Pensacola, Florida
Sunday August 19th 2018

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Outtakes 9.30

FLICKER OF HOPE The most fragile of all virtues may be hope. It’s that flicker of light at the end of a long dark tunnel, or the whiff of fried bacon that drifts into your bedroom which just may signal today will be a good day. Hope is what a mother has for her children as she sends them off to school. It is what helps us cope with the misfortunes that cross our paths.

Pensacola came into this century filled with hope. For the first time since Reconstruction, Republicans controlled the White House, Congress and our state government. Escambia County had a Republican sheriff and superintendent of schools. The dean of the Florida Senate, W.D. Childers, had returned home and had taken control of the Escambia County Commission. Pensacola elected its first mayor, John Fogg, in over 70 years.

For a conservative area like Escambia County, life couldn’t be any better. Then dominoes began to fall. Congressman Joe Scarborough, who at one point appeared positioned to be one of the leaders of the Republican Party and future presidential candidate, resigned. Terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers and attacked the Pentagon and our tourism took a nosedive as a new fear gripped the nation.

Scandal wrecked the Escambia County Commission with four commissioners, including Childers, indicted and removed from office. The City of Pensacola was hamstrung by a series of petition drives led by one of its councilmen.

Four hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast, two of which, Ivan and Dennis, were direct hits on our area. The blinders finally fell off the white leadership and people saw the deep-seated poverty in this community as Rebuild Northwest Florida tried to repair over 7,000 homes damaged by the storms.

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office became “Good Ol’ Boy” headquarters. Favors and gadgets were the hallmarks of Sheriff Ron McNesby’s administration, along with Taser abuses and jail deaths. Gangs proliferated under the noses of “The Tower” on Leonard Street.

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