Last week, we reviewed the prospects of Connell Crooms, a mayoral candidate who's bound to change the way this city talks about social justice issues.
In that column, I made an error. I posited that Jacksonville City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche wouldn't be interested in running in 2019.
Not for the first time, or the last, I was wrong.
As if wanting to give the lie to my column, Brosche went on First Coast Connect as papers were being dropped off hither and yon (though mostly hither) and all but said she was exploring a run.
Though "focused" on her "responsibilities as council president and some important initiatives launched recently," Brosche will have "the opportunity to get clarity on next steps" when her term ends in June.
I'm not a consultant yet—still a few more stages of Hell to get through from here to there. However, here's some free advice for Brosche.
Run the dadgum race. Time is running short.
Ask Bill Bishop. Or Audrey Moran. Or Rick Mullaney. Or Alvin Brown.
People in this city are fickle. Frontrunners. They love you one minute, then turn on you. Or forget you.
You are, as of right now, In The Conversation. You are the Center of the Conversation.
And for a solid year, you've been brutalized by the mayor and his staff and his allies.
You've been called a liar, had your motives questioned, been insulted forward, backward and sideways. You saw the staff undermine your position as council president.
And when you asserted your prerogative at the Feb. 14 JEA valuation study V-Day party, and cut the mayor's mike as he was about to drop some knowledge, you were shredded on the daily paper's op-ed page.
How can you not run?
They will BURY you if you run for re-election. The knives will come unsheathed for you, no matter how underwhelming the opponent might be, and checks will be cut against you. You won't have the team to keep up with what will be done, both directly and through committees and through passthroughs of passthroughs.
And if you somehow win re-election, what then? I'll tell you what. It's going to look like it will in July, when Bowman moves you to the small office and the edge of the dais. But that's not all bad. It puts you closer to the green room.
You might as well run against Lenny Curry because, either way, you're running against him anyway.
In doing so, you will render yourself heroic, at least in the eyes of many of those who were on the fence about Curry and have yet to see anyone successfully stand up to that machine.
Questions are being raised, by councilmembers (including some who line up with the mayor on more issues than not), and outside the building, about the "boys' club" in the mayor's office.
"Too much testosterone in there," said one ally of the mayor's office, the same one who's said all kinds of unquotable quotes about your presidency.
To function as president in that building as you have, undermined in ways both epic and quotidian, hamstrung by council committees that have often seemed overwhelmed or indifferent to their tasks (a result of the grand coalition that got you installed), you've had to develop nerves of steel.
It's not easy to go up against a mayor with a machine that's Big City and ruthless in every way.
Take that case to the people. You may as well. After months of disrespect, you have no alternative.
Curry is the boss in the video game. Do you have enough tokens to crack the code?
Helping matters along is a crowded field that could get more crowded. Jimmy Hill and Connell Crooms and Doreszell Cohen—they will each get some of the vote.
We have seen utterly marginal candidates for office after office come in with 20 percent of the vote for reasons no outside observer can discern. Hill has run for office before. And Crooms voters will have reasons to vote for him.
The goal is to keep Curry below 50 percent and force a runoff.
How do you do that? That really is the open question.
You've gotten bolder and more blunt, month by month, about how business is done in City Hall. You confirm many people's cognitive biases, or beliefs, or predispositions. Saying things no one else will: This is a double-edged sword.
This is a malleable populace, one that responds to advertising and stimuli. The other side will have that. Level up. They are out to end your career either way.
Res ipsa loquitur.