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Current Issues

ALERT: Vote "YES" on straw ballot

JEA employees live here. 
A giant corporation's employees do not. 
Let's NOT be LAST IN LINE for repairs during a hurricane!

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Straw Ballot Information

JEA Straw Ballot Information Sheet Earlier this year, there was a lengthy conversation about the possible sale of JEA. Although the topic of JEA’s value came up in 2007 and 2012, this year’s conversation received considerable public attention and led to the creation of a Special City Council Committee. The Special Committee, which was chaired by Councilman John Crescimbeni, originally consisted of 5 Council members with a charge of studying the Potential Sale of the JEA, and ended up as a committee of all 19 Council members with a charge of studying “The Future of JEA.”

The Special Committee adopted its final report on July 25, which outlines the countless contributions JEA makes to our community, in addition to providing reliable electric, water and sewer service. Some of those contributions included an annual payment to the city’s general fund ($117 million in this year’s budget), the purchase of $20 million of preservation park lands, JEA employees contributing thousands of volunteer hours each year towards various community projects and JEA’s ability to get FEMA reimbursements of 87.5% of the cost of hurricane damage to JEA infrastructure. (Private utilities cannot seek reimbursements from FEMA and instead pass those costs on to their customers.) A copy of the Special Committee’s final report is on the City Council’s web page.

Many people believe the conversation about selling JEA is likely to come up again next year after the city elections. At present, the City Charter states that if the JEA Board of Directors decides to sell more than 10% of JEA, the City Council (by a majority vote) has to then approve the JEA Board’s decision.

Councilman Crescimbeni has always believed that any final decision to sell JEA should be made by the shareholders ─ the citizens and voters of Duval County.

How Should You Vote on the JEA Straw Ballot?



Conclusion

The JEA straw ballot question will be the last item to appear on the November 6th election ballot (except for residents of Atlantic Beach, where it will be next to last). If you decide to skip over some or all of the Constitutional amendments, make sure you go to the end of the ballot to cast your vote on this important question about any future sale of JEA.

Downloadable Information
November 6 Straw Ballot Information Sheet (.pdf)
November 6 Straw Ballot (.pdf)

Amended Tree Preemption Senate Bill Far Worse than Original Bill

CS/HB 521 and CS/SB 574 would preempt local government tree ordinances as applied to private property. CS/HB 521 was substantially amended and no longer preempts ordinances as applied to private property. Instead, the bill prohibits local governments from regulating tree trimming by state agencies and special districts in rights-of-way used for flood protection and drainage control. 

CS/SB 574 (Steube) passed the Senate Community Affairs Committee with a “strike all” amendment that incorporates the narrowed House bill language on drainage rights-of-way. Unfortunately, the amendment also includes language that removes an existing statutory exception for certain local government tree protection ordinances relating to electric utility line rights-of-way, makes local governments liable to electric utilities for power outages and infrastructure damage caused by trees and vegetation, and preempts tree and vegetation regulations applied to single family residential property during declared states of emergency. The League opposes CS/SB 574 and thanks Senators Bean & Rodriguez for voting against it. The bill heads next to the Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee.

Fox News Video: "Digital billboards along roadway distracting motorists"


Video: Fox News

"Media puts spotlight on digital billboard safety concerns"

"A growing number of media outlets are putting the spotlight on safety concerns around digital billboards after the release of a compendium of studies showing the bright, blinking signs are distracting drivers. 

The compendium, first highlighted by the public interest reporting group FairWarning, includes a recent study that found traffic accidents in Florida and Alabama increased 25% and 29%, respectively, where digital billboards have been erected.  The FairWarning piece has been republished by several outlets including California's Capitol Weekly and the Florida Bulldog.

Now the national Fox News Network has aired a report on the concern about driver safety near digital billboards."

-- Scenic America

-- Video by William La Jeunesse, Fox News

Blight Transition Final Report

Mayor Lenny Curry's Transition Subcommittee on Blight delivered its Final Report (.pdf) dated July 17, 2015 to the Mayor and the citizens of Jacksonville.

The Transition Committee was headed by the Hon. E. Denise Lee. The Committee worked hard for weeks delving into what has worked over the years and what has not been working in recent years. The Transition Subcommittee seeks to move the community from "Blight to Beauty" over the coming years. The Transition Committee, like an earlier transition committee focused on neighborhoods in the summer of 2011 (during the Alvin Brown transition), recommended (1) the establishment of an appointed Streetscape Commission and (2) the use of a comprehensive neighborhood map as a tool to empower citizens and neighborhoods to take stock of their assets and identify opportunities for collaboration to enhance their surroundings. These recommendations were nearly identical to the top two recommendations from City Beautiful Jax in the summer of 2011. City Beautiful Jax's president-elect outlined the rationale and vision for these recommendations, and again they were found to be worthwhile for implementation.

Our Heritage

The City Beautiful Coalition, Inc.'s predecessor, JaxPride, was formed and incorporated in 1989. JaxPride: A Coalition for Visual Enhancement, Inc. was an offspring of Greenscape of Jacksonville, which was formed in 1975 and incorporated in 1982 to beautify Jacksonville’s visual environment through its landscape.

Since its inception, Greenscape's mission has more specifically evolved as one to enrich our community through the planting, protection, and promotion of trees.

In 1985, the Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. (JCCI) Visual Pollution Study found that “Jacksonville has no large, vocal constituency that actively works for the passage of legislation to protect and enhance the visual environment.” JaxPride became that organization, and much more.

Since its formation in 1989 by Ann Baker, Jack Diamond and John Welch, JaxPride received numerous awards, each of which was an honor to receive. Some of these awards and recognitions include:

  • ·American Society of Landscape Architects: 2007 Award of Honor for Charrettes
  • ·Mimi and Lee Adams Environmental Award
  • ·Mayor's Neighborhood Service Award
  • ·Florida Planning and Zoning Association: Public Awareness Award
  • ·City of Jacksonville: Certificate of Appreciation
  • ·Keep Florida Beautiful: Certificate of Merit
  • ·Teen Challenge: Certificate of Appreciation
  • ·Yeladim Appreciation of Tu B'Shevat Gift
  • ·Clean it up/Green it up: Appreciation for Efforts to Beautify Jacksonville

This Space Available Film

Billboards and commercial messages dominate the public space like never before. Can we reverse this visual pollution? This Space Available looks at diverse activists from the worlds of advertising, street art, and politics.

Influenced by the writing of Marc Gobé ( Emotional Branding ), his daughter Gwenaelle directs with tremendous verve in her depiction of New Yorkers and others around the world who want to reclaim the integrity of their cities against an onslaught of visual pollution.

Neighborhood Inventory of Visual Pollution (NIVP) Program

Our NIVP Program represents a proven method by which community groups and interested citizens can come together for a purpose: to become better educated on sources of blight and then canvas a neighborhood and collect at one time a single list of the sources of visual pollution that should be redressed by appropriate authorities or, in some cases, by other volunteer groups.

Visit our program's page by clicking here for more information and a brochure that you can share.