The vote on vacating Rawson Lane to Pensacola Christian College was put off earlier this month. It will be voted upon this Thursday, it is on the agenda.
Over the last several months, I have been contacted by many constituents that are in strong support of vacating Rawson Lane. Several citizens that are strongly opposed to this action spoke at our meeting earlier this month.
Arguments could be made to support either position, and there are some consequences to consider if we do vacate this road to the college. But there are numerous positive benefits that the community as a whole gains from closing the road--most notably a massive construction project that will allow the college to continue its growth and that will grow the jobs base here locally. Recently, a presentation was sent to commissioners detailing the latest economic impact PCC has on our economy locally. It is significant.
For my part: I support the mission of PCC, what they do for youth and their positive impact on the lives of so many. I am happy to see them grow and succeed and being a Christian man myself--I love that they lead many to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This matters, this is important. In fact, if we boil the whole thing down to the essentials of existance on this planet--nothing is more important than this, nothing. It really bothers me that Christians beat up on this school--it is perplexing and I don't get this.
So to the haters that hate PCC, I say this: PCC does do impactful things in the community, they offer very reasonable tuition for many that would otherwise be unable to afford private school. They offer summer programs for area youth that could not otherwise afford such programs, and Camp of the Pines is a first-rate summer camp program that offers area youth an amazing week-long summer camp experience for a dirt-cheap price. Two of my three children attended this camp and my youngest went to PCA for pre-school--which was inexpensive and first-rate in quality.
Some people do some things that appear to be beneficial to a community, and these folks beat their chests about this and self-promote the apparently generous and selfless actions they take and donations they make (while not spotlighting the concomitant personal, ancillary, and tax beneficial consequences such gestures inure to such persons or entities) This is 0ff-putting. This is disingenuous.
PCC doesn't do this-- they quietly do things that benefit our community, our country, and the world--they do this in so many ways. This subtle and subdued approach to philanthropy and good deeds is refreshing, uncommon and admirable.
So this vote is important for many reasons and will generate passionate discourse and emotional testimony from those on both sides of the equation. I can't wait, I can't wait to vote this issue and move on.
I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Thursday, April 27, 2017
|Citizens and Escambia County Commissioner Jeff Bergosh discuss issues|
of concern at April's "Coffee With the Commissioner" Event, 4-27-17
This morning, 4-27-2017, we held our third "coffee with the commissioner" event in District 1.
We appreciated the opportunity to meet with a small group of about a half-dozen citizens, informally, to discuss issues related to their individual concerns in District 1--to include:
--drainage problems on Pond Farm Road
--Traffic Light signalization issues at Dog Track Road and Hwy 98
--traffic congestion on Hwy 98
--Misspelled words on the entrance to the Navy Hospital Marquee at Hwy 98 (Naval, misspelled as "Navel")
--trash on the roadways
We also spent some time just talking current events and national political issues.
I appreciate McDonalds on Blue Angel and Hwy 98 for allowing us to host our meeting at their establishment.
I also want to thank Debby Kenney, my aide, for arranging the site.
And last but not least I want to express my appreciation to the Escambia County Sheriff's Office for sending Deputy Chief Eric Haines to this morning's coffee and also to this past Monday's Town Hall meeting at Bellview Middle School.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners held an economic development summit meeting Tuesday. After we had brief presentations from Neighborhood services and a discussion about the Brownsville Community Center, we discussed Escambia County and our economic development efforts.
Those who are interested in doing so can watch the video of the meeting here--there was lots of very interesting conversation.
The presentation began with an overview of the demographics of the two-county (Escambia-Santa Rosa) area. Zach Jenkins, Director of UWF's Haas Center, gave a presentation that described the median family income, median age, race/ethnicity, and other characteristics of our area as compared to the state and also to the nation. It was interesting. of note were the following take-aways:
--employment wise, we have just recently recovered and stabilized our unemployment levels to pre-Great Recession levels
--2,500 new jobs yearly will need to be created in order to keep our unemployment levels at today's rate
--nearly 42,000 persons (out of 500,000 total population in our MSA) are currently not working.
-- a net of roughly 20,000 commuters come to Escambia County to work but live out of Escambia County
--tourist related occupations, while important locally, do not generate much in the way of additional ancillary jobs created when compared to just about every other category of jobs--especially manufacturing and cyber security jobs
--The highest paying segment of jobs, on average, are from the Military and Civilian DoD jobs, followed by the Financial Services Sectors
After Zach gave his presentation, Scott Luth from Florida West gave a presentation on efforts his group is making to increase the jobs base locally. His focus areas of industry revolve around cultivation of employers who export products, thereby importing new money into the community.
Areas of focus include the following:
-financial and professional services
-information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing
-Offshore Vessel Service and Support
-Aviation Manufacturing and Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO)
-Defense, Homeland, and Cyber Security
A stirring discussion about employee readiness/preparedness begins at minute 57:05 and continues through minute 71:00 of Items 3 & 6. In this segment, Luth states that about "90 percent of the issue revolves around employers' concerns about the readiness of the graduates of the schools." Luth continues "I'm not trying to throw a negative on our schools but I'm told we have to increase that, that level [ of preparedness] of the students coming out [of the schools locally]."
I spoke about this as well--the emphasis of my comments (67:22) was that we have tremendous social dysfunction, combined with generational dysfunction, mixed with poverty, that is hindering our
Monday, April 24, 2017
---District 1 Town Hall
- Date: Monday, April 24, 2017 - Monday, April 24, 2017
- Time: All Day6:00 PM
- Location: Pensacola
- Address: 6201 Mobile Hwy.
- Additional Location Info: Bellview Middle School Cafeteria
- Contact: Debbie Kenney
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 850-595-4910
Residents are invited to discuss issues with Commissioner Bergosh at the second of six town hall style meetings planned for the year at various locations throughout District 1. More than one commissioner may attend this event.
---April Coffee with the Commissioner – Jeff Bergosh, District 1
- Date: Thursday, April 27, 2017 - Thursday, April 27, 2017
- Time: All Day6:30 AM
- Location: Pensacola, Florida
- Address: 5 S Blue Angel Pkwy.
- Additional Location Info: McDonald's Restaurant
- Contact: Debbie Kenney
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 850-595-4910
Join District 1 Commissioner Bergosh in this informal setting with no agenda or appointment needed, anytime between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. Residents are encouraged to stop by with any comments or concerns they would like to discuss with their District 1 Commissioner in this informal setting with no agenda or appointments needed. More than one commissioner may attend this event.
Topics to include:
-OLF 8/OLF X Land Swap with the U.S. Navy
-Open Container Ordinance at the Beach
-Pensacola Beach Traffic
Listen live later this morning at 7:35, or listen to the Podcast (s) here (part I) and here (part II)
Friday, April 21, 2017
At yesterday's BCC public forum, Congressman Matt Gaetz updated the commissioners on a number of important issues facing the panhandle.
One of significant interest to me was the OLF8/OLFX land swap project with the U.S. Navy.
This project has run over budget, and the whole initiative was teetering on implosion due to a number of factors I've discussed in depth on multiple entries on this blog.
But, just when many were about to throw in the towel on this project, Congressman Gaetz reported that a high-level Admiral from the Navy will be coming to Pensacola to meet with the congressman, the county, retired Admiral Robert Kelly, developer Jim Cronley, and other interested persons regarding this land swap.
"The Navy is willing to offer some concessions in order to make this project happen" Congressman Gaetz told the commission yesterday.
This was very welcome news and we are thankful that the congressman has set this up, and we are thankful that the Navy is willing to come to the table and work with us to get this project done---a project that will benefit both the county and the Navy!
This is encouraging!
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Nobody is going to like the ordinance the BCC passed tonight regarding open containers of alcohol on the Quietwater Beach Boardwalk.
I didn't like the initial motion which was to continue an ordinance banning open containers of alcohol on the boardwalk for an additional (2) two years time. I voiced my opposition and so did two of my colleagues.
I've given my reasons for opposing this ban at two previous meetings and here on this blog as well; in a nutshell, the premise for making the restriction was purportedly to give a year under the ordinance to collect data showing this would be beneficial. The data shows this ban increased crime--but nobody wanted to seriously dig into that.....
The motion was then restated and modified to a (1) one year continuance of the ban at Quietwater beach.
With that motion hanging out there and no clear consensus, the discussion turned to a further modification of the proposed ordinance which stated the ban would be in place for one year and only in force from 6:00AM to 10:00PM at the boardwalk--in an effort to keep the ban in place in order to keep the atmosphere on the boardwalk "family friendly" during the daytime and early evening hours.
From 10:00 PM-6:00AM 7 days a week, the ordinance will not apply and open containers of alcohol
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
The County has produced my first message for the constituents video for April. In it we will be discussing the various ways I plan on being an accessible, approachable County Commissioner.
The first of two yearly one-stop meetings in District 1 was held last night in the cafeteria of West Florida High School. We were fortunate to have representation from the BCC, ECUA, ECSD, ECSD, Property Appraiser's Office, Tax Collector's Office, and Supervisor of Elections office.
The folks that attended were able to hear a brief presentation from officers of each entity, and then speak one-on-one with each entity's representative.
The half-dozen or so members of the public that sought out the BCC table had significant issues to discuss:
--One individual wanted the county to assume formal control of a roadway that abuts his property
--One individual wanted code enforcement to look into multiple issues in his neighborhood
--One couple wanted us to look into flooding, noise complaints, and arsenic contamination in their neighborhood
--A World War II veteran who attended wanted to share some thoughts on the trash on the roadways of Escambia County--and he wanted to know what we would do about it
--One person wanted to discuss her continuing concerns about lowering the lot-width requirement in the LDR zoned properties out in Beulah.
When we do our next District 1 Round-table event in October, we will schedule it on a Tuesday night and we will hold the event in the southern part of District 1.
Many thanks to all the citizens, elected officials, and staff members that participated in this meeting! Also, a big shout out goes to the WFHS Student Government Association for their assistance with setting up and breaking down the tables and chairs for the meeting. Much Appreciated!