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THE FLOG

Last night, the roughly 7 percent of undecided Florida voters were “treated” to the second of three gubernatorial debates between former Gov. Charlie “The Tanned One” Crist and current Gov. Rick Scott, best known for his previous work as Harry Potter villain Voldemort. In typical Florida fashion, this debate featured what could have possibly been the most awkward start to a debate in the history of debates, which is pretty hard to do considering that debates are to awkwardness what baseball is to spitting. As many of you are by now aware, Rick Scott held up the start of the debate for several minutes by refusing to take the stage in protest of Charlie Crist having a fan under his podium in what is now being termed #fangate (because everyone’s so clever; FWIW, #fantrum is much better). 

Scott’s campaign contended that Crist broke the rule that there were to be “no electronic devices” at the debate. While technically correct, as pointed out by the moderator, this was a bold move for someone who would have a hard time convincing a court that he is not a Disney animatron (LOL, j/k — we all know Scott isn’t an animatron; he’s obviously a reptilian). Perhaps Scott thought that the fan would unjustly help Crist appear cool and collected, or maybe the current gov wanted to throw Crist off his game by taking away his ever-present binky. Truth be told, Scott was probably just bitter because he wasn’t allowed to take onto the stage his own electric device of choice — a laser death ray.

As Scott continued to hold out, for about six minutes, a confused panel of moderators (including Times-Union editor Frank Denton) and a befuddled Crist were left on the Broward College stage wondering what the hell to do. The moderators were about to bust into their vaudeville routines, while Crist was considering running back and forth between the two podiums debating himself, which probably …   More

THE FLOG

All the single ladies! All the single ladies!

If you’re in Jacksonville and you like it, then you better put a ring on it; there may not be many more options for you. A recent Pew Research Center study shows that Jacksonville is the second-worst city in the nation when it comes to the ratio of employed single men to single women, at 70 to 100. And while it’s sexist to assume that men should always be the household breadwinner, this may help explain a little why your hardworking sister  tolerates her lethargic, alcoholic, video-game-junkie loser of a boyfriend.

Coming in last just below J-ville? Memphis, with a 59-to-100 ratio of employed men to single women. Of course, this is not really a fair comparison, because while the unemployed men in Memphis are (presumably) cool blues players, here they’re George Zimmermans.

These statistics have to be frustrating for local ladies looking for a stable partner, but I have to be honest, they frustrate me as well. There’s nothing I love more (and by “love” I mean hate) than working a full-time job, writing for several area publications, and trying to start a business to make ends meet while supporting a wife and two kids and then taking stroll through 5 Points only to see the same people I've seen since high school trying their best to inconspicuously light up a J outside of Birdie's, having filled out nary a W-2 for over a decade. And how can they always afford $12 craft microbrews … and huge tattoos? Were my parents the only ones who didn’t purchase a trust fund for their children in the ’80s? But I digress.

OK, ladies, so you may be shit out of luck when it comes to finding the “perfect” (aka gainfully employed) man in Jacksonville, but love and marriage is not always about the financials, right? In light of this recent study, perhaps I can interest you in some of these colorful underemployed bachelors of our fair city, …   More

THE FLOG

Editor's note: Last night two FW contributors, unbeknownest to each other, sent me their unsolicited thoughts on The Great Jaxson DeVille Imbroglio of 2014. Since they staked out decidedly different terrain — in this corner, Richard David Smith III, best known as the Juror Who Blew Up the Dunn Trial, arguing that it's pretty much the kind of lowball antics you’d expect from the Jags operation; in the other corner, AG Gancarski rising to Jaxson’s defense and saying we all need to chill the eff out a little — I mashed up their essays into one Flog post. You decide: Is this something we should get worked up about?  

First up, RDSIII: Is it really that much of a surprise that this sort of thing comes from the Jacksonville Jaguars? 

Our beloved Jacksonville Jaguars have once again made national headlines for all the wrong reasons. This time around it had nothing to do with on-the-field ineptitude or the trailer park treasure-style stadium amenities. No, sir, this time it was the goofiness on the sidelines that caught the attention of a flabbergasted worldwide sports media. The controversy started when an in-stadium photo was taken and sent to social media featuring Jaguars mascot Jaxson DeVille apparently attempting to take a stab at current-events humor by holding up a sign that read “Towels Spread Ebola,” a dig aimed at Pittsburgh Steelers fans — who show up in droves at Jags games — and the yellow and black Terrible Towels that they ferociously wave. The joke was ill-received and ill-timed considering the countless number of lives lost to Ebola in Africa and the current fear of the nasty virus spreading into a possibly uncontrollable outbreak in America, however unlikely and/or trumped-up that scenario actually is. The topic is certainly par for the course when it comes to edgy comedy platforms (see: recent Saturday Night Live), but for a mascot in a league that is perpetually trying to drive home …   More

THE FLOG

UPDATE: As a result of this story, the schoolteacher referenced in this story has been dismissed from the jury.

Richard David Smith III is a name familiar to Folio Weekly readers, who saw his byline on almost a weekly basis a few years back. Last week, he came very close to serving on the latest Trial of the Century of the Week — the Michael Dunn retrial that tops our local news every evening. But it didn’t quite happen.

Smith spent three days at the courthouse for jury screening, a process he describes as “very long” and filled with “odd questions” from “too many lawyers trying to be comedians,” making “a lot of jokes about budget cuts.”

Some of those japes came from Angela Corey, who seems intent on improving her public image with this case. Folks on hand were treated to cornball quips like “I might break into song,” a joke she made while being told to hold the mic by the judge.

Many of the questions, Smith says, had to do with “race and gun ownership” — a trend reflected in the composition of the jury, many of whom have guns. It seemed to him — and to me — that the sweet spot in jury selection, those agreeable to prosecution and defense, led to a preponderance of gun owners with children. Given the fact that 10 of the 12 jurors are white, clearly there were factors other than race that came into play.

“I think the defense wanted white males, particularly gun owners,” he says. “I couldn’t quite figure out what the prosecution was looking for other than minorities and/or people with children.”

During the jury selection process, Smith asked for and received a private sidebar. When he divulged that he had written for Folio Weekly in the past, he says, “Angela Corey expressed great sensitivity to things that had been written about her there.” [Editor’s note: Ha.]

“She said, ‘you know …   More

THE FLOG

Here’s a little gem from the bowels of the Internet for your Friday morning reading pleasure. Our writer comes from Riverside.

Title: Dear kid who slept in my car last night. 

I know, you really tied one on last night. I foolishly left my car unlocked, as I was out a bit late myself. But you must have been walking home after a long night of partying it up when you mistook my car for a Holiday Inn Express. Fortunately, I don't leave anything valuable in my car.

I'm sorry I woke you up so early, buttercup. It must have been a rude awakening having an angry, 220 lb dude screaming at you at 7 am. It's just that I am not used to people using my car as a quonset hut. But good job stumbling down the street and trying to pretend that my neighbor's car was yours as you fumbled with your keys that would not fit her lock.

I'm usually one to let bygones be bygones, but you did kinda fuck up my leather when you flopped down in my cozy bucket seat. Thanks for not breaking anything else, but I am going to have to ask you to pay a room fee of 50 bucks. In return, you can have your prescription glasses back. I figure that's cheaper than getting a new pair and I can fix the tear in my leather.

Thanks,

Reverend Loki

Church of the Subgenius

Proprietor of Hotel Volkswagen

PS: thanks for not peeing, pooping, or barfing.

 

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THE FLOG

Jason Tetlak, a candidate for the City Council, posted a message and video on Facebook this afternoon announcing that he is no longer accepting campaign donations.

Today I am announcing that my campaign will no longer take donations. To me it is wasteful to raise huge amounts of money to buy things that will end up in our landfill in a couple of months. I'd be more than happy to have you volunteer your time to help me win this election, but I just think your money could be better spent elsewhere.

He points out that, even in the early stages, City Council candidates have raised in excess of $1 million, which he thinks is wasteful. “That money would be better spent donating it to our schools or cleaning up our river,” he says on the video. “ … I don’t want your money, and I won’t accept it even if you offer it to me.”

And, he says, he never enjoyed asking for money in the first place — which, to be fair, is the same thing a whole lot of politicians will tell you, right before they ask you for a check. 

“Will doing things differently cost me the election,” Tetlak asks. “Maybe.” But “winning doesn’t necessarily mean getting elected.” 

It’s worth pointing out that Tetlak, a former elementary schoolteacher, wasn’t quite winning the money game anyway. To date he’s raised a little over $2,300, and has about $500 on hand. His opponent, Jim Love, has raised more than $32,000, and has about $27,000 left. 

Video here:

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THE FLOG

Well, this is depressing: Last year, in the midst of the city’s financial difficulties and with Mayor Brown proposing 14 percent across-the-board cuts (which the City Council eventually replaced with a 14 percent property tax hike), the City Council zero-funded Jacksonvile Area Legal Aid, an organization that provides civil legal services for individuals who can’t afford their own attorneys — like the public defender’s office, only for foreclosures and family law disputes and the like, not criminal cases. This compounded an existing problem: JALA and other legal aid groups across the state have fallen victim to recent waves of austerity. The Florida Bar has halved its funding to legal aid organizations over the last six years. Gov. Scott has vetoed any and all state funding for legal aid, making Florida one of only three states that doesn’t believe the poor should have legal representation when going up against big banks and the like. 

JALA has seen its funding from the Florida Bar Foundation wither from $1.2 million in in 2009-’10 to an expected $250,000 or so next year, which of course means fewer lawyers taking on fewer cases, and fewer poor people having someone to help them navigate the murky waters of civil and family law. And that’s why Council’s decision last year was such a devastating blow — especially considering that the three other counties JALA serves (Nassau, Clay and St. Johns) all pay more-per-poor-person than Jacksonville does, and other major Florida counties pay more than twice what Duval does for legal aid services. 

So it was encouraging, then, that Brown’s budget proposal, released last month, contained $443,000 for JALA, a relative pittance (1 percent of what we dropped on those scoreboards; yeah, I know, those things came from tourist taxes that we can’t use to help poor people, but still) that could help JALA rebuild from the the recent devastating cuts. …   More

THE FLOG

Courtesy of friend-of-Folio Weekly Marvin Edwards, here’s an op-ed the Times-Union published on July 11, 1993, from Thomas Petway III, a partner of Touchdown Jacksonville!, the ultimately successful group that was, two decades ago, trying to land this city a professional football team. 

If we win, we get our NFL team and the excitement of 10 great home games each year [ed. note: 10?], plus a major economic boost that includes 2,000 new jobs and an impact of $1 billion by the year 2000. 

We will have seized the most important moment in our history, ensuring a Jacksonville of the 21st century that will be full of hope and promise and a community in which our children and grandchildren will want to live and work. Jacksonville, too, will be a first-class city! 

Petway goes on to tout Jacksonville’s advantages over competing cities. The first one: 

Having an NFL quality stadium, which Jacksonville is assured with the Gator Bowl renovation agreement reached between Touchdown Jacksonville! and the Mayor’s Office which calls for all NFL renovation costs to be paid by our new NFL team. [Emphasis mine.]

Guess that agreement had a shelf life. 

 

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THE FLOG

Gay marriage legal on southern tip of Florida as four counties all agree gay marriage ban violates U.S. Constitution. Marriages on hold awaiting appeals.

Broward County Circuit Judge Dale Cohen ruled Monday that Florida's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The following day, on Tuesday, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Diana Lewis threw out the gay marriage ban there.  In the past 21 days, four South Florida judges have ruled the ban a violation of the rights of gay residents to equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the U.S Constituion — in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and now Palm Beach. The rulings in all four circuits are stayed pending  appeal by Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi

Florida voters amended the state constitutino in 2008 and made gay marriage illegal.  

On Wednesday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguements in six gay marriage cases from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee, the Associated Press reports today. Each case relates to statewide marriage bans. The Herald reported Monday that the organization Freedom to Marry says LGBT advocates have won more than 30 times in federal, state and appeals courts since June 2013 when the U.S. Supreme Court tossed part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act in ruling in favor of Edith Windsor, a lesbian widow from New York.

Judge Cohen cited Windsor in his Monday ruling, the Herald reports. 

The Florida Supreme Court delivered a ruling on gay marriage. If the circuit rulings hold, it woudn't legalize gay marriage throughout the state, just in the circuits that have legalized it. A Florida Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage is still sometime down the line.   More

Days after Jacksonville resident Curtis Lee submitted a public records request to the office of State Attorney Angela Corey, SAO investigators showed up at his home. They told Curtis he should stop contacting Angela Corey and her public records designees.

Circuit Court Judge Karen R. Cole ruled on August 1 that Angela Corey and two assistant state attorneys violated the state's public record laws in response to Lee's requests for information about the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund. Judge Cole awarded Lee attorneys fees and costs. She also ordered the SAO to change its policy of requiring a money order or cashier's check from the public for records, saying the SAO should accept cash and other forms of payment. And she slammed Corey's office for sending investigators to Lee's home. 

"Plainly, a visit by two SAO investigators to a citizen only days after that citizen had made a public records request directed to the SAO, couple with the advice that the citizen should ‘stop clling the SAO,’ would have a chilling effect on the willingness of the citizen (or most citizens) to pursue production of the public records to which he or she is entitled under Florida law," Judge Cole wrote. 

Lee said he objected to the SAO requirement that he pay for records by money order. He lives 18 miles away from the SAO, and he said, picking up records required him to take money out of a bank and buy a money order, which he argued added to the cost of the records he sought. Judge Cole agreed.

"It was really aggravating to me for several reasons," Lee told me. “It was really inconvenient. I'm 57 years old now. What if I was 78? Why don't they take personal checks? What if I didn't have a car. What if I was in a wheelchair. What is the justification for not taking personal checks?" 

Judge Cole awarded Lee attorneys fees and cost. The ruling will also make it somewhat easier for a regular person to obtain records. Judge …   More

 
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