I need a HERO!
“I’m holding out for a hero” . . . but the hero may not have to be “larger than life.”
Speakers have consistently noted that to pass a voter referendum, an issue needs a champion, a strong community figure or someone in a top leadership position. And we can see how important a champion for a cause can be: Mayor Delaney was a champion for the Better Jacksonville Plan, building community resources like a ball field and a beautiful downtown library. Mayor Peyton was a champion for early learning, putting books into the hands of four-year-olds across the city through Mayor Peyton’s Book Club. Delores and Wayne Weaver have been champions for this community by investing in programs that improve children’s lives.
However, a debate is underway. Powerful people can take on the issue OR people can take on the issue and get powerful people’s attention. Does an initiative for stable Library funding need a champion from the start, or can Jacksonville’s citizens be the ones who take the initiative to save their libraries from future funding instability?
In a letter to the Florida Times-Union, Tom Brady has called upon community members to be the champions for the Jacksonville Public Library. Bill Brinton spoke to the inquiry committee and showed the power of a stack of signed petitions that reaches the ceiling. He suggested that—based on his experience passing legislation—if citizens are organized and dedicated, they may inspire someone in top leadership or a powerful community leader to embrace the cause and arise as the hero.