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vicupstate

Peyton cancels return of Cecil

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Republicans are the dominant party of Jacksonville and Florida, no doubt, but given the fact that both US Senators are Democrats, and the closeness of the 2000 presidential election, a GOP victory is not a certainty in state elections.
Vic: FL now has one Democrat and one Republican Senator. Bob Graham (D) retired and was replaced by Mel Martinez

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I mean yes they do as in the same capacity of any other large city in America. Clubs, restaurants, parks, etc, you see both races in ratios of about 70/30 just as the actual racial profile of America is made up.

There is some natural segregation in lower and upper class neighborhoods but again, that's normal.

I guess to answer your question further, I may need you to explain your question further.

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OK... I suppose I should have phrased my question with an example.

I've been to cities where there is the natural balance of demographic diversity, however there are race relations issues, such as people not associating with one another based on cultural differences. Not shopping at the same grocery stores, not attending the same churches, and schools are issues related to where someone might happen to live in a given community. But actually speaking to one another and socializing day to day as buddies is another. I've been to places in Mississippi where people of difference races try not to make eye contact (my family is from Mississippi). Seeing as how someone pointed out the racial - political affiliations, I'm just curious how the people of Jax get along.

I know how I am. My attitude changes toward someone knowing we don't agree politically. I'm just wondering how that must be. And I also want to know by what margin Peyton won his election.

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Oh, no, not anything like that. As I said there is natural segregation due to economic status but they do mix at social events, clubs, restaurants, parks, etc. Racial tension is not a major issue here. Nat Glover, a black democrat, had a pretty decent following in his run for mayor recently.

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Yes there's a local platform and I don't think it would be that difficult to get a democrat elected, considering the horrible job our current repuplican mayor is doing. Jax is no different than any other typical large southern city, with the inner city and more urban areas being heavily democratic and the suburban and rural areas being heavily republican. Both seem to be pro-growth, but many on both sides don't have the vision to get to where they would like to go.

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I apreciate all of the answers However, I guess what I find most interesting is that in a highly urban area such as Jacksonville, there is a republican dominance. That's usually not the case if you look at patterns around the country.

What was Peyton's position on Economic/Downtown Development when running for Governor? Has he recieved credit for projects already in the works before he came to office?

While urban areas tend to be Democratic and suburban areas Republican generally, that is more the case in the North than in the South. Even more important, you have to remember that since Jax is consolidated, the 'suburbs' are the majority of the city, not separate from the 'urban' city itself, as is the norm.

Peyton ran on a platform of being pro-downtown, but all the major candidates did to some degree or another. Because the Better Jax Plan was so publicized, I think that Peyton doesn't get a lot of credit for those projects, nor should he.

Vic: FL now has one Democrat and one Republican Senator. Bob Graham (D) retired and was replaced by Mel Martinez

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Just to throw this out there, and it hasn't meant much lately at the polls, but there are more democrats than republicans in Jacksonville (at least at the last count I saw). I think a democrat may have a chance against this mayor if NO other republican runs, which is unlikely.

You guys have a lot of barbs for heighth and inexperience but its usually in a thread about the one issue or another that takes the grit and courage.

It usually goes like this: "Mayor Peyton made a decision. What a loser." Please post where you had a better idea and explained what that was. The only one I remember (a very good one) in particular was by vic about why we should not court the navy back to cecil. He has taken the risky political positions and stood for the community on a number of issues and that is the common thread in all of his controversial decisions, like it or not. He also takes hits because he inherited a plan that could not be implemented for the money that was allocated?

And beyond development issues of which I think he's made very few mistakes (I'm conservative on incentives, if my broke a$$ can develop downtown we all can), look at our number 1 problem in this city: ignorance. Illiteracy is about 50-50. He is the only leader in the city since I've been here that has even tried to tackle that one. Daimler Chrysler will not come here if we can't read. My point is that while he's terribly dissapointing to you all for whatever reason, he's working on our intellectual infrastructure, which is more important than any one piece of land.

I write this too because I don't think he'll lose. So, if we are only taking shots at his stature and taking the easy route of offering criticism without better ideas, than you all are going to be a sour bunch through 2011! And where will we have gotten? Throw some bright ideas on the table. or

Lets have some opposition with meat on it.

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TUC, many of us have offered alternatives in other threads. Though it may be wiser to state those opposing ideas in every post where we criticise him, it's tedious to do so and annoying to others for the constant repitition.

CECIL:

What's better for he city as a whole? That should have been his question from day one and until he could answer that, he should not have committed to anything. A study was commissioned that was to be released on days after he backed out. Why did he not wait for the results? Perhaps he knew them already and has yet to make that fact known.

Courthouse:

He claims he's trying to keep it under budget. I can cite scores of data regarding the increase in construction costs, the increase in the scarcity of skilled workers, etc. Under budget is something that is becoming so out of reach unless we resort to a multi-site facility of which will make day to day operational costs increase and we'll lose any efficiency gains from a single site facility. Data is available to him that supports this very notion yet he won't commit to anything other than the improbable under budget courthouse. We can charge rent to inmates and increase other court fees to pay for the over budget single site facility in the long run.

Jaguars:

A deal was made with Weaver yet Peyton sent the Jags administration paperworkl that included revenue options to the city the Jags had not agreed upon. Peyton should get behind Weaver and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney and support the shared revenue system they are touting. This would help steady the income the city receives as well and any advertising revenue deals would be much easier to agree upon.

Haydon Burns"

Once Ocean Square won the bid and talk began of redoing it simply because they didn't like the outcome, Peyton should have stepped in and said no. That's leadership. Can we redo all bidding/voting if we don't like the outcome?

I'll hold it at these for the moment.

With any political office, there comes great expectations. Exceeding them brings praise, matching them draws content and falling short incites criticism.

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To this date, I don't think I've ever degraded him personally because I'm sure he's a nice guy, but I do have problems with his decision-making process when it comes down to big heated issues. Unfortunately, I really get the feeling that he's values keeping as many people happy to continue his political career, as opposed to doing what's best in the long term for this city, even if the results may not show to years after his current term ends. I'll add my two cents to some issues, I've had problems in the past with, that I've stated several times at UP, in the past.

Shipyards

My problem:

RFP should have been issued instead of giving the rights to LandMar.

solution:

Easily, like Haydon Burns, request RFP to seek the highest price.

Haydon Burns

My problem:

Showed favortism for Peterbrooke proposal and was a part of the rumors circulating that Atkins couldn't cover the $5 million they offered.

My Solution:

Publically back the JEDC and follow the rules that were set originally set for the RFP. Also work with other two finalist (Main Branch & Peterbrooke) to find alternative spots in downtown for their proposals.

Cecil Field

My problem:

With 12,000 jobs, the future of Mayport and the Naval Depot on line, the decison to eliminate the Navy returning to Cecil, was made to early.

My Solution

Complete the study, release the results to the public, then make a decision. With every big community issue, you're going to take a little heat from some segment of the local population. Nevertheless, its up to you to conduct a study in an attempt to evaluate the true positives and negatives of bringing the base back to Cecil. Vic raised some good points throughout the debate, but they are (especially noise and lowering of property values on the Westside) null and void until proven to be true, which is what a study would have determined. Overall, its a shame that it took us longer to evaluate the Haydon Burns, then giving time to study to option of returning the Navy to Cecil Field and its impact on the local economy.

County Courthouse

My problems:

Too many to count, but they include the options currently on the table, the delayed time to finding a solution and proceeding and this silly idea of still being able to build a 900,000sf courthouse off an estimate done over 4 or 5 years ago.

My Solution

I'll admit, he inherited this problem. Nevertheless, we're not going to get a 900,000sf courthouse off a cost estimate that was done nearly 5 years ago. Construction materials have and will continue to rise everyday that land sits idle. Private development in that section of downtown will continue to remain in limbo until the courthouse issue is resolved. Thus, back in 2003 when the Cannon estimates were running out of control this would have been my plan, which would have consisted of a study of three options.

1. Build Cannon Design

2. Fire Cannon/go with second place KBJ Design

3. Build Highrise and sell extra land to developers for urban mixed-use development

In any event, I'm getting the current courthouse off of the river ASAP and requesting an RFP for the property, which is worth millions. The recent deals on the Suntrust Tower, JEA property, St. Johns Point and Haydon Burns show the city could probably get $40 million off that site alone, which could go into the overall cost of building the courthouse. If options 2 or 3 are chosen, then selling some of the 7 blocks to private development would also go into covering the costs for a higher courthouse.

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I write this too because I don't think he'll lose. So, if we are only taking shots at his stature and taking the easy route of offering criticism without better ideas, than you all are going to be a sour bunch through 2011! And where will we have gotten? Throw some bright ideas on the table. or

Lets have some opposition with meat on it.

I'll admit, I've just about given up on this current administration's ability or desire to help stimulate the inner core. I'm also convinced that money used to provide incentives, would be better used to fix and clean up public parks and infrastructure. I'm also convinced that if true vibrancy is to be achieved, its going to come by hard working individuals, not only developing small projects in the urban core, but also supporting the ones, who have taken the risks to open up businesses in downtown and the surrounding core neighborhoods, instead of the chain stores lining San Jose, Blanding, Southside and every other major highway in town. So if Peyton is re-elected, in my small little world, it really won't matter, because the one's who are going to give their time and effort to redevelop the core, are going to do so regardless of who's in office.

Illiteracy is about 50-50. He is the only leader in the city since I've been here that has even tried to tackle that one. Daimler Chrysler will not come here if we can't read. My point is that while he's terribly dissapointing to you all for whatever reason, he's working on our intellectual infrastructure, which is more important than any one piece of land.

I agree that intellectual infrastructure is important as well, and my hats are off to him for taking a leap into a world that has yet to be addressed by others. As time goes on, I'd like to see this evolve into eliminating some things physical barriers (such as magnet schools and busing minorities out of their neighborhoods to to acheive racial balance at other schools) that continue to drag down and prohibit many of our core neighborhoods from achieving maximum redevelopment potential.

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TUC: I understand you are a supporter of the Mayor and that is fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I voted for him too but have been sorely disappointed. So, I didnt start out with negative expectations for him. I always wished Peyton the best. I even attended his inauguration. And, I admit I am guilty of making stupid height jokes on here, but those were just jokes.

The truth of the matter is he has made a large number of inept decisions. Viper and Lakelander outlined some of these above and I agree with everything they have written (so I wont reiterate what has already been stated). I honestly believe that several people who post on here would do a better job than Peyton. Let's face it: the reason he was elected is because of his Dad's money and his name. He hasnt done a good job on the whole and needs to go. I am also prepared for him to be reelected (I lived through 8 yrs of Clinton, I can handle 6 with Peyton) and I am sure Jacksonville will not fall apart if he wins. But, we will never reach our potential with Peyton as Mayor.

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On the short person remarks I may have made. I'm 5'3". Cracking those jokes is like when Stevie Wonder said, "I can't see what you're talking about...."

It's not often I see eye to eye with a politician, figuratively or literally, so he takes some extra trenchant criticism.

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Does anybody remember the movie Men In Black? If you do, then think back to this quote (I don't remember it exactly, buy you will get the idea):

Will Smith: There is a huge alien on its way to earth!

Tommy Lee Jones: There is ALWAYS an huge alien, or bad bug, or extra terrestrial on it way to earth! The thing that keeps people going about their day is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!

People have said before that Peyton has had eight years of experience in the last two. However I believe this is just part of the office. He has made a big production of some many things in the last two years. Personally, I bet Delaney had a slate of problems that we didn't know about, but that is because they were handled properly and smoothly.

Really, does anyone thing that it is just a coincidence that the two Better Jacksonville Plan projects that were completed under Delaney (or within a couple months of Delaney's term) finished on budget, and Peyton's two are both late and over budget? I echo lakelander, viper, and riverside's arguments, particularly riverside's about the fact that the city will not go to hell with Peyton, but we won't reach it's potential. It's like puting a 5'3'' white guy on a basketbal court and asking him to slam dunk - after some practice and falling on his butt, he will get close, but he probably won't ever dunk.

As far as my ideas for Peyton (other than the good ones that have been mentioned), how about some multitasking skills. Is there anybody here in the working world that can shut the door to every task except one, and once that one is done, let one more in (other than a doctor)?

On that same subject, is there anyone here in the working world that hasn't started a new position, and had to deal with a task or two that your predecessor has messed up a bit? I'm sick of people blaming Delaney for this courthouse crap. Maybe he did mess it up, maybe he didn't. However the bottom line is that Peyton is the Mayor and Delaney is in the world of academia. Peyton - It's your job to fix it now!

Personally, I can't believe that a highrise wouldn't work - build a highrise, and sell the rest of the land.

As far as Cecil goes, to me Peyton has to understand that as the Mayor, you really have one shot at taking a stand on the issue, unless there are some outlying issues that you had no way of knowing before you made the decision. I think that Peyton made the right decision by calling off Cecil, buy he never should have had to come back on his decision. If he properly reviewed the facts before he made the decision and threw a "courthouse" ($200 million) at the Navy, I'm sure this would be a non-issue.

It just seems like every decision he makes is in the spotlight (more so than under Delaney). There was a recent article in the Times-Union about the Navy and Delaney taking about a Cecil return. However, the numbers just didn't work, so it never happened (and the public wasn't bothered) with it.

If there is one issue that I would like to know, is why Sam Mousa left the administration two weeks into the term after comitting to the administration. I'm sure we all know the general idea, but this was the first sign to me that we may have a problem. This is a veteran of city government, someone who committed to staying in the administration for the term, in a position where the predecessor left the position through death - not exactly high turnover.

As Mayor, you can not possibly be an expert at everything - I would never ask Peyton to try this, but this is where you surround yourself with experts in different areas. It's rare that he does this (the only one of his original cabinet that had ANY experience in ANY level of government was Mousa). When he actually gets the opion of "experts", he rarely listens to their decisions (remember the courthouse committee).

The Jaguars negotiations are almost comical - except that I may never leave my house if the Jags leave - he hires this consultant Dean Bonham (who actually has a decent resume, but wouldn't have been my choice) to attempt to negotiate the contract, which obviously hasn't worked. Remember Peyton - Weaver was a shoe salesman and is now worth over a billion dollars, so he might know a thing or two about business negotiations.

Okay, maybe I'll get back to this tomarrow, but it's 2AM and I'm tired.

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Back on the courthouse.

Look at all the property around the CBD going to $30-40+ million. The land the current courthouse sits on must be worth something. Contract that land out and you just paid for a big chunk of the new courthouse. He should be pushing this. Maybe he is and we don't know but I'd be all over Kuhn with this one.

$40 million and you can do what you like with the property - Peyton.

^That should be him (in so many words.)

Take that $40 million and that $50 million he was going to use to relocate businesss and get that $290 million courthouse going.

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These are more what I was looking for. There are suggestions laced into your opinions and hindsight evaluations. I appreciate the time you took, and admit I shouldn't get so frustrated. I'm not asking that every time you take a shot roll out all your alternatives to his decisions, just that you back up or show an alternative to that particular decision.

1. Cecil- I'm pretty sure I agree with vic's original estimation that we'd be better off devloping Cecil without the navy. Growth at Cecil is robust, if it weren't I might feel differently. I also think the estimated number of impacted homes that was off by 1000% was a disaster. I think that was the planning dept.

2. Haydon Burns- I have my own heart burn from this one and his notes where he smelled chocolate should have gotten someone fired. But in the end the highest bidder won which was the stated main criteria, so I'm not sure how he is assailable for this. This is not over and (my opinion is) if Atkins doesn't develop it will not be because the city doesn't want the deal to happen.

3.Shipyards- I agree that the city blew it on the original contract and that it should have gone to RFP. Total agreement. I also think they should have made landmar start work on the riverwalk immediately.

4. Courthouse- I don't think a high-rise (like the fed courthouse) is out of the question. Calling a halt to the project is the ONLY reason this is even an option. Its up to the judges now.

5. Jaguars- another poorly written contract. They should work it out.

6. Better Jacksonville Plan- was a time bomb. I'm just glad we got our library, arena (where are the concerts?), and ballpark.

Thanks for throwing thoughts out there guys and I am glad we are involved.

TUC

ps- I did not vote for P the first time around as was suggested and I'll be careful not to make any height jokes Vipe!

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ps- I did not vote for P the first time around as was suggested and I'll be careful not to make any height jokes Vipe!

No, bring them on. I'm always looking for new material.

To Peytons credit, he is often caught in a political catch-22. Time. We want him to make decisions quick yet not hastey. We slam him when he takes too long (courthouse) and slam him when he makes snappy judgements (Cecil). Sure, some of that is out of his hands but much of it is. If he'd put more thought into the quick decision and put more urgency on the dragged out problems, he'd garner much more of our support.

It's a leadership guality that he doesn't often display.

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No, bring them on. I'm always looking for new material.

To Peytons credit, he is often caught in a political catch-22. Time. We want him to make decisions quick yet not hastey. We slam him when he takes too long (courthouse) and slam him when he makes snappy judgements (Cecil). Sure, some of that is out of his hands but much of it is. If he'd put more thought into the quick decision and put more urgency on the dragged out problems, he'd garner much more of our support.

It's a leadership guality that he doesn't often display.

Success is the journey not the destination - Cervantes

I totally appreciate your post and the fact you care..

I want to say again, if/when the Haydon Burns comes down we will have a big benefit concert. I'm thinking we can give to the library foundation (new urban books?) but will talk it over with everyone who will have to work it.

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Just to drive the point of actually finishing the study, before completely abandoning the idea of returning Jets to Cecil, these letters showed up in the T-U editorial in today's edition.

DEFENSE: Find a better way

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission isn't getting a lot of respect.

Earlier this year, in what appeared to be a stroke of genius, BRAC put Oceana Naval Air Station -- and the 12,000 high-paying jobs that go with it -- up for bids.

Virginia Beach was told it could keep the master jet base only if it committed huge sums of money to address encroachment problems. That failing, a nice economic incentive package would bring the jets to Cecil Field on Jacksonville's Westside.

But the competition never materialized. Jacksonville withdrew from consideration in the face of Westside opposition. Now, according to the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, Virginia Beach officials are asking why they should bother to comply with BRAC's demands now that the Navy has nowhere else to go.

The process has been botched from the outset.

In the 1990s, a previous BRAC commission had to close either Cecil or Oceana.

Oceana was crowded and had no room to grow; Cecil had plenty of space for expansion. There was severe encroachment at Oceana but practically none at Cecil. Yet, inexplicably, the commission closed Cecil.

That was the first mistake. Then the new commission waited until the proverbial last minute to approach Mayor John Peyton about possibly reopening Cecil. Because of time constraints, Peyton was put in the awkward position of pushing the plan before he had time to study the impact or galvanize public opinion.

Westside residents, already worried about noise, resented not being consulted. Then, in their haste, city staffers inadvertently put out bad information. That further inflamed opponents, and City Council support disappeared.

It didn't have to be that way.

A University of North Florida poll, taken in late September and early October, found more than twice as many Duval County residents in favor as opposed.

Those numbers, we think, would have risen if the public had learned about a study filed last month by the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

A reactivated Cecil Field, it found, would create more than 31,000 jobs, counting spin-off employment, and pump $2.5 billion into the region's gross domestic product.

It's too bad that report was released after Peyton withdrew the city from consideration.

What now?

It probably isn't reasonable to ask the Virginia Beach City Council, as BRAC has done, to condemn a couple thousand houses and evict the people who live there. A better alternative would be to buy a huge amount of land elsewhere and build a new base, free of space and encroachment problems.

Environmentalists probably would oppose clearing large swaths of Eastern forests, and we sympathize with them, but national security has to trump the environment.

The handling of the Oceana problem has been a textbook example of how to mishandle change. This time, do it right.

CECIL FIELD: A shameful end to a Navy story

The Navy move to Cecil Field is dead. How this evolved is shameful and embarrassing. Legitimate noise and economic issues deserved enlightened debate. Unfortunately, reckless and vitriolic rhetoric prevailed. Silence from far too many elected and business "leaders" was deafening and revealing.

Disgraceful picketing against Cecil at a recent S-3 crash site where two defenders of the right to free expression had perished took place even before next of kin notification. Opponents also decried enrollment of more military children in our schools, implying they would drag down quality. Mayport, Atlantic Beach and Venetia elementaries; Fletcher and Mayport middle schools; and Fletcher High School, among others, all have many Navy children and are "A" schools. The Navy pays $1 million annually for military children now in our system, something no other employer does.

The premise Navy brings low-paying jobs is groundless. Blueprint for Prosperity's goal is to raise median wages from a present $39,000. NAS Cecil's 11,800 jobs would have averaged over $60,000. Virtually all Atlantic Fleet aviation would be here and defense giants like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrup Grumman would have followed. Comparing the Commerce Center's 2035 projected economic impact with NAS Cecil's immediate economic impact is ludicrous.

The mayor was unfairly called a "liar" by many. In expeditiously responding to the unexpected action of putting Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia up for closure, 26 dwellings were honestly overlooked in Cecil's 3,000 acres of APZ-1 land mass. Media coverage failed to report Virginia Beach "overlooked" 1,600 dwellings in Oceana's comparable APZ-1. Their actual total is 3,400 vs. our 26.

Times-Union columnist Ron Littlepage often called upon the mayor to "come clean." Too bad he couldn't do the same and tell readers that his wife is a driving force behind the Equestrian Center at Cecil.

The Navy, with $9 billion in annual economic impact, remains our largest employer. Over 200,000 people are here because they or a family member have direct economic ties to the Navy whose men and women annually donate $2 million to the United Way and over 600,000 hours of volunteer service to better our community.

Of course, patriotism was never an issue; noise and economics were. Unfortunately, before all impartial economic data were analyzed, elected officials reacted to a vocal, well-organized minority, ran for cover and prematurely bailed out. Our image as "Navy friendly" has been tarnished.

I guess Ron, Jimmy Ray Bob and friends will now feel emboldened to turn full attention to running off the Jaguars and maybe even newcomer superstars like Fidelity National so Cowford can be what it once was. (click)

KEVIN F. DELANEY, retired military, Jacksonville

http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/opinion/

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Great find Lakelander. Mr. Delaney makes a very solid point. I wonder if the Navy is secure enough to reconsider opening Cecil despite Peyton's decision. It may come down to an emminent domain struggle if the govt. deems Jax the most suitable location.

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A better alternative would be to buy a huge amount of land elsewhere and build a new base, free of space and encroachment problems.

I read somewhere (the Norfolk UP forum, I believe), that the Navy has already purchased a huge chuck of land in NC. The speculation was this was for the PERMANANT master jet base, that would be built in ten years.

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The Navy did have plans to build a new base in Eastern NC, but they were having problems, most likely environmental issues. If Cecil were reopened, then there would be no need for a new Master Jet Base in NC. Considering the issues surrounding Oceana, a new base will have to go somewhere. However, with Jax dropping out of the race, nobody knows what's going to be the BRAC's next move.

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