Jacksonville City Council

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Tuesday’s Jacksonville City Council agenda was sparse, but three hours of public comment on two bills made up for it.

City Councilmen Bill Gulliford and Tommy Hazouri are both sponsoring bills that could expand the city’s human rights ordinance to protect people in the areas of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

Friends of Hemming Park via Facebook

Jacksonville officials are asking the operators of Hemming Park what kind of commitment the city must make to keep the park’s revitalization effort going.

Jacksonville City Hall
Ray Hollister / WJCT News


The Jacksonville community will have several opportunities to tell the full City Council their feelings about possibly expanding the city’s human-rights ordinance to include gay and transgender people.



Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is looking for victims of self-proclaimed child sex abuser Roy Bay.

Bay told the Jacksonville City Council during public comments on a proposed human-rights ordinance last week that he had committed several sex acts with children.

The JSO says a preliminary investigation shows some of the victims may live in Jacksonville, and the attacks may go back as far as 1980.

Investigators say victims are likely white men who were between 10-and-18-years old when Bay molested them.

Equality Coalition Sticker
Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News


Jacksonville City Councilmen Bill Gulliford and Tommy Hazouri are sponsoring competing anti-discrimination bills, which will start moving through Council next month.

Gulliford introduced his human-rights ordinance bill, with a requirement for voters to decide on the issue, Wednesday morning.


We discuss the week's top news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Larry Hannan, Florida Times-Union reporter; Claire Goforth, Folio Weekly writer; A.G. Gancarski, Florida Politics writer; and Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor.

Topics include the Jacksonville City Council a $90 million deal with the Jaguars Shad Khan for a new amphitheater and field upgrades, continued discussion about the city's human rights ordinance, and the future of the Jacksonville Skyway.

Melissa Ross / WJCT News

Openly-gay Houston, Texas Mayor Annise Parker shared advice about equal rights at a Democratic gala in Jacksonville Monday night.

Houston made headlines last month when city residents voted down an equal rights ordinance already passed by the Houston City Council. It banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, among a list of other areas.

Jacksonville City Council’s Finance Committee approved a proposed $90 million deal with the Jaguars for stadium renovations, a multi-purpose indoor practice field and a new amphitheatre — even though Jacksonville already has one at Metropolitan Park.

The plan calls for the city to evenly split the bill with Jaguars owner Shad Khan. The city would use two cents of a six percent tax charged to Jacksonville hotel guests to pay its part. That money is earmarked for sports complex maintenance by a bill passed through Council in 2009.


Arlington is in store for a total makeover now that the Jacksonville City Council has approved a redevelopment and renewal plan for the area.

The 70-plus page plan addresses issues like walkability, infrastructure and public safety. Councilman John Crescimbeni says he remembers Arlington at a different time.

Councilman Brown Withdraws Food Truck Restriction Bill

Nov 24, 2015
Ray Hollister / WJCT News

An ordinance to regulate where food trucks can operate in Jacksonville was withdrawn from consideration at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

Councilman Reggie Brown’s proposal would require food trucks to set up at least 50 feet away from brick and mortar restaurants unless they’re given written consent by the owner to be there.  Food trucks downtown already adhere to similar rules.

Ray Hollister / WJCT News

The Jacksonville City Council will begin considering a bill next Tuesday that could limit when and where food trucks can operate.

Councilman Reggie Brown is introducing the bill, which if passed, would amend the city ordinance so that food trucks would not be allowed to operate within 50 feet of a brick-and-mortar business unless the brick-and-mortar business gives the mobile business written consent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Jacksonville City Councilman Jim Love joins us to discuss a variety of issues affecting the city, including the recent independent audit of the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund, the city's Human Rights Ordinance and more.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News


The Jacksonville City Council voted to replace two members of the city’s Planning Commission, Tuesday.  

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry asked them to resign, but they refused.


Lisa King
Lisa King

The Jacksonville City Council Rules Committee voted to replace City Planning Commissioners Lisa King and Joey Mckinnon Tuesday afternoon. The matter now passes to the full Council.

Mayor Lenny Curry asked both members to resign mid-term, saying their goals do not align with his, but they refused.

Councilman Tommy Hazouri, a former Democratic Jacksonville mayor, was the lone member to vote against replacing them. He says they did nothing wrong and should be allowed to finish their terms.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

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.


Google Maps

The Jacksonville City Council is asking for more information about a homeless day shelter that’s set to close at the end of this month.

Dozens of shelter advocates showed up at City Hall Monday night, pleading for funding to not be cut from the city’s budget.


Sheriff uniform patch
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office via Facebook

More money for infrastructure and for programs to help at-risk young people are among the changes in the newest Jacksonville city budget.  The 19-member City Council passed the new spending plan Monday night.

City of Jacksonville

Jacksonville City Council districts in the Northwest parts of the city will hold town hall meetings, Thursday.

Councilwoman Katrina Brown represents District 8 on the Westside. She says after a lot of people called her office, she wanted to get the community together.

"People have questions about their sidewalks, trash pickups and code enforcement," Brown said. "[I want to] really find out what some of their needs are and what are their true concerns."  

She says they'll also tackle the area's crime issues, and she's invited Sheriff Mike Williams to attend.

Ray Hollister

The Jacksonville organization that protects people from discrimination is struggling under an overwhelming caseload.

The Jacksonville Human Rights Commission lost three workers last year due to city budget cuts, and funding isn’t increasing this year.

Saphara Harrell / WJCT News

The consensus at Thursday’s budget hearing was Jacksonville’s Finance Committee wants Parks and Recreation funding spent wisely.

Mayor Lenny Curry is proposing giving the Parks, Recreation and General Services Department nearly $1.5 million for projects, from the city’s Capital Improvement Plan. That’s an increase from a half-million last year.

Last year, Florida legalized Charlotte's Web, a low-THC oil made from cannabis for some medical uses. The state is still deciding which nurseries will be awarded a license to grow and distribute the drug. Two nurseries in Jacksonville have applied. 

Here in our area, the City Council is taking a slow and deliberate approach to regulating its growing, processing and dispensing in Jacksonville.

marijuana plant
Brett Levin / Flickr

The Jacksonville City Council and city planners met Tuesday to work on rules governing non-euphoric medical marijuana.

Last year, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed off on the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, which allows patients on a special state-registry to use marijuana that won’t make them high, but can help with issues like seizures.

The Council is taking a slow and deliberate approach to regulating its growing, processing and dispensing in Jacksonville. Councilman Jim Love suggests the medicine be dispensed through pharmacies.

Melissa Hillier / Flickr

It remains to be seen whether Jacksonville libraries will get more operating hours and resources this year.

City Council members discussed how libraries serve the community Friday morning.

Jacksonville public libraries suffered significant budget cuts in 2012. But Library Board Chair Erin Skinner says she’s hopeful as a new City Council discusses the budget and the Capital Improvement Plan.

Jacksonville City Hall, St. James Building
Ray Hollister / WJCT News

The Jacksonville City Council Finance Committee considered funding for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Thursday.

Sheriff Mike Williams was on hand to answer council members’ questions.

“We’ve done a lot of work prior to today to prepare you know working with the council and the mayor’s office,” Williams said. “But I think this is the kind of meeting you get when you have a council and a mayor and a sheriff that really do work together every day.”

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Jacksonville city officials want to make it easier for parents of school children to find out about social services.

Duval County School Board and City Council members talked Monday about how to publicize available programs.

Paula Wright and Connie Hall represent school board Districts 4 and 5 in the north and west areas of Jacksonville. The districts have a lot of kids on free and reduced lunch.

City of Atlantic Beach

Atlantic Beach City Commissioner Maria Mark is running for re-election this month after occupying the position for the past four years.

Mark is best known for leading the effort to pass the first and only inclusive human rights ordinance or HRO in Northeast Florida. The ordinance bans acts of discrimination against LGBT residents and visitors in Atlantic Beach.

Patrick Donges / WJCT

Jacksonville City Councilman Tommy Hazouri says he’ll sponsor an expansion of the city’s human rights ordinance to ban discrimination against gay and transgender people.

Hazouri talked about the HRO on WJCT’s “First Coast Connect” Thursday morning.

At-large City Councilman Tommy Hazouri says he’s confident Mayor Lenny Curry will partner with him on the issue of human rights once budget negotiations are done. Hazouri says Jacksonville should be a place where no one is left out, but today, gay and transgender people are left out of its anti-discrimination policy.

outdoor tables and chairs
Saphara Harrell / WJCT News

On Tuesday night the Jacksonville City Council began considering a bill to clear up funding issues surrounding Hemming Park.  

It’s one of the first items before the new City Council, which is back in session with 11 newly elected members.

New Council President Greg Anderson says the year is off to a good start.

“I think we got the job done tonight,” he said.

And he says things will be getting more interesting.  

“I think the Hemming Park bill is going to generate some conversation,” he said.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

New Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry dined with City Council members at a City Hall luncheon on his first full day in office, Thursday.


Curry filled the Council in about the status of the city’s budget and talked ideas.



Curry began the meeting by announcing he will be literally unlocking a door that separates City Council from the mayor at City Hall. Curry says the door has been locked up for years and puts up an unnecessary barrier between the legislative and executive branches.

On the June 2015 edition of WJCT's Policy Matters, host Rick Mullaney speaks with Greg Anderson, incoming President of the Jacksonville City Council, about the top issues facing the city and his priorities for the council in the next year.