First Read: Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gov. Rick Scott, pension reform, and Communism are in the headlines today.

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We’ll also preview some of WJCT’s upcoming news programming.

Scott brings campaign to JAXPORT: At a campaign appearance Wednesday at JAXPORT, Gov. Rick Scott promised to spend a billion dollars on the state’s deep water ports, and reiterated his call for U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to step down amid the ongoing VA hospital scandal. (WJCT)

Tentative pension reform deal reached: Mayor Alvin Brown and the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund reached a tentative deal Wednesday to pay the city’s $1.7 billion funding deficit. (News4Jax)

City approves Southbank Riverwalk reconstruction: Jacksonville officials have given the green light on long-delayed plans to reconstruct the city’s Southbank Riverwalk following a a deal with the Crowne Plaza to replace a stretch of the wooden boardwalk behind the hotel with concrete. (WJCT)

Former JSO officer arrested in child porn sting: A 51-year-old former Jacksonville sheriff’s officer was charged Saturday with 50 counts of possessing of child pornography, among other counts, in a Volusia Sheriff’s Office sting operation. (Florida Times-Union)

Florida Supreme Court refuses to hear blind trust suit: The state’s top court has sent a lawsuit claiming that blind trusts used by public officials are unconstitutional to district court. (WFSU)

Study says passenger rail would create jobs: Construction of the planned All Aboard Florida rail line would generate more than 10,000 jobs during its construction and add $6.4 billion to the state’s economy, according to a consultant’s analysis released Wednesday. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

FSU identifies Thrasher as sole presidential candidate: Florida State University’s presidential search committee has picked Florida Sen. John Thrasher as the sole remaining candidate for the position. (First Coast News)

Climate issues group to target Florida gubernatorial race: The race for governor of Florida is among seven major campaigns across the country this year that will be the focus of NextGen, an environmental group founded by billionaire Tom Steyer. (Wall Street Journal)

Florida Congressman criticized for “Communism” remark: Democratic Florida U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia is catching some heat after he joked that “Communism works” during an online event about immigration and crime on the U.S.-Mexico border. (Fox News Latino)

Kentucky upsets UF in baseball tourney: Ninth-seeded Kentucky beat the top-seeded University of Florida during Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament play in Alabama on Wednesday. (SEC Sports)

Today on First Coast Connect, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and attorney Wayne Hogan will join us to discuss the issues of the day and the city’s “Waterproof Jax” program.

Tonight at 8 p.m., WJCT and WJXT present First Coast Forum: Stand Your Ground, a special live simulcast event. The program will air on WJCT TV, WJXT Channel 4 and WJCT-FM.

You can get all the latest headlines online at, on our Facebook page, and on Twitter @WJCTJax. You can follow Patrick Donges on Twitter at @patrickhdonges.

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