While the election battle is taking center stage here in Florida, our local city leaders have resorted to calling dissenters names and sending out press releases instead of talking things out and being respectful of differences of opinion. This is not how you run a city government. This is how you run a political campaign.
City Council President Bowman sent out a Press Release yesterday and it is herewith. In a nutshell, he is calling out two councilmen for their questioning the large gift from the United Arab Emeritus. Instead of seeking to bring unity and understanding about this gift, City Council President Bowman attacked their questioning and … used a very mean spirited approach and one the people are tired of…a big one — turning the tables and insisting this was religious bigotry. Please see his statement here:
CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT TO TAKE POSITION SUPPORTING UAE GRANT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., November 11, 2018 – As the City Council President and a retired senior military officer, I feel compelled to address some derogatory comments made by two City Council members at a public meeting on October 26, 2018 regarding the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jacksonville’s acceptance of grant money from that country. I also feel compelled to admonish the recent filing of legislation 2018-813. I see it as an attack on beliefs and religious freedoms. I want the residents of Jacksonville to understand that I do not support attacks on other faiths and ethnic populations. In my role as City Council President, there is no room for bias or prejudice. My expectation is that this legislation will quickly be defeated.
UAE is one of the United States’ strongest and most reliable allies in the Middle East. The port of Jebel Ali in the UAE is the United States Navy’s most visited port outside of the continental United States. UAE is also the only foreign country where the United States Airforce has the F-22 Raptor forward deployed. This is a powerful indication of trust by the Department of Defense in the UAE as a strong ally. There are over 5,000 active duty military personnel stationed within the country and over 60,000 US residents call UAE home. The United States has relied on UAE for support in all of the Mideast conflicts in the last 20 years including the Gulf War, Bosnian War, Afghan War, and War on ISIS. UAE has a remarkable record of worldwide philanthropic aid in the last 50 years by giving over $60 billion to 178 different countries around the globe.
UAE has been very active in responding to natural disasters throughout the world. They assisted the United States following hurricanes Katrina, Harvey, Maria, and Irma. For Irma, UAE donated $10 million in assistance. Of that, Jacksonville received $2.7 million. That money is targeted to some of our hardest affected areas to repair homes, fund mobile medical clinics, upgrade computer labs at Ribault and Raines High Schools, and restore Charles Reese Park. I deeply appreciate UAE’s assistance and the visit by the UAE ambassador in seeing the impact their aid will have.
We are at a critical point in our world’s stability. We all must recognize diversity; respecting differences in religion and culture. We must respect our friends and neighbors, locally and around the globe. I expect my fellow City Council members to research, inquire, and prepare when they vote on legislation. There is always an option to ask for a deferral if a City Council member feels he or she needs more time to evaluate or gather additional information. The sponsoring City Council members of legislation 2018-813 voted in the affirmative to the legislation accepting UAE assistance. Neither City Council member asked for a deferral. To come back after the fact and slander a highly respected ally of the United States is not acceptable.
Brian Hughes, the Chief of Staff for Mayor Curry, has been in a twitter war over these same allegations. The Chief of Staff seems to be in agreement with City Council President Bowman. Not sure the Chief of Staff should be on twitter ranting about this. He is a political consultant and his expertise is social media so we guess he can’t help himself or he’s doing it to set up the next campaign for Mayor Curry. Who knows but here are a few of his tweets:
Eye on Jacksonville reached out to Anna Brosche and Garrett Dennis – the two city council members being accused of religious bigotry and here are their statements:
“The impetus for my retraction legislation has nothing to do with diversity or cultural or religious differences. To suggest such is absurd and represents liberty with the facts of comments made as a matter of public record. What we have before us is grant funding, which is the product of lengthy negotiation by Mayor Curry’s administration while leaving the public in the dark; an approach all too common under this administration. I am responding to public concerns and outcry questioning the motive of “building a relationship with the UAE,” and using other people’s money to address long-standing challenges that have been crying for funding for years. The uses of the funding are important and need to be addressed. However, the source of the “no strings attached” funding is suspect.” – Anna Brosche
“The grant from UAE basically is smoke and mirrors. It’s unfortunate that the Mayor is playing politics with the residents of Ken Knight where only $600,000 of $2.7 million is going to their needs. It’s wrong but what do we expect from a Mayor and Council President who have bias towards Northwest Jacksonville.” – Garrett Dennis
We can see the battle lines are drawn for the next Mayoral election and it looks like it’s going to be ugly. If you dissent, you will be called names such as bigot, racist, misogynistic, homophobic and any of the other names the far left tends to use to win elections. Hang on friends, it’s going to be a brutal battle.
Eye on Jacksonville is handing out a STINK Eye to Council President Bowman for using such tactics and not finding common ground of understanding in a tactful and professional way. Using a press release to call out his fellow city council members as potential religious bigots is a shameful tactic and has no place in running our government…in other words, cut it out!