Jewel of Pensacola
It was obvious what the theme of the meeting was: neighborhoods.
“What do you like best about your neighborhood?” asked Pensacola City Councilwoman Jewel Cannada-Wynn.
The Jan. 31 community forum was the first in a series of what the councilwoman has dubbed “Fifth Thursday” meetings. She intends to host such forums on each of this year’s four fifth-Thursdays.
“It was my first introduction to District 7,” the newly elected councilwoman later explained.
Cannada-Wynn’s opened the town hall by providing attendees with her cell phone number.
“You can also call me,” she said, stressing that she would be making herself available to the community. “If you have a little neighborhood meeting, I will come.”
Some attendees wanted to know the status of abandoned pieces of public property. Others were concerned about recent crime.
A couple of people talked to the councilwoman about the recent decision to relocate the Westside Branch Library to a planned community center at Legion Field. Some residents have voiced concern that the city didn’t do enough to inform nearby residents during the process that led up to the move.
“Ok, well, you have the Jewel of Pensacola here now,” Cannada-Wynn assured them.
As the councilwoman fielded questions from those in attendance, a collection of poster boards were lined up behind her. Each espoused the qualities of a tight-knit neighborhood. One, propped on an easel, featured a quote from Frederick Douglass.
“Our community belongs to us,” it read, “and whether it is mean or majestic, whether arrayed in glory or covered in shame, we cannot but share in its character and destiny.”
Cannada-Wynn tended to direct residents’ concerns back to this central theme. In short, she explained, it’s more difficult for a viable, thriving neighborhood—or network of neighborhoods—to slip into the void.
When asked about crime, the councilwoman said she had a meeting with the chief of police the following day. Then she talked about neighborhoods.
“It takes more than just police presence,” she explained the next day after the meeting. “It has to be the vigilance of the neighborhood as well.”
Buzzing on the Blog:
The Escambia County Legislative Delegation—otherwise known as Rep. Clay Ingram, Rep. Clay Ford and Sen. Greg Evers—voted recently to support two local bills during the 2013 legislative session. The first bill, proposed by the city of Pensacola, would repeal the Pensacola Civil Service Act; the second, proposed by the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority, would enable the ECUA cutback on efficiency audits and to purchase fuel under the same terms and exemptions as municipalities and counties.
No Tolls Ahead
Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) made the panhandle rounds recently announcing a hefty chunk of transportation funding for Northwest Florida. During his Pensacola stop, the senator told locals the state would soon construct a nearly $600 million, toll-free replacement for the three-mile bridge across Pensacola Bay.
Cutting it Close
The city of Pensacola has been allotted one seat on Escambia County’s RESTORE advisory committee, which will consider how best to spend funds stemming from BP’s eventual Clean Water Act fines. Forced to make the selection in unison, Mayor Ashton Hayward and the Pensacola City Council took more than a week to deliver a representative at the last minute. Gulf Power executive Bentina Terry will serve as the city’s RESTORE representative.