Watchdog Group OurJax And NAACP Slam Lot J Development Deal

Dec 24, 2020
aerial view of parking lot packed with cars
Dede Smith / For the Times-Union

The watchdog group OurJax on Tuesday urged City Council to reject the proposed Lot J development, calling it a "rigged deal" that should be scrapped so negotiations can start over with the usual vetting for downtown developments that seek taxpayer subsidies.

Rodney Hurst speaking on a platform, with a picture of the young black demonstrators in the background, the podium that Hurst is speaking on has flowers in front of it.
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Civil Rights activists, community leaders and Jacksonville City Council members attended a gathering Thursday in what is now called James Weldon Johnson Park right outside of City Hall to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday. 

Three people holding signs that read "Kalil Resign Now", "Florida Bar Investigate" and "Justice For All" out in front of the courthouse, next to the street.
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Protestors from Jacksonville’s NAACP and the Northside Coalition circled the Duval County Courthouse in their cars with horns blaring on Tuesday, calling for recently elected Circuit Judge Michael Kalil to resign.

The Clay County Commission Tuesday rejected placing a half-cent sales tax for school funding on the ballot this year, according to WJCT-News partner The Florida Times Union.  

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Four of the six candidates running for Duval County’s District 4 School Board seat participated in a forum Monday evening at the Johnson Family YMCA on Cleveland Road.


Monday on First Coast Connect we spoke with local civil rights activists Ben Frazier and Wells Todd about the NAACP Legal Defense Fund investigating how Jacksonville police hand out tickets for jaywalking (01:00).

We spoke with Jacksonville’s Director of Neighborhoods Stephanie Burch and Director of Blight Initiatives Denise Lee on the upcoming Neighborhood and Community Summit (30:26).

We heard about the upcoming A Night at Roy’s to raise funds for the Monique Burr Foundation with Program Director Stacy Pendarvis (38:18).

Cole Pepper talked about a busy week for the Jaguars and the latest regarding the Armada (46:00).

Florida Memory

Jacksonville officials and civil-rights leaders gathered at the Prime Osborn Center Friday for an annual breakfast honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s the 30th year the city has hosted the event.

But the Jacksonville branch of the group King founded — the Southern Christian Leadership Conference — said it’s likely the last time it will participate unless the city makes changes on the other 364 days of the year.


Leaders in Jacksonville’s African-American community are reacting to racially-insensitive emails that were circulated among JEA employees.

The emails came to light at the same time the public utility is being federally investigated for alleged racial discrimination in hiring.

Allie George

Local organizations are calling for an independent review and a U.S. Justice Department investigation of the police-involved shooting of 22-year-old Vernell Bing Jr.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Jacksonville police are trying to determine why an officer shot an unarmed man after a car chase this weekend.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday it’s conducting an internal investigation. But some community activists say that’s not enough and are calling for an independent review of the incident.

NAACP President and Sheriff headshots
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

The public is invited to learn about mental health resources available in Northeast Florida on Monday evening. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the Jacksonville chapter of the NAACP are co-hosting a panel discussion at the downtown campus of Florida State College at Jacksonville at 6 p.m. in Room T140.

amateur photography by michel / Flickr


The city of Jacksonville is close to settling a 2013 discrimination lawsuit alleging the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department discriminates against African-Americans in hiring and creates a hostile work environment.

The city will settle with a $250,000 payment and change its hiring practices, as long as City Council agrees.

ASCAP / James Weldon Johnson papers, Manuscript Archives, and Rare Book Library, Robert W. Woodruff, Emory University.

A park is being planned on a historic Jacksonville site with ties to the civil-rights movement.

The Durkeeville Historical Society and city of Jacksonville plan to dedicate the birth site of Jacksonville’s Johnson brothers as the “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” Park.

The park is named after the song written by John Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson in the late 1800s, which the NAACP calls the “Black National Anthem.”

Rhema Thompson / WJCT

When Thena Robinson-Mock was in fourth grade, she was suspended.
“I had had enough of the mystery meat and I had decided  I was going to do something about it, and at the time, I was learning all about the civil rights movement and I was inspired,” she said.

So she decided to take a stand against the unsavory entree and encourage her classmates to sign a petition to banish the beef. Instead, it earned her a two-day suspension.