|What if PCC wasn't located in Pensacola? What if they decided to leave?|
So because we didn't have the full complement of Commissioners on the dais this past Thursday-the vote to vacate Rawson Lane was put off again. I stated that we should vote, we had a quorum, and there are lots of items on the agenda that we did vote on---so why the delay? The rationale, which may have some merit, was that the issue is one of great importance and therefore some commissioners wished to wait until all commissioners are present--this way we can all be on the record.
But this is inconvenient for those who made arrangements to come and speak at the meeting only to have the rug once again pulled out from under them.
So we are scheduled to vote AGAIN on this matter Monday, May 22nd at 5:30. We'll see what happens, hopefully the can doesn't get kicked down the road again...every time we postpone, it is just prolonging the anxiety for folks on both sides of the issue; it's like purposely ripping a scab off a wound over and over-- wondering why the cut never heals. Things don't heal, things don't get back to normal if one continues to pick at the scab.
So PCC once again was pummeled at the meeting by the angry speakers who did come to the meeting. Several were dignified in their opposition, but several were rude, obnoxious, and frankly out of line. Some made personal attacks on the commissioners individually--which should not be tolerated. Several speakers said we would be voted out if we agree with this vacation. Nothing is more low-class, aggressive, and offensive than listening to people that disagree on one (1) issue
saying, "If you do 'X', I will work to vote you out of office!" I've voted to close schools, fire popular coaches, and to not fund big projects special interests and powerful elected officials demanded--I never Kowtow to the loudest voices in the room. I have NO respect for anyone that does, as a matter of fact. Read the back-up, do your homework, and vote for what is in the interest of the greatest number of citizens--thats what I do. Sometimes it is uncomfortable, but this comes with the job. I'm never going to back away from a tough vote, NEVER.
So the common theme from those opposed to this vacation on Thursday was that somehow this action, if approved, was "unfair" to the residents in the area.
Again more than a few speakers spoke with tremendous disdain about PCC, one of these speakers going so far as to say "We don't owe PCC Nothing!" One speaker berated PCC for organizing bloc votes---as if 18 year old students who live here for 4 or more years somehow should not be allowed to vote here--how ridiculously stupid is that?
I've seen this same sort of attitude displayed by a miniscule number of residents out in Beulah where I live. This small minority of folks that hate Navy Federal Credit Union because they are growing and Beulah is getting more crowded just cannot see the forest through the trees... Never mind the fact that Navy Federal Credit Union is bringing 10,000 jobs to Escambia County??!! Nope this very small number of people would trade that all to have Beulah just the way it was 25-30 years ago. This mindset amazes me. Very myopic.
So back to PCC, imagine if something truly horrible happened, and PCC said "ENOUGH!" and decided to move their entire operation over to say....Panama City? All they would have to do is add another "C" in their name. Panama City Christian College... Imagine their pitch to Bay County....it could go something like this.
"We bring a $74Million dollar anual payroll, we spend $150 Million anually in the community and the local economy, and the dollar value of the intensity of our economic expenditures locally approaches $1Billion per year and we import revenue into the community by our enrollment of nearly 60,000 students and our sales of textbooks and other materials worldwide, and we don't pollute the environment and we are a Christian Organization...all we ask for is reasonable treatment from the county government and a safe environment for our campus-which we will help pay for."
Are you kidding me??? Seriously--are you kidding?? Any community, anywhere-- would bend over backwards like a circus contortionist and PAY INCENTIVES to have such an entity locate in their community. It would be like a bidding war at the auction! I cannot help but feel embarrased by the way these folks are being treated, it is sad to witness.
So yes, just for one moment imagine if they left. Imagine if they left and sold their dormitories and houses for rock-bottom prices to provide affordable HUD housing for the community and left Rawson Lane open and sold their facilities or demoed them. What would that make the neighborhood look like in ten to fifteen years? Would it be better?
You don't have to be a creative artist to envision how that would turn out..
So again, to what is important here. PCC is an awesome addition to our community, we are fortunate to have them and they should be treated fairly and be given an up or down vote on their request with no more delays. They are a very beneficial and important part of our economy and our community and I wish more people would realize this.