Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Constituents Offer Thanks to Councilman Kravitz Hailed as `King of Mandarin' at Farewell Reception

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Constituents Offer Thanks to Councilman Kravitz Hailed as `King of Mandarin' at Farewell Reception

Article excerpt

Some residents call him "The King of Mandarin," while Jacksonville City Council President Don Davis calls him his "best friend on the City Council."

But after 12 years on that council, Dick Kravitz will join Davis and 12 other members leaving office July 1 because of term limits. And as he leaves, the Beauclerc resident said he hopes he will be remembered for taking an interest in the community.

"I have tried to do what the majority of folks want done here and promote all the good attributes of Mandarin while still staying connected to the rest of the city," the councilman said.

The woman who will replace him as the District 6 council member said Kravitz has done that and more. But Mary Ann Southwell said "replace" isn't the right word for a man who worked hard to help his community.

"He has provided needed recreation facilities," she said. "Most of all, he has heard the voice of Mandarin residents. We did not have that before."

Kravitz was elected in 1987, beating former councilman Ed Holtzinger, and then ran unopposed in the next two elections. He is leaving office because of a two-term limit imposed later, replaced by Southwell, who won a runoff election last month against businessman Bruce Scott.

District 6 now includes 38,518 registered voters south of Baymeadows Road, east to Philips Highway, west to the St. Johns River and south to Julington Creek.

An estimated crowd of 200 people showed up May 27 at a Mandarin Community Club farewell party for Kravitz, surprising the outgoing councilman.

"I never got into this to get a thank-you, and I never expect one," Kravitz said. "This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me except introduce me to Shirley [his wife]."

Supporters at the party said Kravitz came to office at a time when the community was growing, yet didn't have enough park space, roads or drainage. But they said the councilman helped widen roads, get more drainage and bring the suburb up to snuff with other parts of the city, working with people like Ray Newton, former director of Jacksonville's Department of Planning and Development.

"He had a tremendous interest in land use and growth management, and I consider him somewhat of a student since he was always asking questions to be more educated," Newton said. …

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