JACOBS, SEGAL AND RACIAL POLITICS IN ORLANDO

In the rough and tumble of racial politics and as the Orange County mayoral race heats up, the Bill Segal campaign is charging that his opponent Teresa Jacobs is no friend of minorities.  The campaign says that when Jacobs served as Orange County commissioner she voted against using the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) dollars to help keep the Florida Classic football game at the Citrus Bowl and voted to make it more difficult for minority-owned businesses to get access to county contracts.

Teresa Jacobs and supporter at the opening of the Amway Center, October 1, 2010 (Photo credit: WONO)

Moreover, the Segal campaign also pointed out that Jacobs voted against the 2006-2007 Orange County Budget that cash funded many important projects like Sunrail, the Burnham Institute, and other programs important to minorities such as, the Black Business Investment Fund, The Minority Women Business International Alliance, The Victim Service Center and funding for over 70,000 uninsured citizens to receive healthcare through the County’s Primary Care Access Network.

But, the Jacobs campaign has fired back saying that, all this is just not true and “utter nonsense”.

The Jacobs camp tells West Orlando News Online that she has always voted in favor of keeping the Florida Classic at the Citrus Bowl, although this could not be independently verified.

While Jacobs did vote against the 2006-2007 Orange County Budget, her campaign responded this way:

“As you know, she (Teresa Jacobs) did vote against the budget, specifically the Invest Program, but NOT against funding for these organizations/causes.  She believes we were financing our children’s future to pay for capital projects, i.e. paving roads and building sidewalks rather than true “investment projects.””

And on making it harder for minorities-owned businesses to get county contracts, the Jacobs campaign countered by saying that this is just “not accurate”.  They explain that a motion was brought to the Board of County Commissioners by Commissioner Johnson to amend the county code on “Contracts and Subcontracts Goals” to read, “six percent on contract awards from $100,000 to $750,000”, but that the motion died as no one seconded it.

Jacobs’ campaign took pains to point out her credentials with the African-American community. They cite her work with Tildenville, a small African American community in West Orange where they said she fought for the timely completion of the neighborhood park, advocated for a bus connection, pursued safe walking conditions for school children and consistently engaged the Sheriff’s Office with community concerns. They also said that Jacobs initially pursued the idea of moving the proposed Orlando Magic gym in Dr. Phillips to Winter Garden to serve an underserved community.

Although we are uncertain of the eventual outcomes, the campaign also sent us documentation where Jacobs sought clarification on the process for awarding tourism development tax dollars for arts and culture, which by and large, leaves out African American groups; urged greater diversity on the Library Board of Trustees and supported the expansion of the School Concurrency Group, to include representatives from the African American, Asian, and Hispanic communities, among others.

Bill Segal with employees of the Caribbean Super Center in Pine Hills during small business tour, August 20, 2010

Meanwhile, the Bill Segal camp says that he has had a long track record with supporting minority causes in Orange County. We were informed that Segal has been a member of the National NAACP for over 20 years.  Moreover, the campaign points out that Segal has traditionally supported the Black Business Investment Fund and the African American Chamber of Commerce. He strongly supports the Florida Classic football game and has attended it every year.

His campaign added that, as mayor, he plans to add to and improve the County’s Minority Women Business Enterprise office and expand it to assist Veteran Owned businesses.

“Bill understands the need for after-school care for our kids to assist them with learning and keeping them out of trouble,” said a Segal campaign spokesman. “Bill will allow churches to participate in these after-school programs.”

The Segal campaign also pointed out that as part of the Venues Deal, he was able to persuade the Orlando Magic to build five (5) Community Gyms around the County, for communities to have new venues to enjoy and a place to congregate.

Segal has made creating jobs central to his campaign and in mid-July released a 27-point jobs plan.  Dubbed the “Segal jobs Plan”, its center piece is a property tax rebate for small businesses that hire a new full-time employee who makes more than the County’s median wage.

1 COMMENT

  1. The Jacobs camp may have stuck their foot in their mouth here. On the Orange County Commission vote regarding Minority Business goals, apparently they fail to realize that she had the opportunity to provide the “Second” required to that motion to a vote. Therefore, she allowed the motion to fail. That is, she had an opportunity to at least have it debated & voted on. Failure to do that constitutes a “No” vote by every member, except the one person who brought it to the floor in the first place.

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