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Winners & Losers: Incumbents, Jim Furyk

A casino firm called Jacks or Better is aiming to replace Sun Cruz as the local offshore gambling operation. The new firm's boat is having work finished at shipyards in Green Cove Springs, where Cruz's ships are also docked, pending the outcome of its bankruptcy. In other news, Green Cove Springs has a shipyard operation. Well, color me green and call me a Martian, you learn something new every day!

LOSERS: Nassau County incumbents. A county commissioner, School Board member and two Port Authority members were booted in Tueday's elections. Longtime School Board boarder Muriel Creamer was dismissed by newcomer Amanda Young and firefighter Brian Reaves hosed Margie Gandy for Port Authority District 3. Carrol Franklin bankrolled his way to victory over incumbent Cari Ford Cahill for PA District 4.

Despite having considerable financial resources, longstanding community connections and businesses all over the west side of the county, the Franklin family's political ambitions have been largely stymied through the years by the efforts of other powerful, well-connected clans. Congratulations – finally!

WINNER: Florida Governor Charlie Crist for avoiding pigeonholes, much to the angst of Republican leaders. Crist is going to have a hard time getting elected as Florida's newest Senator, but the trouble he's going through is certainly worth it to keep Florida's political environment from becoming a stale carcass. With jump-up-and-down Republican Marco Rubio on one side and notoriously corrupt Kendrick Meek on the other, Crist will have difficulty getting his message heard and corralling enough votes to win. Many voters – and candidates – find the political party system to be cumbersome and restrictive, and would like to dump it in favor of a less official and more open-minded option. Politics is best practiced in a free and open environment. That doesn't seem to include political parties that dominate the system, polarize the spectrum and enforce the views of their members.

MOST UNFORTUNATE LOSER: Jim Furyk, a Ponte Vedra-based pro golfer who prefers to use his cell phone as an alarm clock on the PGA tour. You know how this one ended already. He missed start time by five minutes and was disqualified from The Bayclays, the tour kickoff that starts in Paramus, NJ. Rather than staying away when he realized he was late and saving us all the giggles, Furyk instead ran into the locker room flustered, mostly dressed and totally unprepared. Furyk, I suggest you invest in a better alarm clock.

WINNER: Google, for completing the logical circle started with Google Voice. Now we can actually answer those calls and make them through Google as well – basically a VOIP service like Skype. So far, the numbers (and the calling) has been free, just as Skype's service was when it first started. On the downside, of course, Google might start snatching your words out of the ether and using them to advertise new products to you. Google likes to creep people out, as always.

LOSERS: The perpetrators of a horrific drive-by shooting at 20th Street and Division Street at 8:30 PM on Tuesday night. Johnnie "J.R." Hoover, a 28-year old man in a Nissan sedan with his two young girls, ages 6 and 4, in the back was apparently targeted by an unknown assailant in another vehicle. The attackers fired multiple times into the other vehicle with a rifle, and then left the scene. Sheriff John Rutherford made a personal appearance at the crime scene in an attempt to highlight the need for the community to help solve the crime.

This shooting is particularly odd because it happened right out in the open on US-1 – not on a side street or neighborhood. Anyone with information on this incident should call police at 630-0500 or First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

WINNERS: Supporters of the Jacksonville Journey, which seems to be struggling to obtain funding from the City. The broad measure has a number of programs intended to change the conditions that cause crime and ghettoization before they start. There's a program to put ex-offenders into jobs, after-school programs and renovating older neighborhoods, among other plans. Although crime has dropped dramatically in the last few years, it's difficult to correlate that to the Journey, or to even measure if it's having any impact at all. However, it's probably better than nothing, and it likely isn't having a negative influence. Several more years will be required to show a noticeable impact, but hopefully it can obtain funding to continue working until then.

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In addition to offering up his weekly winners and losers in The Jacksonville Observer, Graham Wellington enjoys bacon, fancy hats and prank calling apartment complexes on Park Street.

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