Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Councilman Defends New Library Rule

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Councilman Defends New Library Rule

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT GALNOR and GREG PIATT, The Times-Union

Former Jacksonville City Councilman Jim Overton fired off a letter to the council last week, chiming in on discussions about naming the new downtown library.

Last year, Overton sponsored a bill saying that neither a new library nor a new courthouse would be named for anyone. The council unanimously approved the bill.

"This is the policy most larger cities adopt," Overton wrote, naming New York City and Nashville, Tenn., as examples.

The current library is named for Haydon Burns, the late former mayor of Jacksonville and governor of Florida. The name of the library surfaced last month when Eleanor Burns Watkins, Burns' daughter, told the library board her father's name should be transferred to the new library.

The bill the council passed last year allows rooms and wings of the library to be named but not the building itself.

Overton said the current library, on the corner of Ocean and Adams streets, should remain a public building and keep Burns' name.

"The family is quite right that it would be a shame to have the long and distinguished public career of Gov. Burns not publicly recognized," Overton wrote.

The new library is scheduled to open late next year.

NOT SO FAST

She was a few steps away from a nice quiet exit from City Hall, just the way she wanted it.

Then came the reminder.

"Mr. President," Steve Diebenow, the city's chief of police and government affairs, asked as the City Council was leaving its Tuesday meeting, "have you recognized Jeanne Miller on her last night?"

Members of the council scrambled back to their chairs, realizing their glaring omission. They said a few words and gave a standing ovation as Miller, the assistant general counsel assigned to the council for past 18 months, slinked back in her chair.

"She stood up under fire for us many times, and that's not easy to do," Councilwoman Suzanne Jenkins said.

Miller will take over as business development director for the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission. …

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