Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Candidates Try to Top Each Other in Promises; at a Forum, Several Vow to Do Whatever It Takes If They Should Be Elected

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Candidates Try to Top Each Other in Promises; at a Forum, Several Vow to Do Whatever It Takes If They Should Be Elected

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND

If all goes well, some City Council candidates said they will voluntarily be putting in lots of overtime.

"Seventy hours is not uncommon for me," said Michael Saylor, former city planning director and candidate for District 11 on the Northside.

"I'll not only be full time but overtime," said James Evans-Muhammad, a District 10 candidate and teacher at Eugene Butler Middle School.

All 21 candidates attending a forum sponsored by the Northwest and Southwest Citizens Planning Advisory Committees said they would give whatever it takes to do the job. Some said they planned to retire and others said they had flexible schedules.

For three hours, they tackled questions ranging from disbursement of district funds to community needs at Tuesday night's forum at the Duval County Extension Office on McDuff Avenue. Attending were candidates for supervisor of elections, sheriff and area City Council district and at-large seats. The election is Tuesday, March 20, and a runoff, if needed, is Tuesday, May 15.

Questions were prepared by committee members, with Charles McBurney, an attorney and member of the Southeast planning committee, serving as moderator.

Asked about accessibility, all said they would be reachable through home, business, council or cell phone. Jerome Spates, a District 8 candidate who retired from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office as director of investigations and homeland security, said he would periodically take a van to a predetermined location to hear constituents' concerns. Saylor also said he would go to a different location every week.

Dick Berry, a retired bank executive and District 11 candidate, said he would do a monthly Web newsletter, while Jimmy Midyette Jr., a Legal Aid attorney and District 9 candidate, said he would maintain a Web site and make quarterly visits to every organization in his district. …

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