“Democracy thrives when the infrastructure of democracy is strong; when people have the right to vote freely and fairly and conveniently; when a free and independent press pursues the truth, founded on facts, not propaganda; when the rule of law applies equally and fairly to every citizen, regardless of where they come from or what they look like.” - President Joe Biden, May 31, 2021
Remember to Celebrate Our Successes
As an antidote to all the discord and disfunction still afflicting American politics, take a few moments this week to appreciate the competent, humane leadership Joe Biden is providing our battered country.
In the space of 6 months, more than half the nation has received one of our very effective vaccines against Covid.
President Biden - elected by a majority of Americans - is exceeding expectations in his management of Covid, the economy, social and racial equity, the rule of law, and with his consistent appeals to our best rather than our worst impulses.
This week, in one of the first bellweather special elections of 2021, the Democratic House candidate won in a landslide.
Historian Heather Cox Richardson offers valuable perspective on a fact that haunts many of us: "A new Gallup poll today finds that 53% of Republicans think that Trump won the 2020 election. But only 26% of Americans identify as Republicans. Journalist Richard Hine crunched the numbers and notes that those percentages boil down to about 14% of Americans who think Trump is still president." Distressing as it is to think anyone believes this Big Lie, the sense that we are evenly divided as a nation simply is not true.
June 4, 2020 is National Gun Violence Awareness Day and the beginning of Wear Orange weekend. Wear Orange is dedicated to honoring the millions of lives taken or forever changed by gun violence. By wearing orange this weekend we honor survivors and raise awareness of the public health crisis in our country.
In addition, our local chapter of Moms Demand Action is marking this weekend with a donation drive to support the work of a community partner, Sponsored by GRACE. As they put it: "We know that ending gun violence is multifaceted. Addressing the sources of inequalities and lack of opportunities is critical to creating a stronger and safer community." Support their donation drive Saturday, June 5 at 500 Atlantic Blvd, Neptune Beach from 10 am-2 pm. Click here for all the details.
What If Jacksonville's Riverfront Was a Chain of Parks?
You may know about the Emerald Trail - one park project to be funded by the newly approved hike in the gas tax. But a group of Jacksonville nonprofits are urging an even more comprehensive and resilient approach to our waterfront.
Join BAM Thursday, June 10 at 7 pm for a Zoom presentation on Riverfront Parks Now. Nancy Powell of Scenic Jacksonville and Jimmy Orth of St. Johns Riverkeepers will describe this citizen-led effort to create a master plan for our river that could energize and unite the city. All are welcome, but remember to RSVP to receive the zoom link.
The Good, Bad & Ugly of the 2021 Florida Legislative Session
Wednesday, June 9, 7 pm, Beaches Watch Zoom meeting will feature Kevin Hogencamp (Atlantic Beach Deputy City Manager), Mike Staffopoulos (Jacksonville Beach City Manager), and Stefen Wynn (Neptune Beach City Manager). These speakers will discuss what the 2021 Florida Legislature passed (and did not pass) and how those actions will impact our beach communities. Meeting details here.
Urge Gov. DeSantis to Veto HB 403
Our friends at Beaches Watch have also sent out an urgent call for help in lobbying the Governor to reject at least ONE bad piece of legislation that has direct implications for our communities. "On the last day of the legislative session, the House and Senate narrowly passed a bill that will impact our residential neighborhoods. Currently, Florida cities allow home-based business and have regulations for home-based businesses to ensure that commercial businesses in homes do not have a negative impact on residential neighborhoods and property values. However, HB 403 would completely preempt local governments from any regulations on home-based businesses.
If signed by the Governor, this bill would allow ANY commercial business to operate out of a home in our neighborhoods. This means, your neighbor could operate a 24-hour gym, auto repair shop or many other businesses that are not compatible with our residential neighborhoods." Click here to read the rest - and get all the information you need to contact Tallahassee now. If links don't work for you, email us and we can forward the Beaches Watch email to you directly.