Jefferson, streetcars also get attention in her first 50 days
A U.S. president is traditionally assessed after his first 100 days in office. Since her new job in the public sector is on a much smaller scale, we decided to check in with Delia Jasso after 50 days.
The City Councilwoman has been on her toes since she was sworn in on June 22. After nominating seven new appointees to boards, Jasso said, she dove right in to the many issues facing District 1.
One of her first hurdles had to do with code enforcement and cleaning up graffiti in the area. On June 29, Jasso initiated a graffiti sweep from Jefferson and Zang boulevards to Westmoreland and Hampton roads.
“We probably jotted down about 60 addresses that needed graffiti abatement,” Jasso said. “I’m working very diligently with code enforcement on these issues.”
She said she also identified addresses with high weeds and targeted sidewalks for repairs. Jasso has planned a District 1 graffiti cleanup for Sept. 26 at Kidd Springs Recreation Center, and will orchestrate a graffiti summit in March.
“I was very surprised by the accessibility I’ve had to so many people,” Jasso said. “I thought it was going to be a lot harder to access people. I’m seeing residents being more than willing to provide me with information and issues concerning the district.”
Another of Jasso’s priorities has been the formation of a Jefferson Boulevard Task Force that would develop a plan for improving the corridor. “We’re working together to come up with ideas to create community events on Jefferson Boulevard,” said Jason Roberts, president of the Oak Cliff Foundation, which runs the Texas Theatre.
Jasso said there are plans in the works to host a street fair along Jefferson Boulevard that would highlight Oak Cliff vendors. Jasso has been working closely with the Oak Cliff Transit Authority, of which Roberts is also the president, to acquire $48 million in federal stimulus funds for a streetcar line between Union Station and Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
“We have finally combined the Oak Cliff plan with the city’s downtown streetcar program, and we’ve got some good things happening there if and when we get the grant from the federal stimulus package,” Jasso said. Luis Salcedo, former chairman of the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee, said he was pleased with Jasso’s support on the streetcar plan.
“She was able to carry our water at City Hall, which was great,” he said. “One of her main priorities is the Jefferson Boulevard area, and that is also one of the Chamber’s priorities. It matches up great.”
Jasso said the most pressing issue last month was meeting with people who have been trying to save their programs and services from the city’s budget cuts. “I’ve met with about seven groups about the proposed budget cuts, and everybody is worried about what the cuts will do to the particular program they’re trying to save,” she said.
The City Council was briefed about a city budget proposal on Monday that could lead to dramatic service reductions and layoffs of hundreds of city workers. The council must approve the city’s budget by Sept. 23.
“I think we’ll come to an OK conclusion,” Jasso said. “It’s certainly not going to be what everybody wants, but I don’t feel it will be as bad as it could be.”