Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Why not the best?

Curious about the opposition to the candidate for mayor who clearly is the most experienced and knowledgeable, I asked a prominent Alvin Brown supporter what is wrong with Mike Hogan.
Hogan will set the city back, he said.
He surmises that Hogan would not do anything about the public employee pension fund obligations.
That's just nonsense. Hogan has plans to reduce pension costs in the long run and has made them public. It is Brown who has no plan.
Also, he fears that Hogan will eliminate the Human Relations Commission, as well as pare down the Children's Commission and Economic Development Commission.
The non-paid Human Relations Commission is a do-nothing body, as is the Commission on the Status of Women. Both of these liberal sandboxes are anachronisms and need to be eliminated, in my view. However, Hogan has never said he would eliminate them.
One problem with liberals is that no government bureaucracy is ever seen as temporary, no matter how temporary the problem they are created to address.
In 1803, the British created a civil service position for a lookout on the cliffs at Dover, watching daily for Napoleon's fleet. Napoleon died in 1821. The position was eliminated in 1945.
That's also how the so-called "business community" in Jacksonville thinks. They have been calling downtown redevelopment a problem for more than 50 years and for that entire time the city government has been spending oodles of time and money on the alleged problem. Today, downtown Jacksonville is in far better condition than most central cities throughout the nation but they remain fixated on the idea that it is in collapse and they persist in spending on fluff and stuff like roundabouts, which accomplish nothing.
Apparently they haven't noticed that the marketplace, in the meantime, has created newer, better "downtowns" such as the St. Johns Town Center, because that is what people want. The central city is merely where government offices are located and increasingly people are able to use the Internet and satellite offices to avoid going downtown.
The real business community is out in the suburbs, doing its job without government largesse.
What Hogan needs to do for downtown is mothball the people mover, which is moving more money than people.
Liberals allege that Hogan would sell off precious park lands. Hogwash. Jacksonville has been on a land-buying binge that has increased taxes on property remaining on the tax roll. Hogan has said he might sell some land as a last resort, but not any that has environmental value.
Hogan also should ignore liberal complaints that he is ducking debates. Of 20 forums before the primary, Hogan attended 11 (six were skipped because of schedule conflicts). Brown attended only 7. Who's ducking?
Brown supporters complain that Hogan supported a revenue cap as a member of the Tax and Budget Reform Commission.
True. So did Gov. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, then the House speaker. It was a way of protecting taxpayers by limiting local governments to how much they could soak the taxpayer -- if voters approved. It would not have affected Jacksonville, which has never approached the proposed limit.
Brown supporters and other liberals, including the morning newspaper -- which has supported the liberal candidate for governor and mayor now -- simply want to have the ability to raise taxes ad infinitum.
Hogan prefers another approach. Help the local economy grow, which will produce jobs, wealth and higher tax revenues, without penalizing those who have lived here all their lives.
For example, Hogan wants to help develop the port, which is a major engine of the local economy. He wants to help people get jobs, in spite of the federal policies that hamper growth.
Hogan speaks in specifics, and has the experience. Brown is a novice who talks in platitudes.
Liberals are grasping at straws and spreading untruths in their desperation.
As he tries to help modernize Jacksonville, Hogan probably will shake up a lot of people who are used to business as usual.
Good. We haven't had any new ideas since consolidation, more than 40 years ago. It is time for a fresh approach, just like we are getting in Tallahassee.
Is it a fatal error for Hogan not to grovel before the kingmakers?
When Jake Godbold ran for mayor he didn't kiss up to the fat cats, he lambasted them. He also won.

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