Dear Council: We Will Remember!
UPDATE --- The budget, and tax hike, passed the city council. In case you're wondering if we plan to follow though with this... yes. Look for our October issue hitting newsstands at the end of next week.
The following is an open letter from Austin Cassidy, editor and publisher of The Jacksonville Observer.
As we get ready to put out the October issue of the Jacksonville Observer's print magazine, which is distributed at over 150 locations to more than 25,000 loyal readers, I struggled with what to put on the cover.
We discussed a few ideas internally, including the elections in November, something Halloween-themed or even something to do with the slew of big-name stand-up comedians coming to town in October. But as of this morning, I've decided to go in a distinctly different direction.
The Jacksonville City Council is still fighting over a major increase in the property tax rate and is planning to resume their meeting today at 11am, where it seems likely they will find some kind of "compromise" and orchestrate a vote in favor of the tax hike.
More scary than any Halloween cover, I've decided that our October cover will feature the names and photographs of each Jacksonville City Councilmember who votes "yes" to increase our property taxes.
The councilmembers who are looking to vote in favor of raising taxes are banking on the fact that voters won't have a long memory. They think we'll all forget by next Spring.
I think they're wrong.
Some of them simply won't care, because they're term-limited against seeking re-election.
But eight councilmembers have already filed to run again. Plus Councilman Kevin Hyde and Councilwoman Glorious Johnson have filed to run for Mayor, and Councilman Michael Corrigan has filed to run for Tax Collector.
That's at least 11 current councilmembers who will appear on the March ballot for some office. The council has 19 members... making 10 votes a majority.
In addition to putting the offending members on the cover of our October issue, the Observer will dedicate a FULL PAGE AD in every issue between now and next Spring's election to featuring the photos and names of every councilmember who votes yes on this outrageous tax increase.
Elections are about holding our representatives accountable for their actions. Some of these members think we the voters will forget about the tax hikes, the fee hikes and the out of control spending by time of the next election in March .
We won't forget.