Saturday, May 10, 2008

Does Pensacola Have its Own Change Candidate?

Pensacola resident Lumon May has filed to run for the District 3 seat in the Florida legislature. The seat is currently held by Republican Clay Ford, who really looks like John McCain.

I read May’s Viewpoint in the Independent News and was impressed. Although, May didn’t address Pensacola’s racial divide; will he want to help bridge it? Healing a divided electorate is what Barack Obama wants to do; will May want to embody some of the qualities that I see in the Senator?

Hopefully, May will want to help put Pensacola’s racial division behind us. His help could persuade Pensacola’s white community to work with the black community as partners, and vice versa. It’s time to heal the wounds of the past in order to move on, and work towards a better Pensacola.

Do you think there's a racial divide in Pensacola?

Obama is a Good Campaigner, but is He a Good Senator?

From the New York Times: “Mr. Obama has not spent much time in Washington during the campaign and he has hardly ever been spotted in the House, where all senators have floor privileges. He didn’t exercise those privileges in his own chamber Thursday, missing two Senate votes on a flood insurance bill.”

This can't help Obama in the general election when he tries to make case that he has experience. McCain trumps Obama when it comes to experience. McCain hasn’t been afraid to get his hands dirty and take care of business in the Senate; he's tried and true. Has Obama been tested while he has been in the Senate?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Is the City Looking for Other Ways to Fund CMP?

I’ve recently written about the city’s failure to look into alternative funding sources for the CMP; well, it looks like some on the City Council are finally looking into other ways to fund it.

Rick’s Blog reports today that “Councilmen Mike DeSorbo and Jewel Cannada-Wynn are really pushing for the city staff to come up with a plan for alternative financing for the Community Maritime Park.”

Finally – something is happening. Let’s hope everyone at City Hall will cooperate with their search for alternative funding. If they don’t have cooperation, then the CMP will never be constructed.

Outzen thinks many at City Hall will give a half-hearted attempt to look for alternative funding because the CMP could become a contentious political issue when elections are held this fall. City councilmen could court voters who don’t like the idea of building the park by not cooperating with the search for alternative funding.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Is Escambia County's District 3 Really that Bad?

In the latest edition of The Independent News, the weekly profiles Escambia County's District 3 in three different stories. In Rick Outzen’s piece, he describes the district as a place where whites don’t go “without risking their lives”. Dewayne Escobedo says District 3 is an area “where few white people ever venture”.

Come on guys – is the area really that bad?

I think Outzen and company are being a little too over-dramatic in their descriptions of the area. I was a substitute teacher at Pensacola High School a couple of years ago and was never afraid of being mugged or car-jacked when I left the school.

Residents venturing near Pensacola’s “inner-city” don’t need to worry their safety. Pensacola doesn’t see the type of violence that bigger cities experience.

You don’t ever hear about an incident like this in Pensacola: Last month, in the predominantly African-American areas of Washington D.C., four people were shot to death in a span of five hours. That’s real violence.

That being said; I’m still glad the paper decided to write about this issue. Escambia County’s mostly African-American third district is a heavily blighted area; we should all take the time to understand the root causes of the district’s poverty. We can do something about the poverty once we understand it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Roads Inc. “Catfish Pond” is a Public Health Risk

Photo Courtesy of Rick's Blog - More Photos In His Blog

Roads Inc. has created a clay pit that puts people in danger, and then the company had the gall to turn around and sue Escambia County when they told them to stop building it. The county is somewhat to blame; they let the company build the clay pit on their watch.

The now massive pit is attracting the attention of teenagers looking for a good time. This is bad; we all know how dangerous these pits are.

Roads Inc. and the county aren’t doing anything to prevent them from entering the pit. Roads Inc. has not put up any fence; the county isn’t enacting local ordinances or enforcing state law in order to keep the teenagers out.

Roads Inc. and the county are going to feel very foolish if they fail to prevent a tragedy. Hopefully - the city will thoroughly scrutinize this sketchy company before they hire them to work on their roads.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I’ve Had Enough of the Presidential Campaign Coverage

I’m also really over this whole Jeremiah Wright frenzy. Yes – I know Obama stayed at his church for way too long, but this blow-up over Wright’s words has gotten out-of-hand. Can’t we just stop paying attention to him, and anyone else who pays attention to him?

The media has had their gaze upon the preacher for a little too long. Media viewers need to use this incident to judge Obama’s character and move on.

Can I propose that we all take a break from the campaign coverage? I don’t know about you, but I could use a break from the election news. Can’t we all call off the coverage until Labor Day?

If we stopped now, and started watching again in September, we would still have three months chocked-full of hard-core campaign coverage. There is plenty of campaign and election coverage in the future; we can all use a break

Is the Community Maritime Park Dead in the Water?

The Pensacola City Council met last night, discussed the CMP, and Mark O’Brien’s blog reports that “members are frustrated by the slow pace of progress”.

They should be frustrated; it has been almost two years since city residents approved the park and ground still hasn’t been broken on its property. It’s starting to look like the CMP won’t ever be built.

For one thing, the Community Maritime Park’s funding scheme is probably unconstitutional until county residents are given the chance to vote on it. The Florida Supreme Court’s decision has been appealed, but the court could choose to not reconsider the issue.

At last night’s meeting, City Manager Tom Bonfield told City Council members that, "their decision could stand...we might never hear from them again".

This wouldn’t be that big of a deal if the city was considering other funding sources, but they’re not. I've confirmed this with Pensacola City Councilman Sam Hall. Rick Outzen has also been writing in is blog about the city’s failure to look into alternative funding sources for the CMP.

The city and the Community Maritime Park Associates need to start looking for alternative funding sources. If they don’t, the CMP plan might never come to fruition.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Should the Escambia County School District Publicize Employees’ Salaries?

Yesterday, The PNJ published an opinion piece by Escambia County School Board Representative Jeff Bergosh, in which he recommends deep budget cuts for the school district.

In order to achieve these cuts, Bergosh thinks the school board should consider cutting top jobs at the administrative level. This would include the employees that work directly with Superintendent Jim Paul.

Bergosh suggests the public should have some input on which jobs are cut. To do this, he thinks employees’ salaries should be posted on the school district’s website.

Bergosh’s reasoning is: “Transparency is the key, and if we are not top heavy, showing this list of positions, salaries, travel and benefits may alleviate the public's concerns. Not being forthcoming with this information will do the opposite.”

My inner-cynic thinks Bergosh just wants to use the public outcry about high salaries as political cover for the school board to enact the budget cuts at the top-levels of the school district’s administration. Does the public really need to know what these people are making in order for the school board to make cuts? Shouldn’t this be their job?

Plus, what does the public know about staffing a school district? Do we know the exact number of employees that are needed to keep the school district running? Do we know how much their employees should make? I sure don’t.

Divulging the salaries of all school district employees seems a little intrusive to me; they’re not elected officials. Why should the public have the right to know how much they make?

Let’s leave the salary debate to the school board.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

How Does the City Council Feel About the Osceola Golf Course?

The PNJ polled the members of the Pensacola City Council to gauge their feelings about the future of Osceola Golf Course. Nine of the city’s ten council members responded to the poll. Jewel Cannada-Wynn was the only member who didn’t respond.

Of the members polled, a majority favored spending more money to re-develop the golf course in an effort to attract new golfers.

Although, the majority is rather thin; five favor re-development and four want to sell the course or give it to the county. If Canada-Wynn doesn’t favor re-development, then the City Council would be split on what to do with the golf course.

I think the City Council will remain dead-locked on this issue. The city will maintain its current funding level for the golf course, and it will continue to lose money. The status quo will be maintained.

Chris’ Corner 05 04 08: Mexican Kick Ball Party in DC’s Chinatown

Last night, my girlfriend and I went to our mid-season kick ball party by the Verizon Center in downtown Washington D.C. (even though we’ve only been to one game this season). Life seems to have gotten in the way of going to kick ball games.

I wish I could attend more of our games. I made a lot of them during the first two seasons I played. First season was played on the National Mall; the second was held at the downtown YMCA. After games, everyone goes to an assigned bar and plays drinking games. I think most players want to relive their college days; I sure do.

The party had a Mexican theme that I assume was planned to coincide with the Cinco de Mayo holiday. The party consisted of 20-somethings getting buzzed on light beer. Even though I am a 20-something, I can’t be around this crowd for too long. You don’t get into the most enlightening conversations at these parties.

Let’s just say my girlfriend and I felt good after the party; we wore our sombreros to a Chinese restaurant near to bar we were at. Jessica and I had another beer at the restaurant as we waited for our Chinese food that we’d ordered to-go.

At the restaurant, we had a Curb Your Enthusiasm moment when my girlfriend and I debated going over to a table where a guy from our team was eating by himself. We had talked to him before, but we didn’t really know him too well.

Should we talk to him? Should we leave him alone? Some people like to eat in solace, but then again, maybe he's lonely. We decided to not bother him. Although, we did get to have a friendly exchange as he left the restaurant before we did.

After leaving the restaurant, we did get a few funny looks from people as we rode the Metro back home; a few smiled. This morning, we decided to continue our Cinco de Mayo celebration when we went to the grocery store to get breakfast. Let me tell you; it seems sillier to wear a sombrero in public when you haven’t been drinking.


The County Should Help Subsidize the Osceola Golf Course

In today’s PNJ, Jamie Page writes about the financial woes of Osceola Golf Course. The golf course’s money problems are particularly burdensome for the city; they subsidize the publicly-owned course. In the past 7 ½ years, the city has spent $3.1 million on Osceola, and it’s not even turning a profit. That’s out of control!

The city should lower their current level of spending on the golf course. I’m not saying the city should stop spending money on it; they should just spend less.

This means the city shouldn’t expand the course like some at City Hall are pushing to do. It would be foolish to try and lure more golfers to a course that will never be able to compete with the privately-owned courses in the area.

I understand that many rely on city subsidies to enjoy the course, but this spending has become too burdensome. The city can’t be the only government that’s spending money on a golf course that's losing money; it’s time for the county to pony-up the money to keep it afloat.

The county should pay at least half of what the city is currently spending on the golf course. That’s the only fair choice; the course sits within the county’s property. Plus, the PNJ says “an estimated 70 percent of Osceola’s players are not city residents”.

The city is paying for a service that's mostly used by county residents; it's time for the county to start paying their fair-share.

If the county doesn’t pay their fair-share, the city should sell the golf course to the highest bidder. The city shouldn’t spend another penny on Osceola Golf Course if the county isn’t willing to help them out. The city has no choice.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Congressional Candidate Joe Roberts Changes Party - Again

Joe's latest party change really baffles me. Why did he change his party again? He was a Democrat, then he decided to have no party affiliation, and now he's a Republican.

By doing so, he basically disqualified himself from running for Congress in this election cycle. If he would have done some research, he would have found out that he had no time to qualify. Roberts changed party afilliation the day before the deadline to qualify for the Congressional race. Didn't he do his homework before changing his party affiliation to Republican?

I want to give Roberts some credit as just being a really passionate candidate, but I'm starting to think the guy might have a few loose screws in his head.

Although - I do have respect for Roberts; he’s standing up for what he believes in. Don't give up the dream Joe! Having new voices in our electoral process is good for our democracy.