City Commission Seat 4/ Mayor: John Dailey

1) Interests and Reasons for Running

A) Tell us a little about yourself, where you live, and your involvement in your neighborhood (issues impacting your neighborhood).


I’m the current Mayor of Tallahassee and previously served as a County Commissioner from 2006-2018. I live off of Live Oak Plantation Road. I and my family participate in Waverly Hills NA events and get togethers. I’m not involved with issues impacting our neighborhood.

B) What event(s) led you to run for elected office?

I grew up with politics discussed at the dinner table. My father was on the Leon County School Board and was executive director of the Florida Institute of Government, so politics was part of our family orientation. I moved back to Tallahassee in 2005. A seat came up on the County Commission in 2006 and I was elected and served until I ran and was elected Mayor in 2018.


2) Comprehensive Plan Update Process

A) Are you familiar with the comprehensive planning process and its role in guiding growth and development, and protecting neighborhoods?

Yes, I am very familiar with it and have been since 2006. The Comp Plan is the guiding document for setting growth and development policy. It was written in 1990 and since then Leon County has added over one hundred thousand residents, and we need to revise and streamline our Comp Plan.

B) What role should citizens have in deciding on growth and development policies for our community?

I believe there should be public engagement in every step of decisions on growth and development including soliciting written comments, online comments, and in-person meetings and workshops.


3) Process Used to Decide on the Use of Public Properties

What role should citizens and neighborhoods have in deciding on the use of public properties and how do you think that should work, for example at the Northwood Mall site?

There is an important role for citizens to play in how development should look. We have been having a series of community meetings on Northwood, and the Midtown Working Group is providing input as well. Lake Ella is a great resource and provides an important connection to Midtown.


4) Growth and Development Decisions

A) ATN believes that growth and development decisions are key to making urban neighborhoods walkable, bikeable, and livable. Do you agree? If so, what specifically would you propose to implement these concepts?

I agree, and believe in the 880 cities approach that growth and development should provide what is needed and desired by people from age 8 to 80. Communities should be walkable and bikeable. The challenge is in retrofitting communities that were designed around the car. Decisions should be made on whether urban redevelopment should go up, out, or both. I support public transportation to reduce the use of cars, but it has to be well planned. The Bradfordville park-and-ride effort failed due to a lack of use by the public for reasons including public transportation (buses) did not go where people needed to get to for work and shopping, and a lack of education on why it matters. I agree that we need intermodal connectivity and that investing in infrastructure and educating people on why it’s important to use public transportation instead of driving is needed and a good investment for the Community. People will use public transport only when and where it makes sense. An example is the Gaines Street area where students could go from campus to sports events to restaurants and shopping in a compact area using public transportation alternatives as well as walking and biking. We need to develop iconic, efficient, and easy to use alternatives to cars for transportation. It should be smart, practical, and well-planned. We need to commit to providing the infrastructure and education to the community on the benefits. We need to change how people think about alternative forms of transportation and develop a social commitment to alternatives to cars for transportation.

B) In your opinion, has the Commission done enough to equitably share tax dollars and guide growth and prosperity generally, and more specifically, to implement the Southern Action Plan? What else should we do to ensure growth is equitable and benefits all of our citizens?

We are headed in right direction, but need to do more. I supported the Blueprint projects that have spent $127M for improvements in the Southside. There is over $1B planned for Southside development projects. We need more affordable and low-income housing. Housing stocks are needed across all sectors. We have more affordable housing in the pipe-line now than over the past 50 years, but it is still not sufficient to meet the needs. I am interested to see how the Airport Gateway Project and making the airport international works out toward enhancing economic development and return on investment. Southside infrastructure projects are important and our Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) requirements and goals contribute to equity. The SoMo Walls project is a good example of public and private investment contributing to enhance equity to the Southside. SoMo achieved 45% MWBE participation and exceeded the 35% participation goal for the project. We need to leverage our local dollars to bring state and federal dollars to the table. Our partnership with HUD to build low-income housing is a good example of this.


5) Commissioner/Staff/Management Roles

What do you see as the appropriate role between staff and the commission in decision making?

We have a council-manager form of government that is similar to private sector organizations. The Mayor is the CEO, the City Commission the Board and we hire the best managerial staff in the form of City Manager, Inspector General, Treasurer/Clerk, and City Attorney. They in turn hire the best staff to form the team that researches and proactively recommends public policy actions that include public participation. We depend on senior staff to make recommendations and the City Commission makes the final decisions. Commissioners can also propose policy actions during meetings and if supported by the Commission will then be researched and options brought back to the Commission for consideration.


6) Issues of Interest to Candidate

Are there one or two issues you would like to work on and/or take leadership on as a Commissioner?

Yes, one issues is economic development and job creation. Development of the new Tallahassee Airport international facility will enhance economic development and good jobs. We need to define how to best use the Northwood Center, Lake Ella, and Lake Bradford properties.

The second key issue I am working on and committed to is increasing the stock of affordable and low-income housing and evaluating strategies to increase our stock of both.

Another issue is curbing gun violence. We have committed $1M/year for five years to implement programs to curb gun violence and this is an important issue we are working on.

7) Votes on Key Issues

A) Since you were on the Commission at the time how did you vote for expanding the Urban Service Area to include the Welaunee Arch (2800 rural acres) north of I-10. Explain your vote (rationale).

I voted yes. We need to increase housing stock for all price points. Since the Comp Plan in adopted in 1990 we have added over 100K residents while the USA only expanded by 3%. Research shows based on growth estimates for 2045-2050 we need plan for future growth and make decisions on how to grow appropriately to meet the need including building vertically for urban redevelopment and out by expansion of the USA.

B) How about the vote to give $27 million of Blueprint money to FSU for stadium upgrades? Explain your vote (rationale).

I voted yes. We have a $1B tourism economy and university sports are the largest driver of this key economic contributor. I also supported FAMU’s and TCC’s requests for funding. There is a positive return on investment for our support. The money spent for FSU won’t drain our Blueprint economic development funds as suggested. We still have $12M of which $3M is unencumbered. University sports provide needed support to our local business and economy. There is disinformation about the funds provided to FSU. The money Blueprint awarded FSU is not for adding luxury sky boxes it is an investment in needed life-safety and ADA upgrades.


8) Additional Comments

We appreciate you sharing your time and thoughts with us.  Is there anything you haven’t had a chance to tell us yet that you would like our neighborhoods to know?

I am a strong advocate and supporter of neighborhoods. Neighborhoods are what makes Tallahassee special along with our citizens that care about where we live. We don’t always agree as a community, but I support strong community involvement in shaping Tallahassee.

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