Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Super City Council Aide, Astroturf and Fund-Raising

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Super City Council Aide, Astroturf and Fund-Raising

Article excerpt

Byline: PHIL FRETZ

City Council members are on the verge of cutting employees' pay, a sacrifice deemed necessary to balance the budget.

But they don't seem to want to do a lot of sacrificing themselves.

All but one of the 19 members, for example, have aides - who are paid $55,000 a year to, basically, answer the telephones.

Richard Clark and John Crescimbeni both want to save a few bucks by sharing aides. But they aren't exactly getting a lot of support.

Council member Jack Webb is particularly adamant.

"I can't do my job without a full-time executive council assistant," he told a reporter.

Webb's aide must be really good, if he can't get by without her. But, if she's that good, can she get by without him? If she ever decides to run against him, I'll probably support her.

DEMOCRATIC 'ASTROTURF'

Democrats are portraying the town hall protests against Obamacare as "astroturf" - orchestrated by "tea party" leaders, insurance companies or perhaps the biggest boogeyman of them all, Rush Limbaugh.

But guess what?

Moveon.org, the liberal activist group, really is orchestrating something.

Last week, it e-mailed members in this area, asking them to write letters to the editor of The Times-Union and call for passage of health care reform with the so-called public option.

It even provides "talking points" to use in making their case.

The e-mail says: "Our tool makes writing a letter [to The Times-Union] really simple. You can send the letter right from our Web site - it only takes a few minutes. ...

"Just click here to get started."

That, apparently, is the far left's version of a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment.

'TAX AND KILL'

Florida Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville, who is cosponsoring legislation to restrict taxing carbon in this state, has a new name for "cap and trade."

He calls it "tax and kill." As in "kill jobs."

That's an apt description.

SHRINK THE COUNCIL

In response to last week's column about gerrymandered City Council districts, Phil McCarty of Ponte Vedra wrote:

"If you redraw the lines, reduce the council to either nine or 11 members. …

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