My View – December 2016/January 2017

I’d like to wish you Happy Holidays and post-election peace! Here at “Review HQ,” the last few months have been nothing short of exhilarating and exhausting, making the prospect of slowing down a bit to enjoy holiday festivities even better this year. This is our December/January offering, the one time of year we publish a multiple-month issue, allowing us to take a break for a few weeks and recharge our batteries. And we need it! As you may be aware, this publisher didn’t shy away from making recommendations on local candidates and ballot matters…an important part of the job that took energy that was worth every drop!

On election matters directly related to Jacksonville, I was ever-so-pleased with voter turnout approaching 80% and with the re-election of Mayor Paul Becker. Please read his column on page 15, wherein he lays out his vision for the next four years. Despite running unopposed, Councilors Criss Garcia and David Jesser, with Steve Casaleggio were the best candidates a voter could have hoped for… I look forward to watching them work together with Councilors Jim Lewis, Brad Bennington and Ken Gregg. Alongside Mayor Becker, the team will be tackling some major issues in the coming years. Fortunately, we have a great team in-place to handle the challenge.

On other important matters, Jacksonville rejected a new city charter by nearly 10 percentage points, a measure you’ll be seeing on a future ballot and one sure to get serious ink. Jacksonville (thankfully) voted to prohibit marijuana shops and manufacturing facilities by a whopping 70% margin, sending a stunningly-clear message to the pot peddlers to go elsewhere. On formation of a new Heritage District, Jackson County voters sent another clear message by a 2/3 majority to find another means of supporting local history programing and preservation. The Jacksonville Budget Committee would be wise to start talking about funding historic preservation needed for the Beekman House and Bank without countywide assistance.

On a cheerier and seasonal note, I’d like to thank our Chamber of Commerce for again producing Victorian Christmas and all of the downtown merchants who generously fund the annual event. On THAT note, I’ll use my remaining ink by thanking you for “shopping local” this holiday season… and all year. After years of blowing the “shop local” horn, I believe it’s resonating with our readers. Many merchants and restaurant owners are saying that locals are definitely “shopping and eating local” more and more each year. For that, we should all be grateful.

On that note, Happy Holidays to everyone in our Small Town with Big Atmosphere!