How did some of these people get elected?
After spending nearly two hours haggling over how much to spend on outside, outside council, because the city council believes their personal 35-member office of general council can’t be trusted to advise them properly on sale of JEA, they went on to discuss Matt Carlucci’s referendum opposing Jason Fischer’s J1 bill that will ask the state legislature to make changes to Jacksonville’s charter, allowing for the city to change from an appointed to elected superintendent. The school board already has the power to do so but has declined coming out forcibly against the J1 bill.
Rory Diamond weighed in first breaking etiquette by trying to withdraw the referendum before there was a vote saying he thought since it didn’t have the force of law it was irrelevant. Imagine that he thought the council’s opinion on a matter that would affect all of Jacksonville is irrelevant. His motion failed so the council now had to go on the record.
There were two reasons council persons gave for not supporting the bill and it’s hard to tell which was more disingenuous. First, LeAnna Cumber and others said that they didn’t know which was better, an elected or appointed super. If you don’t know 98 percent of the country thinks it’s an appointed superintendent, with only two states Florida and Alabama allowing an elected super. It is true in Florida 41 of 67 counties have elected supers but those supers only represent about 15 percent of the state’s children as those districts are small or rural. There is a lot more evidence that says having an appointed super is better too but what’s amazing is Cumber and a few others said they couldn’t be bothered to look it up. That they didn’t care enough to do the research on a subject that will affect the entire city. Let that sink in.
The second reason for opposing the referendum, was the need to let people vote. Michael Boylan basically said since people wanted to vote on the referendum, then people should have to vote on whether having an elected super of not. He didn’t mention once that as of now people can’t vote on the referendum and the majority of the city council did all they could to obstruct the school board and the sales tax vote. This means he must also believe we now have to vote on whatever proposal a state legislator comes up with no matter how ridiculous, harmful or petty.
Also that’s what the J1 bill is, ridiculous, harmful and petty. Fischer didn’t introduce this version of the J1 bill to help children, it won’t, and that makes it harmful. His first version was for an appointed school board which means he was for appointments and against elections before he was for elections and against appointments which makes it ridiculous and its petty because the intent behind his bill is to replace the superintendent who has arguably taken us higher than all the ones that came before her but who has not bent the knee to the city’s donor class, something they cannot stand.
The resolution ultimately failed 9-9 giving Fischer, Curry and their donors, who want to control the school system’s budget and real estate, a victory. Sadly, it will probably be up to the citizens of Jacksonville to take it away.