On January 23rd City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow appeared on Above the Fold with Tallahassee Reports Editor Steve Stewart. Matlow discussed current local issues as well as challenges facing Tallahassee in 2020.
The full audio of the interview is available here.
Stewart and Matlow began by discussing the issue of firms participating in local government contracts, campaign consulting, and private sector consulting.
“I think, on face value, the problem is, ‘Who’s looking after the public’s interest?’” Matlow said. “You have folks who are taking money from private interests. Those interests want something from the government. Those same individuals are also running campaigns for local candidates. They’re raising money for those candidates to get elected that support their same interests.”
He said one solution to the problem is a change in City policy to promote the public’s interest.
“I think we could say if you work as a campaign consultant and you get paid by a campaign, you shouldn’t be eligible for any type of government contract,” he said. “I think those need to be widely separated. We can’t have overlap. The government’s position should always be to protect the public’s interest.”
Matlow also discussed the recent debate over the Tallahassee Police Department publishing pictures of juveniles arrested for felonies. He expressed support for a change in City policy, noting that, often, the juveniles in the pictures are ultimately not charged with a felony and instead are placed into diversion programs.
“When you take somebody’s mugshot who’s been arrested, not convicted of a crime, hasn’t pled guilty to a crime, and you put it on our Facebook, and the media puts it on their Facebook, it comes with a stigma, when the public kind of assumes they’re guilty, and that stigma can follow you for the rest of your life,” he said.
He said there should be a public value in posting a juvenile’s mugshot on social media. He also emphasized that law enforcement should be reaching out to juveniles and trying to prevent them from getting involved with crime.
At the end of the show, Matlow outlined what he views as the City’s challenges in 2020. He listed crime, poverty, and infrastructure as major issues, and he said one of his top priorities is engaging the Tallahassee youth.
“We have people come to our office that say there’s nowhere for kids to go after school,” he said. “They’re going to get into trouble.”
He said he wants to provide more programming for youth in the area and embrace volunteers interested in getting involved.
For more interviews on local issues, listen to Above the Fold every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00 a.m. on WVFT 93.3 FM.