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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Mar. 14, 200712:00 PM EST

Downtown Vision to host District 4 candidate forum

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

by Max Marbut

Staff Writer

There aren’t that many registered voters who live in the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), but that doesn’t mean the District 4 City Council member doesn’t spend a lot of time dealing with issues that affect the area.

With 50,000 people from all parts of North Florida who work Downtown during the week and a multitude of business owners, property owners and managers, many of that Council member’s constituents don’t vote in the district. But if it’s about parking, signage, zoning, street cleaning or a multitude of other concerns, the phone that rings on the fourth floor at City hall is on the desk belonging to the District 4 Council member.

Downtown Vision, Inc. is sponsoring an open forum today to put the candidates on the March 20 ballot together with Downtown’s registered voters, stakeholders and advocates.

“We have made a point to reach out to the residents who vote in the district, but we also stress that this seat is very important to Downtown property owners and business owners,” said Terry Lorince, DVI executive director.

All four candidates — Republicans George Banks, Earl Johnson Jr. and Don Redman and Democrat Linda Storey have committed to attend the forum.

Lorince added the meeting is as important for the candidates as it is for the voters and stakeholders.

“Whoever takes over that Council seat has to understand the nature of the district. It’s very unique and will be changing a lot in the next four years.”

The open forum begins at 5 p.m. at the Omni Hotel, Lorince said, in order make it convenient for business owners and people who work Downtown to attend the forum. The program is expected to last until approximately 6 p.m., at which time the candidates will be available to answer questions.

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