DIVERSITY IS GOOD BUSINESS In Pensacola the minority population is about 40% (approximately 33.5% African American, 2.9% Hispanic, 2.4% Asian, and 1% Native American). However, the minority population is about 80% of the City’s lower-income and unemployed. Escambia County is the fifth poorest county in the State if not lower.
Out-of-state and out-of-area companies have received millions of dollars from City of Pensacola’s procurement and will continue to receive our dollars without City procurement policy changes. Currently, millions of Pensacola’s “public” procurement dollars are being “sucked out” of the local economy by non-Pensacola companies and invested and spent in the communities of these companies. However, locally there remains a “burden” on Pensacola’s “public” dollars for subsidies to the under-employed and unemployed minority citizens of Pensacola.
Mayor Hayward has presented a proposal to conduct a “disparity study” to provide the basis to establish a “legally-defensible” procurement program that provides opportunities for local minority contractors to hire local minorities and keep
these dollars in Pensacola…why is this good for all of Pensacola?
I think that Mayor Hayward understands this “concept” and is utilizing good judgment and leadership to devise and implement a “proven” strategy to help ensure that a percentage of Pensacola’s procurement dollars stay in Pensacola where they can have the largest impact on job development and local unemployment. It is “good business” for Pensacola’s procurement spending to be utilized for economic development by spending a reasonable percentage with local minority businesses that hire local minority citizens.
A good economic development strategy creates jobs in the communities where unemployment is the most prevalent. A “minority-inclusion” program, as determined by a “disparity study,” can increase Pensacola’s minority tax-base and create more capital investment in minority communities and more disposable income being spent in Pensacola by a newly-employed minority community.
Any community is only as strong as its weakest “sector.” The weakest “sector” is subsidized by public resources and the strongest “sector” of the community pays the taxes for this subsidization. The lack of opportunities and employment in the weakest “sector” also has a direct “negative” impact on crime, community development and education…a further cost of public dollars.
The aphorism “a rising tide lifts all boats” is associated with the idea that improvements in the general economy will benefit all participants in that economy, and that economic policy, particularly government economic policy, should therefore focus on the general macroeconomic environment first and foremost.
—George Hawthorne, C.E.O., Diversity Program Advisors, Inc. and Chairman, Gulf Coast African American Chamber of Commerce
WELL DONE LIST Congratulations and thank you for a very well done Power List (Independent News, “2011 IN Power List,” June 2). The integrity used in compiling the list is much appreciated and did not go unnoticed. I’m specifically referring to the “Outtakes” piece regarding the process used in putting the list together. It would not be at all self-serving to include IN on the list next year.
—Harrison Wilder, Gulf Breeze
OUTZEN THE LOSER I haven’t written your publication before because I let you slide on most things, but when I noticed that you had Commander Dave Koss, formerly Flight Leader of the Blue Angels listed in the “Losers” column (Independent News, “Winners & Losers,” June 2), I had to call you on it.
To have achieved what he has in his Naval career, to even make it as a fighter pilot, then to the Blue Angels and then as Flight Leader, I think that he has accomplished great things. I am not in the military and never have been, but am very appreciative of their efforts and sacrifices.
Surely you have some idea of the discipline required to achieve such a ranking. Okay, he made a mistake, potentially deadly, but he corrected it in time to save his life and that of his team. Do you have other information other than this that qualifies him as a loser?
If you’ll remember, years ago, the Thunderbirds, that’s the flight team of the U.S. Air Force, were in a similar situation in which they followed their flight leader right into the ground. I don’t purport to know all of the circumstances surrounding that event, but it sure ended in tragedy, which was not the case here, except for the quick end of a promising career as a Blue Angels pilot.
I am sure Commander Koss feels badly enough, but you want to label him a “loser”: a person who has put his life on the line for our country and whose record is “probably” exemplary otherwise.
I think your paper would do better to pick a different person as a loser, certainly there are many from which to choose, and you could probably start with the person impersonating the president of the United States who continually degrades our country and apologizes for our past successes, embarrasses us at foreign affairs, and I could go on.
Pick a real loser, but when you point a finger at someone else, remember there are four more fingers pointing right back at you.
—J. Michael Robinette, Pensacola
THANK YOU It is coming up on the third year that I lost my precious angel (Jaden Markes) and I’m just now able to go back and look at the blogs and postings (Independent News, “Beyond Media Frenzy,” April 10, 2008), which led me to you.
I don’t know that I have ever thanked you for your support and belief you had in me. It’s extremely important to me that you know my gratitude! I have learned to forgive the ones who trashed me and made me out to be a monster, but I’ve never gotten around to thanking the few like you that stood beside me.
—Erin Markes Beckett, Jaden’s mommy