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Jax Daily Record Friday, Feb. 11, 201112:00 PM EST

City Council District 2


As a reader service, the Daily Record plans to present daily information about candidates on the ballot in the spring election. The information is scheduled to be published in advance of early voting, which begins March 7 in Duval County. The Daily Record sent the same questions to council candidates and will publish their e-mailed responses. Candidates were given a word limit. Responses that exceeded it are edited for space.

What is the single most important issue facing your district? What are the most pressing problems facing the City? Would you
support new taxes
or fees to improve
the port and/or
Why should district constituents elect you?
Bill Bishop (incumbent)
There are several, but the biggest is high taxes at all levels of government along with the low perception of value received for taxes paid and the economy in general. High unemployment, loss of jobs, underwater mortgages, home foreclosures affecting neighborhood quality are related effects. The economy in general and more specifically unemployment, the state of our public education system, the long-term economic health of the City and school board, and funding our current and future transportation needs. It would take more than 70 words to outline what Downtown needs to thrive. Suffice it to say, it does not need new taxes or fees. There is already a tax increment district in place. Regarding the port, if new taxes or fees are desired, the case needs to be made to voters why it is in their best interest. In our economic climate, I am not inclined to vote for new taxes or fees. As an architect, I understand what it takes to plan a functioning city and how to balance economic development and neighborhood protections for the mutual benefit of both. Businesses and neighborhoods need each other in order to thrive.
Stephen Heckel
The people of District 2 are facing alarmingly high foreclosure rates and an 11 percent unemployment rate. Increasing taxes and fees only made the situation worse. As the foreclosure rates rise, home values decline. We must stop tax and fee increases and work toward creating jobs. Spending/Budget. I propose cutting the council budget by 15 percent and ending pensions for council members. We should modernize technology at City Hall and streamline departments. Today’s technology enables fewer people to do more, which means council members could share assistants. City accounting and budgeting systems should be easily accessible, like an online checkbook register. Additionally, we could save $3 million per year just by ending the Skyway project. The port is vital to Jacksonville’s future, and we must do everything we can to expand it. However, the City has yet to prove it can plan or manage such a major project. The port’s initial estimated cost is $1.4 billion, but it will undoubtedly be higher and we can’t afford another courthouse-like fiasco. Duval taxpayers can’t afford to spend $2.8 billion on improving the port. Because I’m one of them. I’ve lived in the district for almost 20 years, and I’m just as frustrated as they are with the state of the district and the City. I know firsthand the issues we face, and I know they’ve not been resolved. I got tired of waiting around for someone to stand up for District 2, and that’s why I’m running.

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