Eye on Jacksonville has been banned by the bigwigs in City Haul.
The person in charge of providing information to the media has advised Eye that it will no longer be provided with information, other than public records required by law.
It’s sort of like Facebook jail.
The order ousting us came directly from worthies Jordan Elsbury and Brian Hughes, the mayor’s two top aides.
Mayor Lenny Curry apparently does not agree with some of the opinions expressed on our site. We don’t know which ones.
We asked specifically whether we had published any factual errors and did not get an answer. We previously had advised the information gatekeeper to notify us if we ever had any facts wrong and never have been so notified.
Ironically, one of the last requests we sent was for information about the removal of the homeless camp downtown. We had intended to praise the mayor — or as we do at Eye — give him a WINK — for his actions in that matter.
But that information was not provided.
The last request by me apparently is what sealed our doom.
“The local media is so vague, I have to ask:
“1. What is the official reason(s) for the septic tank phase-out plan?
“2. If it involves public health, what is the official evidence of a public health threat?”
Eye has been asking why the mayor’s office is so determined to replace 65,000 septic tanks in Jacksonville, completely at taxpayer expense, after thousands of people have paid to connect to city sewer lines.
We also have noted the mayor’s office has cited “public health” concerns, yet there is little or no evidence of any such threat. Last year the state health department issued 31 citations for septic tank problems, and none were a sanitary nuisance.
We would ask Curry, or Hughes or Elsbury ourselves, but ordinary people are not allowed to speak directly to those august personages. Apparently they are too busy making plans to double the local gas tax and spend billions of dollars.
(For many years, I had the number of the private telephone on the mayor’s desk and could call with any question, no matter who the mayor.)
We were told that Eye on Jacksonville is not like the local media, which allegedly publishes straight news stories.
In fact, the small, liberal newspaper also publishes opinions and many of the “stories” on local TV stations are little more than opinion pieces.
It is unfortunate that the local politicians don’t like our opinions, but we would have valued their input while those opinions were being formulated and even would entertain rebuttal pieces. Facts can change our minds. Silence cannot.
No doubt they cherish the opinions of the local lapdog media, who rarely question anything and celebrate every tax and spending proposal without wondering whether it is needed.
There is also talk going around (rumor alert!) that politicians pay certain bloggers for their opinions, which of course always consist of praise for the politician. We don’t do business that way at Eye.
Eye will continue to rely on public records, which the politicians cannot refuse us, and will continue to form opinions based on those records and other facts we can garner from readers and sources within city government.
Savvy politicians know that blacking out the media never helps them but others think that it can benefit their cause.
Welcome to the only local news site officially blacklisted by Mayor Lenny Curry.