Q: Can you give us an update on what you have been doing lately that has resulted in an absence of this column for a few months?
A: I have been mobilized as a member of the Florida National Guard. I’m proud to continue serving in the military and there are actually a number of elected officials in the Guard. When I’m mobilized, I can still participate in Board of County Commissioners meetings and vote on items before the board. I can also still answer emails and phone calls from constituents, but it’s usually in the evenings.
We had planned a series of Town Hall meetings plus my local office hours in Ponte Vedra Beach, but due to my mobilization and COVID-19 concerns, we had to postpone these. I think these meetings are important and plan to resume them when we can and when it is safe to do so.
Q: Can you shed some light on your stance on wearing face masks in St. Johns County?
A: First, I think we need to lead by example in St. Johns County. When social distancing is not available, we require masks in county facilities. We can control and enforce this in our facilities. As far as a county-wide mask mandate, the challenge is enforceability. How do you go from a strong recommendation to enforcement? I am not in favor of creating mandates and laws that we cannot enforce. Rather, people need to be good neighbors and respectful. I think that the majority of our citizens are.
I would encourage businesses to take the Pledge St. Johns (www.pledgesjc.com). This is a way for the county to provide necessary PPE and hand sanitizer to businesses so they can keep customers and employees safe. Consumers can also visit this site to learn which St. Johns County businesses have taken the pledge.
When dealing with a global pandemic, everyone has an opinion on how to address it. We need to accommodate these opinions as much as possible, but still keep the public safe.
Q: Do you have any beach renourishment updates?
A: There are a number of projects in different phases at this time, including the design phase. The last I heard, the one time sand renourishment for the dunes will be upcoming this fall, pending weather. Hopefully we won’t have any hurricanes and we will see something happening on the beach this fall.
Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you?
A: Readers can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (904) 679-2620.