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40+ Ask Jacksonville City Council To Keep King, McKinnon On Planning Commission

Lindsey Kilbride

More than 40 people showed up at Tuesday’s Jacksonville City Council meeting to protest the replacement of two city planning commissioners.

Mayor Lenny Curry has been asking people to resign from various boards, saying their visions for the city do not align with his.


It’s up to the council to decide if Joey McKinnon and incoming Chair Lisa King will be allowed to finish their terms as planning commissioners. Both have refused to resign despite Curry’s request.

Carmen Godwin, Executive Director of Riverside Avondale Preservation, spoke against replacing the two. She says her organization often works with the planning commission.

“We’ve been working really hard over the last four or five years to educate the Planning Commission on the unique needs of our neighborhood,” Godwin said. “And we feel like this could be a real step backwards for our neighborhood and our city as a whole.”

She says King’s planning experience and McKinnon’s hydrology background brought diverse knowledge to the Commission.

Community organizer Chevara Orrin says replacing the two is dividing, instead of uniting the city.

“Diversity of perspective, experience and voice is critical to ensure that we are all represented in every facet of our community,” Orrin said. “This unprecedented push bears little resemblance to the slogan that we were asked to fervently embrace: ‘One city. One Jacksonville.’”

“One city. One Jacksonville,” was chanted at Curry’s inauguration.

And fresh out of high school, 18-year-old Austin Belet says it’s just more taxpayer dollars to train new commissioners.

“It’s nonsense and everybody knows, and I beg of you all to please not partake in the nonsense,” Belet said.

King and McKinnon also spoke for themselves. McKinnon says he’s concerned Curry’s moves will discourage others from volunteering time to serve on city boards.

If King and McKinnon are kicked off, the commission will have five empty seats, one because another commissioner already resigned at Curry’s request.

King says that large of a transition isn’t smart for the city.

Councilman Tommy Hazouri says he won’t vote in favor of the resolutions to replace commissioners, but Councilman Reggie Brown says he stands with the mayor.

Council committees will take up the bill at meetings next week.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.