The Pensacola City Council voted on Thursday, Feb. 27, to repeal a portion of an ordinance passed in May 2013, the so-called “No Blankets” provision. The council also approved a motion to stall additional changes to related ordinances until a task force on human services has a chance to provide a report in eight months.
Councilmember Sherri Myers proposed the amendment to strike a provision making it illegal to sleep out-of-doors “atop and/or covered by materials such as a bedroll, cardboard, newspapers” on public property within the city limits, which passed on its second reading 7-1, with Councilmember Charles Wingate dissenting; Councilmember Brian Spencer was absent.
Myers also sponsored items on the Feb. 27 council agenda that would repeal aspects of ordinances passed last May regarding the use of public restrooms and “aggressive panhandling” that critics believed were aimed at the homeless and/or the Occupy Pensacola movement. City Attorney Jim Messer confirmed the latter at the council’s Feb. 13 meeting, stating, “Those ordinances, rightly or wrongfully, were enacted as a response to the occupation of this city’s property by an ungovernable mob, and that mob was called Occupy Pensacola.”
The council voted 5-3 to approve Councilmember Larry B. Johnson’s motion to delay further changes to the ordinances until the Task Force on Improving Human Services can develop a report, with Charles Bare and Megan Pratt joining Myers in casting dissenting votes.
Amidst the publicity storm surrounding the blanket ban, a blanket drive led by the Mayor’s office recently collected over 100 blankets, to be donated to local homeless shelters and missions.
Domestic Partnership Registry Fees Set
The City of Pensacola’s Domestic Partnership Registry (DPR) is expected to open in March 2013. Also at its Feb. 27 meeting, the city council approved a fee schedule for the DPR. Unmarried, cohabitating partners over the age of 18 can register with the city clerk for a fee of $60. To amend or terminate a registration, a fee of $30 will apply for each action. The DPR grants certain legal rights, including healthcare and correctional facility visitation, participation in a dependent’s education, notification in case of an emergency and funeral/burial decisions for registered partners. Once in place, the city will accept applications for the DPR at City Hall by appointment only, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Applications can also be mailed in, and will be available to download on the city’s website once the DPR is open.
V-Day Event Raises Thousands for Favor House
V-Day Pensacola, a local group part of a global initiative to end violence against women and girls, raised over $4,000 in one evening for Favor House of Northwest Florida. The V-Day movement, inspired by Eve Ensler’s play, “The Vagina Monologues,” is observed each Valentine’s Day, with thousands of local benefit productions taking place around the world. The local group announced that its production of “The Vagina Monologues” raised $4,299 for Favor House, with proceeds collected via admission ticket and merchandise sales, an art auction and bar earnings at the event, which drew a full house of attendees to Artel Gallery on Valentine’s Day evening. V-Day Pensacola plans to continue the tradition, stating they look forward to another successful event in 2015.