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The minute you saw the headline, you probably started singing this nursery rhyme. Most of us grew up with it and did you know — folklore states it was a song about the plague – the Black Death?

The Black Death was said to have come from fleas off rats from ships bringing goods to Europe. Millions of people were killed from the plague but before they died, they experienced symptoms that included a red RING around outbreaks on the body. No one knew where the disease was coming from and they thought it might be from breathing in bad smells. They wore masks filled with flowers (pocket full of posies) to ward off the bad smells. “Ashes, ashes” indicated the burning up of bodies and “we all fall down” was indicative of the disease taking down the community.

Like it or not, this nursery rhyme appears to “ring” true with the JEA scheme and other back rooms deals taking place in our city. A few “rats” scurried in and around town and the stench they left behind created ash heaps of greedy people who fell down from grace.

Those dirty rats are now being exposed for the people they really are. All of them are covered in fleas of misconduct, scheming and greed. We will not name them here but they know who they are. They can hide under the cover of “executive privilege” or “I’ll not show you my contracts” or “I’m offended you think I’m a crook.” Before long – those covers will disappear and they will be fully exposed for their rat practices. They can not flee from justice.

City Council President Tommy Hazouri has extended the Special Investigative Committee on JEA until the end of the year. We give Mr. Hazouri a Wink for that decision. He said “no stones would be left unturned” and we agree that is the way it needs to be and should be. This is how government should work — with a focus on transparency and accountability. We support the work of this committee and ask that they carefully and thoughtfully check each rock and name each name…no matter the consequences.

City Council Member Rory Diamond has excused himself from the committee which is disturbing to Eye. He was a warrior for truth about this issue and now his voice will be silent. We have reached out to Mr. Diamond to understand why he has resigned at such a critical time in this investigation. We will let you know what he tells us.

The Federal Government is in town too and they are turning over stones to see what names are on them and how all those stones fit together in the JEA puzzle. Each name will lead to money at some point. Schemes and back room deals with public money calls for handcuffs and jail time. Nothing less will do.

The COVID plague may still be here in a small way — but the plague brought to Jacksonville by dirty rats is still smelling up the city. May the light of truth bring the rats out of hiding. Public corruption is not something to be ignored. If it is – it will grow and more rats will enter in to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Dirty rats bring more dirty rats.

May all those involved in the JEA scheme and any other back room deals that might be out there – fall down. And fall down big!

Then we pray our community will rise from the ashes and will render a sweet smell of new growth for Jacksonville. We must begin to rebuild our beloved hometown. She has so much to offer! She deserves to shine! The people who live here deserve to live in a glowing and growing community run by people who just want to take good care of her and unleash her potential. And oh my goodness — there is so much potential.

Dear Friends of Eye, “Can you just imagine how great Jacksonville could be?” Please share your ideas and vision with us. The best is yet to be!

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Billie Tucker Volpe Founder of Eye on Jacksonville and Leadership Consultant to CEOs/Executives

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