From 1968 to 1978 I served on the first consolidated City Council with former Councilman Joe Carlucci, the father of current Councilman Matt Carlucci.
Joe had a well-deserved reputation as a maverick. It was a brand that he maintained as a member of the Florida Senate from 1978 to 1986. When Joe believed something was wrong, he would dig in and voice his opposition in no uncertain terms.
I have followed his son Matt’s public service career since he was first elected to City Council in 1987. Early on Matt followed his father’s go-it-alone style in many ways, opposing issues that I often felt were right for Jacksonville. But while I sometimes thought Matt's actions were incorrect or naive, I never doubted that he was doing what he thought was right — and with good intentions.
Over time Matt learned. He matured through more than 15 years of service, including as City Council president, while maintaining his independent voice. And this spring Matt was overwhelmingly elected to once again serve on City Council.
Recently Matt stood up against the political forces who seek to steal our right to vote on a half-cent sales tax to improve our school facilities. And Matt has followed that up by filing a resolution against the outrageous notion of allowing the mayor to appoint members of the Duval County School Board. In other words Matt has shown the kind of mature and politically courageous leadership that this community is craving right now.
Matt’s integrity has never been questioned. And unlike so many of his fellow council members, Matt won't be manipulated or intimidated by the power brokers who want to elevate their own self-interests by invalidating the will of the people.
I encourage Matt to keep leading from his heart, gut and experience against those trying to control our town and pick the pockets of Jacksonville's taxpayers. He is showing the kind of leadership we badly need right now.
Jake Godbold was the mayor of Jacksonville from 1978 to 1987.