Friday, December 14, 2018

Tough Times in Jacksonville

Mayor Curry's wife was talking about all the good stuff her husband has done to keep our families safe. Then she wished me a Merry Christmas. But one thing that got my attention was when she said this:
We are thankful for coming through tough times together to rebuild and restore. 
Just wondering what the tough times were.





Crime
The ad / Christmas greeting seemed to focus on safety, so I assumed the tough times were years of high crime. According to City Data, crime in Jacksonville declined pretty much yearly from 2012 through 2016. Curry took office in 2015. The crime rate went down 1.6% in 2017, even though murder and rape went up, so kind of a wash. Based on murders through November of 2018 (94), we're on track to barely break 100 for the year, which means down from last year (112).

Murders

2002 - 90
(2003)92
(2004)104
(2005)91
(2006)110
(2007)123
(2008)115
(2009)99
(2010)80
(2011)71
(2012)93
(2013)93
(2014)96
(2015)97
(2016)106

(2017)112
(2018)94 + DecemberSo it looks like murders went up under Curry, but the murder rate really didn't because of population increases. However, I think most of us would rather go back to the 2010-2014 numbers. Obviously, crime isn't all about murder, but that's a big one for how others perceive our city. Under 100 is better, while over 100 seems like tough times. 

Anyhow, I would not classify crime and keeping our families safe from it as being the tough times we've come through, since it seems to be about what it was. 

Hurricanes
Curry's administration has seen two hurricanes. Part of my family's safety is being safe from hurricanes. I wasn't here in 2016 for Matthew, but I assume there were some tough times. Irma seemed to create some of these tough times, too. These tough times weren't really created by a previous administration, and it's kind of expected that government will help us get over whatever hurricanes dish out, but these could be the tough times mentioned in the holiday greeting. I just hope the dredging of the St. Johns doesn't create future tough times for downtown and that incessant development doesn't lead to tough times in our own yards, but I guess even self-created tough times are something government can help us defeat.

Unemployment
I added unemployment because a lot of politicians talk about it. Unemployment is down everywhere, and it's about half what it was before Curry took office. It was around 6% and is now around 3%. That's good. We were worse than the national average before Lenny took the helm, and now we're better than the rest of the country. The only problem with me using unemployment as the tough times is that it's not about family safety. At least not directly.

Relationship Issues
Since Mrs. Curry was talking about family, one could take the meaning of the tough times to be some kind of relationship issue. Of course, I didn't assume this. Besides, if that's the case, it's not something most politicians would want to highlight. I hope there weren't any tough times at home.

Other Ideas
Politicians who want power will always claim that they can alleviate the problems we're having. Those who want to maintain power will tell us it's all better now. So this could just be a vague reference to nothing in particular. Kind of like Keep Jacksonville Great Again or when your friend in high school signs your yearbook thanking you for being there through all the tough times. I suppose I should be thankful that I was not living in Jacksonville for all the tough times, but I look forward to my future here, as well as next year's Curry family Christmas greeting.