No matter how much people love living on the First Coast, they always find things that can be fixed. So we asked members of the Times-Union/Jacksonville.com Email Interactive Group what they would fix about Jacksonville or whatever area in which they live. Here are the responses:

 

I moved to Jacksonville over 10 years ago and have found it to be a very gracious and welcoming city, and having family living here has helped me adjust to leaving Sarasota, my home for many years. I’m enjoying all the amenities Jacksonville has to offer, but there is one problem that is holding the city back and should be addressed. I believe the most pressing problem facing Jacksonville is the inability to fight rising crime — the number of murders, robberies, car thefts, etc., are out of control and need to be addressed in a more forceful manner. This requires more interaction between the City Council, law enforcement and the communities involved. The leaders of these communities need to get a better handle on overseeing the actions of their citizens and start demanding proper respect for law and order. This starts in the schools, where discipline has become lax, where truancy is allowed and disrespect for teachers is rampant. Also, there are too many babies born without fathers; these children are not given the proper training to become good citizens, so they search for other avenues of recognition, become involved in gangs, and turn to crime. They finally become incarcerated, crowding our prisons and costing taxpayers money for their upkeep. I hope we’re not becoming another crime-ridden city like Chicago. Our mayor has promised to fight crime, so let’s get down to business and do something about it!

Helen Louise Jesacher, Southside

I grew up in Jacksonville in the 1960s. I would love to see our downtown be full of things to do — shopping, restaurants, being able to safely walk around downtown, and the Skyway to expand.

Judy Johnson, Northside

If I could wave my magic wand, I’d make political polarization go away and have it that folks could agree to disagree without as much animosity as we see now.

Bob Tatum, Orange Park

Website reads: “Great cities have great downtowns,” so what happened to Jacksonville? Just got back from another family visit, passing through San Francisco, Portland and Seattle and, against my better judgment, am writing another letter. The latter two cities are in our field, yet their urban cores are exploding with growth and life. Portland has a dozen buildings under construction and Seattle close to 20! I’ve written to all three past mayors about our lackluster downtown and none seemed to have a clue as to why it’s stuck in neutral. Downtown Portland and Seattle are bustling with people, restaurants and multiple activities, while ours is an after-hours wasteland. There is no viable reason for visitors to Florida to stop in Jacksonville, as we have little to offer. I can only hope that some of the grand ideas I read in Arbus magazine come to fruition, as our urban core is so severely overdue for an infusion of life.

Paul Poidomani, Riverside

Enforce traffic violators (speeders, lane changers, texters, recklessness) and make crime prevention in general a greater priority.

David Ferguson, Jacksonville

I think the current “fix” of the pension crisis is a hoax. The debt needs to be paid down starting now, and to do that I would have the city sell off 49 percent of JEA and dedicate all of that money to paying down that pension debt immediately. I’ve heard all the arguments about why we should not do that, but I don’t think they outweigh the crisis that will eventually occur. All the nickel-dime things that Jacksonville needs to fix pale in comparison to the pension debt crisis.

Bill Rodriguez, Atlantic Beach

My fix for Jacksonville would be to have every project proposed by the mayor or city council thoroughly scrutinized by independent financial experts. No plan that was not financially sound would get any further. No more passing the buck to taxpayers, or spending millions on a bad idea. We need overall planning with an eye to the future of Jacksonville, not throwing money at the wish list of political buddies. We need to be proud of what we are and to capitalize on that, not pay for trash just to get people to come to Jacksonville. We have a wonderful river and parks, and we don’t need more sprawl and treeless office parks. Let’s have some creativity and innovation.

Paige Slade, Jacksonville

The literacy situation in our school system. If almost half the third-grade students are deficient in reading (and other basic skills), we are fighting an uphill battle for the success of the next generation of adults.

Douglas Underhill, Jacksonville

I would like to see more enforcement of the laws regarding speeding, texting while driving, crossing double white lines. Some people think they are ABOVE the law. You are taking my life into YOUR hands. NO THANK YOU.

Janet Guerra, Saint Johns

Get rid of the professional politicians.

Wendell Welman, Jacksonville

If all roads lead to Rome, I have to wonder how many lead to Jacksonville. As I travel the highways and byways of the River City, I am amazed that the routes change monthly, weekly, often daily. Surely folks at DOT lie awake at night pondering where to place barricades the next day to confuse drivers. The confluence of thoroughfares, that unholy trinity of Interstate 10, I-95 and 90, is the ultimate commuter nightmare. I envision my childhood game of Pick-up Sticks or Mama’s boiling pot of linguine. I’m not demanding streets paved with gold. I’m only asking that they get paved, once and for all. Fix the roads; fix Jacksonville!

Lucy G. Cortese, Intracoastal West

I moved to Florida in 1968 and, at the time, the bus system for the largest city in America was almost useless. I only used the bus system in New Jersey for getting back and forth to work in our downtown area. If you missed your bus, another few were there in less than two minutes. The schedule is ridiculous. It is not made for the working people to get to or from work during business hours. You either have to be very early and/or leave late or early. The bus schedules are not made for convenience for almost anyone. The traffic downtown is out of sight and the cost for parking is prohibitive. Redoing the entire schedule would allow more buses on the roads, and also hiring more drivers would be a plus all around. Give the public what they need and want. The routes need to be extended into the areas closest to public parking in the ’burbs also.

Frances Setro, Jacksonville

The monstrosity destroying our beautiful view of the river known as Berkman II. I do not know why we cannot somehow declare eminent domain on that property and do something with it. I understand there are probably multiple lawsuits and liens, but it’s a tremendous eyesore and a huge obstacle to our beautification and development of downtown. We have to figure it out!

Lori Putnam, Mandarin

We live in Brunswick, Ga., but have enjoyed coming to Jacksonville every two weeks for 12 years — theater, restaurants, grocery shopping, the Mayport Commissary. Every time we come, we have a bad experience on the highways. My impression is that Jacksonville police just let people drive like they want. People in small cars with totally blacked-out windows have rudely almost run me off the road, come past me on the beltway at 90+ mph. I am sorry, but there is no law enforcement … none. Law enforcement is what people see, and I see none on the roads around Jacksonville. I have never once seen anyone pulled over for speeding. Never once seen a radar trap. You have a “sheriff’s department” that has responsibility for the entire country. Sheriff’s departments in other states are the tax collectors. Here in Glynn County, you have the tax collector sheriff, PLUS a fully staffed county police department. They monitor the roads and do not allow the flagrant abuses that we see in Jacksonville. You have a big elderly population that drive the speed limit and obey the laws like we do. They must feel afraid driving the area.

Tom Low, Brunswick, Ga.

What would I fix about Jacksonville if I could? The littering situation. We live in such a wonderful city, and then put up with massive littering from one end of the city to the other. People caught littering should not only be fined, but made to perform public service by picking up trash along the roads. It’s a disgrace that needs to be fixed.

Bill Hehn, Intracoastal West

Last night at the Golden Corral, I totaled the two senior rate meals at $22.64 plus tax. They, of course were $11.32 each. The cashier said, “You can do that in your head?? We only used calculators in school.” I would get rid of all the calculators in the classrooms and teach addition, subtraction and the times table. Boohoo if it is that old-style rote teaching. At least you produce kids who actually might know how to change a 20. Or have a clue what 5 percent off just might be. I would also put one or two copies of the Times-Union newspaper in each classroom and have the teacher perhaps excite the students with what happened this day in history, the weather and perhaps why the Garfield cartoon is funny. During recess or break, students could look at the paper’s sections to see how the Shrimp did, etc. Maybe they could persuade their parents to get a subscription.

Jon Haas, Orange Park

As a lifelong resident of Jacksonville, why am I limited to just fixing one thing? As a former employee of JSO, I would take a different approach to crime. All those neighborhoods protesting law enforcement, JSO will no longer respond to any calls within those areas (guess that would mean most of the old city prior to consolidation). Let them call the new Black Panthers, or the neighborhood druggie standing on the street corner. As a continued part of law enforcement, the judges and state attorney must go by the severest punishment and quit letting criminals out with minimum time served. I know two dealers who have been arrested time and time again and given probation after a minimum stay as guest of JSO. Each time rearrested, they should be given time for new crime, PLUS the remainder of time from previous crimes.

Tom Bass, Jacksonville

I’d invite every single citizen with a roof over their head (including myself) to spend just one Friday or Saturday night on the streets; eat nothing at all for 24 hours; relieve themselves wherever they could find a suitable place; and hold up a cardboard sign sincerely asking for help on the corner of Main and Forsyth. I’m pretty sure that, when we opened our businesses on Monday, we would “fix” homelessness in our city — and maybe even in a few others.

Craig Seaton, Orange Park

You won’t like my solution about how to make Jacksonville better using one procedure. Send everyone back to where they came from — those who moved to Duval County since about 1966.

Steve McDonald, McAlpin

What would I fix? Anything but blame.

John Fabiano, East Arlington

The trash collection. They have beat the cans up and left garbage on the street. The recycle chart had the wrong date on the calendar and they need to come once a week. I don’t know how much the city is saving with the big bins, because mine now has a lid off and holes in the back side.

Tom Nolan, Jacksonville