As we continue to understand who these self-appointed movers and shakers on the First Coast of Florida are, let us look at a brief history as captured by Wikipedia.
First a quote from the introductory paragraph: The entity is akin to a brain trust or think tank, but with influence and resources available.
Influence available: you don’t say … (Sarcasm warning.)
The precursor to this group was the Jacksonville Non-Group [sic], which formed in 1993 to support the Alliance for World-Class Education being pushed by the school district (Duval County Public Schools.)
From the beginning then, this informal coalition of the wealthy and politically-powerful elite was focused on the school system.
The actual Civic Council was formed in 2000 by then-mayor John Delaney, Pete Rummell, Lynn Pappas, Steve Halverson, and Hugh Greene, most of whom remain active in the Council today. It sat inactive until about ten years ago, when Chamber of Commerce members took a trip to Kansas City, saw what the KC Civic Council was doing, and thought, “We can do that in Jacksonville.”
The Jacksonville Non-Group decided to terminate so that its members could transition to the Jacksonville Civic Council (JCC) so that they could be a “more formal and public group.”
Let’s join them! No, they’re not having that. Membership requirements include three years of minimum attendance at meetings (how can anyone attend if they are not a member? Also, they don’t publicize their meetings and GOT doesn’t want to assume, but it’s a likely bet their meetings are not open to the public) and an invitation from one of the officers (like the Freemasons, to be one, ask one.)
Talk about an elite.
While it might be fun for GOT to solicit an invitation, the dues requirement stops that cold: a minimum of $1,000 up to $15,000, depending upon the size of one’s business.
Oops, so there’s another barrier to membership. You must be a business owner. GOT might offer up his side hustle, but then (sigh,) there’s a reason he has a day job. Grand Graffiti publishing is never, ever going to make their cut.
Before moving to the close, here’s another link that provides much of the fodder for the Wikipedia article.
From Wikipedia, one can learn that:
To determine what Jacksonville residents viewed as the most critical issues, the opinion research firm American Viewpoint was hired to design a poll and conduct a six-week study in March 2010. Five issues were identified:
- balanced budget/fiscal responsibility
- more jobs
- better public schools
- public safety/crime
- Jaguars staying in Jacksonville
The Jacksonville Civic Council. They talk a good game, but out of their many concerns, it seems they only really focus on item 3: Public Schools.
And many dispute that they want better schools as opposed to privatized schools. The two are not the same as they seem to believe.