Meet Your Seat 4 Candidate: Vice Mayor Jordana Jarjura

1421
  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Your age, how long you have lived in Delray, where you live, your profession, your family.
    I was elected to the Commission in March 2014. I live downtown with my husband, who is a third generation Delray resident. I am a proud International Baccalaureate graduate of Delray’s own Atlantic High School.
    I also serve as the Chair of the South Central Regional Wastewater and Disposal Treatment Board, as a Board Member of the Palm Beach County MPO and on State Attorney Aronberg’s Sober Homes Task Force.
    In the private sector, I am the General Counsel for Gulf Building LLC. Gulf provides a full range of construction management services for commercial and government projects as well as custom residential estates.
    I have a B.A. from the University of Florida, a certificate in French from the Collège International de Cannes, a Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University’s School of Law, and a MBA from the Graziadio School of Business and Management.
  2. Why are you running for office again?
    My first tenure has been about righting the ship at the City. And while we (1) passed a capital improvements plan, (2) stabilized our police and fire departments after a seven year pay freeze and failed contract/consolidation negotiations, (3) passed pension reform to pay down our unfunded liability, (4) created a procurement department to address the issues we were having with City contracts and (5) passed new land development regulations to address some of the growing pains we saw in the Downtown, we unfortunately are not as far along as I would have liked. These items – all campaign promises I made – were accomplished in my first year.
    For my second term, I would like to accomplish items that decades from now I can know I was a part of making our City better than how I received it.
  3. What are the top three issues you want to address in the city if re-elected?
    Diversifying our business industry and our geographic concentration. My second term will be all about Delray’s other great streets and neighborhoods – from Congress Avenue to the Set to South Federal Highway, and investing in sustainable infrastructure for these areas and attracting a more diversified business base beyond food and beverage in our Downtown and beyond the drug addiction treatment industry.
    Stabilizing the City with a strong City Manager, City Attorney and a Commission that actually respects each other and puts the City before their own personal desires and political/financial ambitions.
    Creating and approving a Comprehensive Plan to lead Delray into the next two decades. This plan will guide any code changes and lay out the blueprint for our City going forward.
  4. What do you see as Delray’s biggest challenge? What do you see as Delray’s biggest opportunity?
    My job is to help identify opportunities and facilitate solutions to issues our City us facing. My second term will continue to focus on two issues and capturing on opportunities that address these issues.
    Lack of Diverse High-wage Employment Opportunities
    We need to expand the high-wage employment opportunities available in Delray Beach.
    Growing and diversifying our business base will assist with solving some of our other issues. In order for our City to have long-term viability, we must be much more than just a food and beverage destination spanning five city blocks. Growing and diversifying our business base will also result in a larger tax base to help sustain our growing infrastructure and public safety needs.
    This mindset is why I supported SOFA Retail and Office, IPIC, Kaufman Lynn and other pro-business initiatives that came before me. These approvals will result in a law firm and two corporate headquarters being relocated to Delray from Boca, which brings high-wage jobs to our City.
    Drug Addiction & the Lack of Regulation on the Supporting Industries
    The most pressing issue in America for young people is drug addiction. Drug overdoses surpassed car accidents as a leading cause of death in 2014 and the rise since then has continued to skyrocket. Just like the nation, Delray is in the midst of a drug addiction crisis.
    At times it feels as if our City has become ground zero for a poorly regulated drug rehabilitation industry and a never-ending population of young addicts lured here with the false promise of help. In 2016, there was a 318% increase in heroin overdoses and 420% heroin increase in deaths.
    Sober Homes regulation and drug overdoses have sadly become a campaign slogan. Residents need to ask their leaders and those that desire to be, what their solution is. Until there are changes to Federal and State law, anyone that purports to have one at the local level is making a broken campaign promise and has zero understanding of the office they are running for.
    I serve on the State Attorney’s Sober House Task Force, which is pushing for amendments to our State statutes to provide additional regulations and criminal penalties on sober homes and patient brokering.
    I have supported the immense efforts of our Mayor and Congresswoman Lois Frankel to get regulatory relief at the Federal level for local government to have the power to deal with unscrupulous operators of sober homes.
    I also have also voted to engage experts and data collection to assist us in passing legally defensible local rules to help us to go after unscrupulous operators and to protect the individuals seeking to get help.
    I recently voted for changes to our code that allows us to identify properties seeking reasonable accommodation and whether these properties are in fact operating legally in compliance with our code and their purpose.
    Finally attracting other businesses will also help us to dilute the presence of any single industry that due to unscrupulous operators and the facts of addiction has caused negative ancillary impacts to our City. My record supports this position strongly.