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Columbia County Observer

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Lake City

Lake City Tonight, Buried in the Agenda, A New City Logo


Interim logo (left) came out of nowhere. Right, the old disappeared logo.

LAKE CITY, FL – After all the discussion of the Lake City logo during the last half of 2015, the future of the old Lake City logo, which shows the Confederate Battle Flag, went into hibernation. Mysteriously, without any public discussion and nowhere in the City minutes a new City Logo mysteriously appeared. In its agenda for tonight's City Council meeting, Mayor Steve Witt is asking the City Council to consider "adopting Interim City Logo as the new City Logo." There are no pictures of the new or old logo in the City's agenda material.

Background

The Lake City logo has been a contentious issue since the early 2000's.

On March 5, 2001, the City logo was discussed during the evening's City Council meeting. The NAACP and others wanted the Confederate Flag removed from the top half of the logo.

According to the evening's official minutes, Adora Nweze, President of the Florida NAACP said that "further steps would be taken," if the flag was not removed.

Unannounced, O.J. Lake, a participant in the Olustee Festival and Reenactment, presented a modification of the logo at the meeting. It added the American flag to the top half of the logo and made other minor modifications to the logo.

Councilman Eugene Jefferson, who continues on the City Council, moved to accept the just introduced logo as the City logo. It was unanimously approved by the Council.

The audio of March 5 meeting was destroyed.

New Logos: Good Ole' Boy Cronyism

Jeff Simmons, a long time member of the defunct IDA, and presently a member of City and County clubs and committees has a son named Justin Simmons. He studied graphic arts.

In October 2014, the young Simmons showed up at a City CRAC meeting with a bunch of designs for downtown Lake city. "Gateway to Florida" Changed, Committee Approves Logos & Signage

By mid-2015 various political players were pushing the young Simmons to do work for the County and the City.


Justin Simmons (left) and Glenn Hunter (right) at the TDC surprise logo unveiling.

In June of 2015, Justin Simmons showed up at the Tourist Development Council, (TDC) with former long time school board member and present County Economic Development Director Glenn Hunter (Justin Simmons' father, FPL's Jeff Simmons is a member of the County Economic Development Advisory Board) to hawk a new logo for the TDC. The long time slogan of Columbia County, "Gateway to Florida" had been changed to "Florida's Gateway."

The logo also included a funky tree and a swirl, apparently trademarks of Justin Simmons. The tree and swirl are popular clip art.

The County 5 never publically approved the new TDC logo or the slogan.

The Observer asked the County's three constitutional officers if they thought the slogan should have been changed. None of them did.

August 2015


Lake City Logo: Fair, Balanced, Symbol of Hate?

Beginning in July 2015, the issue of the City logo again came up at the City. Many more spoke for not changing the logo than changing it.

On August 3, 2015, "Mayor Witt responded to the public's concern stating Council will address the City logo issue once the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget is complete." (City minutes)

The conversation by the public continued at the Council meetings. The public was overwhelmingly in favor of leaving the logo alone.

The budget was completed on September 31, 2015. The City Council did not address the issue.

October 2015: CRAC

By October 2015, Justin Simmons was entrenched in the County Good Ole' Boy network and was also doing work for Glenn Hunter over at County Economic Development.

When asked if the County Engineer could have been producing the drawings that Mr. Simmons was producing, Mr. Hunter said he didn't know.

The Observer does not know if there is an agreement between the County and Mr. Simmons.

The Interim City Logo

The City minutes are silent on any approval of an interim City logo of any kind.

There was talk in late 2015 that there may have been a contest at the high school to draw a new logo.

This would have been history repeating itself from 2001.

However, there was never any request of any kind to develop a new Lake City logo.

The interim logo will not copy well on a black and white copier, nor will it scan well in black and white.

There was no community input on the City logo design.

One local professional graphic artist, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Observer, "The logo is generic, sophomoric, not well reasoned or designed with the community in mind."

Tonight, sometime after 6 pm, the City Council will decide whether to adopt the Justin Simmons logo, or go out into the rest of the world and look for input from the world of graphic artists and anybody else.

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