David Luckin

Our Friday First Coast Connect Media Roundtable featured WJCT contributor Fred Matthews, Jacksonville Business Journal editor Tim Gibbons, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk.

Issues discussed included:

DEA

Monday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Dr. Raymond Pomm about the opioid and heroin epidemics and a report from the Palm Beach Post that asserts the slow approach by Florida lawmakers to passing legislation to combat the problem helped lead to an increase in the epidemic (01:14).

Tuesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Harvard economist Dr. Mihir Desai on tax reform and U.S. competitiveness (01:23).

First Coast Connect Book Club blogger Stacy Goldring talked about one of the nation’s hottest books, Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury (28:58).

WJCT Music Director David Luckin and music host Damien Lamar talked about two new Sunday music programs on 89.9 (46:00).   


Tuesday on “First Coast Connect,” we have an update on President Donald Trump’s proposed $1 trillion transportation spending bill from the Fiorentino Group’s Marty Fiorentino (01:16), who was recently in Washington working with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on infrastructure spending. We also talked about upcoming toll roads and express lanes on the First Coast with the Florida Department of Transportation’s Mary Justino and Hampton Ray (26:54). Jacksonville attorney Michael Freed and Jacksonville Area Legal Aid President and CEO Jim Kowalski (36:35) talked about an upcoming event. The latest edition of “Moveable Feast” hosted by Leigh Court featured Dana Stallings (41:10), and WJCT music director David Luckin (49:48) discussed this weekend’s Jacksonville Jazz Festival and corresponding programing on “Electro Lounge.” 

   

North Florida Land Trust

The North Florida Land Trust is launching an ambitious project to conserve more land in North Florida.

The nonprofit is planning to create a 112,000 acre "Preservation Portfolio" of land they say is in critical need of preservation. This includes territory in Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Putnam, and St. Johns Counties.

The estimated cost of purchasing the acreage is $216 million.

Jim McCarthy, executive director of the North Florida Land Trust, joins us to discuss the project and how they are raising funds for it.

Uber and Lyft

Could voters decide the fate of Uber and Lyft in Jacksonville?

The Jacksonville City Council may be racing toward a populist solution to regulating ride-for-hire companies.

City Councilman John Crescimbeni has suggested holding a voter referendum on how to regulate the rideshares.

A similar type of referendum on Uber and Lyft recently failed in Austin Texas.

Crescimbeni joins us to discuss the issue.

Rep. Ander Crenshaw

U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Jacksonville) announced this week that he will not seek re-election in November.

We discuss the ramifications of this shakeup in Northeast Florida’s political power structure, including what's next for Crenshaw's seat in Congress and who could be stepping up to replace him, with Matt Corrigan, professor of political science at UNF, and A.G. Gancarski, writer for Florida Politics.

RAP Home Tour

Cuba

As President Barack Obama wraps up his historic visit to Cuba, we examine how relations between the country and the United States could evolve with John Caulfield, retired diplomat and former chief of mission with the U.S. interest section in Havana.

Tax Tips

Accountant and financial consultant Andrew Poulos, who runs the site SavyTaxGuy.com, joins us with filing tips for tax season.

Dreams Come True

A Jacksonville lawmaker wants to overhaul Florida’s sex-education system to shift the focus away from abstinence. Rep. Reggie Fullwood (D-Jacksonville) says giving kids knowledge about STDs can help lower infection rates among young people.

A just-released report from the CDC shows most school districts are not adequately preparing young people to make informed choices about sex.

Fullwood’s proposal would have schools teach about the effectiveness of all types of contraception, not just abstinence. Current state law says kids should be taught waiting until marriage is the accepted standard. The law also says teachers should highlight the benefits of heterosexual marriage.

Fullwood’s bill is sponsored in the Senate by Dwight Bullard (D-Miami).

Rep. Reggie Fullwood joins us to discuss the bill.


A crowded field of Republican candidates will take the stage for another presidential debate Wednesday night. Recent polls show Donald Trump and Ben Carson leading the GOP pack. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton remains the Democratic front runner, but Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is now topping polls in Iowa and New Hampshire. Susan McManus, professor of political science at the University of South Florida, joins us with thoughts about the race and new data about Florida voters when it comes to 2016.


The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville is an arm of city government that awards money to cultural organizations. We discuss public funding for art and the organization's work with Tony Allegretti, Executive Director of the Cultural Council, Christie Holecheck, Director of the Art in Public Places program, and Daniel Austin, Communications Director.


The Downtown Investment Authority, or DIA, will hold the second in a series of public workshops on the future of the Jacksonville Landing Wednesday night. We speak with Aundra Wallace, CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority, about how the public can voice their opinion on new design concepts for the iconic downtown site.

The Florida Legislature is back in Tallahassee this week after ending their regular session three days early. Things fell apart after the House and Senate could not agree on how to get health insurance to the state’s low income residents. The standoff has real consequences for health care in our area, in particular at UF Health Jacksonville. UF Health CEO Russ Armistead joins us with his thoughts about the way forward for health care funding in Florida.

After abruptly adjourning three days early, the Florida House and Senate have tentatively agreed to a special session in June to hash out lingering budget issues. But will the two chambers be able to resolve their lingering dispute on health care funding? We speak with Marty Fiorentino, principal at the Jacksonville government relations firm The Fiorentino Group.

Shannon LeDuke / WJCT

St. Augustine will commemorate 450 years as the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States this year. Anniversary planning has been an arduous process for St. Augustine City officials, and with only six months to go, there is still much to be done. The 450th has been the subject of many heated discussions, with many questioning the finances and the plans. We speak with Dana St. Claire, director of the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration, and Alexa Epitropoulos, reporter with the Jacksonville Business Journal.

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