Meet the Candidates: At-Large City Council Race, Group 1
Editor’s Note: All responses are as provided by the candidate. Nothing has been added or deleted, although minor typographical errors have been corrected. We’ve included a straw poll at the end of this page if you wish to preview your vote against those of other readers. Group 1 candidate Terrance Freeman (REP) did not respond to emails nor to a voice message from Jaxlookout. Freeman will face Lisa King in the run-0ff election.
Q1: What do you think is Jacksonville’s greatest success?
Lisa King (DEM): Our greatest successes have grown from organic citizen initiatives like the billboard ordinance, the tree ordinance, and term limits. That same energy and drive could be seen from the dedicated local volunteers who organized on behalf of the HRO and Amendment 4. However, all these efforts point to a failure of our government to respond the demands of the people. People had to organize and lead these efforts because government refused to do its job.
Q2: How would you describe Jacksonville’s greatest failure?
Lisa King (DEM): Both lack of planning and ignoring planning. Most of the projects in the Better Jacksonville Plan were needed and had broad public support. But the plan was a political document made without solid cost estimates. The moving target that became the budget for the courthouse eroded the public trust and prevented other projects promised in the plan from moving forward. Several transportation projects promised in the plan in 2000 are just being implemented in 2019 with a new infusion of cash committed in 2015.
Probably the best example of this is the unmet promises of Consolidation. My dad was a small business owner in the County, and he didn’t trust the promises made. Too many of our neighborhoods have been left behind for decades and haven’t received their fair share of City investment since Consolidation.
As a City, we invest money in plans and then ignore them. How many times have we done a master plan of downtown? You could take the 2006 JCCI Study on Crime, change the date to 2019, and use it to diagnose problems and recommend solutions today.
Marianne Williamson said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” I’m a native of Jacksonville, and I’ve seen again and again the tragedy of the lies we tell ourselves about our City. These lies are all self-limiting beliefs. We wring our hands and lament Jacksonville’s unmet potential. Too many believe Jacksonville can’t change and that we can’t be brilliant. We can, and we must. All we lack is the political will.
Q3: Describe how you will be a different leader than what we currently have.
Lisa King (DEM): Too many people on our City Council believe that the best way to serve our community is to fall in line. I have a different point of view. I believe my job is to give each issue before me the diligence it deserves through research and seeking out differing points of view. I’ll make my decisions on the merits of each issue. Sometimes I may agree with the Mayor, whoever he or she may be. But blindly following the Mayor first and foremost is not the kind of Council member I want to be.
Q4: What’s your greatest hope for Jacksonville’s people?
Lisa King (DEM): My greatest hope for Jacksonville’s citizens is that we realize we’re the heroes we’ve been waiting for, and that needed change is possible if we all get engaged and involved. We CAN build a Jacksonville where every child is safe, valued, and invested in. We’ve underinvested in our City’s infrastructure for decades. I just happen to feel that people are a part of our infrastructure too. I also want to build a Jacksonville that has the kind of jobs that attract people to live here. My son recently left the Navy. No Jacksonville job offers even remotely matched what he was offered in Tampa. While I’m very proud of his new job and the opportunities his young family (and my grandkids) will get because of it, it saddens me that a Navy town like Jacksonville couldn’t match his offers. He’s an example of the bright, young talent that we’ve invested resources in and can’t keep here.
Q5: What’s your favorite book? Movie? Or TV show? Please explain.
Lisa King (DEM): I’m a book lover and my favorite book remains the classic, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle. I first read it as a confused 9-year-old, after the death of my father. It helped me feel less alone at that difficult time. My family never looked like other families, and Meg was a heroine who felt as much of an outsider as I did. This book helped me feel OK about being different. But it also set the stage for me to understand that most people feel that same sense of disconnection. This book also makes the case for diversity as a strength, a value that I still hold. I also love that Ms. L’Engle had Jacksonville ties and shared my faith tradition. I gifted this book to my own children, and look forward to sharing it with my granddaughter, another book lover, when she’s older.