OurJax is sharing three articles from Wednesday’s Jacksonville.com and The Florida Times-Union. The first two are regarding the City Council stampede to approve the proposed Lot J deal without a thorough review.
Despite a gallant effort by Councilmember Matt Carlucci to require the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) take over negotiations with the Jaguars and provide the council with a market and financial review of the Lot J deal, required of all downtown development projects, the council voted 15-4 Tuesday night instead to support a watered-down resolution by council member LeAnna Cumber. Cumber’s resolution only refers the deal to the DIA for a quick review, setting up a council vote on the deal by December 8.
During a committee meeting earlier in the day, Carlucci said, “Our city, by and large, has lost trust and confidence in the Lot J proposal in a big way.”
The DIA professional review, he said, “will lead to transparency and accountability. These are the very values our citizens are crying out for.”
Joining Carlucci in voting against the Cumber resolution were members Joyce Moran, Brenda Priestly Jackson, and Garrett Dennis.
In addition, Times-Union columnist Nate Monroe shares his opinion about Jaguars president Mark Lamping’s assertion Monday that it will take as much as three quarters of a billion taxpayer dollars for Lot J, other riverfront developments and renovations to TIAA stadium for the Jaguars and NFL to consider extending the Jaguars lease beyond 2030.
“Khan is asking the city to trust him, to pay him cash money upfront for side projects with risky prospects without a guarantee he’ll be here for the long term or won’t rip more home games to faraway lands in the future. He is not extending that same courtesy to the city, which has had to demonstrate its fealty again and again.”
Finally, according to a Times-Union report by Christopher Hong, City Council is being asked to provide $250,000 to reimburse current and former City Hall employees like Brian Hughes and Sam Mousa for legal fees in connection with investigations of efforts to sale JEA.
OurJax encourages you to contact Councilmember Carlucci and thank him for trying to bring transparency and accountability to the Lot J process.
Michael J. Ward