Today’s a new day.
The line was prevalent in the closing performance by Meachum L. Clark & True Purpose on Thursday. The song itself had an uplifting vibe, one that led City Council members and their guests to stand in unison.
It was a new day for them and for Jacksonville. Not even an hour before, the eight returning members and 11 newcomers had been sworn in to help lead the city the next four years.
It was a new day for Greg Anderson and Lori Boyer. The two will lead the group over the next year, Anderson as president, Boyer as vice president.
Anderson compared the council journey to that of one of his favorite advertisements, that of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s recruiting volunteers for a trek through the Antarctic Circle in 1914.
Hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.
For new members, he said he hoped their bags were packed and they were ready to compromise.
He also said “enough is enough” when it came to issues like crime.
“It’s time to turn the tide,” he said, before indicating he was in support of additional police officers on the street.
Another goal of his will be continued economic development. To that end, he wants to see updated incentive packages approved, results a group led by council member John Crescimbeni forged.
And Anderson talked about a “successful Shands being critical” to the city, the comments garnering applause from the Jacoby Hall crowd.
Boyer, his leadership counterpart, said her goals included continued implementation of recommendations from Task Force on Consolidation and improving city planning and zoning.
She also said people should not be apologetic for Jacksonville, but proud — its potential is limitless.
Anderson also held the same conviction and recalled a story from the JAX Chamber’s trip to Nashville last year.
Nashville, he said, is world-renowned for its country music industry. But the question was asked: What is Jacksonville known for? His answer took him a couple of days.
He said Jacksonville was like the “biggest small town ever.”
And in that comes the answer: It should be known for the way people treat each other.
Anderson, Boyer and the 17 council members will have the opportunity to lead by example in that manner when they begin their work next month — bags packed and ready to compromise.