Interview with Mayor Teresa Jacobs

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Mayor Teresa Jacobs1. During your time as Orange County mayor, what were some of your favorite events that you attended for the Asian American Community?

• Asian Pacific Heritage Month Kick here in the Orange County Administration Building
♦ Art exhibition, Distinguished Asian Award, proclamation ceremony
• Buddha’s Birthday at Guang Ming Temple
♦ Bathing/cleansing, offerings, tea
• Central Florida Dragon Parade & Lunar New Year Festival
♦ Mayor participated with the Orange County Asian Committee

2. What are some things the Orange County government can do to help local Asian American community organizations and businesses that most are unaware of?

• M/WBE Certification
♦ Certification classes are every second Monday of each month from 2PM to 4PM at the National Entrepreneur Center. To register, call 407-420-4848.
♦ The Orange County Business Development Division also offers a workshop called “How to do business with Orange County” and it’s held every third Monday of each month from 10 AM to 12 PM at the National Entrepreneur Center. To register, call 407-420-4848.
http://www.orangecountyfl.net/VendorServices/MinorityVendors.aspx.
• Central Florida International Trade Office (CFITO)
♦ In November, Orange County Government, JP Morgan Chase and the NEC announced the launch of the new Central Florida International Trade Office (CFITO), which provides a central point for connecting the global trading community to local companies and supports small businesses who wish to export through partnerships and resources. The creation of the CFITO will enable Orange County companies to tap into key trading markets and expand their export endeavors by improving the efficiency of routing and directing inquiries by potential international trading partners.
• Orange County Asian Committee
♦ The committee’s goal is to promote and preserve the heritage and culture of Asian Americans, to partner with other Asian American organizations in Central Florida, and to help Orange County build sister region international program.
• Mayor Jacobs’ Health Summit (August 9, 2014)
♦ Will offer health screenings, onsite mammograms, and sessions on breast cancer, cervical
cancer, and diabetes.

Mayor Teresa Jacobs with the REACH of Central Florida at the Dragon Parade and Lunar New Year Festival
Mayor Teresa Jacobs with the REACH of Central Florida at the Dragon Parade and Lunar New Year Festival

3. What are the biggest challenges facing our local Orange County today and how will you be meeting those challenges if you were to continue as Orange County Mayor next year?

• Chronic Social Service Needs: Youth Mental Health, Domestic Violence, Homelessness
• Prescription drugs
• Sustainability
• Transportation Planning, Infrastructure and Funding
• Diversity/arts and culture

4. What are some of your goals if and when you become the next Orange County Mayor?

• Through development of programs, policies and initiatives, address the “biggest challenges” (see above).
• Continue to create and maintain and open transparent government, with an overarching philosophy of “Neighbors serving Neighbors”.
• Creation of an Economic Environment that support the creation of JOBS and prosperity
• Public safety

5. What are some of your favorite Asian restaurants in town?

• Amura
• Dragon Fly
• Pho 88
• Soong Thai
• Viet Garden

6. How can local citizens get involved with Orange County by volunteering to improve their community?

• Advisory boards – it’s vital that our advisory boards mirror the diversity of our community. We are encouraging your readers to become engaged in their local government by serving on an advisory board.
http://apps.ocfl.net/aware/advisory/
• OCFL 311 – An innovative and very “user
friendly” mobile app for Apple & Android to assist Orange County Florida residents report local non-emergency community issues efficiently and conveniently; many of which can be submitted anonymously. Residents who provide their contact information can view the status of their reports to ensure proper resolution. This app uses “point and click” photography that allows users to instantly transmit pictures and location of whatever they’d like to report!
Residents can submit reports about:
♦ Animals
♦ Traffic signs
♦ Potholes
♦ Graffiti
♦ Sidewalk repair
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ocfl-311/id533186440?ls=1&mt=8
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/
• OCFL Alert –a first-of-its-kind emergency notification and information app for Apple & Android.
In addition to emergency life-saving information, the OCFL Alert app offers non-emergency
notifications.
Receive information pertaining to:
♦ Open shelter locations
♦ Water and ice distribution centers
♦ Evacuation routes
♦ Upcoming events
♦ Public service announcements
iPhone/iPad: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ocfl-alert/id382270656
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.ocfl.android.ocflalerts
• OPECA – the Office of Public Engagement and Citizen Advocacy (OPECA) was created to engage our citizens and Orange County employees. OPECA works to make government more accessible and inviting while striving to get local residents involved in government.
♦ A re-design of the County website to make it more appealing and useful to citizens looking for information and those doing business with their government. The website now includes a direct link to live Orange TV, and “311 Government Information online chat.
• Orange County Experience – this program will provide interested citizens with information that will enable them to better understand and navigate county operations and services. It’s a 12-week program that will include staff presentations and tours of the Convention Center, Medical Examiner’s Office, Fire Rescue, Parks & Recreation and much more. The next Orange County Experience Class will kick-off on September 19, 2014
http://www.orangecountyfl.net/OpenGovernment/TheOrangeCountyExperience.aspx
• Summer of Service – a month-long initiative featuring a variety of events and organizations
through which citizens can become involved with serving their community. Created by Mayor
Teresa Jacobs in 2012, Summer of Service promotes the spirit of volunteerism and community service throughout the county. Over the last two years, volunteers participated in painting homes for seniors, clearing out and cleaning up green spaces along recreational trails
and labeling storm drains among other activities.
http://www.orangecountyfl.net/OpenGovernment

Mayor Teresa Jacobs with the stuff at the Dragon Parade and Lunar New Year Festival
Mayor Teresa Jacobs with the stuff at
the Dragon Parade and Lunar New Year Festival

7. What is the best thing about living and working in Orange County?

• Our diverse community. Orange County is beginning to be one of the most diverse communities in the country. The wonderful diversity of our neighborhoods, businesses and residents, coupled with our extraordinary natural resources and amenities, makes us on of the very best places in the world in which to live, work and play!
• Orange County’s Asian population in 2012 was 5.3%. We look forward to seeing that number grow.
• Working with honest and fair people who are dedicated to making Orange County a better place through volunteering, education, and promoting diversity.

8. During our last interview, you mentioned the classic Akira Kurosawa film Rashomon as your favorite Asian film. Do you have any other Asian films that you are a fan of that you’d like to share?

• Inang Yaya
• Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Orlando Chinatown
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is the founder of the University of Central Florida's Asian Pacific American Coalition and a member of the City of Orlando's Families, Parks, and Recreation Citizen's Advisory Board. He is also a former intern at the Organization of Chinese Americans in Washington, DC and a former regional director for the Union of North American Vietnamese Students Association. He is a long time, avid fan of Asian films. He is the author of the Food Lovers’ Guide to Orlando and the publisher of the food blog, TastyChomps.com. He enjoys traveling to far off places with his wife, May, family and friends.