they don't know. It was said at the meeting that they are waiting on our findings so they can say exactly what they want to do and when. This was backed up by the fact that there were THREE former JTA board members from the pleistocene era at the meeting that recalled the intermodal idea of their day. By now we should be transfering from hovercar to jetpack at that site.
3. There is a bed tax that is paying off the Prime O that will be available in 2009 or 2011. This will be part of what pays for our convention center. The developer being the other half, therefor public-private. The good news is that a bed tax is out of town money. Attempts to call it a bed fee were thwarted. Thanks for staying in JAX suckers!

So our non-committee guests to the meeting and the rest of the committee besides me all thought all the signs pointed to a revived Prime O. I spoke of our downtown and what there was to do here and how great our architecture and bones are around the Hyatt. Crickets. I was told it was IMPOSSIBLE to build the convention center there because of the trucks and loading docks and general chaos that would ensue if you had to sit in your car for one more minute downtown. Plus its built on questionable pilings on the freaking river itself! I put IMPOSSIBLE in all caps because I asked, something like this: I missed the loading dock subcommittee findings, but you are saying its IMPOSSIBLE to do convention center there? Yes. IMPOSSIBLE. No room for expansion, either. All good points, but in our materials the cost differences (high end) where $80m Prime O to $100m Hyatt, and the spread was said to be because of the piling infrastructure. Whatever. I am not arguing with an architect on what is possible to build.

So how did I end up voting for the Prime O?

1. Firstly, I said that since it was IMPOSSIBLE to build there that I don't want to look like (more of) an idiot.
2. I wanted it on the record that I think we erased a huge portion of this city's DNA when we redeveloped LaVilla into a suburban office park and homeless shelter(s). That we should rethink everything if we sink tons of money over there, like acknowledging and celebrating the Harlem of the South, bringing workforce housing that will support the Prime O, and involve what community there is left (supposing there is one) in its total design and plan. I also said that I didn't trust the city and its developers to get that right. This is a good time to say that there is supposed to be a large, movie theatre and hotel based development across Park Street all the way down the strip between the fed and skyway. This development is going to happen whether the Prime O was chosen or not.
3. If we don't improve or build a new convention center with that sucker money that is coming (especially considering we have experienced private development ready to build) I could see that going to the general, burp, fund. I don't want that. I would rather eat my nikes and vote with the herd. I mean show a solid unanimous front.
3. Cheesecake Factory was again mentioned as a goal for realized urban development. I couldn't make that up.

So thats how I ate my shoe. Tastes like cheesecake.

BEAT INDY!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Since you are here.



I haven't had time to upload whats going to happen with our Convetion Center yet so hang loose. But while you are here, consider a night out Uptown.


I remember hearing about Springfield for the first time. I was in the Shoppes of Avondale back in like 97. One of the shops had a poster of a cool spooky old house. It was for a Haunted House. It said:

SPRINGFIELD: You think we are scary during the day!

I piled in the car with some friends and we looked and looked for that house. We were scared, but never found it. I think it must have gotten cancelled or something. If you can find me that poster I will buy you and friend a burrito and an American Beer of your choice.

Fast forward to today where you can actually buy tickets to Halloween events in the Springy online. Yes friends. The internets, bringing revitalization right to your cube.


You should go!

Live Blogging the New Blogs



photo Clement

No time to post just yet. Working on a new blog.

Coming SOON!

THE COJ/CVB/TDC/CCTF/CROI@FCCJ results!

Be the first on your block to FIND OUT WHERE THE CONVENTION CENTER IS GOING!

And a first hand account (no media was there) of how I swallowed my shoe and voted with the group. Plus, I'll post the minutes and JCCI is speedy about that.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Live Blogging the Revolution



Ouch. Look who is all Fox Newsish.

What is happening around here? First the school, ahem, super goes all Sprewell, gets his cash and heads to the keys. Jay Jabour has some issues to deal with. I'm sure you are keeping up. Can't believe someone went to the trouble in the river city. No Harms, no foul.

And thats not even the best city council story of the day.

Which brings me to the point: Beth Kormanik is liveblogging the hallway outside of the grand jury! How awesome is that? Very. Here is a quote.

10:45 Shad comes out of the restroom. Greats me with a hello. Fussell walks up, changing his outreached hand to a fist bump. Both walk in and close the door. I think Shad's tie is hermes. Dapper.


I totally made that up. Anyway, it is rather entertaining and quite progressive journalism, IMO, for Jacksonville.

Good insight on the major players and how crappy the courthouse is (my friend says move it to the Prime Osbourne).

Speaking of, why don't I just go ahead and post the minutes from last weeks Subcommittee for Community Return on Investment, Convention Center Task Force 07! There ought to be a t-shirt.

To summarize whats below (do your own research, this is just my opinion. all meetings, including tonights CROI (CCTF) are public, JCCI 5:30-7pm):

1. Prime Osbourne- We've got an underperforming convention center with a lot of land around it and not much else. A developer, John Q. Hammons, is proposing building a 400 room hotel as part of the redev of the Prime O. There are other developers promising hotels for Water, Bay, Jefferson, Lee blocks. $80 million or so total.
2. Courthouse Parking Lot- Already has a 900 room hotel adjacent. City owns the whole block next door. Developer in place to do private/public. $100 million.
3. All parties are looking at the bed tax that is about to pay off the Prime O, making lots of millions of moneys availble to do this new center. Bed tax= other peoples money.

Here is what actually happened:

IN ATTENDANCE: Subcommittee: Ron Townsend (chair), Tony Allegretti, Bruce Ferguson, Pam Edwards-Roine, and Kish Kanji. Not attending: Millie Kanyar, Christin Comstock, and Albert Marchant. Staff: Mickee Brown, Skip Cramer, John Reyes, and Ben Warner. [Staff note: If your name is not listed above, please advise.]

MEETING TIME: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

PURPOSE: Determine how a new or expanded convention may or may not benefit the greater community.

MEETING SUMMARY
[Staff note: The write-up below is a summary, not a verbatim transcript. Please read through the document to make sure the pertinent points were captured. If anything is missing or misstated, please advise staff.]

Chair Ron Townsend welcomed members of the subcommittee and proceeded to review the previous week’s meeting summary. The subsequent discussion included the following:

• The average hotel rate in Jacksonville was listed as $75 per night. This number seemed low to the group. The average rate in the downtown area is higher. The CVB will provide the higher rate by the next meeting.
• The jobs created as a result of increased convention business will also include managerial and technical jobs in addition to entry level positions. Jobs in the building trades are also an outgrowth of expansion and construction, which pay better than average wages.
• Many of the upper level management jobs may be filled by non-local staff as hotels like to promote from within, however the majority of the mid-level staff should be local.
• The 10-4-07 summary references increasing the sales tax from 7 to 7.5 percent. For long term relevancy the statement was changed to ‘increase sales tax by one-half percent’.

JCCI Facilitator Ben Warner reviewed the agenda and explained that the group would look at the three build/expand scenarios handed down from previous subcommittees to determine what would be best for the community. The questions presented to the task force are listed below.
• What would this project require of the community?
• Is there any location for the Phase II / “big vision” that is more beneficial to the community than others? Why?
• Why should the community consider this project?
• Are there any reasons the community should avoid this project?
• What does the community require of this project?

The three scenarios that the subcommittee considered are as follows.
1. Renovate the Prime Osborn Convention Center and expand the exhibit hall to approximately 100,000 square feet. Subsidize the development of an adjoining or adjacent headquarters hotel using bed-tax dollars.
2. Subsidize the development of an adjoining 120,000 square foot conference center at the Hyatt Riverfront with up to 80,000 square feet of exhibit space using bed-tax dollars.
3. Build community support to raise sales taxes which would lead to the construction of a 500,000 square foot convention center with a 200,000 square foot exhibit hall.





1. Renovate/Expand the Prime Osborn Convention Center
Reasons to consider this option • Four-hundred new hotel rooms in downtown Jacksonville, funded with private dollars
• Development that could improve LaVilla aesthetics
• Could encourages further development in the area
• Leverages an existing city asset
• Proximity to two major interstate highways [I-95 and I-10]
• Could encourage greater development in Brooklyn and Riverside, which ties to LaVilla. This scenario would be funded by bed-tax dollars, which avoids the need for increasing taxes on local residents
• Proximity to the Skyway station
• Could compliment JTA’s transit oriented development
• This scenario offers greater exhibit space than the Hyatt option
• The POCC sits on a large parcel of land making the Center expandable
Reasons to avoid this option • LaVilla has very little character and no remaining historic structures; the area is akin to a suburban office park
• The area is without amenities and residential development
• While a transportation oriented development could improve the area, there are concerns about making an area inside the POCC a waiting room for Amtrak or Greyhound
• If Bay Street is downtown’s designated entertainment hub, developing LaVilla could detract from that effort
• The POCC is not in close proximity to other meeting spaces, like the Time Union Performing Arts Center
• With an increase in the number of convention and tradeshow business, the number of civic events and gate shows may decrease
• An 100,000 exhibit hall is still comparatively small and it is unlikely that more large tradeshows would come to the area
• While the East end of Bay Street has good “bones”, the West end does not have the same historic buildings and infrastructure

Community requirements • Increased trolley service and other surface transportation is needed to connect the POCC to the rest of downtown
• The POCC needs a complete renovation and upgrade; the current facilities are outdated and drab
• The POCC should connect to the Riverwalk and Hogan’s Creek, which could be the impetus needed to complete the Emerald Necklace in downtown Jacksonville
• Any new building should compliment the existing historic structure
• Bed-tax allocated for the convention center should be reinvested in convention related projects


2. Hyatt convention/conference center
Reasons to consider this options • The East end of Bay Street has character and historic buildings that can be used for modern purposes
• The traffic congestion that results from convention business along Bay Street could signal the return of a vibrant area that people want to visit (i.e. San Marco)
• This option utilizes an existing asset
• Due to its waterfront location, this is a beautiful area of downtown that would draw tourists
• This location already has amenities in place; the Hyatt, the Performing Arts Center, Bay Street, and the Landing
• Convention business is complementary to existing businesses in the area
• Will eventually remove an empty building (City Hall Annex) off valuable property with the Court House eventually removed as well

Reasons to avoid this option • The increased traffic caused due to semi-trucks delivering convention materials, motor-coaches needed to transport delegates, and greater numbers of cars could spoil downtown for local visitors
• It is not immediately clear where replacement parking for the existing courthouse would be located, nor the location for delegate parking
• Once the current courthouse and the city hall annex are demolished, expansion is limited
• Using this stretch of riverfront property for a convention center may not be its highest and best use
• Placing a city owned facility on the river eliminates the potential to collect property taxes on this property
• City residents could lose another access point to the river
• The area could be transformed into an busy area for tourists that locals avoid
• The cost of repairing the pilings beneath the parking lot, though estimated at $30 million, is unknown

Community requirements • The new structure should have aesthetic appeal
• The facility needs to be viable and pay for itself
• Bed-tax allocated for the convention center should be reinvested in convention related projects
• The area, once developed, should be inviting to all local residents
• Access to the river and the riverwalk must be maintained
• Support job growth at all levels from entry level to managerial
• The structure should help to showcase the city in support of attracting new residents and new businesses to Jacksonville
• Enhance local rooftop experiences
• The convention center should serve as a community resource for locals (Examples include exhibit space for local artists, hospitality education programs, etc.)


3. “Big vision” large scale convention center (generic location)
Reasons to consider this options • While not plausible today, an increase in sales taxes to fund the “big vision” might be an option in the future – 5-10 years from now

Reasons to avoid this option • The city’s financial future is uncertain at this point, it is unlikely a convention center with funded by a tax on locals will become a priority
• It is not clear who would champion the effort to build a new convention center
Community requirements • Both the Hyatt and the POCC make use of existing assets; the only other downtown location that has similar infrastructure in place are the Wyndham/JEA sites
• Some of the items listed under the other two scenarios apply here as well

What would this project require of the community? It is assumed that both the Hyatt and POCC options would be funded by bed-tax dollars, requiring no additional investment by the community. The “Big vision” center will require a much more substantial investment. At the 9-27-07 task force meeting, raising the sales tax was the method proposed.

Before the group could determine the best scenario for the community, it was determined that more information was needed about…
• Private investment plans for the Hyatt and the Prime: The hotel has expressed interest in pursuing the convention center idea and a private hotel developer has expressed interest in building a 400 room hotel next to the POCC.
• Development plans for Bay Street and LaVilla: A JEDC task force designated Bay Street as downtown’s entertainment district and LaVilla’s sky way station is slated for “transit oriented development”. A local development group also shared with the task force its plans to develop a retail/entertainment complex across from the POCC, which would include two hotels.
• JEDC’s take on the Hyatt and POCC options: The subcommittee would like to hear from Ron Barton on the location and the type of subsidy being discussed for both options.
• JTA’s concrete plans for transit oriented development: This information is pertinent given concern about placing the Amtrak and/or Greyhound station inside the POCC.
• Affect on the labor force: The group is wrestling with the number and types of jobs that will be created.


PUBLIC COMMENT: None

MEETING ADJOURNED: The meeting was adjourned at 7:00 p.m.


Dude, if you read this far down you should really go to the meeting tonight.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

MEETING MINUTES



I have had some questions about bagging of meters and FL/GA stuff, so I thought I'd publish the minutes of the DVI meeting on the subject of game day parking and downtown exodus. Good info about the two waying of the streets. Hard to find info. Enjoy!

Downtown Vision, Inc.
Retail Operations Meeting Minutes
October 8, 2007
Burrito Gallery


1. Welcome & Introductions
Terry Lorince, executive director of Downtown Vision, invited the group to introduce themselves. Representatives attending the meeting to listen to and address retailer concerns included: Jacksonville City Council Executive Assistant Scott Wilson, District 4, Jacksonville City Council Executive Assistant Jenny Huxford, At-Large Group 2; Sgt. Booker, JSO; Director Al Kelly, JSO, Sgt. Leonard Propper, JSO; David Hahn, Public Works; Joe Trottie, JTA; Mike Bouda and Lindsey Ballas, JEDC; Elaine Lancaster, City of Jacksonville Property Safety Division; and Theresa Price, Sarah Horn and Jamie Hupp from the City of Jacksonville Department of Special Events. Amy Harrell, director of district services, Downtown Vision; Mark Hemphill, Mark's and Dive Bar; Brendon, TSI; Bert Hayden, Republic Parking; Mandy Rupp, Daniel James Salon; David Ball, Financial News & Daily Record; Tony Allegretti, Burrito Gallery (thanks for hosting); Gail Carter, Ga' La-Car.

2. Changing Downtown Streets to Two-Way
David Hahn gave an update on the city's planning process to begin changing some Downtown streets from one-way to two-way. Planned streets include Pearl Street between Forsyth and Ashley, Julia Street between Beaver and Union, Laura Street between Monroe and Independent, Independent Drive between Laura and Newnan, Bay Street between Ocean and Newnan. The city is also planning to reverse traffic on Julia Street between Bay and Pearl from northbound operation to southbound operation.

David informed the group that the funds for this project have been allocated, and planning is underway. The city hopes to begin construction by next summer.

3. Improving Access to Downtown Retailers During Special Events
Terry began the conversation by referencing issues brought up by Downtown retailers at the previous Downtown retail meeting in regards to patrons having access to businesses and parking during special events. She also mentioned concerns brought up by Downtown residents, office workers and neighboring communities, particularly Springfield. Amy explained that this meeting was intended to provide the opportunity for all voices on the subject to discuss the issue from both logistics and marketing perspectives.
Director Kelly agreed that the growth of Downtown necessitates the need to review current bagging procedures and traffic patterns to include access and stated his willingness to work with the Downtown community to the best of his ability while still addressing the needs of logistics for large events.
Mark Hemphill explained that the early bagging of meters for events was scaring patrons away from Downtown businesses. As an example, Mark commented that meters along Bay Street were bagged at 8pm on Thursday for the 5pm Saturday Florida State v Alabama game. Sgt. Propper explained that Bay Street is frequently used as a taxi stand during large events to provide transportation for visitors to The Landing. Mark suggested that meter bags be printed with more information, such as "No Parking after 5:00 am. on gameday." Director Kelly supported the idea of permanent signage on parking meters that stated no parking at certain times on game days, which would minimize early bagging and relieve some of the work of the officers. It would also help prevent from having to tow vehicles for overnight parking on gameday. Sgt. Propper agreed to try bagging meters at 5am Sunday for the next Sunday game, instead of bagging meters the night before. He agreed to provide an account for the number of cars that needed towed due to parking overnight. Mark and Downtown businesses agreed to let the city know if bagging the meters later helped their business.
Director Kelly reminded the retailers that if patrons' cars are towed due to bagging meters at 5am, that the patron would likely complain to the businesses.
Mark asked Director Kelly about removing the meter bags following the event, citing instances where bags have been left on meters after the event is finished. Director Kelly stated that this should absolutely not happen, and encouraged Downtown businesses to contact Sgt. Propper to have bags removed if they are left up.
Amy agreed to work with Sgt. Propper to get information about meter bagging in advance and pass that information along to businesses in the area.
Sgt. Propper stated that there would be a lot going on in Downtown over the next few weeks, including the filming of the HBO Film "Recount," Monday Night Football on October 22, Florida Georgia Weekend and the ACC Championship in December. He encouraged the businesses to have patience and reminded them that patrons of these events also visit Downtown businesses.
Brendon from TSI stated that, while the additional patronage is welcome, large Downtown events sometimes keep regular patrons away because of the atmosphere or logistics. He encouraged everyone to work together to minimize inconvenience to the locals during large special events.
Tony brought up a concern that the Downtown and Springfield communities cannot cross State and Union during many large special events and stated that it is nearly impossible to get from Springfield to Downtown during Jaguar games. Director Kelly agreed to look at the traffic patterns and find a way to improve access.
Director Kelly stated that all officers working during events are instructed to let Downtown workers, guests and residents access places they need to go by moving barricades, but emphasized that it is the role of the driver to ask JSO to allow access. The group agreed to help spread the word about this policy to minimize inconvenience to residents, workers and patrons of Downtown.

4. Special Events Update
Theresa gave an update on upcoming events, including Florida Georgia weekend. She stated that the trolleys would be running from Thursday through Saturday to help move people through Downtown, and explained that additional stops had been made at Bay & Liberty Streets and Adams & Ocean Streets to accommodate Downtown businesses.

5. Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held in mid-November. The date and location have not been decided.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Last Man Standing



Biggie Tea will NOT be djing at Marks tonight. No, I am not still bitter about losing last weeks vinyl battle royal. Nor am I bitter about losing my blog crown. Ok, little deflated maybe.

Its just that this is the swan song for Robbie Schenck, acustic maestro at Marks tonight. If you have ever heard the acustic bay you will want to try to make this show. Robbie is very good live. Show some love.

The King is dead.



Long live the King.

Congrats to Joey and David Luckin!

I should also congrat Mr. Owen. I said some nice things about him yesterday but it was admittingly under a confusing (to me) mayoral memo. Thats just not right. So best of luck to the black kids who are turning the world over.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sweet



This is a story that was emailed to me and I thought was really sweet. I'm not sure I could give up left hand turns, though it will be easier with two way streets downtown. I am going to try to walk more.

by Michael Gartner, editor of newspapers large and small and president of NBC News. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.

My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car. He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

"In those days," he told me when he was in his 90s, "to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it."

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in: "Oh, bull----!" she said. "He hit a horse."

"Well," my father said, "there was that, too."


So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines, would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. "No one in the family drives," my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes, my father would say, "But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll get one." It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first. But, sure enough , my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown.

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car.
Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't make sense to my mother.

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father's idea. "Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?" I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.
Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage. (Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin's Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home. If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests "Father Fast" and "Father Slow."

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: "The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored."

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, "Do you want to know
the secret of a long life?"

"I guess so," I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

"No left turns," he said.

"What?" I asked.

"No left turns," he repeated. "Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic. As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never a gain to make a left turn."

"What?" I said again.

"No left turns," he said. "Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer. So we always make three rights."

"You're kidding!" I said, and I turned to my mother for support "No," she said, "your father is right. We make three rights. It works." But then she added: "Except when your father loses count."

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.

"Loses count?" I asked.

"Yes," my father admitted, "that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again."


I couldn't resist. "Do you ever go for 11?" I asked.

"No," he said " If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week."

My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and news papers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, "You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred." At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, "You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer."

"You're probably right," I said.

"Why would you say that?" He countered, somewhat irritated.

"Because you're 102 years old," I said.

"Yes," he said, "you're right." He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said: "I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet."

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words: "I want you to know," he said, clearly and lucidly, "that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have."

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.

I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life, Or because he quit taking left turns. "

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the one's who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.

WHOA. Small World





Just now got an email from MOCA. See below. Looks cool.

MOCA Underground
Film Series, Wednesdays, through Dec. 5
Wednesday, Oct. 17, 7pm
I Know I’m Not Alone
Best International Documentary, Harlem International Film Festival
Michael Franti, world-renowned creator of the hip hop fusion group Spearhead and social justice activist, travels to Iraq, Palestine and Israel to explore the human cost of war.
$6 Members/Students, $8 Non-Members
.....................................................................................................................................................

More posts coming up. Busy week if you kick off your shoes do something!

Death Knell



I am in a super positive mood having see Michael Franti and Spearhead Saturday night at a sold out Freebird. Note to Freebird cameras and flat screens are cheap. Lets get one so everyone can see! There wasn't a mosh pit, there was a hug pit. Positivity is huge. Hugs are good. I'd like to see them play in Hemming. Maybe a free show. We can dream.

Sometimes its hard to stay positive because there are challenges and it is easy just to avoid thinking and doing and click on the television.

I am going to try to do more, to learn more, and to contribute more.

I've been trying to understand the tax cut consequences and city budget but its NOT EASY to get a handle on it. Then I get an email that says: The Nightmare Never Ends

and contains this:

MEMORANDUM



TO: Mayor John Peyton

FROM: Adam Hollingsworth

DATE: October 15, 2007

Re: Update on Property Tax Reform Efforts in Tallahassee

This memo is in response to your request that I provide you with the latest information regarding proposed changes to the property tax constitutional amendment. As you know, the original amendment, passed by the Florida Legislature in June, was ruled unconstitutional by the Leon County Circuit Court in September.

The Legislature has until October 29 to cure the defects and still ensure its appearance on the January 29, 2008 ballot.

Rather than modify the existing amendment, the Governor and Legislature are proposing a completely new constitutional amendment. We have reviewed the legislative language released by the Governor as to his proposed changes to the constitutional amendment. We have also reviewed the documents released by the House leadership as to their recommendations. Several of the elements cannot be quantified without experiential data or legislative language. For that reason, we are estimating a range of negative impact to Duval County of between $50 million and $100 million annually. This number will be further refined as we have additional data.

The Senate will begin their committee deliberations on this issue Monday, October 15. The House begins on Tuesday, October 16. We expect floor votes and adjournment by Thursday, October 18. I will be in Tallahassee for the duration of the special session. As they did during the June special session, the Duval Delegation is already engaging on our behalf.

Below, please find a summary of the policy proposals and their costs (known and unknown) and our “asks” of policy makers. As always, call me to discuss as necessary.

Summary of Policy Proposals

Governor’s Proposed Additional $25,000 Homestead Exemption $40,500,000
(Exempts the first $50,000)

House’s Proposed Additional $25,000 Homestead Exemption $32,800,000
(Exempts the first and third $25,000 in value)


Tangible Personal Property Tax $3,100,000
(Governor/House exempt first $25,000 in value)

Statewide Portability of Save Our Homes (SOH) $2,300,000**
(Governor’s version has no cap on how much can be ported, but does pro rate for homes purchased at lesser value)
(House version caps SOH to be ported at $1 million)

1st time Florida homesteader 25% exemption $2,300,000**
(Governor has no limit to the amount of exemption)
(House proposes to limit exemption to 25% of median county market value)

Eliminate property taxes for low income seniors $2,300,000**
(In House Proposal)

Affordable Housing Tax Limitations $1,700,000**
(In House Proposal)

Protection of Working Waterfronts $1,700,000**
(In House Proposal)

Energy Efficiency Investment Tax Breaks Cannot Quantify
(In House Proposal)

Presumption of Correctness / Burden of Proof. $4,200,000**
(In House Proposal)

**PLEASE NOTE: There are far too many variables to adequately quantify the actual impact. It will take several years of actual performance to develop predictable trend data. In addition, this impact DOES NOT include the statutory cap passed last summer by the Florida Legislature or additional changes that are possible in the October special session or the 2008 regular session.

TOTAL IMPACT TO DUVAL COUNTY -- $50 million to $100 million annually

Recommended Modifications for Policy Makers

Total Cap on Local Government Revenue: This should be eliminated…it is a death knell to Duval County.

Homestead Exemption: Exempt the first and third $25,000, rather than the first and second $50,000 (This is the House proposal.)

Portability: Index the cap to 100 percent of the county median market value of homesteaded residential properties. A cap of $1 million (as suggested in the House version) ported into a less affluent county as compared to the “county of departure” will create additional inequities. Notwithstanding the proposed provision dealing with portability events wherein a homeowner is moving into a home of lesser value, the cap feature will create instances where the inequities of Save Our Homes are exacerbated. Example: Resident moves from a home with a market value of $1.6 million to a home in another county with a value of $400,000. Under the current House language, this person can port an 85% exemption ($400,000 x .85 = $340,000 exemption). Thus the assessed value of the new home would about $60,000. Then the enhanced exemption will apply and thus the new homes net taxable value will be about $10,000. His next door neighbor moving into a very similar house with no portability will pay taxes on $350,000 taxable value – inequitable by any measure.

Eliminate property taxes for low-income seniors: The total exemption should be limited to two times the county median market value of homesteaded residential properties. This still ensures that those that need it most will get the relief intended by state policy makers. In reviewing Duval County’s current list of senior homestead exemption holders, it becomes apparent that while household income (IRS reportable income) is the best tool we have in gauging wealth, it is an imperfect indicator. In Duval County’s case, about 3%, or some 280 such exempted properties, are valued at more that twice the median market value of the county. And there are a handful of extreme examples where the home is market valued at more than $1 million and the homeowner somehow qualifies for the current senior exemption and still manages to pay taxes on several hundred thousand dollars in remaining taxable value ($1 million less accrued SOH offset less existing $25,000 existing exemption).

Current statutory language dealing with ad valorem taxation: If possible, ensure that if the newly proposed constitutional amendment passes, the prior statutory limitations on ad valorem increases are eliminated in total or as nearly so as possible.

Please note that our recommendations are rather limited. One major reason is that we have not seen the details and thus cannot evaluate precisely how each of the proposed features will actually function. There may well be details we seek to modify once we see the legislative language.

Seven Reasons Why a Total Revenue Cap is Bad for Duval County

The Cap Locks in Inequities and Investment Gaps Between Local Governments – In comparing Duval County to six other large local governments, Duval County ranks last in police spending, second to last in fire spending and last in parks spending. For the last decade-plus, Duval County has lowered the millage rate each and kept spending in check. However, investments are needed in this growing community – investments that have already been made in other local jurisdictions. However, the total revenue cap would lock in the investment gap and forever handicap Duval County’s ability to meet the quality of life needs of the community.

Local Services Will Suffer -- Another challenge is that the growth in public safety expenditures will continue to outpace the limited revenue growth available under the cap. Representing nearly 50% of Duval County’s General Fund, the impact of higher than allowed growth for public safety expenditures will force greater cuts to all other provided services. Non-public safety services will continue to suffer at an alarming rate as those services would have to be cut because revenue could not be generated to fund critical services. Under this proposal, there will be more library hour reductions, fewer recreation programs offered, less maintenance for public buildings and reduced investment in streets, drainage and community infrastructure.

Bond Ratings Will be Negatively Impacted -- The revenue cap will likely have a negative impact upon bond ratings for Florida’s local governments. While revenues for debt service are excluded from the proposed cap, the limited ability to raise revenues in the future for expenditures or debt service is a strong negative factor for the rating agencies.

Pension Obligations Could Drive Service Cuts -- Duval County’s retirement system is locally controlled unlike much of the rest of the state that is controlled by Tallahassee. Unfavorable investment conditions can create temporary funding requirements required by state law that would be difficult to meet without impacting service levels in other areas.

Expanded Services and Investment Would be a Challenge -- The revenue cap is a serious infringement upon home rule. Local governments will not have the flexibility to expand critical services based on its community’s individual needs. For example, The Better Jacksonville Plan greatly increased the Jacksonville Public Library system, expanding services to areas that were underserved. As a result of this expansion, the annual operating budget for the Public Library was dramatically increased. Under the Governor’s proposal, this expansion would not have been possible.

Caps Imperil the Local Government’s Ability to Respond to Immediate, Emergency Needs – Under the tight cap proposed by the Governor, few, if any resources will be available for reserves or unforeseen expenses. As a result, Duval County’s ability to meet emergent needs such as immediate public safety investments could be impaired and may not be possible at all.

In addition, Duval County’s ability to respond to emergency situations such as the storms of 2004-2005 would be impaired as well. The cleanup associated with these storms came to more that $16 million – a true hurricane of any magnitude would be much more (FEMA did reimburse most of this but 24 to 30 months later).

State Mandates Would Consume Resources that Could Consume the Precious Few Dollars Available to Fund the Local Government -- The state of Florida mandates certain local government expenditures. These include costs associated with the operations of Courts, Clerk of Court (local service portion), Tax Collector, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of Elections, State Attorney (partial), Public Defender (partial), Juvenile Justice, Sheriff/Jails and Medicaid (partial). These costs easily exceed $100 million currently and many are rising faster than budgets in non-state mandated area. Mandated Juvenile Justice payments rose from zero in 2004 to $6.6 million in FY 2008. The Governor’s proposal includes no revenue exclusion for these expenses and thus may well result in diminished service levels in locally controlled areas.



Today's paper had a different take with this headline:

Budget cuts leave Florida Sky Intact ? Since City Council passed the budget (with new fees) we are ready, or are we not? Just wondering.

Then flog gets rid of one of its founders. No he's not starting the Blowin' Homes Yard Service. Rumors that he quit because I didn't get the Best Blogger Alive are unfounded. He's going to be a rock star and save Darfur or something.

We aren't losing cool young people, we're gaining ambassadors. Best of luck to the kids. Don't forget to shout out Duvvvvaalllllllll.


Stay human.

Oh. Sorry about my Myspace hack, friends. Apparently it is common. Change your password.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

BURRITO WILL BE CLOSED SATURDAY!




For a very special event. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Biggie tea narrowly lost the vinyl showdown between Downtown and Uptown (Springfield). Using wireless phones for updates, dj deadtank brought out more of a crowd. We had fun anyway. Downtown will be back.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Lets listen to some Mashuptown and ride bikes down the two ways



Eric G posted a cool song in the comments at UJ. I now reside in Mashuptown.

So only vinyl scratchups tonight at Mark's. Call jazz and see if she'll babysit.

I think its biggie tea verses deadtank tonight. Someone told me that Jubinsky is spinning records at Shanty tonight. They also poked me in the chest. Where is your vinyl, downtown or springfield? Both?

Two ways!

NOT WORK SAFE & other news

The Seventh Time

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The video above is not work safe. Don't let this be the song that gets you written up.

Its from a couple of guys I grew up with. I think Los Angeles has finally taken its toll.

So here is the breakdown of the traffic meeting yesterday:

1. The city will bag meters a little later before game days. And after so you can park in front of the Museum for Brunch. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CAR ON BAY STREET overnight the night before a game. We will try to have some signage that lets you know, but try to remember.

2. The city/DVI is working on ways to show, perhaps on a map ways to:
a. cross downtown post game
b. get to downtown businesses post game, especially if you are coming from the game.

3. If you are doing anything special for the FL/GA train, let special events know and they will post it at their site.

4. We still have bums.

5. A TON of the CORE of DOWNTOWN IS CHANGING TO TWO WAYS! YAY! Two way STREETS downtown. LIKE A NEIGHBORHOOD AND EVERYTHING. I'm must have been sleeping. This came out of nowhere and it is funded. I think this is huge. Totally!
FOOKING BRILLIANT. I will make copies of the plan and have them available at Mark's from 10pm to close. Nothing is concrete but it is funded. Let me know how many I should make. My email is theurbancore at gmail . com.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Call to anyone who drives in the urban core on game day!



I posted a comment about a meeting today at the Burrito Gallery at Urban Jacksonville.

The meeting is about the traffic plans that JSO and our city has for after big events at the sports and entertainment complex. Basically if you haven't been to a truck pull or jags game, Adams, Bay, and State Street are all lanes West bound so that you can't help but getting on 95 smoovely. Oh and you can't turn off any of them either, possibly to get a beer or burrito or shooter or whatever. In addition to that you can't cross any of these either. If they are not roadblocked, manned by JSO (who will not let you through, end of story), then the lights are blinking and with four lanes of traffic going one way for 60,000 plus, its as good as blocked off.

If you have an experience or other such comment on this please let me know. I've gotten a couple since my comment on UJ. Like my mom couldn't go to mass on Christmas eve (true story, from Springfield). Or I was at publix in Riverside and couldn't get home in Springfield and I had ice cream! (not as true but close). Or I just opened an independent record store in Springfield and most of my consumers come from Riverside (soon to be true), etc..

I think only retailers were invited to this meeting and even some of them didn't get the memo. If you look on DVI's website you can get the latest hours for dinner at Chew.

Artists! How to break into the Ponte Vedra Art Scene!



Step one: Ask your Dad for $100.

I typically don't like call to artists where artists have to pay anything because frankly even the great arteests don't make any money creating their art in the river city. Since most of you haven't quit your day job and since this is an opportunity for exposure where conceivably people buy art, I'm throwing it out there. BEST OF LUCK!

Also- To be fair most Juried Competitions, if not all, cost money. Plus as you will read below The Cultural Center is willing to kick in and use your entry fee towards membership which has some compelling upside.




Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach Announces Inaugural Artist Members Only Exhibition

Call To Area Artists - We Want Your Art!!

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL - October 2, 2007 - CALLING ALL ARTISTS!!

The Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach is looking for local and regional artists to participate in the First Annual Juried Artist Member Exhibition at The Cultural Center. This exhibition will showcase some of the First Coast's finest artistic talent.

Are you a watercolor artist, a mixed-media or an abstract expressionist? We want to see it all! For this inaugural exhibition, there will be no restriction of medium.

This exciting exhibition will run at The Cultural Center from December 7, 2007 - January 12, 2008 and will be curated by two of the First Coast's finest artists - photographer Jay Shoots and painter John Bunker.

The cost to enter is $25 for up to three entries. If the applicant is not currently an Artist Member of the Cultural Center, then this $25 entry fee will be applied to an Artist Membership, which is normally $125 annually. "Because this is a members only show, we are going to apply the $25 entry fee for this show towards an Artist Membership. We are also going to kick in $25 additional dollars, making the annual membership fee just $75." explains Cindy Stoddart, Cultural Center Executive Director.

Artist Memberships are new for the Cultural Center and come with many creative benefits, such as:
Complimentary passes to "The Art of Doing Business" presented by Fidelity Investments. "The Art of Doing Business" is an annual series of six programs designed to help promote, publicize and market yourself and your art to others and to insure success in your creative pursuits.
Listing on Cultural Center web site.
Link from Culutral Center web site to Artist web site.
Discounts at area retail stores like Crafts and More, Piano Expo and more
To find out more about this exhibition, how you can submit your artwork and download the entry form, please visit www.ccpvb.org.

The deadline for entries, November 2nd, is fast approaching so hurry and submit your work today!

Still have questions? Call Jessica Ryals at (904) 280-0614, ext 204.

About the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach
The Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach is a 501c3 not for profit organization whose mission is to bring the arts into the life of our communities through arts education, art appreciation and community outreach.

The 8,000 square foot Center features an art gallery, dance studio, two multi-purpose arts and crafts room, office space and a music room for one-on-one instruction. In addition to hosting a series of art exhibits featuring local, regional and national artists, the Center also offers a year-round schedule of arts activities and education such as art and music appreciation lectures and workshops, hands-on instruction and classes and a wide array of art camps for children of all ages.

The Center also provides critical arts education outreach programs throughout St. Johns and Duval counties to those who often benefit most from, but are least likely to have access to the arts such as at-risk youth, children with disabilities and seniors.
Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach
50 Executive way, PVB, FL
(904) 280-0614 | www.ccpvb.org
Contact: Sandy Wilson, Development & Marketing Director

Friday, October 05, 2007

FIVE POINTS for going out!



Good art. Local indie business. Fun movie. First Friday sounds like a hoot in Five Points tonight. Check out the buzzz.

I also heard that the First Friday in Springfield (80% LESS STUPID than last one!) will be on east 10th. Those are fun if you don't run into that one grump. I also heard that there is a rererereopening of 9th and Main. If anyone can do it the Justisses can!

I think thats the first time I've ever linked to 9th and Main. Maybe thats what will do it for them. Best of luck to those making things happen! Have a great weekend.

Clear you calendar for Tuesday night. All biggie tea all vinyl is back at Marks. Best sound downtown.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I'm reminded about another thing tonight



Mostly because they are prepping it outside my office. So thats FIVE things tonight all at the exact same time.

Oh yeah and,

Not going.

CRISIS DOWNTOWN



Cool pic above stole from Jacksonville Confidential's art walk photo recap. Jacksonville Confidential did not win Best Blogger Alive. Probably because of the giraffe fight video. That was gross.


I am so stressed out. Tonight I am supposed to be in FOUR places at the exact same time. Allow me to pass on my stress. There is no order to this list.

1. The End of Suburbia film at FUEL. The name itself and the name of the venue are enough to get me there not to mention I am on the board of RADO who is presenting the show.



Not going.

2. Design for Life party with Model Citizen, David Luckin (for such a great show and a blessing for the city and for it to be one of the only locally produced radio music show, WJCT goes out of their way to NOT promote it on the web. Sorry for the little rant, but come on. Be PUBLIC radio), benefitting NFAN. This is one of the Gallery Restaurant Groups favorite charities. We'll be serving cheese plate, chorizo, olives, tabouli, Hummus. Our hummus is Yummus... MMMM HHMMMMMM. 10% off cool ass furniture too.




Going because I have to talk to Shaan but I will be late.

3. Convention Center Task Force. I have been going to all of these meetings. I had a speaking engagement once and sent Clement to the Tampa trip. I think he took better notes than I could have. This is a huge issue for me and I have lot to say. Tonights meeting is the first for the subcommittee I am sitting on, Community ROI.



Not going. Sending in some comments. There are two more meetings. Called JCCI to beg forgiveness.

4. Downtown Vision Annual Meeting. Talking about having a lot to say. I think this is a make or break year for downtown. Of course we'll make it but we need every body focused. I'm hoping that the accountability of having all their business in the sunshine will help boost stakeholder confidence. I need a boost.



Wouldn't miss it for the world.


It sucks that all these important events are one damn night.

So if you go to any of these and feel like I really missed something. Holler.

Oh also check out: Cool art walk stories at the Daily Baily. Congrats the Art Center and to the Carling for hosting them. Seriously.