Transparency, Integrity and Accountability

Our Guest Column in Sunday’s Florida Times-Union

In an update to the community printed Sunday in the Florida Times-Union, we cited what OurJax believes are different behaviors by local public officials regarding two recent issues: the six-cents gas tax increase, and the current shipyards proposal.

As the guest column said, “OurJax is encouraged and enthusiastic to see the OurJax message being heard and followed. The sunshine is coming back to our city.”

Working together is the key. Because of the commitment to transparency of our over 10,000 members and followers, we are making a difference.

The full guest column is printed below.

OurJax chairman says citizens want local officials to be accountable

Thank you for believing in Jacksonville!

David Miller
OurJax Chair

Guest column: OurJax Chairman Says Citizens Want Local Officials to be Accountable

It’s amazing what is possible when we work together to put the greater community’s well-being above individual interests.

In the fall and winter of 2019, a dark cloud moved over Jacksonville as our citizens were challenged by an inability to trust decisions being made by our public officials. That became obvious as we learned about the scandalous attempt to sell JEA, followed a similar flawed Lot J process, both negotiated in secret, devoid of transparency, and adequate public engagement.

OurJax was formed by a small group of concerned citizens who believe Integrity, Transparency, and Accountability must be incorporated into local government decision-making, and a culture of ethics at that time needed to be restored. We are now 10,000 engaged members and followers who have made it clear we expect much more integrity from our government than we were receiving.

With JEA and Lot J, we believe OurJax adding our voice to those of the former City Council auditor, Council auditor, the city ethics officer, and a number of courageous councilmembers made a difference in both outcomes.

OurJax is encouraged and enthusiastic to see the OurJax message being heard and followed. The sunshine is coming back to our city.

Two recent major issues, the six cents increase in our gas tax for infrastructure and parks, and the Jaguars Shipyards development proposal, are examples of what can be accomplished when transparency is present, policies and procedures are followed, and the community is engaged.

The six cents gas tax increase bill went through numerous changes that resulted in better legislation. The long-awaited Emerald Trail will receive $132 million, parks $100 million, and downtown $50 million.

Prior to the Jaguars’ announcement of its Shipyards plan, team executives met with civic, business, political and community leaders. As a result, the development proposal now includes Jaguars adopting Metropolitan Park to restore it as a community treasure for special events and daily visits. The Jaguars have committed $4 million over 20 years to park maintenance.

The Jaguars have also announced they will be holding “Community Huddles” in fifteen neighborhoods to discuss their plans.

The Shipyards proposal is currently being reviewed by the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) and will be reviewed by the Downtown Design Review Board. The Jaguars also will submit materials that include full disclosure of all market and resiliency studies, construction cost estimates, operating projections, and developer return on investment calculations.

These are major departures from how their Lot J proposal was handled.

The significance of OurJax over the last 18 months clearly demonstrates the difference we can make when individual citizens join together to engage their government officials and demand that decision-making processes be ethical and open to citizen input.

David Miller is Chair of OurJax and Executive Chairman of Brightway Insurance.

Paid for and approved by OurJax, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization.
Formed by Concerned Citizens to Restore Integrity, Transparency, Accountability, and Local Control in Jacksonville’s government.

Copyright © 2021 Our Jax, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Our Jax
50 N Laura St Ste 2500
Jacksonville, FL 32202-3646

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Thank you, Carla Miller!

Dear OurJax Members, For the first year of our existence, circumstances dictated that OurJax focus on public officials who acted to avoid transparency, evade public policy, and ignore

Gas Tax and Shipyards

Dear OurJax Members, Over the past couple of weeks, OurJax has been asked if we plan to take positions on two large local issues being planned. One is