Pensacola, Florida
Wednesday June 19th 2019

Archives

Winners & Losers 5/30/19

Winners
Grover Robinson
The Pensacola mayor was named a 2019 Home Rule Hero by the Florida League of Cities. Robinson was one of roughly 100 municipal officials in Florida presented with Home Rule Hero Awards for their work during the 2019 legislative session. These local leaders earned this award for their tireless efforts to protect the Home Rule powers of Florida’s municipalities and advance the League’s legislative agenda.

Georgia Blackmon
The League of Women Voters Pensacola Bay Area presented the Pensacola native its Making Democracy Work Award at its annual meeting on May 11. Blackmon has been a champion for more than 30 years in the African-American community to ensure its inclusion as an integral component in the leadership and decision making of local government. She has worked to educate the general public on the role of African-Americans, who have contributed to the prosperity, growth and positive direction of the area.

Pensacola Habitat for Humanity
The nonprofit, ecumenical ministry received a $130,000 grant from the Republic Services Charitable Foundation’s National Neighborhood Promise program. Through National Neighborhood Promise, Republic Services will award funds, donate products and services and lend their employees as volunteers for projects designed to build stronger communities. The grant will be used to fund a variety of impactful Neighborhood Revitalization projects in the Westside Garden District neighborhood of Pensacola. One such project will be the completion of restoration of the Ella L. Jordan Home.

Losers
Ron DeSantis
So far, we’ve been pleasantly surprised with the governor’s first few months in office. However, his taxpayer-paid journey to Israel with a more-than-90-person delegation comprised of civic and business leaders is a head scratcher. The announced goal is to further strengthen Florida’s business and political relationships with Israel, but there will be very little accomplished on this trip, other than maybe garner more dollars for the governor’s re-election campaign.

Pre-K Readiness Rates
On May 15, the Florida Department of Education released the 2017-2018 Voluntary Pre-K readiness rates, and statewide, only 58 percent of children who participated in VPK were ready for kindergarten. Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a press release, “A 42 percent failure rate is simply not defendable and certainly not good enough for Florida’s youngest learners.” Escambia County’s 83 VPK providers had only 57 percent of their children ready. Of the school district’s 15 VPK programs, five had less than half of its pupils ready. Achieve Escambia has set as its goal to have 60 percent of all local children “kindergarten ready” by the start of the 2020 school year.

LOST Referendums
Voters in Osceola and Volusia counties early this month voted against increasing their local options sales taxes (LOST). With opposition from Osceola County’s Republican Executive Committee, 67 percent of the voters went against a one-cent increase to fund transportation improvement. The Volusia County vote was narrower, with 55 percent voting down a half-cent increase.