BIO

I grew up on the Westside of Jacksonville, attended Episcopal High School, and moved to Birmingham, AL to pursue a career in medicine. After medical school, I was eager to return to Jacksonville and start my practice as a family physician for Baptist Primary Care. I chose to live in Atlantic Beach because of its beautiful ocean and quiet neighborhood streets. I have since lived here in the same neighborhood for the past 25 years. My wife Dianne and I have three beautiful daughters, all of whom have been raised here. I want to restore the peaceful, residential community that so many people, myself included, moved here for.

In order to accomplish this, I promise to listen to the voices and validate the concerns of Atlantic Beach residents. As a physician, I've had over 25 years of experience listening to people from all walks of life and taking action on their behalf. If I was voted into Seat 3, I would use this skill to discuss parking, safety, and other issues with the City Commission. 

PARKING

Parking has long been a problem in this town. This is mainly because Atlantic Beach is the only beach town in Jacksonville with free parking. This causes cars to park along residential streets, blocking driveways and obstructing paths for emergency vehicles.Right of way parking is currently being used to allow all to park on our streets. That is if boulders or plantings or markers are not illegally placed in the resident's yard to prohibit that. This needs to be addressed.  I would propose we institute parking decals for Atlantic Beach residents for free because residents pay taxes to the city. For non-residents, we should institute paid parking on Atlantic Beach streets and come up with a solution for Jacksonville citizens to use the available parking identified by a current count of spaces needed for beach renourishment. We can use a parking app to show available spaces for those looking to park and enjoy the beach. However, we need to enforce the rules and ticket those not parked in a parking space. I also believe in working with the city of Jacksonville in offering special rates to financially needy families for parking vouchers to enjoy the beach. There are many options like offering beach parking at Hannah Park with free vouchers or a discounted rate.I have personally offered this solution twice to the current commission and been shot down.   

As someone who did not grow up at the beach, I understand what it's like to drive many miles to the ocean. I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy the beach. I also believe that beach renourishment is essential to protect our beautiful beach. I would request a current, accurate number of parking spaces to count toward the beach renourishment plan. This count would enable all of Atlantic Beach to share the responsibility of beach access and relieve the overcrowded streets. I would also like to propose that low-speed vehicles, such as golf carts, be included in beach renourishment as bikes currently are. This would reduce parking congestion and enable all Atlantic Beach residents, particularly those who do not live close to have beach access. We currently have more than enough parking spaces to fund beach renourishment.

SAFETY

These parking issues have also led to a large number of safety concerns. The recent population growth of 21% in Jacksonville has caused overcrowding on our beaches and streets.This traffic places a considerable strain on community's first responders. Cars looking for parking on crowded residential streets have almost hit pedestrians on multiple occasions. We need to free up our police to allow our officers to focus on keeping redsidents safe and enforcing current laws.  Broken bottles, dirty diapers, and other trash litter the streets, endangering beachgoers 

and their pets. Heavy rains and a poor drainage system flood our streets, endangering drivers and and damaging properties alike. I also want to support our police force and empower them to enforce the current laws. I will share your views on town safety with the City Commission, and I will help create a solution. Safety is one of my main goals, and I will speak for the residents to improve the safety of this town.

CURRENT AND FUTURE HEALTH EMERGENCIES

As a physician, I see how COVID-19 and other emergencies affect our neighbors, our city, our state, and beyond. As an Atlantic Beach resident, I've seen how poorly our city has communicated information concerning testing, preparedness, and protocols. As a City Commissioner, I could help Atlantic Beach be more informed and help create a protocol for future pandemics and other health emergencies. 

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

It's hard to believe a city of this size and resources has such an ever increasing debt in the last few years. I do not agree with the way this current commission is spending money on beautification and rebranding our community. I believe that drainage, flooding, and first responder funding are a priority. Many dollars have been diverted to other causes that do not have a major impact on Atlantic Beach residents. We need to establish a better financial safety net for our community for the next emergency.  I will listen to and validate the residents' financial concerns, and I plan to use our money to improve the livelihood and safety of our town while resolving this debt.

CLOSING

Atlantic Beach has been home to my family for decades. I have served locally at Atlantic Beach Elementary as the Student Advisory Committee (SAC) Chair and a Friends of Atlantic Beach Elementary (FABE) board member for several years. I currently serve my community as a physician in a large local practice for over 25 years. Through these leadership roles, locally and professionally, I've learned to listen and respond to the needs of my patients and my neighbors. I never thought that I would enter local politics, but Atlantic Beach residents have gone unheard for too long. I would be honored to amplify your voices and serve as your Seat 3 City Commissioner. 

Michael Waters

SEAT 3, ATLANTIC BEACH

Paid for by Mike Waters for Commissioner, Seat 3, Atlantic Beach