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Mayor Brown’s Approval Rating Down Slightly

A new poll by the University of North Florida showed that about 70 percent of those questioned still approve or strongly approve of Mayor Alvin Brown’s performance. In a similar poll taken last year, 75 percent of those polled approved of the mayor’s performance. In the same poll, 48 percent of those polled approve of the job the Jacksonville City Council is doing.

Those polled showed 40 percent were taking a wait-and-see attitude on newly hired Duval County Superintendent of Schools Nikolai Vitti. About 40 percent had no opinion of the new superintendent. A majority of residents, 58 percent, supported the city adding sexual orientation to its human rights ordinance.

The poll was taken between Feb. 4 and Feb. 12 and included 917 Duval County residents. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.23 percent.   More

Flog Poll

Flog Poll (Race to the Bottom Edition)

TRUMP TRUMP

One of the more interesting developments of the post-Florida-primary week was The New York Times looking into the Republicans' “desperate” mission to stop Donald Trump from earning their party’s nomination. Even Mitch McConnell has joined the fight, which is surprising because the Senate Majority Leader’s priorities are typically as follows: reelection, stifle Obama, reelection, seek out a warm rock from which to absorb sun into his reptilian skin.

Speaking of reptiles: Rick Scott endorsed Trump this week and the Florida Times Union’s Tia Mitchell has some questions for the Florida Governor, one of which he failed to answer in a recent cringe-inducing visit to MSNBC’s Morning Joe.  

The Unpopular Crowd

OK, so the Republican establishment is willing to do whatever it takes to stop Drumpf. And John Kasich won Ohio. And he’s the most moderate candidate, right?

Kasich has balanced budgets. He has broad support among independents. He’s the Governor of the most important swing state. And he gives great hugs.

OK, Republicans: fall in line.

Not so fast… as it turns out, aside from all those previously mentioned qualifications, John Kasich is also a smug, ego-maniac with anger management issues, that nobody likes. And this makes him different from the rest of the Republican field, how?

Meanwhile, shortly after Ted Cruz locked up the Mormon vote in Utah, Jeb Bush went ahead and endorsed the guy whose own kids even find him untenably creepy. While we’re on the subject, if you haven’t seen this video of Ted Cruz’s campaign commercial outtakes, it’s definitely worth a gander, if for no other reason than to see what these assholes are willing to put their families through. 

 

A digression: Is it just me or does Heidi Cruz, especially under duress – which she appears to be in the above video – look and act a lot like Kathryn …   More

Jacksonville Receiving $450,000 in Defense Grants

Jacksonville is receiving $450,000 from the 2012-2013 Florida Defense Support Task Force Grants, Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday.

The grants are part of $2.6 million awarded to 10 project across the state “to protect military installations and grow jobs and opportunities across the state,” the governor said

In Jacksonville, the funds will go for the construction of an explosive ordinance disposal bunker at Jacksonville Air National Guard Base and establishing a maritime research center at Mayport Naval Station.

A grant of $100,000 will to the Florida 8 (a) Alliance in Jacksonville to assist veteran-owned and defense industry small business across Florida.

“These investments are critical to supporting military jobs and further establishing Jacksonville as a major hub for aircraft basing,” the governor said.

Mayor Alvin Brown thanked the governor, saying, “This is a remarkable opportunity not only to strengthen our part of national security, but promote jobs and economic development at the local and state levels.”

  More

Flog Poll

FLOG POLL (REGGAE-NOMICS EDITION)

CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THE SILVER FOX

As I watched Sunday evening’s Democratic debate from Flint, MI, I was not alone in my being struck by how much actual policy and nuance was discussed, relative to the Republican debates, which focused more heavily on which candidate was more full of fallacies and which candidate had a tiny phallus. I was also struck by how pretty damn boring the whole thing was.

With Hillary Clinton’s commanding lead, most Dems seem content having the boring primary.

After Super Tuesday, many polls had HRC ahead by double-digit margins in both Mississippi and Michigan. Then, much to the chagrin of HRC supporters, we had to go and have  another Tuesday.

Sanders' Michigan victory surprised a lot of pollsters. And though Bernie was beaten, rather brutally, in Mississippi, his win in Michigan has given the Sanders campaign renewed hope that he’ll fare well moving forward… Or not.

Anderson Cooper will moderate as CNN and Univision host another boring ass debate tonight (Wednesday) from Miami.

WHO'S GOT TWO THUMBS, A DRESSAGE HORSE, AND IS DOWN WITH SOCIAL MEDIA?

After a sincere and potty-mouthed (for a stiff Mormon guy) scolding from ol’ Mitt,  Drumpfmentum was marginally slowed. The runner up from the 2012 Presidential election doubled down on his efforts to stop The Donald in the most logical way possible. He went on Jimmy Kimmel Live to read mean tweets.

My favorite has to be @VOTE4TRUMP_2016’s claim that he or she wished for a time machine so he or she could “go back and punch [Mitt Romney] in the throat.”

LOL, @VOTE4TRUMP_2016. Don’t we all? Wait… do we?

WHAT THE HEIL? 

Speaking of Drumpf, he seems to be doing everything he can to keep the Hitler comparisons fresh in the minds of voters, as a pledge of support from a crowd of mouth-breathers turned into an (un?)fortunate photo-op for the Republican frontrunner (below). …   More

Flog Poll

Flog Poll (Escape From New York Edition)

 

The battle for New York is over, the frontrunners of both parties earning decisive victories in one of the most hyped primaries since that one that happened last week.

Feel The Bern Givin’ you the Feels?

To be fair, Sanders certainly outperformed expectations in his native state. Two weeks ago he trailed Clinton by double digits. Then he won Wyoming, got tickets to Hamilton and an invite to hang with The Pope (kind of). Momentum may be on his side.

Five Thirty Eight sees the race for the Democratic nomination tightening moving forward. While there are no numbers to back up the assertion that follows, Sanders seems to have benefited from a rather heavy-handed documentary (see:campaign ad) featuring the Vermont Senator walking the streets of his hometown, as actor/director/uber-Bernie Bro Mark Ruffalo tosses the candidate softballs and tries desperately to engage him in extensive periods of eye-contact, to no avail.

Enjoy the awkwardness below:

 

You Ain’t No Bern, You Bern

While Sanders had Ruffalo in his corner in New York, Hillary had the support of a half-dozen dorks at Columbia University. Also HRC got 6 in 10 Latino votes, 6 in 10 female votes, and two-thirds the minority votes in the NYC primary where 40% of registered voters are nonwhite.

Regardless, if your Facebook feed hasn’t yet made it clear, it ain’t cool to like Hillary. As I said weeks ago, Sanders is the perfect candidate for my generation: dug up like some old vinyl (a single like Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” for example) by a demographic Hell-bent on coopting things from the past. “Authenticity,” the buzzword of the generation that gave rise to the hipster, is often used to describe Sanders’ appeal. Just replace reclaimed wood with Bernie’s speeches from the '80s and you have, in a nutshell, the soul of why he’s popular with the under-30 crowd in the first place.

So it’s not all that …   More

LET THERE BE LIT

On March 5, the 14th annual Douglas Anderson Writers’ Festival comes back home. After having outgrown the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts campus, where the festival began in the late 1990s, the last several festivals have been hosted at the University of North Florida, but with the $13 million expansion of Douglas Anderson’s campus, completed this year, the festival’s organizers decided it was high time to bring the festival home.

In the 20 years since its founding, the event has brought scores of the highest caliber writers to Jacksonville, including Billy Collins, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood and Richard Ford.

This year’s headliner is Andre Dubus III, best known for his best-selling novel “House of Sand and Fog,” upon which the 2003 film featuring Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley was based. Poets like Richard Blanco and William Trowbridge and fiction writers Tom Paine and Ron Carlson are offering Saturday workshops.

The 2016 festival, which features 17 writers, is the work of three D.A. creative writing teachers — Liz Flaisig, Tiffany Melanson, and Jennifer Bundy — and is funded largely by the school’s creative writing booster club.

Poet and creative writing teacher Melanson says that bringing the festival home allows the school to showcase its achievements to the community. In that way, it performs a role similar to D.A.’s Extravaganza, the annual showcase of music, writing, dance, cinematic arts, and visual arts that packs the house at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts each February.

Unlike Extravaganza, though, Melanson says the writers’ festival may have lost community understanding of its connection with the school when it was held at UNF.

Though the festival has featured some of the best-known American writers, it bills itself as “a student literary festival,” offering D.A. students a true immersion in literary arts.

Creative …   More

Folio Digital

YOUR MORRIS COMPASS

Morris Communications – owners of a diversified group of publications including daily newspapers The Augusta Chronicle, The St. Augustine Record, and The Florida Times-Union – is coming under fire for what a staffer at one of their dailies allegedly called a “xenophic editorial position” that “was mandated to run in Morris Communications newspapers across the chain.”

On his website, media critic Jim Romenesko posted an email allegedly provided by the staffer on Thursday, October 14. The email is credited to Robert Gilbert, vice president of audience at Morris Publishing Group/Morris Communications, to editors at all twelve MPG media outlets, and says the following (no emphasis added):

"Mr. Morris asks that each MPG newspaper run the attached editorial on American responsibility toward Mideast migrants/refugees. You should run it as your own editorial (not a column or op-ed), or produce your own editorial BUT MAINTAINING THE SAME POSITION. The editorial is for immediate release."

The Augusta Chronicle, ran an editorial on September 22, 2015 credited to the publication's editorial staff, which states the following:

"The Obama administration's plan to admit 85,000 refugees during the next year, and nearly 100,000 in 2017, is a self-destructive act born of dangerously deluded notions of compassion."

The editorial also notes that since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, the U.S. has given the country $4 billion in aid, the most of any nation, and goes on to warn that refugees may be terrorists.

Three days later, on September 25, The Florida Times-Union, published an editorial credited to its editorial staff, which states the following:

"The Obama administration needs to resist its well-meaning but misguided and potentially dangerous attempt to speed up admittance of Syrian refugees. There are too many possibilities that even a few of these …   More

FOLIO WEEKLY RETURNS TO ART BASEL MIAMI BEACH

Art Basel in Miami Beach attracts artists and art lovers from around the world and the entire city of Miami is transformed as multiple art fairs and festivals pop up from the beach to the Wynwood arts district and beyond.

Tachyons + (former Jacksonville noise collective members Logan Owlbeemoth and Omebi Velouria from Telepathik Friend) created trippy visuals using custom electronics and video effects during the Look Alive Festival at Churchill's Pub featuring Wolf Eyes and Silver Apples.

Zac Freeman had a piece displayed in the Context Art Miami show where Folio Weekly caught up with Overstreet Ducasse and Princess Simpson Rashid.

Ducasse’s brilliant artwork was featured in two shows just north of Wynwood (including the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center). Florida painter Kevin Grass displayed seven new photo realistic / surreal paintings at Spectrum Miami.   More

THE FLOG

BREAKING: JEREMY BANKS’ COMPLAINT AGAINST FDLE AGENT DISMISSED (FOR NOW)

Last Friday, a federal court judge dismissed the complaint that Jeremy Banks, the St. Johns County Sheriffs deputy best known as the boyfriend of Michelle O’Connell — who may or may not have committed suicide back in September 2010 — filed last year against Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Rusty Rodgers, Folio Weekly has learned. That complaint alleged that Rodgers lied to and manipulated O’Connell’s family members into believing that Banks had killed her, and made false and derragotory statements about Sheriff David Shoar, including that he was helping cover up a homicide by one of his deputies. 

"Over a year ago,” Shoar said in a statement when the lawsuit was filed, “I personally made a complaint to FDLE regarding the egregious behavior of Rusty Rodgers and [fellow FDLE Agent] Dominic Pape during the investigation of the death of Michelle O'Connell. While Rodgers is currently the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation for 'official misconduct,' I am grateful the civil cases are moving forward to ultimately bring justice and closure to all involved."

On Feb. 13, U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis dismissed Banks’ complaint without prejudice, which means Banks will have the opportunity to refile by March 5. In essence, Davis ruled in his seven-page order that Banks did not come close to establishing the probable cause the court needed to move the case forward. 

“The Court is mindful that proof is not required at this juncture of the case,” Davis wrote. “Nevertheless, Rule 8 requires a short plain statement sufficient to put Defendant on notice of facts or inferences from them which makes the absence of probable cause plausible. The allegations of Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint simply fail to accomplish that requirement.” 

We will update as we learn more. 

*This post and headline were updated to reflect the fact that the …   More

FLOG

JaxPort Wants Deeper Harbor

JaxPort’s Board of Directors have voted unanimously to inform the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that it wants to dredge the harbor to no less than 47 feet deep to keep the port competitive.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had recommended Monday that the St. Johns River shipping channel be dredged from its current 40-foot depth to 45 feet deep. Port members, however, said recommended depth is not deep enough for the port to service larger cargo ships from Asia.

The JaxPort board members said they think the 47-feet depth is needed to keep Jacksonville competitive to other East Cost ports.

The federal government will pay 75 percent of the cost to dredge up to 45 feet. Anything deeper than that depth could be paid for with state, federal, local or private funds.

There were no cost figures discussed at Monday’s meeting. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will release the draft results of its harbor deepening study in May.

  More