Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clinton Compliments Brown on Partnerships; Former President Pushes Public-Private Links in His Speech

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clinton Compliments Brown on Partnerships; Former President Pushes Public-Private Links in His Speech

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Patterson

Former President Bill Clinton praised Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown Friday and echoed many of his messages of public-private partnership during an appearance that was coordinated with City Hall.

"The issue in America is not whether we're going to go right or left. It's whether we're going to move forward or stay stuck where we are," Clinton told a crowd of about 600 invitation-only guests inside the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.

"You made a decision to move forward. I'm very proud of your mayor," said Clinton, whom Brown once served as an adviser.

Brown said it was "humbling" to hear Clinton's remarks and said he was indebted to the president's example of bringing people together despite differences.

"I learned from him," Brown said after the speech.

To drive home the partnership message, Brown recognized a lineup of business executives who recently committed more than $7 million to support projects in areas the city labeled as priorities:

- The largest donation came from Florida Blue, an arm of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, which pledged $2 million this year and another $3 million through 2015 for projects benefiting health care, education, poverty levels or the economy.

The company pledged an additional $125,000 toward a mayoral education initiative.

- Brown also lauded Jaguars owner Shad Khan and Jaguars Foundation President Peter Racine for committing $1 million, plus leadership support, to develop a veterans guidance center that can help service members transition into civilian life and jobs.

- Lender Wells Fargo also committed $1 million for neighborhood stabilization projects that include incentives to homebuyers. Brown said that could be "a powerful boost to our local economy."

- Attorneys Wayne Hogan of Terrell Hogan and Eddie and Charlie Farah of Farah & Farah also were recognized for each firm's agreement to contribute $200,000 - the first toward helping local parks and education projects, the other to improving downtown.

- Brown also touted ongoing efforts by CSX Inc. tied to downtown development. …

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