Mousa to Oversee Neighborhood Project

Article excerpt

Mayor John Delaney has moved to reduce the political risk he

took in April when he unveiled his intensive care program to

help Jacksonville's poorest neighborhoods.

Delaney has appointed Public Works Director Sam Mousa to

oversee the program and the mayor has created what appears to be

a separate department with six divisions designed specifically

to handle the neighborhood initiative, which has gotten off to a

slow start.

Delaney describes the program as "some of the most important

stuff I'm going to do as mayor."

The neighborhood intensive care program is the type of

initiative politicians generally save until near the end of

their terms so they can refer to the program during a

re-election campaign without having to defend its performance

record.

With three years remaining in Delaney's first term, however,

there's plenty of time for this bold initiative to succeed or

fail. That's fodder for critics and potential opponents in the

1999 mayoral campaign.

Delaney is counting on Mousa, who has a reputation for good

judgment and follow through, to make it a success. Mousa will

keep his Public Works job but delegate much of his work there to

subordinates while he focuses on the neighborhood initiative.

The idea behind the intensive care program is to strengthen the

schools and the quality of life in the neighborhoods through a

series of initiatives. An organizational chart of the program

lists six components: education, public safety, social services,

housing, infrastructure and code enforcement.

Delaney has hired Judy Hall, the vice president for marketing

relations and communications at Barnett Bank, to oversee the

neighborhood education initiatives and community outreach

aspects of the program.

Rick Mullaney, the mayor's chief of staff, will coordinate the

public safety aspects of the program with the sheriff and state

attorney. His involvement and Mousa illustrates the importance

of this program politically to Delaney.

The idea for the intensive care program came from former Mayor

Jake Godbold, who advised Delaney to target just one

neighborhood. Instead, the mayor picked four: Royal Terrace,

East Jacksonville, Hyde Park/Sweetwater and College Gardens/New

Town.

MAYOR SEEKS DDA DELAY: Mayor Delaney has asked the Downtown

Development Authority to postpone its search for a new executive

director.

The authority is looking for a replacement for Frank Nero, who

has taken a job in Miami.

Delaney wants the authority to hold off on its search to give

the city time to consider his economic development initiative,

which he plans to announce tomorrow. …