"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Three Cheers for Jax City Councilmen Crescimbeni and Fussell

Too bad that Clark and Joost got all the headlines last week after the vote to give the Jaguars $4.1 million of our city's money. Their inept decision to leave the meeting early to have a celebratory dinner with the Jags lobbyists embarrassed us all.

The two that should have gotten headlines are Councilmen John Crescimbeni and Ronnie Fussell. These were the only two men on the council who had the backbone to vote AGAINST the deal, and to be vocal about it. Kudos as well to Clay Yarborough, the only other councilmen to vote against the deal. I don't think we'll see these three on the City Council's Ruth's Chris Shuttle, thank God.

No doubt their vote wasn't popular, and I'm sure this season they won't be getting any invites to the Jaguars select skyboxes - but they took the RIGHT position on this. As Tia Mitchell reported, Fussell did not think it right to give the Jags $4.1 million when our city is facing a budget deficit and property tax increases.

Also, Fussell rejected the notion that this $4.1 million dollars was necessary to keep the Jags here in our city. Fussell was quoted as saying:
"It has nothing to do with me being against the Jaguars,” Fussell said. “If 25 percent would make them leave town, I’m sorry — I don’t believe that will happen. and that is what the debate seems to be about."
Amen Mr. Fussell. If the Jaguars lobbyists and Tony Bosselli are spreading the word that we needed to fork over $4.1 million to ensure the Jags will stay, then we should have called their hand. Please don't threaten your taxpaying fans that we must cave in and give you what you agreed would be ours. If the Jaguars are suffering from lack of fan support, why should WE the taxpayers bail them out? Are we here to bail out inept NFL teams that put subpar teams on the field and can't sell tickets? For crying out loud, these guys don't even know their market well enough to realize that in this rabid Gator/Christian town if they signed Tim Tebow they would have sold out the stadium for the next 3 years!

Crescimbeni even tried to add an amendment that would require Jags owner Wayne Weaver to give back the $4.1 million if he moved the Jags to another city before the end of the 5-year Everbank deal. Even THIS was voted down by our city council. Not good enough. Need to give them the $4.1 million free and clear.

Why? What did the Jags lobbyist tell our city officials for them to act so irresponsibly?

Look, I know the arguments as to why we "had" to do this: the $4.1 million wasn't going to our general budget anyways, we wouldn't have been able to use it for teacher's salaries or our libraries, etc. Ron Littlepage summarized the arguments well.

But you know what? It is our councilmen who should have lobbied the Jaguars to tell THEM we need the $4.1 million, and that we WANT TO PUT IT INTO OUR GENERAL FUND. Yes, the Jaguars should recognize that our city is in trouble financially, and their fan base is facing rising taxes and diminishing city services. They came after the $4.1 million because they knew the COULD, and our city officials obliged.

Finally, the votes cast by our councilmen, the comments made by them about having to do this to keep the Jags, and then the sickening sight of Clark and Joost heading to Ruth's Chris to have a celebratory dinner with Boselli and the Jags lobbyist: this SHOULD have the attorney general's office looking into this deal very closely to see just how far the Jag's lobbyist twisted our city officials' arms to get his hands on our $4.1 million, and what conflicts of interest any of the city officials might have had.

And this comment from Councilman Reggie Brown just takes the cake:
“Without this team, let’s face this, folks,” said Councilman Reggie Brown, “people don’t really have a reason to stop here.”
Wow. Well, Reggie, with Councilmen like you and Clark and Joost who don't look out for our financial interests, you're giving our citizens less of a reason to STAY and LIVE in Jacksonville, when options in neighboring counties are looking more attractive day by day.

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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Professional sports is like professional religion; they attempt to make us believe that we are nothing without them.

I wouldn't "let them go elsewhere", I'd say "get the heck outta here".

Anonymous said...

If the team can't make it on their own then let them leave and the sooner the better...no one wants a loser and especially when the tax payer is putting up the money!!!

Jim said...

Way to go Ronnie! He's got my vote next election. I have not voted for Mr. Fussell in the past, but I will now, based on this one, courageous act. And the BS about not being able to use the money in the general fund. That is the oldest argument in the political book. Just legally move monies from special accounts to cover general fund needs, like libraries, police, firemen, etc. and use the 4.1 million Jag dollars to replenish the special accounts. Give me a break Mr. Littlepage. How absurdly stupid do you consider the voters of Jacksonville? It ain't rocket science, but it is accounting practice which can be made legal and goes on every day. It just may take a few visits with the city attorney.

Anonymous said...

Who paid for the stadium they play in?

If it was the citizens they why do they have to pay for tickets? And why do they pay players so much and get a building for free?

Some of us are not impressed and do not worship sports.

It is all about idolatry. And we are expected to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Did you realize that there will be a lot of new political faces this November? I truly hope so and anticipate it happening!!!

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic:

Witnesses Unto Me [Jason Smathers] > United States Marines duped by pretend jihadist, Ergun Caner

Bennett Willis said...

More off topic.
There is an interesting essay on people who don't deal with facts in Time Magazine (probably the one dated about 8/18). When confronted with the facts (the "true facts") they become more convinced (in certain subgroups) in the validity of their error. It seems very consistent with what we saw for months in the EC case.

Here is a related link to a blog: http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/when-facts-fail-study-notes-that-facts-can-reinforce-false-beliefs/

And this is the link to the report of the study: http://www.springerlink.com/content/064786861r21m257/fulltext.html

I'm going to leave these around at a few of the blogs that were involved in the EC discussion.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the city shoul dhave given them the money especially since in the end it won't matter. You won't have a team in 5 years. Then you all can make excuses for why it isn't your cities fault they left regarless of the fact ticket sales have been an issue most years 1998. Yes, I said 1998 because that's when season ticket sales started lagging and people were taking notice to sections of empty seats in the stadium. In 1999when the team went 14-2 there were I believe 2 games that narrowly averted being blackout. And do I really need to mention the last decade?