Pensacola Politics Protests

Homeowners will be at Vickery Center tonight to talk with Mayor about Dollar General issue

November 18, 2013

This email has been circulated by homeowner associations in the Cordova Park area:

To all our Homeowners,

Two residents brought to my attention that East Hill Baptist Church (at Summit and Spanish Trail) has negotiated a contract to sell an outparcel of their property to Dollar General for the purpose of BUILDING a Dollar General Store right on that corner!

· I have attached an information sheet from Mr. Kent Rettig, a concerned resident. Please read it.

· I have complied a synopsis of the information I have received:

– It has just come to light that East Hill Baptist has a signed contract to sell a parcel of their property (located on the corner of Spanish Trail and Summit Blvd.) to Dollar General.

– The sale is contingent on Dollar General gaining approval from our City Council for the C-1 zoning change (which will allow Dollar General to build a retail store right on that corner!)

– Dollar General has already submitted a zoning change request to The City planning board asking them for approval to allow the store to go in. The City planning board already met and approved the Zoning change! Now approval for this zoning change must go in front of our City Council for a final vote.

– This area is presently zoned for residential & mixed use for small business offices. A retail discount store is totally out of character for this area.

– What do you think a retail store (Dollar General) located at that busy intersection do to the amount of traffic already going thru there? Or how will it affect the property values of the homes in the area (our S/D

– Has this been kept very hush-hush because they knew this would be highly opposed by residents of the area?

– There is another church located right next door to East Hill Baptist (I believe it is Cokesbury Methodist?). What would happen if the City Council votes to change the zoning for that area to C-1 status (allowing
for retail building right there) and Cokesbury Methodist decides to sell off all or part of their property? Think about it…

– In order for this to pass it must now go to the Pensacola City Council for their approval.

– Our Mayor will be at the Vickery Center @ 6:00 TONIGHT to hear the concerns of the homeowners. PLEASE BE THERE TO SHOW YOUR CONCERN!!

– Here is a link to the WEAR-TV 6pm news report on the issue.

– There is a group organized on Facebook, No to Dollar General at the corner of Summit and Spanish Trail, if you want to join it.” (As of last Wednesday night I believe there were 485 followers). Here is the link –

– I plan to contact Dr. P.C. Wu (who is our City Council representative for Zone 1 AND the current City Council President) to let him know I am in total opposition to this rezoning and urge him to vote “No” to this rezoning proposal. Please take the time to add your voice to this issue! You can contact Mr. Wu: by email at

– As soon as I know when the City Council puts this item on their agenda (they are trying for December or January) I will let all residents know. And I will URGE everyone to attend that particular City Council meeting.

– I can’t tell any of you what to do about this. It is your decision. I just wanted to share some very important news that I feel affects all of us. PLEASE plan to attend this meeting TONIGHT (Monday, 11/18/13 @ 6:00 PM).

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  • Skip Vogelsang November 22, 2013 at 1:11 am

    I’m used to CJ being the poster child of half empty cups but I never cease to be amazed by his ability to also use mind-numbingly long blogs as a tool for proving that more words do not guarantee a better product. Nothing useful can be written far more succinctly.

  • Melinda November 18, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    CJ, why don’t you go to the town hall meeting and ask him yourself? No one else cares.

  • CJ Lewis November 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    East Hill Baptist Church has retained Neal & Company, LLC to broker the deal because it has its own “Councilman” (Andy Terhaar) on the City Council, a point emphasized on Neal & Company’s website. The property is only barely in Tehaar’s “gerrymandered” District 3. District 1 Councilman P.C. Wu must be breathing a big sigh of relief that this is not his problem.

    As I wrote about in my Viewpoint in the September 29 edition of the Pensacola News Journal, in 2011 the City Council orchestrated the gerrymandering of the City Council district boundaries to protect the incumbents. Some Council members such as District 2 Councilwoman Sherri Myers played a very active role in the gerrymandering, not wanting to represent Cordova Park.

    When the gerrymandering dust had settled, all City Council members remained in their same districts and all remained eligible to run for office in 2012. One cost of gerrymandering, other than a wholesale disregard and violation of the Charter’s “voter-approved” Section 6.08(d) districting criteria – all of which were ignored the districts not being equal, contiguous or compact – was the racial gerrymandering of the city’s two African-American majority-minority Districts 5 and 7, seemingly a violation of federal law, particularly Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. No one cares to include the League of Women Voters, NAACP and ACLU, etc.

    Escambia County Supervisor of Elections David Stafford was charged by the Districting Commission to prepare a districting plan that strictly complied with the Charter and federal law. He did, the plan known as “Sample C” potentially wreaking havoc on the status quo. Districting Commission Chairwoman DeeDee Ritchie said that Stafford’s plan was the only way to comply with the Charter reflecting the city’s 2000-2010 population loss of 4,332, a demographic shift to the north and reduction in the city’s African-American population from 33% to 28%.

    Districting Commission members acting as agents of the Council members who had appointed them screamed that Stafford’s plan was “unacceptable.” They actually said – “Unacceptable!” aloud. No one listened to Ritchie who then, reading the writing on the wall, and perhaps taking her cues from a worried Councilman Brian Spencer who had appointed her, changed her tune next emphasizing the need to “give respect to the incumbents.” District 1 Councilman P.C. Wu must have been horrified at the prospect of being redistricted into a new District 3 with so many new voters. On October 13, 2001, Wu eagerly voted with the others 9-0 to adopt a gerrymandered plan that kept him in District 1.

    If Stafford’s plan had been adopted by the Council, and if Wu had been elected in 2012, a very uncertain prospect facing so many new voters, he would be representing a very different District 3 to include East Hill Baptist Church, i.e. this would be Wu’s problem not Terhaar’s who would not even be a Council member. Under Stafford’s plan, Terhaar should live in a non-gerrymandered District 4 represented by Councilman Larry Johnson. Under that scenario, East Hill Baptist Church would have had no reason to hire Neal & Company, LLC because it would not have its own Council member.

    Corrupt and dishonest city government and the resulting political apathy it breeds have its consequences as we now see. At tonight’s meeting, someone should ask Mayor Hayward why he refused to insist that the City Council comply with the Charter and Voting Rights Act. Section 4.01.(a)(2) of the Charter charges Hayward to uphold and defend the Charter and law but he refused to do so.

  • jeeperman November 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    I think the neighbors should be good Christians and let their fellow Christians sell their property to Dollar General.
    For those opposed, how about you make efforts to convince East Hill Baptist into doing the neighborly thing and cancel the sale.