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BALLOTS AND BREWS: A TOTAL SUCCESS

Having just returned from the first Ballots and Brews event held by the Young Voters Coalition, I have a few insights.

One of which is that, if you wanted to hear first-rate political gossip, you should have been there. It was a three hour game of inside baseball. Just keep your pen sheathed and your notepad in your back pocket.

Those who weren't there might wonder who was there. Those who were there know the answer.

Everyone.

If you were there around 6:00, you could have talked to Lenny Curry. Around 8:00, and you would have seen Alvin Brown, who worked the room like Bill Clinton himself (who apparently is going to be in town tomorrow for a big ticket fundraiser and a meeting with 250 "influencers", if the gossip tonight was on point). And staying the entire evening, Bill Bishop, who was in his element, talking to some of the most engaged voters in the entire city of Jacksonville.

If you wanted to talk to staff members, you would have seen them in force. From Curry campaign ops to key City Hall personnel, they were there -- and they were telling hilarious stories.

Sorry if you missed it. I can understand. You were busy. It was cold out. Riverside might have been far away.

But it was an epic party. 

Sheriff and Council candidates were there in abundance. Michelle Tappouni, Tommy Hazouri, Anna Brosche, Mincy Pollock, Tony Cummings, Jay Farhat, and a few more were working the crowd, pressing flesh and influencing voters.

Not just any voters either. But the ones who really give a damn. The most independent thinkers in the city were are Intuition Ale.

You weren't there? You missed Jesse Wilson and Wayne Wood. Kerry Speckman and Meredith O'Malley Johnson. And one of my favorite people in the city, James Richardson, who was dressed impeccably as always. 

You were drinking somewhere else? Hmm. Hard to beat Intuition Ale. I hope you liked your PBR.

If you needed proof that Jacksonville is really a small town, you would have …   More

THE FLOG

UNF to Stage Mock Rape Trial

The University of North Florida’s Women’s Center and Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice are staging a mock rape trial at 7 p.m. April 10.

Assistant State Attorney Terence Martin said the goal is to educate students on the process of going to trial and to show them how the system works in Jacksonville.

The mock trial is designed to teach students what to expect from the first responding officer, inform students on victim advocates that are available to them and show the victim that the process can work, Martin said.

UNF students will act out fictional roles about one woman’s story of her alleged sexual violation, according to a press release from the university. The mock trial will be staged at the Andrew A. Robinson Jr. Theater, Building 14A, and the event is free and open to the public.

The trial will look at a date rape scenario, something the students can relate to, said Martin, who is also division chief of the Special Assault Division for the 4th Judicial Court.

Last semester at UNF, a student falsified a police report by reporting that she was sexually assaulted on Aug. 21 in the UNF Wellness Complex. After it became clear that the report was false, the student was prosecuted, Martin said.

Martin will lead the defense team with Aaron Feuer, assistant state attorney in the 4th Judicial Circuit assigned to the domestic violence unit.

Coreylyn Crawford, assistant state attorney in the 4th Judicial Circuit assigned to the domestic violence unit, and Anna Hixon, assistant state attorney in the 4th Judicial Circuit, will lead the prosecution team, according to the press release.

The students will play the roles of the victim, accused perpetrator, prosecution, defense, jury and crime lab teams, Martin said.

Adding to the realistic depiction of the trial, the jury will be randomly selected from the audience, according to the press release. The trial also will include forensic scientist, Marcella …   More

THE FLOG

JACKSONVILLE BLACK FIREFIGHTERS WAVER ON ENDORSING MAYOR BROWN

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this blog post has been updated to include new information. 

The Jacksonville Brotherhood of Firefighters, a powerful and historic black professional association, has so far declined to endorse Jacksonville’s first black mayor, Alvin Brown, for reelection, as it did in 2011. And after Brown was a no-show at a meeting last Monday that he had requested with the Brotherhood’s membership — a meeting where more than 100 black firefighters and police turned out to talk — the Brotherhood invited Brown’s white Republican rival, Lenny Curry, to come court their endorsement instead.

While it seems absurd to think the Brotherhood would endorse such a hyper-conservative, the group says its members are looking for a candidate whose agenda aligns with theirs — and many question if that candidate is really Alvin Brown.

“It was the first time [Brown’s] tried to talk to us since he was elected mayor,” says Brotherhood president James Edwards. His members were already wavering because of that silence, he says. They thought that last Monday’s meeting was a chance to talk about their concerns. Instead, however, Brown sent two top administrators, deputy chief of staff Cleveland Ferguson and Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department Chief Ivan Mote, in his place.

“He stood us up,” Edwards says of Brown. “And it went sideways quick.”

The firefighters told Ferguson they wouldn’t vote for his boss. Some said they were going to campaign against him. Others asked Edwards to schedule a meeting with Curry. (The mayor’s office later pointed out that this meeting was not a campaign event, and referred election-related questions to Brown’s campaign team.)

“There was a lot of anger in the room. It was the first time Mayor Brown reached out to us since he’s been in office, and then he didn’t show up,” Edwards …   More

THE FLOG

Emotional Gooeyness and A Little SNARK

When I opened my email this morning I got notification that the current show, Mommy, featuring the works of Polina Barskaya, Larissa Bates, Louis Fratino, Sarah Alice Moran, Louise Sheldon, Cynthia Talmadge, and Caleb Yono; at Monya Rowe Gallery in St. Augustine is only up for one more week.

Damnit.

This show is, simply put, very compelling. Like the best poetry or story-telling, the various iterations that stem from the springboard word “Mommy,” range from the deeply personal (with a little snark), to caustically nightmarish and outsized. Of the seven artists in the show, there are two whose works exist in a kind of emotional high relief: Caleb Yono and Cynthia Talmadge.

Caleb Yono’s photograph Untitled Illusion (2017) is like a dark-mirror snap of a barely remembered Joan Crawford portrait. In its unsettling “head-shot” style presentation, Yono’s face has been painted a yellow-tinted white, eyes outlined in yellow-haloed murple, with outsized lips painted a glossy black. It reads as Fauve, but also as ’90s-era Limelight club-kid where gendered presentation is fluid and therefor capable of destabilizing an overarching heteronormative societal narrative.

In many ways, if Yono’s work is the promise of club kids realized—brilliance and fearlessness and wit—as filtered through a sophisticated engagement with ancient myth and fashion tropes, it is too a way of being in the world that champions the power (creative and destructive) of WASP-y ideas of beauty. This is especially present in an installation of his drawings. These 22 small images project the dreaminess of Chagall, the fashionable emotional gooeyness of Elizabeth Peyton married to Schiele drawings, all bound to horror/delight at the act of transformation.

Cynthia Talmadge has two pieces in Mommy, a painting and a small installation. The painting, Mild Nausea (2015) rendered in a pointillist style and depicting decorative sections of …   More

THE FLOG

Cuba and the Cafes

The unfolding scandal revolving around Allied Veterans' Internet cafes that has ensnared Nelson Cuba of the FOP and caused Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll to resign is staggering. Arguably, it is the worst scandal in Jacksonville's political scene since consolidation. And we can expect more consequences. A few questions:

• Knowing what we know now, how was it that Sheriff John Rutherford allowed these Internet cafes to stay open, year after year, amidst the FDLE investigation?

• How was it that Nelson Cuba was allowed to stay at FOP, as an advocate for peace officers? Was there no worry of lost credibility?

• Is Jennifer Carroll's political career over?

• How will this affect Rick Scott as governor?

• Finally, what does this say about how easy it is to take privatized gambling profits and funnel them to shady ends?

There are those who would like to see more legalized gambling locally. We have poker rooms, lotteries and casinos within a few hours drive. What has been proven, and will be proven, in the sordid case of Nelson Cuba and the Allied Veterans, is that any time serious money flows, serious corruption follows.

The big losers in this case, obviously, are Cuba, Carroll and Rutherford, who will probably not be a factor in any elections going forward.

The big winner — so far, at least — Alvin Brown, whose opposition from Cuba over police pensions burnishes his outsider status. Brown's tenure as mayor hasn't been exactly thrilling to his young supporters, but if he is clear of any taint from this scandal, his reelection is almost assured.

Aren't these interesting times?   More

The Flog

THE FLOG POLL (NEW HAMPSHIRE EDITION)

FWM's weekly salute to the 2016 Presidential Primaries

Before we talk about New Hampshire, a quick recap of how we got here:

Even for the most politically astute, the aftermath of the Iowa Caucus was difficult to sort out.

Ted Cruz won.

But Donald Trump said Cruz cheated.

Also, Trump wasn’t really trying, so technically he won.

Yet the media said Marco Rubio, who came in third, was the real winner.

As for the Democrats: Hillary Clinton won, but Bernie Sanders' supporters – citing media bias – said it was actually a victory for Bernie.

So then New Hampshire happened. Here’s what the national media is saying about who lived free and who died hard:

Ru… Ru… Rubio!

First of all… Rubio Robots. Can we talk about this?

 

(A digression: As evidenced by James Cameron’s 1984 documentary about robots, self-aware androids are capable of mistakes, such as afflicting a muscle-bound cybernetic organism with a thick Austrian accent. So is it crazy to wonder if the Rubio Robots are actual robots trying to fix their newest mistake, offering a Presidential candidate who, in his last debate performance, appeared more exposed than a naked automaton walking into a biker bar? I’m not convinced.)

Anyway, according to many, Rubio, one of the aforementioned winners in Iowa, was a huge loser in the Granite State. Aided by what Esquire politics writer (and frequent guest on NPR’s Wait…Wait…Don’t tell me!) Charlie Pierce called Chris Christie’s efforts to “wrap his arms around Young Marco Rubio and hurl himself off a cliff,” Rubio underperformed and John Kasich was the media’s big winner in New Hampshire. Who the F*#K is John Kasich?

Trump Back on the Stump:

The actual winner, on the Republican side, wasn’t that “Pussy” Ted Cruz. It was of course, the man born of modest means, The Donald. Trump will not be …   More

FLOG

Stolen Gun Used in Killing of Clay County Sheriff’s Detective

Authorities announced the arrest of four men in connection with the theft and transfer of a .38-caliber revolver used in the February 2012 slaying of Clay County Sheriff’s Detective David White.

During the investigation of White’s murder, investigators tracked the firearm used and found it had been stolen in Jacksonville in May 2011. Investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms allege Robert Apple II, 22, of Orange Park stole the weapon.

Authorities allege it was passed through the hands of Christopher Henderson, 22, and Curtis Dingler, 22, both of Middleburg, and Jack Lemond, 36, of Orange Park. Investigators allege that all the men knew the weapon was stolen.

They charge that Lemond provided the weapon to Ted Tilley, a convicted felon, who used the weapon on White and Detective Matthew Hanlin. White was fatally shot and Hanlin was wounded. Tilley also was shot and killed.

The four men are being held in the Clay County Jail on a charge of dealing in stolen property.   More

Hope Amid Ruin

“He went from an amazing musician and a trusted friend of hundreds of people, to a liar and a thief and would do anything for his next fix,” said Ryan Heath of his friend Scott Brandle.

Brandle, like thousands of other people in Northeast Florida, died from a heroin overdose. And like so many who grieve, Heath hopes to find meaning in his friend’s death. But not just Brandle’s death—according to Heath, the former musician is only among the most recent in a string of deaths that have touched Heath’s circle of friends. “I’ve easily known 16 that have died since the pain pill clinics started up in the late ’90s,” he said; of that number, seven have died in the past two years.

On Aug. 26, Heath and his very musically connected friend, Order by Chaos bandmember David Rowe, host Kickfest, a music festival organized to raise funds and awareness for the opioid epidemic in Northeast Florida. All of the funds raised, explains Heath, will go to help fund a pilot program for new treatment strategies with St. Vincent’s Riverside, Gateway Community Services and River Region Human Services: Dr. Raymond Pomm’s treatment program for opioid addiction at River Region treatment center. Pomm is medical director at River Region and Gateway Services.

“This isn't a problem just for ‘druggie junkie losers’ anymore,” said Heath. “This is happening to politicians, judges, cops, firemen, lawyers, teachers, mothers, fathers, grandmothers […] I can go on and on and on.”

As a firefighter, Heath has experience with the drug problem in a way that few do (though he said he's dealt mostly with cocaine overdoses). He talked about how paramedic friends of his regularly respond to desperate calls to administer Narcan, and give CPR to near-lifeless forms. His said these stories and his own experiences have shown him that “there’s a false belief that heroin addicts as …   More

The Flog

The FLOG POLL (Hug it out edition)

Hug it out, Bitch

Like tax cuts and a heavy predilection for horse ballet, dirty tricks have become a Republican Primary tradition in the Palmetto State. South Carolina is, after all, where Karl Rove and W. trashed John McCain with their now infamous whisper campaign.

So it was understandable, after a week of foaming malice, that some Republicans were taxed emotionally (albeit at the lowest effective rate).  After the big guns – specifically his mother, Babs, and big brother, Mr. “Mission Accomplished” – failed to help Jeb! earn more than 8 percent of the vote, the prodigal son of the Bush family tearfully dropped out of the race.  The outright dismissal of baby Bush by the Republican electorate has inspired countless think pieces, and certainly the former Florida Gov. looks much less qualified today than he did when he announced his candidacy in June. In the end, Jeb! spent $130 million and all he got was this very creepy youtube tribute:

Hey John Kasich, save one of those hugs for Jeb!

Who loves ya?

Trump on the other hand – who dominated the SC primary and Nevada Caucus, earning 62 delegates  – is likely more wealthy than he was when the race began, which according to this economist article is an amount that, while hard to pin-down, is also most certainly inflated by you know who.  After a week in which The Donald went hair to funny hat with The Pope, repeatedly professed his support for torture, and continued to talk like a fucking fourth grader (which makes sense because he “loves the poorly educated” ) The Donald’s win left many to wonder, if the Orange One might just be unstoppable.

I love you, man

If he ever recovers from the robot Rubio meme, the Florida Senator may be his party’s establishment’s last hope. That establishment, at least here in Jacksonville, threw its weight behind the Miamian last week, as Lenny Curry endorsed Rubio, leaving …   More

THE FLOG

Jaguars Unveil New Logos

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan unveiled new logos and a rebranding effort tailored to reflect three distinct and powerful attributes that will describe the team on and off the field _ “proud, bold and committed.”

“To be a success in business or life, you have to stand for something and hold yourself accountable to the principles you believe in,” Khan said.

“From this day, the Jacksonville Jaguars will live a brand mission of being proud, bold and committed in everything we do. Our new logo and campaign theme are the first initiatives of what will be many examples of bringing this philosophy to life,” Khan said in a news release.

The new identity keeps the Jaguars' traditional colors of black, teal and goal while offering a fiercer looking and truer depiction of a Jaguar.

The Jaguars will introduce a shield featuring a bold graphic treatment of the nickname “Jags.”

The new logos will be rolled out throughout the 2013 season as part of the team’s “Stand United” theme.

“Stand United is about the community and theme coming together and a way of life that anyone who loves the Jaguars and Jacksonville can personally understand and appreciate,” Khan said.

  More