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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, May 6, 2017

What if PCC Wasn't Located in Pensacola?

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.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very thought-provoking! I live on Rawson Lane , and this week when it was raining hard, I thought about how nice it would be to have the horrible drainage situation fixed. It's not safe, yet the county either cannot or will not do anything about it. Vacating Rawson and allowing PCC to address that issue would be another real benefit. It was disheartening to have the issue postponed again. Time for the commissioners to man up and vote.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for acknowledging the problem at the most recent hearing. It was sad to see so many hate filled speakers. There were several people that did present their ideas professionally too.
I pray that both sides will recommit to treating each other like humans, and not like the enemy.
Also, great points about the value PCC brings to northwest Florida. You are doing a great job Commissioner.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for seeing through the haze and stating things clearly. Let's get the vote.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this common sense view Commissioner. You male some really good points definitely worth considering.

Pat Dwyer said...

I would love to see PCC gone.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your excellent post-- so well stated! If the economic value ALONE was considered as you put forth, this could only benefit the community!

Adam Smith said...

Dear Jeff:
Thank you for your blog and honest view about this issue.
I went to PCC some years back, and during that years, there were many times I really wish PCC relocate (or located) in the bigger city with the access to big International Airport such as: Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Orlando, or even Tampa, FL.
The main reason for this is because it is very expensive for many of us (students) to fly to the small regional airport (Pensacola) every semester.
However, the value of the education and the degree that I got from PCC make it worth everything, and the small airport is just the small fees as we are looking back right now.
I am very sure the city of Dallas-Fort Worth would welcome PCC anytime to relocate their campuses, dorms, and Abeka Book offices.
Thank you,
Rick

Jason Lefevers said...

If the county was willing to do something about fixing the road this would not even be an issue. The nasty speakers and commenters should direct their vitriol elsewhere instead of to the school for wanting to fix the road and expand their organization.

Jason Lefevers said...

I'm sure you have a valid reason for that feeling, right?

Anonymous said...

How soon we forget. So many were hurting during past hurricanes, and PCC students worked tirelessly to clear yards, clean-up, and do anything this community needed to help recover. Did they ask to be paid? No, they volunteered. They brought water where neighborhoods had none. You had only to call and students were there to help you. Get this vote over with. If you choose to keep PCC from further growth, you pay the price. All the income they bring in is not recycled, but new money. Restaurants, the mall, Walmart, how will your sales be?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Mr. Bergosh, you should do your homework! I grew up on Fuhrman drive, and attended PCA from K-4 through 12th. My parents were forced to sell our home so PCC could expand, literally forced! "If you don't sell to us now, we will surround your home with school properties, then one day when you decide to move, we will pay you pennies for your home, because no one else will want it" Very Christian!!
I'm sure we were not the only ones. Economically speaking, the college may offer monies to our area, but at the expense of "the few" as you so nicely put it. Aren't you in office to protect all rights, not just those of this organization that has no problem funding its own legal teams? Give me a break!! Talk to some of the employees of this so-called Christian organization. How are they treated? Also, making millions and paying no taxes?? How does that serve anyone not at Leadership level of that place. This is in part, a small reflection on why some are so angry. They have been burned by PCC for far too long!

Anonymous said...

I am currently an employee of PCC after having been an undergraduate and graduate student of the college. You had asked how they treat their employees. Here's a sampling: while many spend hundreds every month for childcare, we are provided this service on the premises as a no cost benefit. We feel very secure having our daughter cared for by those we know and trust rather than paying stangers. While millions have reported hardship with increasing health care costs (some in the thousands every month), health insurance is provided for our family of three what many families pay for each member of the family. While no one is going to get rich working for PCC, my wife and I have saved thousands in the last few years while still living what most would consider a fun lifestyle. We are cared for and have no worries of how we will care for our families. No institution is perfect (including Christian institutions who are still run by imperfect people), but denYing the greater good PCC does for its employees and Pensacola at large is simply dishonest.

Jenneth D. said...

PCC also paid for the giant water tower. It's thrown so much into the community yet it seems as if often PCC never gets anything in return.

Anonymous said...

To me, from what the BOCC promises to do, when they take the oath of office is that it is their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution of the USA and the State of Florida. In other words decisions should be made based the rule of law and the rule of law only. The fact that the worth of the petitioner is even brought into consideration shows an outright misunderstanding of the duties of this commissioner in making this decision. I think he is demonstrating his incompetency via his own words and his own post.The arguments of the citizens also demonstrate this seeming unawareness of how these processes work. We are under the rule of law. Escambia County grow up and educate yourself. This is a disgrace.

Jeff Bergosh said...

Anon 6:15--you are ignorant, obviously, about the constitution, the rule of law, and most importantly home rule powers of the BCC. Was the vacation the board approved in our last meeting legal, the one in District 5? Answer--of course it was and it was approved unanimously. Other vacations have happened in this county, it is not uncommon. There was one approved in Perdido Key a while back as well. Again, perfectly legal to do. What is really unusual is the level of vitriol and disdain leveled toward this Christian College. That, along with your badly flawed opinion Anon 6:15, is what is truly unfortunate and disappointing......

Anonymous said...

From anon 6:15 Yes Commissioner Bergosh, thank you for pointing out my ignorance and badly flawed opinion.

Yes I have much to learn, and I will continue to try..
thanks for the response.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that your post is in response to those who say PCC has no value. Its not a defense of what your vote will be.

Anonymous said...

If you are going to comment, whether pro or con, don't be hiding behind anonymous. Own it.

Anonymous said...

That is funny anonymous May 9th @1:22
Who is listed as Anonymous lol
The Kettle and the pot...

Anonymous said...

Everyone's home will go up or down in value in the future. Homeowners are free to sell their home, or keep it based on what they feel is best for their family. It sounds like your family made that determination and sold to the school. No one "literally forced" them to sell. I dare say your if your family did not get a more than fair price, it is because they did not use their leverage properly. If somebody wants your property badly enough, tell them to make an offer you can't refuse.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous May 9 at 1:22 says own it... you as well. You as well.