99 Problems

A signpost on the entrance to Jacksonville City Hall should read, “You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.”

For what else could explain the bizarre decision of our dearly beloved mayor (if you believe most media coverage and the ass-slapping bro-haha they’ve got going down on Twitter on the daily) to side with President “global warming is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese” Trump on his criminally dense decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord? More evidence we’ve entered the fifth dimension: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon-freaking-Mobil, was one of the few West Wingers brave or delusional enough to reportedly try to convince the toddler at the helm of the most powerful military in world history not to withdraw from the deal.

We know what happened. Seems that in the Twilight Zone, Steve Bannon’s reams of Breitbart stories are more persuasive than NASA’s actual science.

Subsequently, ol’ Layaway Lenny Tweeted this gem:


@realDonaldTrump @POTUS campaigned on American jobs, cutting regs that killed those jobs & he won. He’s doing what he said he would do. #jobs

Apparently you can say anything, no matter how stupid, if it ends with #jobs.

After he was called on it by local media, including former Folio Weekly editor Anne Schindler, who long ago moved on to green-screen pastures as an executive producer for First Coast News, everyone’s favorite Tax-and-Spend Republican went elbows-out, warning that editorial boards and columnists to “beware-Producers and Journalists now opine.” Seems he didn’t like Schindler responding to his Tweets with these quips: “3 feet high and rising” and “Tough to be on the wrong side of history AND science.” (You can take the gal out of the alt weekly, but you can’t take the alt weekly out of the gal.)

The mayor later told A.G. Gancarski reporting for Florida Politics that he “didn’t take a specific position,” his Tweet was just a “general statement of support” for the nonsense oozing from that smarmy real estate guy who splits time between 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW and 1100 S. Ocean Blvd.

After Trump provided the rest of the world with fresh evidence that America is no longer the beacon of tolerance, liberty, reason and justice, mayors across the nation struck back by signing a commitment to adopt, honor and uphold the accord’s goals. Signatories include mayors of 17 Florida cities, such as Orlando’s Buddy Dyer, Tampa’s Bob Buckhorn, Tallahassee’s Andrew Gillum, Miami’s Tomás Regalado and St. Petersburg’s Rick Kriseman. Yep, mayors of every major city in Florida. Except ours truly. Hell, even Kissimmee’s Jose Alvarez signed the damn thing. Kissimmee: where reason reigns.

So yet again Jacksonville gets to be the joke of the state. On the bright side, we’ll all be underwater soon enough, so maybe we won’t hear the peals of laughter rising up from Apalachicola, whose Mayor Van W. Johnson also signed.

Speaking of the executive branch’s problems with facts, on Monday, Councilman Danny Becton took a small step for man, giant leap for councilman, by proposing to *gasp!* pay down the pension debt some time before your kindergartner is wishing they could declare bankruptcy on those student loans. His plan is fairly straightforward: Pay 15 percent of revenue increases in the city budget in coming years toward the pension. Each year there’s growth, we’d take 15 percent of that and add it to the total paid in the previous year; hence the payment would increase over time.

Becton is concerned that we’ll be leaving billions of dollars of debt for our children and grandchildren, and that the city’s credit rating isn’t on the mend, anyway, as evidenced by Moody’s Investor Service’s most recent report which left Jacksonville at the Aa2 rating it was downgraded to in 2014, a report in which Moody’s scolded that Layaway Lenny’s plan called “to pay less now, pay more later.”

According to materials presented by Councilman Becton, assuming an annual growth rate of 3.38 percent, which the city averaged over the previous 17 years, if council passes his measure, by 2031 when the pension tax begins, Jacksonville would have paid off a half-billion dollars of the $2.86 billion pension debt set to balloon into $5.9 billion under the current plan, otherwise known as Doing Nothing Until Everyone In Local Politics Is Term Limited Out Of Office.

Some councilpersons present were skeptical, including Jim Love, who said his key issue is that Becton’s plan requires increasing the payment by 15 percent each year, which could eventually eat a sizable chunk into the city’s budget.

But Becton wasn’t dissuaded, asking his colleagues to think on it a spell, and saying that he’s open to their suggestions.

Meanwhile, the executive branch shook the scepter at Danny boy from the fourth floor, growling across the interwebs via Florida Politics, one of Curry’s favorite communication channels, that he wasn’t exactly keen on Becton’s plan to start stroking extra checks for that debt any time soon.

Who cares about science, or math, or leading from the front, not the backroom, though? #Jobs.