Where do we go from here?
Building Public Trust and a City That Works for Everyone
We need to get back to government guided by everyday people that live here and call Tallahassee home. Our campaign has made it a priority to reach out to the community and bring in as many voices as we can. For too long we've seen campaigns controlled by connected firms and big campaign donors.
We decided to do things differently. We aren't accepting contributions from corporations, political committees or stacked donations from the same backers. We're reaching out to everyday people-- and what we've learned is when you do that, it works. Over one hundred people have signed up to volunteer and we've received more small-dollar contributors than any other campaign by far.
When I'm elected, I will push for a public campaign finance option so anyone with good ideas and the support of the community can compete. Public trust starts with transparency, openness and bringing more people into the process, so we can govern Tallahassee together.
Bridging our Economic Divide
Over the years, we've seen a lot change. We've seen huge investments around Downtown, Gaines Street and Cascades Park. But we've also seen a lot that hasn't changed-- Tallahassee making national headlines for being the most economically segregated city in the country. We have to do better, and we can do it with smarter investment of money we are already spending.
We start by switching the focus of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) from large-scale projects from national developers to investments in public space, sidewalks and streetscapes in neighborhoods that have been passed over again and again. We approve redevelopment projects that are incremental, reuse existing structures and preferably owner-occupied and locally owned. These are the types of projects that keep local wealth in local hands and create jobs for the residents of the areas they develop in.
We create job opportunities in underserved areas by building infrastructure and public works that make neighborhoods safer.
We expand affordable housing options with community land trusts and a revolving loan fund for rehabilitation and new construction.
Strengthening Local Business
When I first started Gaines Street Pies, we knew how to run a restaurant but didn't know a thing about the building process. What we learned was it can be miserable for someone trying to start something new in Tallahassee.
Six years later, I met with a young woman trying to start a new business and she came to me and said "Jeremy, I love this community, but I really don't feel like the City of Tallahassee wants me here..."
If you have a good idea and want to do business in Tallahassee, we want to be your partner and help you open.
We have very talented Growth Management staff, and we need to make sure that everyone that walks through the door is getting the same level of service. We need to redouble our efforts on a Customer Service-focused approach, create a liaison position so new business owners have one point of contact that can help them navigate the system, and speed up the process. Then, we need to survey and take feedback from every person that has gone through it so we can have clear data on what we need to improve upon.
Keeping our Neighborhoods Safe
Crime and safety are on the top of all of our minds. We can't simply arrest our way out of this problem. We need to ensure we have the resources to address the current levels, while we look to the future and see how we can prevent crime by addressing local inequality and poverty.
I support Chief Michael DeLeo's ongoing efforts in community policing. Particularly, the TEMPO program that reaches out to at-risk youth and offers them an opportunity and a different path is a good start.
As residents, we need to lock our doors and educate our neighbors to do the same. It's a terrible feeling to return to your car and realize your personal belongings have been gone through.
We need to invest and expand job opportunities for young people and ex-felons returning to our community.
Our community has thousands of children that go hungry, 29% of our area lives in poverty, and when we add working people struggling to make ends meet that number climbs to nearly half. To properly address crime, we have to address the underlying issues.
We also need to decriminalize marijuana and treat drug abuse as a health issue,and not a criminal one. Too many lives have been made tougher by outdated drug laws that have failed our community and cost taxpayers countless dollars. Let's use our resources to address the real crimes that are affecting our community.
Smarter Growth and Preservation
Tallahassee is growing. It's an exciting time, but it's critical we make sure our growth is what the people that live here and call Tallahassee home want to see. In a race to build big buildings, we can't lose what makes Tallahassee uniquely Tallahassee.
We have a great responsibility to preserve our environment for future generations-- our beautiful canopy roads and live oaks trees covered in Spanish moss. Our local trails and nearby sinks and springs.
We can grow, strengthen our urban core and still develop in a way that is unique, not a carbon copy of other cities many try to emulate.
Our neighborhoods need to have a seat at the table so they know what's allowed in their area, what's coming and have ample opportunity to express their opinion and help us grow our city in a way that works for everyone.
We can't do this alone. Too often, when issues that come up that affect our entire city, only a few people show up to speak. We need to work together to elect more people that represent everyday people. We need you to show up to vote on August 28th and not just stop there.
Building a better city is going to take all of us. I look forward to working with you as your City Commissioner.