Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayors Work Up Competition to Get out the Vote

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayors Work Up Competition to Get out the Vote

Article excerpt

Byline: Beau Halton, Shorelines editor

Neptune Beach Mayor Dick Brown has thrown down the get-out-the-vote gauntlet to his fellow mayors in Jacksonville Beach and Atlantic Beach.

And they've accepted the challenge.

To help increase voter turnout in November's elections, Brown has told Jacksonville Beach's Bob Marsden and Atlantic Beach's John Meserve that a higher percentage of registered voters will turn out in Neptune.

"Mayor Meserve said he'd be willing to accept the challenge, and Mayor Marsden, in a response that reflects the spirit that I was hoping for, said he's looking forward to Jacksonville Beach claiming the title," Brown said.

Brown is coming into the face-off with evidence of a slight advantage behind him. In the 2000 election, 73 percent of Neptune's 5,291 voters cast ballots, 70 percent of Atlantic Beach's 8,901 voters showed up and 71 percent of the 13,478 in Jacksonville Beach voted.

Brown said perhaps the second- and third-place finishers should reward the winning city with plaques or something else that signifies the victory.

But perhaps they could do better than plaques. Similar to the prizes that mayors put up for pro sports events (cheese steaks from Philadelphia, an auto part from Detroit, etc.), perhaps the Beaches mayors could each pledge something a little more symbolic.

Atlantic Beach could offer a free helicopter tour of Sherry Drive. That's about the only way to access the street that's been torn up and at least partially inaccessible for months during underground water and sewer line work.

Neptune Beach could put up a fragmented piece of its aging, woe-is-me sewer system. City officials have gone to Germany in search of a better system, they've started, stopped and restarted the bidding process in search of a contractor to do the long-awaited system renovation. And they've finally hired someone for the job.

And in Jacksonville Beach, where beachfront condos have been sprouting up like dandelions, perhaps Marsden could offer a scoop of sandy soil from one of the few remaining pieces of land overlooking the ocean. …

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