Interview with Candidates Bill Segal and Teresa Jacobs
On Tuesday November 2, 2010, Orange County citizens will vote on the new County Mayor
to replace Mayor Richard Crotty as the head of the Board of County Commissioners. Two wellqualified candidates are up for election and we had the distinguished privilege to interview both Bill Segal and Teresa Jacobs to get their viewpoints and background and to better understand how they will shape the future of our region as Orange County Mayor.
Asia Trend: What inspired you to get involved in public service?
Bill Segal: I love Orange County and want to ensure it remains the sort of place that our kids and grandkids want to return to and stay. That means more high-wage jobs and great, safe neighborhoods. I have 36 years of experience in creating and running successful businesses. I have managed huge budgets and hundreds of people. I am a proven job creator. Too often, people from the world of business shy away from elected office. My father modeled the vital principle of our responsibility to give back to the community. My background of both business and volunteer work has provided me with the skills needed to bring new high-wage jobs to this community, support small businesses already here and help create great, safe neighborhoods.
Teresa Jacobs: The catalyst that ultimately led me to run for the County Commission
was a proposed road that would disrupt multiple neighborhoods and split my neighborhood in two. I helped organize hundreds of people, got multiple HOAs working together, and raised private dollars for an independent study. I found ways to save taxpayers literally millions of dollars by using a different alignment, one that enjoyed the support of nearly all the affected neighborhoods. In the end, I lost that fight and was disappointed by what I considered to be a lack of respect for the public’s input by most of the commissioners. I vowed to change that process – and the best way to do that was to be part of the process. I was soon elected President of the Orange County Homeowners Association Alliance (an umbrella organization that represented approximately 100 neighborhoods), then elected and re-elected to the County Commission.
Asia Trend: If you are elected, what are your main goals to achieve during your time as Orange County mayor?
Teresa Jacobs: Of the many issues facing Orange County, obviously the most pressing is the economy and unemployment.
That’s why my top priority will be to make sure Orange County is part of the economic solution, not part of the problem. To that end, I’ve proposed a tax abatement plan for targeted industries that create good jobs. I will also streamline the permit approval process and ensure an affordable tax structure. Additionally, I will address budgetary issues, making sure Orange County spends each tax dollar it collects effectively and accountably.
Second, I will change the culture of Orange County Government. I will make sure that Orange County Government treats all citizens and all businesses fairly. It will be a highly professional and ethical place to work.
Third, I will continue my efforts as a county commissioner to create a culture and environment where citizen input is not only permitted, but is actively solicited. To transform this community into an exciting and vibrant place to live, Orange County’s citizens must know that their voices are being heard and that their opinions do matter.
Finally, I will continue to push for ethics and accountability in government, and work to protect our quality of life by creating safer neighborhoods and by helping to create better schools.
Bill Segal: I believe the first job of the next Mayor is to bring new jobs to new jobs here. I tapped top local small business and labor leaders to craft a 27-point jobs plan. I think it will help businesses create new jobs right away.
I have a plan to cut property taxes and a way to pay for the cut. I would do that by changing the way we deliver health care to county employees. A similar plan in the City of Ocoee saved them $1 million. I think it could save Orange County $10 million a year.
Asia Trend: What do you feel is your most significant or greatest achievement?
Bill Segal: When the County Commission was considering approval of the new Amway Events Center, the discussions reached an impasse. I came up with an innovative solution. The Magic agreed to pay for the construction of five community centers across Orange County. Today families are starting to use these facilities. I think one of my strongest traits is my ability to build consensus. In this case, the consensus building resulted in these incredible community facilities.
Teresa Jacobs: Building trust and soliciting community involvement in the important decisions facing our community and our local government.
Asia Trend: With the rise of China as the second biggest economy and the increasing globalization of the world, in what ways do you see Orange County moving forward to be a global player on the world stage?
Teresa Jacobs: Orange County has the opportunity to take the lead globally with our technology and specialized industries. We excel at simulation, modeling, and high tech training in many areas, including the military, medical, and education professions.
Our new medical city is state-of-the-art and should be a magnet to many more medically related industries and research programs. We also are one of the top vacation/tourism destinations in the world. We need to be recognized as the global leader in these areas and recruit and attract more high-tech industries(with their highpaying jobs) to our area. Finally, with one of the world’s best airports, we need to expand international flights and encourage international travel and business ventures. Bringing more foreign tourists to Orlando will help expand our reputation as a global leader in the tourism industry and,
at the same time, hopefully increase our tourism revenues.
Bill Segal: We have great assets in Orange County. We have the third largest university in the country, a world-class airport, which is a magnet for business; we have our new medical city and existing convention center. These are the elements of a player on the world stage. Orange County needs a leader who can tell our story to the world. I think my 36 years of creating and running successful businesses has taught me how to speak the language of business. That makes me the most qualified to tell that story and turn opportunities into enterprise.
Asia Trend: What is your favorite place to eat at in Orange County?
Bill Segal: I am a fan of many of our fine restaurants. I love to eat spicy Indian dishes like lamb vindaloo and Rogan Josh.
Teresa Jacobs: Amura Sushi Bar.
Asia Trend: What is your favorite Asian film of all time and why?
Teresa Jacobs: Ran. Kurosawa’s masterpiece combines a powerful story with classic themes of power, love and betrayal with stunning and beautiful visual artistry.
Bill Segal: I loved the film, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” I guess I’m not alone, since that film won an Oscar for “Best Picture.”
Asia Trend: If you could describe yourself in three words, what would those words be?
Bill Segal: Businessperson, volunteer, humorous.
Teresa Jacobs: Passionate, Caring, Thorough.
Asia Trend: How would someone get involved in your campaign?
Teresa Jacobs: We are always looking for volunteers! They can contact my office at 407-480-9676, email me at [email protected], or log on to my website at www.teresaformayor.com and sign up to volunteer.
Bill Segal: You can email [email protected] com or call the campaign headquarters at (407) 644-3832.
Photo credit for Teresa Jacobs by “Jack Mulligan”