Politics

Governor Rick Scott's Robocalls Anger Constituents

Governor Rick Scott's Robocalls Anger Constituents

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- We started hearing about the robocalls by Governor Rick Scott right after the budget passed in May.

Then a week later another call about wasteful spending, and the week after that the phone rang again.

 

 

 

 

 

"Hi, I'm Governor Rick Scott," the call begins.

For the past month, the calls have been coming to households all over the state, with Governor Scott touting his pre-recorded accomplishments.

"I'm calling to personally tell you about the state budget I signed," the call continues.

The Republican Party of Florida is funding the calls, which on average cost about two cents a piece. And while it won't disclose who the calls are targeting, a statement released says: "The party is committed to helping the Governor communicate his accomplishments directly to the voters of the state."

Over Resident Protests, New Landfill Approved for the Westside

Over Resident Protests, New Landfill Approved for the Westside

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The traffic, the noise, the smell.

A lot of different reasons why Westside neighbors don't want a new landfill in their neighborhood. 

"I've lived there for 15 years. I don't want it. I don't know who in their right mind, just like I said in there, would want a landfill near their house," said Otis Road resident James Diamatta.

He was one of dozens of people in the neighborhood to speak out against the landfill, which he said will decrease his property value, and hurt the environment.

"Who wants to hear 60 dump trucks a day? On top of the traffic, on top of the fact I gotta work at night, it just don't add up," said Diamatta. 

The Council listened to more than an hour of public comment on the bill, which got heated a number of times.

Your Money: New Bill Would Change How Council Approves Large Projects

Your Money: New Bill Would Change How Council Approves Large Projects

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There may soon be more oversight when Jacksonville City Council spends your money on larger projects. The possible change comes after a First Coast News investigation.

In May, we told you about a new synthetic soccer field at Losco Regional Park in Mandarin that cost $660,000. Councilman Art Shad pioneered the project without the thought of saving money and without full council approval.

If Councilman Bill Bishop had a chance to vote on Shad's state-of-the-art soccer field, he said the outcome could have been much different.

"Probably would have voted no, considering that the cost of that project far exceeded anybody's understanding of any sort of rational payback.  So I probably would have voted no on that. You could buy a whole lot of sod for what that AstroTurf costs," Bishop said.

First Coast Republicans, Tea Partiers Weigh in on GOP Debate

First Coast Republicans, Tea Partiers Weigh in on GOP Debate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  As seven of the Republican candidates for President of the United States squared off in the New Hampshire debate, dozens of First Coast Republicans and Tea Partiers looked on.

"I haven't quite made my mind up yet. I want to see what else is out there. I wanna hear what's going on," said Chuck Berlinghoff, a member of the First Coast Tea Party.

He has been looking forward to the Republican presidental debates and waiting for a candidate to earn his vote.

"I know what we've got now is wrong, and I just don't trust a lot of the ones running," he said.

Berlinghoff said he's been disappointed in his party's candidates lately, both nationally and here in Jacksonville.

"I don't think we had really good choices for the mayoral run we had here," he said.

So who would he be happy with?

Lawsuit Filed Over Police & Fire Pension Fund

Lawsuit Filed Over Police & Fire Pension Fund

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A lawsuit claims the City of Jacksonville is in violation of Florida's Sunshine laws.

The suit, filed by the Concerned Taxpayers of Duval County claims that both the city and the Police and Fire Pension Fund held collective bargaining talks in secret, negotiating retirement benefits on behalf of the Fund illegally for ten years.

City Attorney Steve Rohan responded, "It's a remarkable lawsuit.
We respect the concerned taxpayers and appreciate their interest in local government. As soon as we get a copy of the lawsuit we'll address it. We're sorry that we have to be in litigation with them."

TO VIEW THE LAWSUIT CLICK HERE

Transportation Cuts for 5,000 DCPS Students in the Works

Transportation Cuts for 5,000 DCPS Students in the Works

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Within four years, Duval County Public Schools are considering cutting transportation to all secondary Magnet schools.

Parents of the first 5,000 students affected say it's not fair to working parents.

One of those parents is single mom, Charlene West.

"He's a good student because I made sure he went to good schools that were going to teach him," West says of her son, A.J. Mitchell. "I, as a parent, did my part by making sure he did his homework and learned what he was supposed to learn."

Every day after school, Mitchell rides the bus home from Stanton.

While he waits for his single mother Charlene West to get home from work, he does the dishes and his homework.

Stanton is one of the seven Magnet schools potentially losing transportation.

According to a letter sent home with students, James Weldon Johnson, Landon, Darnell-Cookman, Kirby Smith, Lavilla, and Paxon are also on the list.

JPEF Releases Report on Reading Proficiency in Duval County

The Jacksonville Public Education Fund released a study on the reading proficiency of a cohort of more than 10,000 students over the past ten years Sunday, seeking to investigate the academic trajectories of students based on their third grade reading level.