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Mayor’s Ideas to Fix Pension
Mayor Alvin Brown has told a committee investigating the city pension fund woes that money could be raised by selling city property and tapping into the $230 million a year the city receives from the JEA. City Council President Bill Gulliford said the task force has been looking for recurring revenue streams to help fortify the pension fund. He says using JEA funds would be better than raising taxes. The committee, led by local attorney Bill Scheu, plans to release its recommendations on pension reform in January.
$1 Million for New YMCA
The Weaver Family Foundation Fund, now part of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, has given $1 million to the new Riverside YMCA project. An outdoor park to be built on the site honors the family — Weaver Riverside Park will connect the new Y to the Riverwalk and will include such features as a sunrise lawn, a water feature and courtyard seating.
Campaign to Connect Downtown and Beaches
A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to raise $100,000 to provide bus service between Downtown Jacksonville and the Beaches. The private bus service project, a collaboration between Void and The Elbow, is called The Connector. A bus leaves the Jacksonville Beach Pier every hour, dropping off passengers at Underbelly, then picks up folks and takes them back to the pier parking lot. They run 7 p.m.-2 a.m. every Friday and Saturday; the fare is $5 one way, $8 round trip. The crowdfunding campaign at jaxconnector.com runs through Nov. 30.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist has thrown his hat in the ring for the governor’s race. When Crist was elected governor the first time, he was a Republican, but he had his eye on a Senate seat. He ran for the Senate as an independent and lost to Marco Rubio. This time, as a Democrat, he wants to return to the governor’s mansion Gov. Rick Scott spent $800,000 to remodel. Both candidates will have ample time to jab at each other — the election is a year away.
Raising Money for Marissa Alexander
The Free Marissa Now campaign is raising money to help support the legal effort to win freedom for Marissa Alexander through a new trial. It's started a crowdfunding Indiegogo site (tiny.cc/freedomfundraiser) to raise $10,000 by Dec. 31 for the Marissa Alexander Legal Defense Fund. Her legal team is working without pay, but there are still costs. Alexander, a mother of three, was arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly firing a warning shot to defend herself from her estranged husband. In September, a Florida appeals court granted her a new trial due to errors in her original case.
Water Once a Week
With the change to Eastern Daylight Time, Jacksonville residents are reminded that they should reduce lawn and landscape irrigation to no more than one day a week. Residential properties with an address ending in an odd number or places without an address can water on Saturdays. Those with an address ending in an even number water on Sundays. Watering is allowed only between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. year round. Those violating the rules face fines ranging from $50 to $250. Twice-a-week watering returns on March 9, 2014. Don’t be a Water Hog (bit.ly/WaterHogs2012)!
Local Filmmakers Try to Scare Up Votes
If you still need a good scare after Halloween, two Jacksonville men have entered their latest work, “M is for Music,” in the international film competition ABCs of Death: The 26th Director. The three-minute segment is directed by L. Gustavo Cooper, who collaborated with Jack Twachtman, co-owner of Burro Bar and Burro Bags and digital marketing manager for One Spark. Cooper created the One Spark film project “Velvet Road,” about zombies during the civil rights era. Vote for your favorite videos by liking them.
Passengers Decline, But Income Takes Off for JAA
Despite a weak economy and challenging commercial airline environment, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority announced unaudited operating income climbed 10 percent for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. The total number of passengers declined from 5.2 million to 5.1 million this year, but JAA posted a total operating revenue of $66.4 million, it announced in a news release. Total operating expenses were $44.5 million for the year, resulting in an operating income before depreciation of $21.9 million, compared with $17.3 million for the previous year. JAA owns and manages the city’s four airports: Jacksonville International Airport, Cecil Airport, Jacksonville Executive Airport at Craig Airport and Herlong Recreational Airport.