Letters: JSO should focus on other issues (besides loud music)

·11 min read

On June 21, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office tweeted the following:

"Lower your radio volume! Starting July 1, 2022, Florida Statute 316.3045 once again became enforceable. What does this mean? It means that you will have to listen to your radio at a volume that is NOT plainly audible at a distance of 25 feet or more."

This tweet was quickly met with protests, not just from residents of Duval County, but nationwide.

As one person pointed out, "loud music" was exactly what led to the shooting murder of Jordan Davis. The son of Georgia Congresswoman Lucy McBath, Davis was shot dead at a gas station by a white man who complained of the teenager's music being too loud.

This scenario could all too likely become a reality once again with the enforcement of this obscure law. Statistically, Black and minority communities will be most impacted by the loud music law, as neighborhoods in primarily Black and low-income areas of Jacksonville are more heavily policed than predominantly white neighborhoods. Police-involved shootings that began as encounters for "minor offenses and traffic crimes" have been more documented in recent years, disproportionately affecting Black men.

Additionally, this law will likely impact poorer communities and low-income individuals, resulting in fines for those already facing an affordable housing crisis, high gas prices and raising food costs.

It would benefit both the residents of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to continue building relationships with communities, rather than creating further distrust and division over the enforcement of a law with no significant demand to be enforced. Perhaps JSO can be better stewards of taxpayer money by digging into their case load of unsolved murders or working more harmoniously with community initiatives to reduce violent crimes, rather than chasing ticket fines and measuring 25 feet from the sound of a radio.

Travis Akers, Jacksonville

Letters: Inaction by lawmakers not an option to curb gun violence

More: Jacksonville Sheriff's Office warns drivers that loud music statute will be enforced: What you need to know

Hardaker would bring balanced perspective to school board

I first met Tanya Hardaker four years ago in the courtyard of Fishweir Elementary School. She was difficult to miss, as five of her seven children were loosely corralled around her and she stopped to chat with every teacher in sight, as her children had most of them over the years.

In the years since, I’ve gotten to know and respect Tanya. She and I don’t agree on everything, but she’s always been interested in hearing my perspective. She’s curious and thoughtful, and is one of the most powerful examples I know of a truly loving Christian.

Most importantly, she showed up to help address some of the most pressing issues facing our schools. She helped me and other school parents advocate for the half-cent sales tax referendum to raise money to repair our aging school buildings and she attended the school name change hearings with the intent of listening to what the current students had to say. I was impressed.

By contrast, our current school board representative, Charlotte Joyce, was absent and unavailable as our community faced these challenges. I voted for Joyce in the last election, and she hasn’t answered a single email since or agreed to come speak with our school parents. She’s often the sole “no” vote on the school board and has done more to advance her own political career than she’s ever done for our kids or teachers.

It’s time to elect a school board representative who is there to do the job at hand. I’m proud and excited to vote for Tanya for School Board District 6 on Aug. 23.

Laura Heffernan, Jacksonville

Good luck with bad traffic signals and potholes

I can relate to the June 18 letter writer who complained about city services. It used to be that if you came across a malfunctioning traffic signal or a pothole in Jacksonville, all you had to do was call the city, talk to an agent who took your information and then sit back as the repair occurred in a reasonably short time.

But calling the city now for anything is a frustrating waste of time. Just look around at the large number of traffic signals that now generate even longer lines of idling cars waiting patiently for their green light; not to mention all the potholes.

The city's idea of "fixing a pothole" apparently consists of a worker shoveling some mysterious black mix into it that merely takes the shape of the hole and does nothing.

The real problem is that the city has totally isolated itself from the public. Try reporting that light on your street where you have to wait an eternity every morning for it to change, even though you are literally the only car in sight.

Does the signal department even care? Their attitude seems to be that ordinary citizens can’t possibly know how their “magic signals” are supposed to work.

If you are running for city council and promise to get the city to actually start performing these services – the ones we pay our hard-earned tax dollars for -- you have my vote!

Warren Trojanoski, Jacksonville

Lawmakers have odd grasp of personal liberty

Are we to understand that the moment a male sperm meets a female egg, i.e., the moment of fertilization, the girl or woman whose body hosts that fertilized egg relinquishes all decisions over her body to the state?

In doing so, she may not receive honest medical advice or treatment from her doctor or apparently travel to another state to receive medical attention. In fact, her body belongs to the state, or (in the case of Texas) to her neighbor or a stranger who may enforce state law by suing anyone who helps her seek medical treatment.

She also loses all autonomy under some state laws, even if an act of violent rape or incest resulted in the fertilized egg.

Why not just lock her in prison, where it would be much easier to restrict her every move, and control the medical information or treatment she receives? Since female eggs represent potential human life, let's just lock up all females who ovulate.

What about post-pubescent males? Surely their bodies carry millions of potential human lives. Let’s consider how we might ensure that no sperm is ever spilled or wasted, else some potential human might die.

This is one weird understanding of individual liberty.

Sherry Magill, Jacksonville

History without context is disservice to all

Jim Little’s revealing June 20 story about “sundown towns” jogged an unsettling 50-year-old memory. My roommate and I, footloose college students in 1971, embarked on a summer camping trip to several national parks. Our junior year at a liberal university in the Northeast had ended abruptly in the midst of national political turmoil. Gas was 22 cents a gallon and our Volkswagen Microbus sipped it.

In an Indiana town around dinnertime, we stopped at a small home-style restaurant. Our hair was long, stubble inhabited our white faces and we needed showers. We were promptly met with hard stares from several patrons that laser-beam locked in on us and certainly didn’t convey a feeling of welcome. A prominent sign over the bar unmistakably proclaimed: “’N-word,’ don’t let the sun set on your head in this town.”

We headed for the van and searched for a drive-through McDonald’s. It was our first rude introduction to an America beyond the safe confines of college.

Governor DeSantis requires the teaching of Florida’s Ocoee Massacre, but to dryly relate its history without providing the important richer context of America’s troubled, not-so-distant racial history is a disservice to students and citizens. We can confront that history without implying guilt.

Michael Miller, Ponte Vedra Beach

New condo rules not enough

The June 24 articles about last year’s Surfside condo collapse were excellent and I can relate to all aspects of the discussion. I’ve lived in Florida for 48 years and own two condos, in Jacksonville and Melbourne. I live in Jax and am also on the board of directors at both COAs.

I lived in Brevard County in 1981 when the Harbor Cay condominiums collapsed during construction in Cocoa Beach; I recall all the anguish and lawsuits. I’m also a 70-year-old retiree on a fixed income. My suggestion to the state legislature is to pass a law classifying major condominium structural repair projects as insurable catastrophic events, with mandatory coverage on a sliding scale based on the building’s age and height.

There should also be mandatory inspections by licensed professionals at certain building ages. It would be more affordable and reliable to pay monthly insurance premiums than to set aside huge cash reserves for events that might not occur. With appropriate definitions, conditions, limitations and exceptions, I believe this would be a workable and effective solution. Everybody would benefit — owners, COAs, inspectors, construction contractors and the insurance industry.

Larry Bridgham, Jacksonville

Vulnerable kids will pay for governor’s ambition

Governor DeSantis apparently doesn’t see a need for healthy children to get the COVID vaccine. After holding off on pre-ordering the vaccine for children, it looks like the state changed course, but there will still be a delay in distribution.

We went to the Sulzbacher Center last weekend to get the vaccine for my daughter. As of then, our pediatrician was still waiting to hear if they could get it. A friend’s pediatrician is with UF Health Jacksonville and they won't offer it to children under 5.

What about those kids who have health issues and need that extra protection but their parents can’t find the vaccine? Most pharmacies will eventually be able to get them, but they generally aren't allowed to vaccinate children under age 3, and MinuteClinic can’t vaccinate children under 18 months. What about them?

This is a political move, pure and simple, and it’s the most vulnerable children who will suffer for that ambition.

Susan Miller, Jacksonville

Governor's school board survey is a public service

I saw a recent segment on WJXT News4Jax, reporting on Gov. DeSantis’ questionnaire to school board candidates around the state. An interviewer asked a man what he thought of the survey and the answer was “I don't think politicians should be trying to influence local races."

I’m obviously paraphrasing the question and answer, but my feeling is that Mr. DeSantis is performing a public service. He is highlighting issues that have major impacts throughout the nation, providing clear and concise unbiased answers that the average voter could not get on their own.

Politicians generally tell people what they want to hear, then forget the answers and do as they please. At least now we have concrete answers with which to compare various candidates before voting.

Don MacLeod, Jacksonville

Jax city parks (and residents) deserve better

I recently took a morning stroll along the Hogan's Creek Greenway, beginning at Springfield Park and ending at the hospital district.

What a lovely walk this could be for downtown Jacksonville. However, I found it overgrown, littered with trash, the remnants of homeless camps and -- in some places -- the smell of urine.

This is not a complicated issue. It doesn't require expensive equipment or urban planning or committee meetings. All that's needed is simple manpower.

But for some reason, the city's parks and recreation department seems incapable of tackling this issue. It's the same old story: The largest public parks system in the country is spoiled by the lack of simple maintenance. We deserve better.

Carlton Higginbotham, Jacksonville

Nate must have hit a nerve

Yes, Nate Monroe has written plenty of scathing, unflattering columns. But it’s called investigative reporting and that may hurt many, especially if fragile egos or shady dealings are involved. Even if he occasionally states his opinion, he is also a columnist and that is his right.

The recent article reporting that he was spied upon reminded me of Communist China. It is outrageous and extremely dangerous. An attack on the free press needs to be dealt with harshly. Thank you, Nate, for exposing the sleazy actions of what appears to be a lowlife organization.

Let’s peel back the layers of this smelly onion and root out the responsible and contributing parties.

Gary Schuran, Middleburg

Why two police forces?

I have often wondered why the City of Jacksonville needs a separate police department for Duval County schools. We have two forces, which means double the administrative staff and infrastructure units.

In light of the Uvalde atrocity, I can’t help but wonder if things would have been different had all actions had been coordinated by a single policing unit. Maybe the response time (or perhaps the training program) would have been better?

Peter A. Baci, Jacksonville Beach

Council did the right thing on statues

Thanks to all of the Jacksonville City Council members who voted against the removal of the remaining Confederate statues. Matt Carlucci should maybe stick to selling insurance, not trying to waste $500,000 of our hard-earned tax dollars.

R.B. Juneau, Orange Park

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Letters: JSO should focus on other issues (besides loud music)