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"I will be as harsh as truth and as uncompromising as justice. I will not equivocate, I will not excuse, I will not retreat one single inch and I will be heard." FREDRICK DOUGLASS  

On This Day in History

On this day in 1999, two teenage gunmen kill 13 people in a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, south of Denver. At approximately 11:19 a.m., Dylan Klebold, 18, and Eric Harris, 17, dressed in trench coats, began shooting students outside the school before moving inside to continue their rampage. By 11:35 a.m., Klebold and Harris had killed 12 fellow students and a teacher and wounded another 23 people. Shortly after noon, the two teens turned their guns on themselves and committed suicide.

The crime was the worst school shooting in U.S. history (until 33 people, including the gunman, were killed in the Virginia Tech shooting on April 16, 2007)and prompted a national debate on gun control and school safety, as well as a major investigation to determine what motivated the teen gunmen. In the days immediately following the shootings, it was speculated that Klebold and Harris purposely chose jocks, minorities and Christians as their victims. It was initially reported that one student, Cassie Bernall, was allegedly asked by one of the gunmen if she believed in God. When Bernall said, “Yes,” she was shot to death. Her parents later wrote a book titled “She Said Yes,” honoring their martyred daughter. Apparently, however, the question was not actually posed to Bernall but to another student who had already been wounded by a gunshot. When that victim replied, “Yes,” the shooter walked away. Subsequent investigations also determined that Harris and Klebold chose their victims randomly. Their original plan was for two propane bombs to explode in the school’s cafeteria, potentially killing hundreds of people and forcing the survivors outside and into the gunmen’s line of fire. When the bombs didn’t work, Harris and Klebold went into the school to carry out their murderous rampage.

There was speculation that Harris and Klebold committed the killings because they were members of a group of social outcasts called the “Trenchcoat Mafia” that was fascinated by Goth culture. Violent video games and music were also blamed for influencing the killers. However, none of these theories was ever proven. Columbine High School reopened in the fall of 1999, but the massacre left a scar on the Littleton community. Mark Manes, the man who sold a gun to Harris and bought him 100 rounds of ammunition the day before the murders, was sentenced to six years in prison. In the aftermath of the Columbine shootings, many schools enacted “zero tolerance” rules regarding disruptive behavior and threats of violence from students.

On April 20, 1980, the Castro regime announces that all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the U.S. are free to board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift. The first of 125,000 Cuban refugees from Mariel reached Florida the next day.

The boatlift was precipitated by housing and job shortagescaused bythe ailing Cuban economy, leading to simmering internal tensions on the island. On April 1, Hector Sanyustiz and four others drove a bus through a fence at the Peruvian embassy and were granted political asylum. Cuban guards on the street opened fire. One guard was killed in the crossfire.

The Cuban government demanded the five be returned for trial in the dead guard’s death. But when the Peruvian government refused, Castro withdrew his guards from the embassy on Good Friday, April 4. By Easter Sunday, April 6, some 10,000 Cubans crowded into the lushly landscaped gardens at the embassy requesting asylum. Other embassies, including those of Spain and Costa Rica, agreed to take a small number of people. But suddenly, two weeks later, Castro proclaimed that the port of Mariel would be opened to anyone wishing to leave, as long as they had someone to pick them up. Cuban exiles in the United Statesrushed to hire boats in Miami and Key West and rescue their relatives.

In all, 125,000 Cubans fled to U.S. shores in about 1,700 boats, creating large waves of people that overwhelmed the U.S. Coast guard. Cuban guards had packed boat after boat, without considering safety, making some of the overcrowded boats barely seaworthy. Twenty-sevenmigrants died, including 14 on an overloaded boat that capsized on May 17.

The boatlift also began to have negative political implications for U.S.President Jimmy Carter.When it was discovered that a number of the exiles had been released from Cuban jails and mental health facilities, many were placed in refugee camps while others were held in federal prisons to undergo deportation hearings. Of the 125,000 “Marielitos,” as the refugees came to be known, who landed in Florida, more than 1,700 were jailed and another 587 were detained until they could find sponsors.

The exodus was finally ended by mutual agreement between the U.S. and Cuban governments in October 1980



Duval May 19th Election Information

Here are the  races and referendums will be on the Duval County May 19, 2015

General Election Ballot. This is an Unitary Election and serves as a runoff between the top two winner of the First Election on March 24, 2015. There is a single ballot for all voters within each electoral district to vote for either candidate, regardless of political party affiliation.

Overseas absentee ballots are mailed beginning April 4th. Absentee ballots for domestic voters are mailed beginning April 14th. Voter registration deadline is April 20th. Early voting at selected sites will be from May 4th through May 17th. All completed absentee ballots must be in the Election Office, 105 E. Monroe St, 32202 before 7:00 p.m. on May 19th.

The following candidates will be on ALL ballots:

Mayor: Alvin Brown (D)
Lenny Curry (R)

Sheriff: Ken Jefferson (D)
Mike Williams (R)

Council- At-Large Group One: Anna Lopez Brosche (R)
Kimberly Daniels (D)

Council-At-Large Group Three: Tommy Hazouri (D)
Geoff "Jeff" Youngblood (R)

Council-At-Large Group Five: Samuel C. Newby (R)
Ju'Coby Pittman (D)

The following candidates will be on each of the District ballots:

City Council District One: Mike Anania (R)
Joyce Morgan (D)

City Council District Two: Al Ferraro (R)
Lisa King (D)

City Council District Four: Ramon Day (D)
Scott Wilson (R)

City Council District Seven: Reggie Gaffney (D)
George A. Spencer, Jr. (D)

City Council District Eight: Katrina Brown (D)
Pat Lockett-Felder (D)

The following two Referendums will be on ALL ballots:

Referendum 1: Amending the Charter: Concerning the City of Jacksonville General Counsel

Summary: Shall the Jacksonville Charter be amended to provide for a General Counsel qualification review committee; Clarify the term and qualifications of the General Counsel; Allow for removal of the General Counsel by City Council for cause by super majority vote?

Financial Impact Estimate: This Charter Amendment, if implemented, would have no fiscal impact on revenues or cost for the City of Jacksonville

Referendum 2: Amending Sections 6:07 and 7.101 of the Charter regarding Mayor's Staff and Department Directors.

Summary: Shall Ordinance 2015-51-E which amends the Jacksonville Charter to (1) require the Mayor to appoint a Chief Administrative Office and Director of Finance; (2) define the duties, responsibilities and authority of such positions; and (3) require Mayor to appoint City department directors within 60 days of a director's position becoming vacant, become effective?

Financial Impact Estimate: This Charter Amendment, if implemented, would have no fiscal impact on revenues or cost for the City of Jacksonville.


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