Sadly but as anticipated, eight Pensacola City Council members voted against Pensacola Promise yesterday….more accurately they voted to study it more, which is the much-used tactic by the City Council when it wants to avoid a decision and kill an idea.
The African-American council members – Cannada-Wynn, Townsend and Jerralds – once again voted with staff and against their constituents. The only time the trio has broken ranks recently with City Manager Al Coby is over the lack of diversity in a YouTube video in tourism.
YouTube vs. College ….If you had to guess which issue would have the biggest impact on the future of the entire community, not just the African-American community, which one would you pick? What if I told you Cannada-Wynn and Jerralds were educators would you think college tuition would be win? No, only Larry Johnson supported the work done by DeWeese’s committee.
I have always felt that Pensacola Promise should go before the Pensacola voters and let them decide on whether a college tuition program that would cost only $400,000 annually be established. Remember the City is spending $14 million annually on its pensions and recently the Council wanted to add $200,000 to create its own staff. Money really isn’t the issue – it can be found in the City’s massive budget. A government bureaucracy always has money for what it wants.
The City Council will block any motion for a referendum on Pensacola Promise, too. Don’t be surprised if the Pensacola Promise supporters – a group much larger than any of the council members suspect – launches a petition drive, under the Initiative clause of the new charter, to get Pensacola Promise on either the August primary ballot or the November general ballot.
The Entrenched Eight will be surprised to see Pensacola Promise as a campaign issue. Opponents who take the time to read the reports and learn about the plan will find support when they walk the neighborhoods.