Petition Drive Launched To Stop JEA Sale; Council Vote Requested On Tuesday

Dec 9, 2019

As a third workshop on the proposed JEA sale is convened Monday, a petition drive opposing the sale is gaining steam.

As of 10:50 a.m. on Monday, a petition called “Keep JEA Public” had 612 supporters.  It was launched by a New Florida Majority, which bills itself as "building political power of marginalized constituencies in Florida."

The petition asks Mayor Lenny Curry and the Jacksonville City Council to keep JEA public, stating, “For 125 years, JEA has provided long term value to its community, hired people in Jacksonville and guaranteed rate stability to all families. Privatizing our JEA would change this. It will create a monopoly, increase the price of our electrical bills and decline the quality of services. The dividends will stop going to our government to invest in our city; they will be given to the wealthy who are shareholders instead of the community.” 

Miami-based New Florida organizer Michael Todd told WJCT News his group is canvassing door-to-door on the Northside, Westside and Arlington areas. Todd said many in those areas are living paycheck-to-paycheck and could be hard-hit by a privatized JEA. "You know, the quality diminishes," Todd alleged.  

The petition drive is underway as some members of Jacksonville’s City Council have become vocal in opposition to a potential sale of JEA.

District 10 City Councilwoman Brenda Priestly Jackson has filed a resolution calling on JEA’s board to request a halt to the evaluation of bids and pursuit of a sale. Jackson’s bill requests emergency passage by the Council, which could mean voting on it at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. 

If passed, the bill asks that the JEA board rescind its invitation to bidders to negotiate a possible sale at its next board meeting on December 18.  

At-Large Group 4 City Councilman Matt Carlucci said on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross earlier this month that the profit sharing scheme was the final straw for him, prompting him to call for JEA CEO Aaron Zahn’s resignation.

Dec. 9, 2020, City Council Workshop On JEA:

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Michelle Corum can be reached at mcorum@wjct.org, 904-358-6308 or on Twitter at @MCorumonME.

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