Well, I picked a great one for my first outing. I don’t how how much I was competing with Tia Mitchell from the TU … but since she’s on jacksonville.com, she has a built-in audience for hers. I only publicized mine on Facebook and Twitter, and thanks to Joey Marchy from urbanjacksonville.info for tweeting a link to the liveblog. The stats were pretty good, actually, with a big spike in traffic for the 4:00 and 5:00 pm hours. Thanks to everyone who came by to see what I was doing.
I have to say that the liveblogging experience was different. I tried to keep up with the conversation, and from the few initial conversations I’ve had following the hearing, I think I managed to convey what was going on pretty well. It was a challenge trying to keep up with what was going on in the conversation. I felt at times like I was writing the crawl for a CNN or Fox News live event. You know the ones where they tell you what the President or whomever has just said in a crawl at the bottom of the screen. But in this instance, you hadn’t just heard what had just been said.
Since Councilman Davis had made such a point of wanting the representatives from Republic testify under oath, Council President Fussell swore us all in. We stood up en masse and swore to tell the truth. But the only people to actually answer questions from the Council were Alan Mosely, Mayor Peyton’s Chief Administrative Officer, and General Counsel Rick Mullaney.
What eventually happened was the the Council voted to withdraw the bill from committee consideration and pass it along to the full council on April 28th. I’m still unclear as to whether the representatives from Republic will answer questions from the council, and whether they’ll be under oath if that happens.
The primary takeaway for me tonight was when General Counsel Rick Mullaney said no matter which way this goes, there will be litigation. If the council votes to move forward with the contract extension, the litigation will focus on state statutes, and he feels as if the council is on solid ground to waive the rules on bidding in this instance. He went on to say if they vote to bid the contract, the focus of the litigation will be on contract law, which is a much different situation. Either way, he said, the city will be in litigation with a multi-billion-dollar corporation with very deep legal pockets.
So, it was a, I think, a good first attempt at live blogging on an event that’s important to the city. I’ve linked a transcript below. Thanks for checking it out.