Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dear Feds: Send Money for Big Hole

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dear Feds: Send Money for Big Hole

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Dear folks:

I'm here with a contingent from Jacksonville. Some of the

city's biggest names are trying to fill a big hole next to

Hemming Plaza with some good old fashioned federal money. Last

year, many of the same business and civic leaders succeeded in

getting federal money to create the big hole.

Now once again, the lawyers, business people, governmental

affairs types and the mayor are on the Jacksonville Chamber of

Commerce's annual lobbying trip talking to federal officials

about roads, military bases, beach renourishment, river dredging

and that big hole.

We're here asking for money for local projects. Actually, the

rest of the group is panhandling for federal handouts. I'm just

watching, and what an interesting spectacle it is.

Lawmakers tell us Jacksonville is one of the few communities in

the nation that returns en masse year after year to lobby for

federal help.

It's surprising more communities don't do this since

petitioning the government is one of our basic rights in a

democracy. Other cities may prefer to hire Washington lobbyists

to do their dirty work, but Jacksonville does that too. In fact,

the city's hired guns are coaching us locals about what to say.

There are 44 participants, including me, and many are

repeaters. Apparently, once you start lobbying you can't stop.

This group is lobbying the government, all right, and it's

somewhat ironic. Back home, many of these same people say taxes

are too high and the feds should cut back on pork barrel

spending.

Up here, they've got their hands out asking the feds to fund

local projects. Apparently, it makes sense for the federal

government to chip in for the Wonderwood Expressway. It's paying

for that road project in Kansas that's questionable.

One congressman made note of that particular irony during a

meeting to discuss funding Wonderwood and other city

transportation needs. …

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