OUR LIBRARY SYSTEM
WE DEPEND ON IT
In an age of fake news and questionable sources, millennials are going old school.
According to a study by the Pew Foundation, millennials use the public library more than any other adult generation to vet news and get trustworthy information.
But in Duval County, library visitors often find locked doors, less assistance and fewer materials.
City Council began cutting funding at nine library branches in 2013, which in turn led to a cut in operating hours.
Last year, 88 operating hours were restored — but that still leaves many library users frustrated.
Benjamin Franklin saw the library system as a university for all people — a place to meet, exchange ideas, build the community and get the facts.
But when we make it hard for citizens to even be able to keep track of when libraries are open, we make it difficult for them to be part of this vibrant community.
Our City Council members have the power to change this. They should restore eight operational hours apiece at nine library branches, which would add a sixth day of weekly service at each building.
Connie Timpson, Jacksonville
condemning old enemies
WHAT ABOUT World war II?
Once those who are offended by the existence of Civil War memorials and statues have the satisfaction of seeing these artifacts removed, they should be embarrassed to suddenly realize they have overlooked condemning our enemies during World War II.
Once they realize this, can we expect them to immediately demand the closure of all the dealerships selling vehicles made by German and Japanese manufacturers — as well as substantial fines for all who own and drive such vehicles?
Bill Pence, Jacksonville
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
A HEINOUS ACT
Not long ago, I was traveling north on the interstate near Blanding Boulevard when I was stunned to see several small kittens tumbling to their deaths under the wheels of the fast-moving vehicles on the road.
The kittens had obviously been thrown from one of the vehicles.
I saw at least three kittens crushed.
But there may have been more.
My huge regret is that I could not determine the person or persons responsible for this heinous act.
However, I take comfort in the fact that God also saw what happened.
To the person or persons responsible for this, I offer only this:
You know who you are.
And you know what you did.
Geoffrey T. Mims Jr., Jacksonville
AMAZON’S NEW Headquarters
LET’S go and get it
Amazon recently announced that it plans to open a second headquarters — commonly referred to as “HQ2” — in the United States.
The company estimated that its economic contribution to Seattle, which currently hosts its sole headquarters in America, has been $38 billion between 2010 and 2016.
In fact, Amazon estimates that for every dollar it invested in Seattle, an additional $1.40 was generated for the city overall.
And now that the online retailer is looking for a second home and accepting bids from cities and states, there is no reason why Jacksonville shouldn’t be in the running.
Best of all, the requirements for submitting bids are pretty simple:
• The location must have a metropolitan area that exceeds 1 million people.
If you add up all of the residents in Jacksonville’s metropolitan area, the population is well over 1 million.
And Jacksonville has been steadily growing for three straight years.
• The location must provide a stable and business-friendly environment.
Jacksonville has been recognized nationally for its friendly environment for startups and small businesses.
In November 2015, Thumbtack.com, a business development website, ranked Jacksonville as No. 2 in the nation for its “small business economic sentiment.”
And Jacksonville has also hosted large crowd-funding events like One Spark, which has consistently attracted large numbers of investors and entrepreneurs.
• The location must have the ability to attract and retain strong technical talent.
Jacksonville offers inexpensive business and labor costs, low taxes, no income taxes, affordable housing, a sizable population of young talent and an international airport that is just 30 minutes from the city’s center.
Indeed.com has ranked Jacksonville as the seventh-best city for job seekers.
• The location must be willing to think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options.
Jacksonville has shown it fits this bill.
It is home to three companies appearing in the 2017 Fortune 500 list: CSX, Fidelity National Financial and Fidelity National Information Services.
And as the largest city by land area in the continental U.S., Jacksonville provides abundant real estate options for building HQ2 and providing Amazon employees with affordable housing options.
Let’s keep in mind that Amazon expects to invest over $5 billion in construction for HQ2, which could lead to thousands of high-paying jobs.
And let’s also consider the fact that Amazon has already recognized our city’s suitability by committing to building two fulfillment centers here (and employing an estimated 4,000 people).
So let’s hope that our city officials are working on a viable proposal to bring Amazon’s HQ2 to our city.
Madison Marks, Jacksonville