Peluso’s Priorities for District 7

Peluso’s Priorities for District 7
Jimmy Peluso

Councilman for District 7 Jimmy Peluso’s hope is that when it’s time for him to eventually leave office, whenever that may be, that he was a part of projects that were long lasting and had massive effects on the future of the district and city.

He wants to leave the district better than how he found it. “I love this city,” Peluso said. “I really love this district and I think there’s so many cool opportunities for really good projects we can do. I’m really committed to making it better.”

His No. 1 priority is tackling homelessness. “I’m really pushing for proper solutions for homelessness, which is big throughout my entire district,” Peluso said. There are numerous resources in the city and several nonprofits who are doing great work, but Peluso wants to see the city take a more active role.

“I’d really like to see the city take more of a lead from the front kind of approach,” Peluso said. “Getting an actual person within the city that kind of corrals all the different groups and sets priorities and has an actual dedicated funding source that we could put toward actual housing first models that have really shown a great way to reduce homelessness.”

Another priority for Peluso is working on the city’s infrastructure, specifically flooding, which affects so many in his district. Peluso said Mayor Donna Deegan has already said she will be looking toward the federal government and some of the programs they have that prior administrations didn’t really touch.

“We have capital improvement dollars that could go to the larger scale projects, which would be like the massive flooding and infrastructure projects that could reduce flooding,” Peluso said.

A personal project Peluso hopes to tackle during his time on the city council is food deserts within the city. He wants to find solutions that can be made that give people a healthy option they can walk to.

“There’s a lot of neighborhoods within the district where you can’t walk to a decent grocer,” Peluso said. “Every study suggests that if you don’t properly feed your body with healthy food options, you’re going to have higher rates of obesity, of diabetes, and lower dental and health standards.”

It’s going to take someone putting a lot of attention into this project and looking for a solution not just for District 7, but also the entire city, he added. 

Another major project will be making sure Five Points has the tools it needs to be successful today and for years to come, he said. He would like to rebuild the merchant’s association and give them more clout and autonomy, and perhaps even a funding source. “That could be a great way to ensure that we have a proper police presence when we need it as well as street cleaning for the weekend,” Peluso said. “These are the kinds of things that will help make sure that today Five Points remains a cool area that’s unique, that’s fun, and that has a lively group of individuals going to it at all hours and make sure it’s got the tools to succeed for all different types of retailers and establishments.”

A major project the city council will be tackling together is the “Stadium of the Future.” While Peluso said the current renderings are beautiful and there is a need for a new stadium, he wants to wait for Deegan and her team to set the pace before he fully releases his opinion.

“Once we start getting real details once the negotiating team is done, I will be holding a few meetings within the district to make sure that I hear what members of the public want or think and kind of give them where my thoughts are or where my head is,” Peluso said. “We need to communicate, especially when there’s a potential for a billion or million-dollar public investment, we need to get people involved.”

He wants to ensure the entire process is transparent and the city is getting the “most bang for its buck as well as making sure that we are setting ourselves up for a better future.”

There will be disagreements along the way, but Peluso isn’t worried. Priorities at the local level are not typically partisan things, he added. “There’s no democratic or republican way to fix a pothole,” Peluso said.

If there are issues, Peluso will deal with them as quickly and early as possible, with a lot of hands on the issue. “You need to make sure that everyone knows where your head is at and where your priorities are,” he said. “If you want to de-escalate a situation, showing up quick and early is a great way to do it.”

His goal is to work with the council president, council vice president, chairs of different committees and make sure he’s delivering for District 7 and the rest of Jacksonville. He’s also looking forward to working with Deegan.

“I supported her heavily so I think that’s going to be a great thing to be able to work with someone in the Mayor’s office that that we can rely upon and who I think has a mandate to help make sure we’re cleaning up City Hall,” he added.

He plans on being accessible to all of his constituents and he named Brooks Dame as his executive council assistant (ECA). She worked for former Councilwoman Randy DeFoor previously.

“She’s probably the best ECA of the City Council,” Peluso said. “Our district is going to be so much better served knowing that we have the best of the best working for District 7 and working for them as well.”

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