Candidate Q and A – City Council District 5 Race

Candidate Q and A – City Council District 5 Race
Joe Carlucci and Morgan Roberts

1) What is the number one issue you feel should be addressed by City leaders that you don’t currently see introduced by the current City Council?

Carlucci: Job opportunities. As the former President for San Marco Merchants Association, I helped bring City and business leaders together to support new economic opportunities including Publix at East San Marco – and our local businesses are benefiting. We need to continue leveraging District 5’s unique assets so that we can promote smart economic growth and development for our families and businesses.

Roberts: Over 35,000 people move to Jacksonville every year. That’s a huge opportunity and a huge challenge. How do we manage growth while keeping families safe and preserving the character of our city? A comprehensive, strategic plan for Jacksonville’s growth is essential.  Downtown revitalization, leveraging density and infill, will create an economic engine that funds community needs throughout every part of our city. By creating new streams of revenue, development can put more officers on the streets, pay to improve & maintain parks and create meaningful programs to address homelessness. This is the solution to the issues that have held our city back. Moreover, by focusing growth into the urban core, it allows us to protect and preserve the neighborhoods we all know and love.

2) What is the biggest problem we face in our city, and how do you personally plan to address it?

Carlucci: Jacksonville has a crime problem. It’s time that we provide our law enforcement with the tools and resources they need to fight dangerous crime and ensure our communities are safe places to live, work and raise a family.

Roberts: Jacksonville’s government has a reputation problem. Allegations of corruption, back-room deals and favoritism have plagued this city for too long. We need fresh perspectives, a strong dose of professionalism, and transparency. I have spent my career helping large organizations make rational, data driven decisions in the boardroom, interfaced with government regulators but also understand the pressure of running my own business while raising my 3 boys.  To restore trust, leadership in Jacksonville has to be less about who you know, or what your last name is, and more about what you bring to the table.

3) Do you think taxpayers would be better off with a privatized JEA? Or do you think [The JEA] it should remain a publicly owned utility?

Carlucci: JEA is Jacksonville’s utility, and it should stay that way.

Roberts: JEA provides a vital service to our citizens and this City has a vested interest in ensuring long-term stability for taxpayers. JEA is a publicly owned utility. Privatization is not on the table; taxpayers deserve representatives with the ability to evaluate complex financial transactions independently. More than any other candidate, I have the skills and experience to ensure that moving forward, any major financial decisions in our city are in the best interest of our residents and evaluated in a thoughtful, thorough, and transparent way.

4) Should City Council repeal the gas tax, or stay on course to use those funds for the previously stated purposes and proposed projects by the Curry Administration?

Carlucci: City Council had the opportunity to repeal the gas tax last year, but rejected it. As I knock doors, District 5 families repeatedly say they are struggling to pay for the higher costs of groceries and housing. Higher taxes won’t help them.

Roberts: People hate politics because nothing ever gets done. After intense debate, and full legislative process, last year’s gas tax passed with substantial bi-partisan support. Last December, an attempt to repeal that legislation was defeated 13-5. Dissent is valuable, but government should not become bogged down in second guessing. Raising taxes should always be a last resort, however we also have a duty to fund urgent infrastructure needs.  As stewards of taxpayer dollars, it is our responsibility to continually evaluate budget priorities and ensure future spending is aligned to community needs.

5) Do you believe we should remove monuments and historical markers from the public square, or should we let them stand. In that same vein, are you for a referendum to allow taxpayers to decide, versus a body of 19 representative speaking for citizens of Duval County?

Carlucci: There needs to be a way to preserve our history while we also define our future. History is meant to be understood from all points of view so Jacksonville can grow, evolve, and become stronger.

Roberts: City Council is not a prize, it’s a job. This is exactly the type of decisions that city council gets paid to make. If you’re not willing to make these decisions, don’t ask for this job. Should a monument be taken down simply because its “controversial”? Absolutely not. Having said that, this city needs to create a clearly defined policy of what is acceptable, and what is not.  This policy should be applied fairly and evenly across the spectrum of public monuments and markers throughout Jacksonville.

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