by: Katherine Hardwick in Advocacy, Placemaking, Thought Leadership No Comments  

Earlier this month, we posted about Mayoral Candidates on Reviving Downtown thanks to the Florida Times-Union’s “Meet the candidate” Q&As. In similar fashion, we’re bringing you how Jacksonville’s City Council contenders weighed in on Downtown revitalization. For starters, here’s how the districts are drawn. See a full-size map of the current council districts here.

City Council District Map 2015

Downtown’s Southbank falls into District 5, which extends south into San Marco, San Jose and Mandarin. Lori Boyer is running unopposed for District 5, as thus does not have a Q&A. Here is Lori’s bio excerpt:

Lori was elected to City Council in 2011 to represent District 5. Since that time, she has worked to streamline government regulations, insure the wise use of our tax dollars, stimulate job creation and economic growth, and protect our neighborhoods. She was the 2013 recipient of the Charles D. Webb award for outstanding service on City Council and was the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors 2013 Elected Official of the Year. She was recently honored as the American Planning Association Elected Official of the Year for the State of Florida. Lori has served on the Recreation and Community Development, Finance, Rules, Transportation, and Land Use and Zoning Committees. She served as chair of LUZ for two consecutive years and is currently vice chair of TEU as well as chair of the Special Committee on the Capital improvement Program. She was also appointed to chair a 30 member special Task Force charged with review of our Consolidated Form of Government. In addition, she is a member of the Value Adjustment Board and City Council liaison to the Downtown Investment Authority.

Read her full profile here. Lori may be reached at (904) 630-1382 or LBoyer@coj.net

Downtown’s Northbank falls into District 7, which covers much of Jacksonville’s Northside as well. Among the “Meet the Candidate” questions–including those on the Human Rights Ordinance, mental illness, race relations, Police and Fire pension–each candidate was asked, “What is your top priority for reviving Downtown?” Here is what they had to say:

 

NIKI BRUNSON

 

Bio excerpt: Niki Brunson, Candidate for City Council District 7 is a lifelong resident of Jacksonville, FL. Formally educated at Stanton College Prep, Andrew Jackson High, Jacksonville University and the University of Phoenix. The Bridge of NE Florida, Upward Bound at JU, International travel and life in Jacksonville have provided invaluable enrichment education opportunities.

Disappointed with disconnected leadership, wealth draining initiatives, and declining Quality of Life, I decided to take action. In 2013, JCCI recognized me as a contributor for the Distinctive Neighborhood’s Quality of Life report. By October, 2013, I was advocating to maintain a special ordinance to support special event vending opportunities on the APR Blvd Corridor, which was featured in an article.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?
Inclusion of Jacksonville’s Cultural Heritage and infusion of the authentic local experience.

Read the full Q&A here.

736 A. Philip Randolph Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32202
904-355-7681
Email: info@electbrunson2015.com
Website: www.electbrunson2015.com
Facebook: Elect Niki Brunson for City Council District 7

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JAMES EDDY

 

Bio excerpt:

Born: On November 23, 1970 in New Martinsville, West Virginia
Grew up: Raised in Reader West Virginia but I grew up on a small piece of farm land in Marietta , Ohio.
College: The University of Akron AA in Restaurant Management and Culinary Art
Jobs: The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Restaurant Manager For the past 12 years April 2001-present.
Volunteerism:

  • Jax 2025 – Task Forces : to transform Jacksonville by 2025
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation
  • Diverse & Inclusive Community
  • Government Openness and Responsiveness
  • Member of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality on the Communications and Education Committees,
  • Chair of Education Committee and Steering Team member. Since 2012

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?
To have a private public relationship to get more housing built in the downtown area. Without people in the downtown area shops and restaurant cannot grow. We must put focus on on the landing and the ship yard properties. We must also get a top attraction like the aquarium in place. To attract more tourist dollars that drive thru Jacksonville to other Florida cities.

Read the full Q&A here.

222 Lawton Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32208
904-729-5736
Email: eddy4dist7@gmail.com
Website: www.eddy4dist7.com
Facebook: James Eddy for City Council Dist 7

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DONALD FOY

 

Bio excerpt: President, MAD DADS Jacksonville Chapter (Men against Destruction Defending against Drugs and Social-disorder) Responsible for Board development; volunteer recruitment and training, and the day to day operation of the chapter, connecting the numerous community based and grassroots organizations. Responsible for the implementation of the chapter mission, goals and objectives. The local chapter currently hosts the National Office which has moved their national headquarters to Jacksonville. MAD DADS calls MEN across the city to address the issues of Crime, Drugs, Violence and Fatherhood training.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?
Not answered.

Read the full Q&A here.

11516 Whisperingbrook Lane, Jacksonville, FL 32218
904-751-1001
Email: campaignfordonald@gmail.com
Website: electdonaldfoy.com

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REGGIE GAFFNEY

 

Bio excerpt: In 1993, after many years in the mental-health services field, Reggie Gaffney recognized the need to address a highly under served community of disenfranchised people faced with challenges stemming from mental illness, substance abuse as well as HIVjAIDS on Jacksonville’s Northside. In response, he and two co-workers established the Community Rehabilitation Center 21 years ago. Today he is responsible for the supervision of over 110 employees and an operating budget exceeding $ 5 million.

A graduate of Florida A&M University, Reggie leads not only a successful nonprofit organization but its for profit subsidiaries that are currently serving thousands of people in a tri-county area. (Duval, Baker & Nassau)

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?
I feel that the current administration and the Downtown Development Board is doing a great job with their efforts to revitalize Downtown. The construction of the Courthouses, both County and Federal, the new City Hall and a host of new restaurants have been a huge draw combined with tax incentives that have been offered for businesses to relocate back to the City’s center such as EverBank. I’ve seen the plans for Mr. Khan’s Riverfront Development Project as well as the Aquarium Project and I look forward to doing my part in making them a reality as it will serve as a significant draw. As a native, I remember when it was a treat to go downtown with my brothers to Sears and get hot caramel corn while my Mother shopped and let us play along the riverfront. It was the center of activity there on the river and it was exciting! With the relocation of the Public Library, Museum Of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Farmer’s Market in Hemming Plaza, the Art Walk on the river, I feel that same sense of excitement again today. One of the greatest issues that I feel that we face in keeping the momentum of this transformation is to address the plight of the homeless and indigent that populate the river walk and plaza. In the social service circles, this area is known as “the triangle” due to the proximity of the bus station, jail, Sulzbacher Center and the City Rescue Mission which serves that population. These very individuals that need the most help in turn alienate that downtown draw creating an image of threatening the personal safety of anyone entering the area. Coming from the primary and behavioral nonprofit world, these are the people that we serve on a daily basis with critical lifeline services that lend to their daily stability. Until these individuals are taken care of, all of our efforts to transform downtown will be diminished.

Read the full Q&A here.

5323 Springfield Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32208
904-349-7534
Email: reggie@vote4reggie.com
Website: vote4reggie.com
Facebook: Reggie Gaffney For City Council

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MARC MCCULLOUGH

 

Bio excerpt: As a lifelong resident of the district with a passion for politics and justice, I ran for City Council District #7 in 2011. Although I didn’t win it hasn’t extinguished my desire to run again and be a voice for the voiceless and a servant to the people of “OUR” community. I have continued to be a community organizer by developing programs such as A.S.K (Adults Supporting Kids) and P.O.E.T.R.Y (The Power of Edifying the Real You) where I promote writing instead of fighting. I’m a member of the International Longshoreman Association Local Union #1408 (23yrs), AFL-CIO and the Masonic Society. For 6 years I served on the board of directors for the Northeast Florida Community Action Agency (NFCAA), and steering the committee for Operation New Hope. I come from a past that I describe as tested, as any believer of Christ should know that no mess no message! It is those past life experiences that have provided me with a lesson plan that I will use to teach our youth about the dangers of street life and improve the quality of life for all residents in the district and restore a sense of pride in our community.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?
As a kid growing up on the eastside one of my highlights were coming downtown with my mother to pay bills and do some shopping and catch a movie. Back then we had nothing but had everything now that we have everything we have nothing. With nearly 100,000 people working, less than 3,000 living downtown, and approximately 178,000 cars passing through we need a magnet something to make the people want to live, work, and play in “OUR” downtown. We need a movie theater and thriving night life, restaurants, family entertainment zone, and a signature sports bar to show our support for “OUR” beloved Jaguars.

Read the full Q&A here.

338 E. Ashley St., Jacksonville, FL 32202
904-672-6636
Email: marcmccullough@yahoo.com
Facebook: Marc A. McCullough Sr.

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WENDELL SAMS

 

Bio excerpt: Wendell Sams Candidate for City Council District 7, Married to Mrs. Lisa M. Sams of Jacksonville, Florida, I was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1964, Graduated from Mandeville, High School in Louisiana, I served honorably in both Active and Reserve from 1987 until 2003 as a Cannon Crewman and Military Police Officer, I Obtained my Master’s Degree in Theology from the Spirit of Truth Institute in Richmond, Virginia. I was called to Preach the Gospel Ministry at the early age of 14, and called to Pastor, Hatton Pond Baptist Church in Stuarts Draft, Virginia in 1995, I worked as a Supervisor of Security for Am-South Banks in New Orleans Louisiana, during the Katrina disaster in 2004, and served as President of PTA and PTSA for Chandler Middle School, John Marshall High School and Vice President for Henderson Middle School in Richmond Virginia, all while raising my daughters as a Single Parent, I bring direction, commitment and leadership that you can finally trust.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?
Moving the Jail to Pecan Park area, and opening up downtown for business development…

Read the full Q&A here.

11011 Harts Rd., #1603 Jacksonville, FL 32218
904-476-0602
Email: samswendell@yahoo.com
Website: voteforme.com/wendellsamscitycouncil
Facebook: Wendell Sams Candidate for City Councilman

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GEORGE SPENCER JR.

 

Bio excerpt: George is the product of the Duval County Public School system. After High School, George attended Bethune-Cookman University where he earned an athletic scholarship. He graduated with academic honors earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accounting. After undergraduate studies, George obtained a Master’s degree in Accounting Information Systems from Florida State University. George later completed his legal studies at Florida International University earning a Juris Doctorate law degree.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?
Support the Downtown Investment Authority in their efforts including:

  • Eliminate dead assets
  • Increase retail business presence
  • Increase residential occupants

Read the full Q&A here.

3450 Dunn Ave., Suite 305, Jacksonville, FL 32218
904-859-2373
Email: district7voice@gmail.com
Website: www.georgespencercampaign.com
Facebook: Attorney George A Spencer

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SIRRETTA WILLIAMS

 

Bio excerpt: Dr. Sirretta L. Williams attended Jacksonville’s Theological Seminary where she earned a Doctorate in Christian Psychology. She also served as a college professor and obtained a license and certification as a counselor. She served as a mentor and substitute teacher with the Duval County School Board for 15 years and a mental health and drug assessment counselor for the Juvenile Detention Center. A life-changing event led Dr. Williams to author a book and found Breaking the Silence Jacksonville, or BTSJ, a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to educating, increasing public awareness and providing support for sexually abused youth and their families. Dr. Williams also served as National Chaplain of the NFL moms, providing support through her ministerial duties and uplifting literature, in line with her present pastoral duties as Senior Pastor of Lion of the Tribe of Judah. As overseer of the refurbished Joseph Lee Community Center in the heart of District 7 on Jacksonville’s Northside, Dr. Williams, along with other volunteers, are actively involved with the youth of the community.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?
My top priority for reviving downtown is to bring new business downtown Jacksonville which will create jobs, notoriety and promote financial stability.

Read the full Q&A here.

538 W. 28th St., Jacksonville, FL 32206
904-866-7047
Email: campaign@sirrettawilliams.info
Website: www.sirrettawilliams2015.com
Facebook: SirrettaWilliams2015

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2015 Calendar of Election Dates

  • First: March 24, 2015
    • Early Voting Begins: March 9, 2015
    • Early Voting Ends: March 22, 2015
  • General: May 19, 2015

Additional information

  • All mayoral, City Council and sheriff candidates, along with party affiliations, monetary contributions and more can be found here.
  • Upcoming candidate forums and debates can be found here.
  • Check your voter status here.
  • Polling locations can be found here.

***Downtown Vision does not endorse candidates.***

 

 



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