The Donna Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds breast cancer research and patient care, is waiting for approval from the city to host its annual Mother’s Day race. The event, which has taken place for over 20 years and was started by mayoral candidate Donna Deegan, is a significant fundraiser for the organization. However, the city is delaying the permit, citing concerns that supporting the race might appear to endorse Deegan’s mayoral campaign.
Eye on my City disagrees with this decision and calls for city officials to act with impartiality.
Here’s why we believe favoritism is at the core of this decision.
City officials have allowed events associated with Deegan’s rival, Jax Chamber President Daniel Davis, to proceed without similar scrutiny.
Daniel is the head of the Jax Chamber and if you go to their Facebook page – you will see events after events (especially the large outdoor gathering for the 137th Annual Meeting of the Chamber on January 26). Check it out for yourself and see the pictures where Daniel Davis, candidate for Mayor, was front and center gaining free publicity for his campaign. – https://www.facebook.com/JaxChamber
This inconsistency shows political favoritism and undermines the integrity of the local electoral process. The controversy underscores the importance of impartial governance and the need for officials to act in the best interest of all citizens, regardless of their political affiliations.
If city employees — paid by the taxpayers — are unable to set aside their political ideology then they should resign. That includes Brian Hughes who is holding up this event’s permit.
This is not a political endorsement for Donna Deegan.
It is, however, an endorsement for city servants to do the right thing and not play politics inside city hall.
*Update from Donna Foundation: We are happy to share that the City of Jacksonville has approved The DONNA Foundation’s conditional permit authorizing plans to continue for the annual Mother’s Day 5K event set for May 13, 2023. We are encouraged that the matter was resolved quickly, and we can focus on preparing for a survivorship celebration worthy of the breast cancer patients, survivors and every mom we serve. This race supports the Foundation’s important work meeting the financial needs of breast cancer patients and their families and funding critical research. We look forward to working with the city on this event and many more, as we run together toward a future without breast cancer. Registration is open and we invite everyone to join us.
•Amanda Napolitano, Executive Director, The DONNA Foundation