Eight City Council races decided; eight advance to May 19 general election

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  • | 12:00 p.m. March 25, 2015
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City Council member Jim Love, second from left, with supporters George Gabel, Judy Gabel and Lindsay Helms.
City Council member Jim Love, second from left, with supporters George Gabel, Judy Gabel and Lindsay Helms.
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Brosche and Daniels advance to general election

City Council candidate Anna Brosche said she had no idea what to expect in her first stab at political office.

As it turns out, finishing in second place Tuesday in the At Large Group 1 race — and being in a May 19 general election — is nothing less than exhilarating, Brosche said.

“We are pleased and we are excited to be in the runoff,” she said.

Brosche will challenge incumbent Kimberly Daniels, whose spokesman said the campaign would not comment Tuesday night.

Daniels, a Democrat, received 62,406 votes, followed by Republican Brosche’s 52,218 votes.

Republican David Taylor collected 44,054 votes and Democrat Terry Reed received 17,928.

Daniels has led the council’s Public Health and Safety Committee and now serves on the Finance Committee.

She is a military veteran, founder of Spoken Word Ministries and author of the “Demon Dictionary.”

Brosche is managing shareholder at Ennis Pellum & Associates CPAs and chairs the United Way of Northeast Florida board of directors, among other community service activities.

Taylor, an attorney, narrowly lost a bid against Daniels, then a political newcomer, four years ago.

Reed is a former longtime Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office employee.

— Kevin Hogencamp



Crescimbeni wins ‘most bizarre’ race

John Crescimbeni has been involved in a lot of campaigns.

But the one he won Tuesday was the “most bizarre” in his long public career.

Crescimbeni will serve a fifth term on City Council after beating challengers Dave Barron and Theresa Graham to retain his At-Large Group 2 seat.

Unofficial results with all precincts reporting show he earned 52.8 percent of the vote compared to Barron’s 29.6 percent and Graham’s 17.6 percent.

But, he said, it was the third opponent not on the ballot that made this one his strangest yet.

“I see it as a race between the firefighters and myself,” Crescimbeni said.

“I hope that (the results) sends a message to union rank and file.”

The firefighters union in particular, he said, made ousting him its No. 1 priority and used negative advertising to make the point known.

But voters, he said, expressed their own sentiments.

“I think it’s an expression from the citizens,” Crescimbeni said. “People love their firefighters and police officers, but they’re fed up to their eyeballs over corruption in the unions.”

The public safety unions backed Barron, a small business owner and Arlington resident whose platform included helping small businesses.

He raised $138,445 — among the tops for candidates — and was seen as a serious challenger.

Crescimbeni will return to council, where there will be a majority of newcomers.

“I have a lot of things on my agenda,” he said, but didn’t provide details.

He’ll have another four years to accomplish them.

— David Chapman



Hazouri, Youngblood will face off in May

Tommy Hazouri and Geoff Youngblood will be the candidates on the ballot May 19 for City Council At-Large Group 3.

Hazouri, a Democrat, received 80,205 votes to Republican Youngblood’s 75,504 votes. The third candidate, Democrat Mincy “Praya” Pollack, received 23,285 votes and was eliminated.

“It’s a new ball game. We’re not going to miss a beat,” said Hazouri, who is a former Jacksonville mayor, state representative and member of the Duval County School Board.

The issues he stressed in his campaign — financial stability, strong education, safer neighborhoods and economic development -– will continue to be his message as the campaign continues.

Hazouri also wants to bring a sense of cooperation to city government.

“The partisanship has got to stop,” he said. “There are no Republican potholes or Democrat potholes. There is no Republican pension or Democrat pension.”

Youngblood could not be reached for comment.

— Max Marbut



Anderson wins second term

As midnight approached, Juanita Powell-Williams made one last phone call Tuesday to try to reach Greg Anderson.

Anderson had just upended Powell-Williams’ bid to unseat him on the City Council.

“I’m trying to get him on the phone because I want to congratulate him on winning and thank him for running an amicable and very positive campaign,” Powell-Williams said. “Everyone said what a very nice guy he is, and after meeting Greg and his wife, Beville, I’ve concluded the same thing.”

The Daily Record also couldn’t reach Anderson late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Anderson, a Republican who serves as the council’s vice president, was re-elected to a second term as the At-Large Group 4 representative.

Anderson received 100,123 of the votes to Powell-Williams’ 74,426 votes.

Powell-Williams, a Democrat, says the race was her first — and likely her last — attempt at political office.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I think I’d rather continue with my community service in other ways,” said Powell-Williams, an attorney.

— Kevin Hogencamp



Runoff will feature Pittman vs. Newby

In another race that showed campaign contributions don’t always determine results, Ju’Coby Pittman and Samuel Newby advanced to the May 19 runoff election.

Pittman, a Democrat, led the three-candidate field with $86,899 in her treasury, followed by Republican Michelle Tappouni with $83,648 and Newby, who reported $11,691 in contributions.

In the vote count, 80,285 votes were cast for Pittman, Newby’s total was 47,724 and Tappouni’s was 45,394.

“I didn’t expect it to be settled. I’m just excited that so many people in the community believe in me and my leadership,” said Pittman, who is CEO and president of Clara White Mission.

Newby, co-founder of the Florida Assembly of Black Republicans, said Tuesday after the votes were counted he always had faith he would be in the runoff election.

“I had an excellent campaign team. They worked really hard,” he said.

Newby complimented his opponents for their campaign styles.

“The three of us ran a clean race. It’s too bad one of us had to be eliminated,” he said.

Tappouni, property development manager for Ability Housing, said she was disappointed with the results and “somewhat surprised.”

“I really felt our message resonated with the community,” she said.

— Max Marbut



Anania and Morgan advance to May 19

The four-way race for City Council District 1 turned into a virtual dead heat between Republican Mike Anania and Democrat Joyce Morgan.

Morgan received 5,125 votes to Anania’s 5,001 from constituents in West Arlington. The final numbers were 39.7 percent for Morgan, 38.7 percent for Anania.

Anania, who was headed to a celebration dinner shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday, said his showing in the first election was due to “energizing the voter base.”

“It’s very encouraging that we were that close,” he said.

Anania said between now and May 19, he will depend on supporters including City Council President Clay Yarbourough, who could not seek re-election in the district due to term limits, council member Robin Lumb and state Rep. Lake Ray, a former District 1 council representative.

“I’m going to draw on their knowledge and experience,” said Anania.

Morgan said after the final results were in that she will take a short time to “refresh, revive and re-energize,” but then it will be time to “ratchet it up 200 percent.”

Morgan’s campaign involved a lot of knocking on doors to allow constituents to get to know her beyond what they know about her from her years on local television news.

“I tried to be everywhere in the district so people could see the different Joyce. They might know the Joyce from TV but they didn’t know the Joyce who wants to be their servant on City Council,” she said.

— Max Marbut



Tight race puts King and Ferraro in runoff

Democrat Lisa King and Republican Al Ferraro will square off in a May 19 runoff after outdistancing Republican Jack Daniels in Tuesday’s Jacksonville City Council District 2 election.

King received 5,470 votes, while Ferraro received 5,167 votes.

Daniels picked up 3,990 votes.

The winner will replace two-term incumbent Bill Bishop, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor.

The Daily Record could not reach King, Ferraro or Daniels for comment Tuesday night or early Wednesday.

King is vice president of Langton Associates, a commercial real estate development firm.

Ferraro owns a landscaping and lawn service company he started 30 years ago.

— Kevin Hogencamp



Bowman wins first race

Newcomer Aaron Bowman said advice from some political veterans and help from an army of friends led him to win the District 3 council seat.

Bowman is senior vice president of business development of JAXUSA Partnership, the economic development division of the JAX Chamber. He defeated James Nealis by nearly 3,000 votes — 7,015 to 4,171.

He said he frequently sought “guidance and words of wisdom” from Daniel Davis, the chamber’s president and CEO. Davis served on the council, including as council president.

Bowman also was helped by Scott Shine and the district’s current council member, Richard Clark, who is term-limited.

He said they stressed the importance of knocking on doors in the district and talking directly to residents about concerns.

The “No. 1 resounding issue,” Bowman said, was the need for pension reform, followed by public safety and concerns about overdevelopment and traffic.

Bowman said he supports the reform proposal being considered by council.

The plan does not include a funding source to address the $1.6 billion unfunded liability. Potential ways to address that include a possible half-cent sales tax and JEA making a one-time $120 million contribution to help close the gap, in exchange for paying lower annual payments to the city. The city also would borrow $120 million in that scenario.

Bowman said he “thinks there are other ideas out there, too.”

— Marilyn Young



Wilson, Day make it to May runoff

In one of the closest races in the First Election, Ramon Day and Scott Wilson finished with a total vote percentage difference of less than 2 percent: 33.16 percent for Day and 35 percent for Wilson.

On the fundraising side of the contest, Wilson finished far ahead of Day with more than $68,000 in campaign contributions compared to Day’s $18,000.

Day said there’s more to an election than who raises the most money.

“I’m a corporate sector Democrat,” he said. “But I reached out to every voter in my district. My message is bipartisan leadership.”

Wilson, a Republican, said he expected a tight race and also attributed his showing to going door to door in the Southside district.

Both candidates have experience working for elected officials. Day is former chief of staff to the late U.S. Rep. Charles E. Bennett. Wilson is term-limited District 4 council member Don Redman’s executive council assistant.

Wilson referenced one of the issues addressed by the council during Redman’s term in office: illegal signs placed on city property.

“The first thing I’m going to do before I go to work at City Hall Wednesday morning is pick up any of my campaign signs that are in the right-of-way,” he said.

— Max Marbut



Schellenberg re-elected

District 6 City Council member Matt Schellenberg beat newcomer Connie Benham by a 2-1 margin, with 10,880 votes to Benham’s 5,299.

Both are Republicans.

Schellenberg, Mandarin’s incumbent on council, also had a similar margin among early voters and absentee ballots.

Neither could be reached for comment Tuesday.

— Max Marbut



Gaffney makes runoff to replace his brother

Reggie Gaffney’s wheels are spinning.

Entering a May 19 runoff election with hopes of replacing his brother on the City Council, Gaffney says he’s prepared to sponsor legislation that he is certain will help reduce crime in Jacksonville.

Gaffney, founder of Community Rehabilitation Center Inc., will face attorney and accountant George Spencer Jr. in the runoff.

Spencer could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Gaffney received 3,937 votes (33.8 percent), followed by Spencer’s 2,938 (25.2 percent). Also in the race were Donald Foy with 1,378 (11.8 percent) votes; Sirretta Williams, 1,179 (10.1 percent); Niki Brunson, 1,088 (9.3 percent); James Eddy, 437 (3.5 percent); Marc McCullough, 407 (3.5 percent); and Wendell Sams, 294 (2.5 percent).

Gaffney is proposing a multi-pronged crime-fighting initiative funded by a 5-cent increase in traffic and parking ticket fines. He also says providing more funding for vocational training is pivotal to putting more unemployed people to work and providing more opportunities to under-employed workers.

Spencer says his experience as an attorney and as a certified public accountant uniquely qualifies him for a council seat, and that his goals are to increase jobs, reduce crime and revitalize District 7 and Downtown.

— Kevin Hogencamp



Newcomer to challenge veteran in runoff

Katrina Brown and Pat Lockett-Felder emerged as front-runners from a field of five candidates in the race for City Council District 8.

Brown captured 4,229 votes, for 30.4 percent, and Lockett-Felder 3,506. They will meet again in the May 19 runoff. The winner will replace longtime incumbent Denise Lee, who is term-limited.

Brown, a political newcomer, was the breakout success for the evening, leading political veterans Lockett-Felder and Terry Fields.

Lockett-Felder has served eight years on council, representing District 7, before redistricting moved her into District 8. Fields served on both the City Council and in the Florida House of Representatives.

“It feels great,” Brown said of her success. “But, I look at it like I’m in a football game and I’m only at half-time, with two more quarters to go.”

Brown said being the only contestant born in District 8 helped her connect with voters. Her parents own Jerome Brown Barbeque, where Brown is a managing partner.

If elected, she said she would work for safer neighborhoods, better maintenance for city streets and lights and economic development, especially for small businesses. She said she wants to reduce the time it takes for business owners to get a city license.

Lockett-Felder said the most important issues she sees are bringing the community together, making sure citizens are safe and helping seniors and children.

— Carole Hawkins



Dennis wins first race

Newly elected City Council member Garrett Dennis says he hopes to have a strong role in uniting the community.

But he’ll build bridges in his own district first.

District 9 — a newly carved, meandering region — is sharply divided, Dennis said Tuesday night. His opponent, Glorious Johnson, said during the campaign the district’s boundary lines look like “a snake on steroids.”

“I kept hearing over and over in the campaign that the people in the northern part don’t know about the needs of the people in the southern part,” and vice versa, Dennis said. “It’s time to all sit down and say, ‘We’re in this together. We are one district.’”

Dennis defeated Johnson by receiving 5,461 (60 percent) votes to Johnson’s 3,624 (40.12 percent). Dennis and Johnson are both Democrats.

Dennis will replace Warren Jones, who is term-limited.

Dennis said his first order of business will be to form a districtwide advisory panel of community leaders, pastors and businesspeople to help him begin mending fences.

“I want to bring all of those people together and say, ‘We can’t be separated just because we’re different sociologically, in our races and in our political parties.’” Dennis said.

Johnson, a former educator who served two terms as an At-Large council member, could not be reached for comment.

— Kevin Hogencamp



Brown wins re-election

After being re-elected to a second full term on the City Council, an exhausted Reggie Brown said he’s ready to focus on his council duties once again.

A U.S. Army Reserve chief warrant officer, Brown has served as the council’s District 10 representative since 2008.

“We have so much work to do here, still,” he said.

Brown received 8,839 votes, followed by  Celestine Mills with 2,484 and Joseph Willis at 1,900.

Brown and Mills are Democrats; Willis has no party affiliation.

Brown said a successful straw ballot measure that he sponsored is symbolic of the community’s opportunities for progress. Voters agreed Tuesday in a non-binding referendum that city employees and workers for independent agencies other than the Duval County School Board should live in the county.

“We need people to stay here and pay more taxes here,” Brown said. “The people have spoken and I’m going to bring (the residency requirement) back before the full council.”

He also said he’ll push hard for renewed funding for the Jacksonville Journey anti-crime initiative.

Mills, a political newcomer, said Tuesday night she will gladly support Brown’s service on the council if he becomes more accessible to his constituents. She also said she’ll likely pursue political office in the future.

Brown says he’ll follow up on Mills’ concerns.

“If I didn’t return her calls, I’ll check with my secretary and get to the bottom of it,” he said.

— Kevin Hogencamp



Carter cruises to second term

Two-time council member Doyle Carter, a Republican, slid to a resounding victory in the District 12 race, beating his Democratic challenger Abner Davis 8,462 votes to 4,256.

A lifelong Westside resident, Carter lives on property that was homesteaded by his great grandparents in the late 1800s. He owned and operated a successful Westside business, Cycle Accessories West, for more than 29 years.

Carter first served on Council from 1999-2003. He returned to serve again from 2011-15, after selling his motorcycle business.

His record on council includes fighting for lower property taxes and co-sponsoring a bill for a $25,000 homestead exemption for seniors. He has lobbied for infrastructure on the Westside, including roadway access to Interstate 10 for Cecil Field.

Carter maintains a standing pledge to fight government waste and eliminate red tape to small business owners.

— Carole Hawkins



Love wins re-election

Republican Jim Love took the early lead and never lost it in the race for the District 14 City Council seat.

Love, who owns a State Farm Insurance agency in Riverside, defeated Democrat Jason Tetlak 10,168 votes to 4,736 to represent Riverside, Avondale and southwest Jacksonville for four more years.

He attributed his margin of victory to being in touch with all of the constituents in his district during his first term in office.

“I went wherever I was invited because I want to be involved,” Love said.

As he said before the election, securing the solution to the city’s unfunded pension liability is the issue that needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

“Once we get the pension done, we can concentrate on other things we need to get done,” he said.

Love predicted he would get about 65 percent of the vote. He said Tuesday when the returns were reported that he was pleased to watch the numbers as they came in, but he still has work to do for his district.

“In four years, Riverside is going to change dramatically,” he said, referring to the state bridge project to redesign the expressway near the Fuller Warren Bridge.

“The next four years are going to be much more exciting and much more productive,” said Love.

— Max Marbut



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