The Buzz 10/24/19
2020 Vision In an effort to better inform the local African American community about issues that can impact them, a collective of groups kicked off their 2020 Vision campaign this past weekend with an all-day forum in Pensacola.
“It’s about bringing people together,” said Jerry McIntosh, president of Move for Change.
The event, held at the Hurst Chapel A.M.E. Church on Oct. 12, was the first of an ongoing series. It featured speakers and panels on issues such as education and political empowerment.
McIntosh said there are plans to hold additional community forums going forward.
“Into infinity, I guess, because the issues are so great,” he said.
During this initial event, issues of particular focus, in addition to education and political empowerment, were the upcoming census and election, criminal justice reform and environmental issues. Speakers included a representative from the Atlanta Regional Census Center, Escambia County School Board District 3 Representative Dr. Laura Edler and Dr. Gloria Horning, an environmental and social justice advocate.
McIntosh said the ultimate goal of 2020 Vision is to educate and inspire. In addition to giving the community the information and tools it needs to make informed decisions about local issues, it’s hoped that the forums also inspire potential political candidates.
“The goal is to elect people on local and national levels,” McIntosh said.
Organizations participating in the 2020 Vision include Movement for Change, the local NAACP and community organization Dream Defenders, which became particularly active following the fatal police shooting of Tymar Crawford, a black man, in July.
Locally, McIntosh said, the issue of police reform, or police-community relations, is paramount. Following the July shooting, city and police officials have committed to increasing officer training, becoming more engaged in the communities and neighborhoods and also reinstating a police liaison position, as well as a citizen advisory board. None of these commitments, as of yet, have been followed through.
“How are we going to deal with that in an intelligent way?” McIntosh said of the police relations issue.
In addition to future forums, another facet of 2020 Vision will include ongoing awareness efforts. For example, there are plans to organize an envoy or delegation to attend local meetings, such as school board meetings, and then relay any useful information gleaned.
“Everybody can’t go to school board meetings,” said NAACP Pensacola President Rodney Jones. “However, if we can create a team, people can be in those places to let people know, ‘Hey, here’s something you can do.’”
Jones chaired a panel on political empowerment during the Oct. 12 forum. He said he envisions this campaign arming the community with the information it needs to put people in office who will best represent their interest.
“It’s to educate the community,” Jones said. “Now, you can make an informed decision instead of voting for someone because grandma or mom voted for him or, ‘I like him.’”
This 2020 Vision effort began a few months ago and grew out of multiple conversations among organizers. This initial event was a launch party of sorts. Going forward, the focus will be on key issues, like the upcoming census and election, with the organizations also planning to work to invite political elements from the national stage to the local area.
Nodding towards the environment at the national level, all the way down to the local level, McIntosh said he feels that this is a particularly important time to get engaged. He framed the landscape through the direst of lenses—“We’re about to lose our democracy to a dictatorship.”
“People realize that we’re in an urgent moment now in history,” McIntosh said. “We feel that we’re the conscience of this democracy.”
New SCI Board The Studer Community Institute welcomed new members to the SCI Board of Directors—Tosh Belsinger, Jules Kariher, Van Mansker, Tia Robbins, Kathy Sandstorm, Joy Sharo, Michelle Snow and Bert Thornton.
“These people could give of their time, talent and treasure to any number of outstanding organizations in the Pensacola community,” said SCI founder Quint Studer. “SCI is very proud that they have chosen to share their gifts with us.”
Tosh Belsinger is founder and president of Gulf Blue Group. Tosh began his professional career as a design associate for golf course architect Tom Fazio. Belsinger left Fazio in 2006, relocated to Pensacola and has taken on a diversity of endeavors including real estate, property management, consulting, boutique hotel management, retail business and more.
Jules Kariher is chief advocacy officer for Ascension Florida. Kariher’s work for Sacred Heart Hospital includes advocating in Tallahassee as a lobbyist for healthcare-related issues.
Van Mansker retired as regional director of human resources at Lowe’s Home Centers Inc. Mansker has more than 30 years of experience in corporate management with national companies.
Tia Robbins is an accomplished businesswoman and entrepreneur. Robbins and her husband, Fred, established Mr. Robbins Neighborhood to inspire young athletes to excel in school and prepare themselves for college and life after sports.
Kathy Sandstrom was senior managing director at Heitman LLC, a real estate management firm, for 22 years. Originally from Pensacola, she has retired and returned home, now wanting to give back and get involved in the community.
Joy Sharp is director of community health strong with Baptist Health Care and has a background in all aspects of chronic disease management, case management, community project facilitation, curriculum development, grant writing and grant budgeting processes.
Michelle Snow is a retired WNBA player and entrepreneur. She led Pensacola High School to the state basketball championship and was “Miss Basketball” in 1998. She played for University of Tennessee Lady Vols and several WNBA teams.
Bert Thornton is a retired COO of Waffle House and an author. He has been a guest faculty member of SCI and speaker at EntreCon and is the author of “Find an Old Gorilla,” a business leadership guide.
Confederate love for Hill Republican challenger Michelle Salzman raised more cash for her House District 1 campaign than the incumbent State Rep. Mike Hill during the month of September. Salzman raised $1,965 to Hill’s $520.
All three of Hill’s contributions were from people outside his district. His biggest check was $500 from Lunelle McCallister, who is a member of Southern Heritage Florida, Daughters of the American Revolution, the National Society United States Daughters of 1812 and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, where she serves as Chairman of the Monuments & Memorial Markers Committee.
Salzman’s largest contributor was former Escambia County Commissioner Gene Valentino, $1,000.
ECUA Loses Pick The sources have shared that Rebecca Shelton, the ECUA board’s pick to be next executive director of the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority, has turned down the job. A deal had been reached on salary and benefits, but Shelton backed out before signing the paperwork. Official storyline is her husband’s employer nixed him being transferred to Pensacola.
Panhandle Loves Trump Fox News earlier this month released a national poll that showed more than half of the country believed President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Inweekly wanted to see what the Florida Panhandle thought and had The Political Matrix poll 789 likely voters in the First Congressional District.
Nearly two-thirds of Northwest Florida voters said Trump should not be impeached and removed from office. The youngest voting block (21 and under) had the largest percentage in favor of impeachment and removal, 50%, followed by Traditionalist (65+) at 35%, Millennials (22-34) at 33%, Boomers (45-64) at 29% and Gen X (35-44) at 27%.
The driving forcing behind impeachment has been the president’s dealings with Ukraine. Fox News found the situation surrounding President Trump’s dealings with the Ukraine president was extremely or very troubling to 51% of the country. In Northwest Florida, only 37% were extremely or very troubled.
When Fox News asked the same question about the allegations concerning Joe Biden and his son’s dealings in Ukraine and China, 36% found it extremely or very troubling. In the First Congressional District, 58.5% were extremely or very troubled by the allegations.
Fox News also asked whether the Trump administration was more or less corrupt than the previous administration. Over half believed the Trump White House was more corrupt, while The Political Matrix found Panhandle voters evenly split, 46.4%-45.8%.
The persons sampled were likely Florida Congressional District 1 voters with a voting score of 100% for the general election cycles. The voters were called using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system during the hours of 1-7 p.m. between Oct. 11-14. The margin of error for this study is +/- 4.5% with a confidence level of 95%.
Lonesome Mike No one wants State Rep. Mike Hill to sponsor any local bills for appropriations—another sign of how ineffective the District 1 Republican is in Tallahassee.
Hill has proposed again three bills—concerning abortion, guns and Confederate monuments—that went nowhere last year. He is the sponsor of a bill for naming the new Pensacola Bay Bridge for Chappie James, even though the span isn’t in his district. Hill also has a bill that will pay higher incentives for law enforcement officers who earn college degrees and advanced training.
Count ’em—only five bills for which Hill is the first named sponsor. Hill has only three committee assignments and no chairmanships, even though this is his second time to serve in the Florida House.
State Rep. Alex Andrade, who also represents part of Escambia County and Santa Rosa County, has to carry the load. Andrade has 15 bills. He has five committee assignments.
CivicCon School Superintendent Panel Dr. Janet Pilcher will facilitate a panel of current and former school superintendents and other top educators on the subject of what makes a great public school superintendent.
Dr. Pilcher has assembled the distinguished panel to appear at a CivicCon event 6-7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, at The Rex Theatre, 18 N. Palafox. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The event is free.
Panelists will be asked to describe the education level, skills, experience and leadership qualities needed to run a district like Escambia County. They will talk about what the community can expect with the move at the end of 2020 from an elected school superintendent to a professional superintendent selected by school board members.
Health Career Fair High school seniors interested in a medical field might be able to actually give injections at the 23rd Annual Pensacola State College Health Career Fair 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25, at the Pensacola State College Warrington campus, 5555 W. Highway 98.
More than 600 high school students from five Northwest Florida counties and Baldwin County, Ala., are expected to attend the health fair. Students who attend the event will experience more than a dozen health career opportunity stations, including EMT, radiography, pharmacy, dental hygiene, nursing and more.
Z Celebrates The oldest liquor bar in Northwest Florida will celebrate its 72nd birthday on Tuesday, October 29 with day-long drink specials, live entertainment, and more. Located at 810 North Davis Street just north of Cervantes, the “Z” has since served generations of Pensacolians and become a local icon.
James Stasinos and Michael Ruston opened the Azalea Cocktail Lounge at 3 p.m. on Oct. 30, 1947, kicking off a three-day gala opening that stretched through that Halloween weekend. The bar’s name was suggested by a local East Hill resident as part of a contest, and the newly-opened lounge featured a horseshoe bar, booths, and sky blue furnishings.
The decor may have changed a bit, but the affordable prices, strong pours, and great company that the Azalea is known for have remained constant.
All are invited to the Azalea’s 72nd birthday party, which will begin when the bar opens at 10:30 a.m. on October 29 and continue on into the wee hours of the morning. Drink specials will include $3 well drinks and $3 domestic beers all day and all night, $3 Jägermeister and Fireball shooters, as well as a special Azalea-themed birthday cocktail available for one day only. A fish fry will kick off at noon, and the Po-Boy Shack food truck will be on hand later in the afternoon serving hot po-boys, chicken wings, tenders, and more. As the party continues on into the night, Pensacola’s own Jordan Richards will provide live music.
Design Thinking The University of West Florida Innovation Institute will host a Design Thinking Workshop on Nov. 1, where participants will learn how to solve problems through the institute’s trademarked Incubate Design Experience Act, or IDEA method. Registration is open now through Oct. 25. The workshop, which will be held at the Innovation Institute in downtown Pensacola, will teach the basic principles of design thinking, from building empathy and generating ideas to prototyping and testing. By the end of the day, attendees will be ready to use design thinking techniques in their professional environment. The cost to attend the workshop is $149. Light breakfast, refreshments and lunch will be provided with the registration cost. Attendees can register online. To learn more about the workshop, visit uwf.edu/dtw.
Mark Your Calendar Planning Board Workshop for proposed amendments to the City’s Tree Ordinance will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, in the Hagler-Mason Conference Room, 2nd Floor, Pensacola City Hall. This meeting was previously scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
The next Mayor’s Neighborhood Cleanup day will be on 7 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, in the area that covers the east Scenic Heights area east of Pensacola International Airport, generally south of Baywoods Drive, north of Summit Boulevard, east of Spanish Trail and along Scenic Highway. Visit cityofpensacola.com for details.
The eighth biennial Gospel & Gumbo fundraising event to benefit the Michael E. Green Prescription Fund for Our Lady of Angels St. Joseph Medical Clinic will be held 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27, at 5eleven Palafox in downtown Pensacola. The cost of the event is $100 per person, payable to Our Lady of Angels. The event raises money to help cover the prescription drugs and laboratory costs for Our Lady of Angels St. Joseph Medical Clinic.
Intendencia Street between Jefferson and Palafox streets will be closed for construction work 1 a.m.-10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28; 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28-8 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 29; and 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29-10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 30.