Municipal Government

The city of Jacksonville, also called as ‘The River City’, has been regarded as the largest and most populous city in Florida, bordered by the famous St. John’s River. It was founded in 1816, laid out in 1922 and got incorporated in February 9, 1832 (answers. com, 2007). It is also reported as among the most wanted winter vacation spots due to its humid subtropical climate notwithstanding its remarkable history in the film industry and the scenic ocean beaches, hunting spots and yachting facilities. Demography As of 2005, the reported estimated population of Jacksonville is 826,436. However, the actual number in 2000 was reported at 778,879.

The rate of increase in the population from July 2000 to 2005 was computed at 6. 1 percent. Despite this fact, sources say that it is far from entering the crisis of overpopulation because of the large disparity between the total population as against the entire size of the city. The population of Jacksonville is also divided into many cultural differences including religion, gender, age and race. According to City-data. com as of 2005 population statistics, races in Jacksonville Beach include White Non-Hispanics (89%), Black (4. 8%), Hispanic (3%), mixed races (1. 5%), Filipino (1%), other race (0.

8%) and American Indian (0. 7%). Gender differences include males, females, lesbians and gays. Religions include Christians, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Methodists, Lutherans, Moslems, Buddhists and mixture of other religions. Since its consolidation with the Duval County in 1968, the total area of Jacksonville greatly increased and became the largest city in land area at 841 square miles (coj. net, 2007). The consolidation of Jacksonville and Duval County is an action provided for in Section 9 of the amended 1885 constitution as incorporated in Article VIII in the Florida Constitution (see Appendix A – Cont. /p. 4)).

In 1968, a concurrence between the entire Duval County folk and the city of Jacksonville led to the consolidation of all government sources for the development and resolution of the cumbersome socio-economic issues in the said county. Among the agreed restructuring was the creation of 14 districts where each has a representative in the 19-member City Council. The remaining 5 council members currently represent the entire city ‘at large’ and may come from any of the 14 districts (see Appendix B). The City Council is the legislative body of Jacksonville, composed of individuals who gain their positions by popular elections (pursuant to Sec.

1 of Art. VI of the Florida Constitution) and who are in charge of policy-making and legislation (www. coj. net, 2007). Each member is entitled to a four-year tenure inclusive of unlimited power to legislate pursuant to the community’s needs. Every May of each year, the council chamber elects among themselves a President and Vice-President, who would serve a term of one year beginning July 1 up to the next election of the following year. The President is in charge of choosing who would be the members and chairmen of the council’s different Standing and Special Committees.

These committees are divided according to the various community factors (e. g. health, education, finance, etc. ). Currently, the President and Vice-President of Jacksonville’s City Council are Michael L. Corrigan, Jr. and Daniel J. Davis, respectively. On the other hand, the people can also exercise their right for suffrage in choosing their city-mayor. Currently, the city of Jacksonville is being ruled and managed by Mayor John Peyton. Mayor Peyton is the eighth mayor of Jacksonville and was also elected to his position since 2003 pursuant to Article III Section 1(d) of the Florida Constitution (see Appendix A) .

The other elected officials are the Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, Supervisor of Elections, Clerk of Courts and State Attorney (see Appendix C). With the current shoot-out crisis, the author deems that the city officials are performing lackadaisically as if everything would simply pass by like the past hurricanes that wrecked and tormented the city into temporary despair. According to Kormanik (2006), city councilwoman Glorious Johnson, having witnessed a gunshot incident within her own area, and at-large councilwoman Elaine Brown, were the only ones who seemed to really care about the issue.

Moreover, the council only sees itself as a group of legislators responsible to passing the city’s budget and make sure that there is “resources for law enforcement and groups such as the Jacksonville Children's Commission which try to prevent youth from turning to crime” (Kormanik, 2006). Such a shallow perspective of several council members about their duties renders them truly unfit to represent the people’s concern and incapable to take the public’s interest at heart. If the author’s sentiment with regard to the performance of the City Council is a negative one, Mayor Peyton’s is three times worse.

As reported by Kormanik and Palka (2006), the way Mayor Peyton circumvents the issue about the horrible crime rates and gets away with it by introducing his literacy and development programs in his numerous public engagements is truly disgusting. According to the survey conducted by Times-Union as regards Mayor Peyton’s concern on the issue of the recent 60 homicides in Jacksonville, he discussed about it openly on 5 instances out of the 16 engagements public engagements that the said journal espied for that purpose (see attached document). He concentrated about other things for the remaining 11 engagements.

Further, he never visited any one of the victim’s families and instead addressed it to the Sheriff who just simply gave the same cold shrug. Mayor Peyton’s very hectic schedule is not an excuse for him to give due attention to the problem. Although the law does not mandate him to visit the victims’ families and share with them their grief, the very fact that he seemed to not be totally aware of what is happening is unimaginable. His apathy regarding the pertinent issue of gun killings and the rampant carrying of guns in his area makes him unworthy of the votes given to him.

He failed to represent his people by not looking at a glaring neon fact in front of him. He failed to represent his people when he did not listen to the MAD DADS clamors for social justice until the media appraised him about it. He failed the people. Only after the news has spread into and gathered much attention from the entire United States did he act upon the issue. Thus, the author finds that his slow reflexes on critical security issues, which should have been instilled as an instinct upon his enthronement as a city mayor, make him unbefitting of any representation in behalf of the entire Jacksonville community.