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
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
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
MAYOR SEEKS DDA DELAY: Mayor Delaney has asked the Downtown
Development Authority to postpone its search for a new executive
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. …