Jacksonville, FL (October 11, 2021) – At the monthly meeting of the Greater Arlington/Beaches Citizens Planning Advisory Committee (GAB CPAC), Council Members Danny Becton and Joyce Morgan were on hand to present to the family of the late Mike Anania, a framed copy of Resolution 2021-564, adopted by the full City Council at the August 24th, 2021, meeting. Afterwards, Council Member Becton who serves as Vice Chair gave a short presentation and update on the work of the Special Committee on Redistricting.
Resolution 2021-564 honoring Mike Anania, who passed away back in July 2021, was introduced by both Council Members Danny Becton and AL Ferraro that acknowledged the life’s work and dedication of Mr. Anania to the Arlington community and the City of Jacksonville. Originally from La Crosse, Wisconsin, Mr. Anania enlisted in the US Navy in 1978, serving five years before being Honorably Discharged, after which he opted to remain in Jacksonville. As the owner of CAM Automotive on Arlington Rd, Mr. Anania was very involved in civic affairs within the Arlington area. Mr. Anania served as the Chairman of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan Greater Arlington-Beaches Community Vision Steering Committee from 2008-2010 and was a member of the City’s Mobility Plan Task Force in 2010-2011. Mr. Anania served as Chair of the Greater Arlington and Beaches Citizen’s Planning and Advisory Committee’s from 2014-2016 and was also Chair of the it’s subcommittee for Land Use and Zoning Committee for the past 12 years. Mr. Anania’s wife, Patti, along with their daughters Angela and Maria, and members of his family, were present to accept the framed Resolution from Council Member Becton.
“Mike Anania and I first really got to know each other as representatives on our respective 2030 Vision Plan steering committees many years ago,” Council Member Becton explained. “We both were advocates for our communities, and both of us saw things from a business owner’s perspective as well,” Council Member Becton added. “Mike so loved Arlington, and he fought every day to improve that area through volunteering and standing up for his neighbors and friends by helping and supporting many initiatives to that end,” Council Member Becton continued. “Mike’s only regret that he would acknowledge, if here today, would have been his desire to serve Arlington in Public Service. Mike very much desired to fulfill that goal, and it was in 2023 that Mike was aiming to try for the second time to accomplish that objective again,” Council Member Becton concluded. “Unfortunately, Mike’s life was cut short prior to that endeavor.”
After the presentation, Council Member Becton was asked to update the GAB CPAC regarding the work of the Special Committee on Redistricting and began his remarks about the progress of the five Council Members (Council Members: Bowman, Chair, Becton, Vice-Chair, White, Priestly-Jackson and Dennis) appointed by Council President Newby, and two non-voting school board members that have been working since the committee launched on August 18th, 2021, on redrawing the boundary lines of all 14 City Council districts and 5 At-Large Districts.
“Redistricting is to be an eight-month process, and the special committee must develop a proposed plan within 150 days of receiving data from the 2020 Census process,” Council Member explained. “The Redistricting process began on August 18th, and therefore, we are expected to be completed by a January 9th, 2022, deadline,” Council Member Becton noted. “Upon completion, a Redistricting Ordinance will be provided along with updated maps to the Rules Committee, and it will be their responsibility to carry this legislation forward having a minimum of three Public Hearings outside City Hall and out into the community within 45 days,” Council Member Becton added. “Upon completion of those hearings, the legislation will then come back to the Full City Council for a final vote,” Council Member Becton concluded.
Council Member Becton also spoke about the seven School Board Districts and what makes up a district. As required by the City of Jacksonville’s Charter, two City Council Districts will encompass the boundaries of a School Board District. “For example,” Council Member Becton stated, “Council Districts 6 and 11 are combined to make up School Board District 7”.
Council Member Becton also spoke of some pitfalls the committee and the Planning Department must avoid when drawing the maps, specifically “Packing” and “Cracking”. “‘Packing’ is the practice of concentrating minority populations into one or a few districts,” Council Member Becton stated, “and ‘Cracking’ is the practice of spreading minority population widely across many districts in order to prevent concentration of minority voting influence in any district.” This is a process that is explicitly prohibited by state law and can be analyzed by comparing the prior district boundaries with the proposed boundaries, if there is plausible suspicion of the practice being utilized. While political parties can be used as a factor in drawing lines, it cannot be the sole or major factor in making new boundaries.
Council Member Becton ended his comments by urging the members of the CPAC of how important it is for the public to get involved in the process, and he encouraged members to reach out to the Redistricting Committee as well as attend the Public Hearings for the proposed maps. He concluded his comments by stating:
“Public participation is most effective when there’s a map to look at. Prior to that, it’s about the process and timeline, and it can be difficult for the public to have effective input in the abstract when there’s nothing to look at or comment on. To be the best advocate, get involved through this body, participating in the three Public Hearings, or reaching out to your Council Member. The public is also encouraged to submit questions and comments directly to the Special Committee on Redistricting either at a Noticed Meeting or via the committee’s website and email.”