Commissioner May supports Mayor’s home-rule request

At this morning’s Committee of the Whole,Commissioner Lumon May said he supports Mayor Grover Robinson’s initiative that giving local governments control over how they deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. He will put it on the agenda of the commission’s regular meeting scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 10.

“I agree with the mayor of Pensacola in asking the governor to give us more local control,” said May. “It doesn’t mean that we’re going to vote for mask mandate. It doesn’t mean we’re going to vote for anything, but we fight for home rule.”

In the spring, Commissioner Doug Underhill sent a flyer to county voters that asked for more local control when Gov. Ron DeSantis was issuing restrictive mandates. Over the years. the Florida League of Cities and Florida Association of Counties have fought laws passed by the Florida Legislature that required county funds without any other funding source.

“We fight to stop unfunded mandates,” said May. “I’m going to add to the agenda for us to also join in writing that letter to the Governor to ask for more local control, and let us make the decisions.”

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2 thoughts on “Commissioner May supports Mayor’s home-rule request

  1. They want home rule but put all their employees but one group under the Florida retirement system. It leaves it up to the state to tell you how much money to send to Tallahassee each year.

  2. Local government officials can at any time summon their state representative delegations and tell them to begin proposing legislation to repeal onerous state laws that each year strip local governments of more and more of their Home Rule authority ranging on subjects as diverse as 5G cell towers to single-use plastic bags. If they refuse, local government officials should come out and tell people to vote for the candidates who will show some moral courage standing up to the lobbyists who control Tallahassee.

    On the COVID-19 issue, the city should amend its Ordinance 15-20 to impose penalties upon businesses that fail to comply and negligently endanger their own employees and other shoppers by allowing people to shop in the business in violation of the mask ordinance. I was just in the Publix on 9th Avenue. I must have seen at least a dozen people shopping without a mask. I saw no one working for Publix say anything to them and they were allowed to be served and check out just like everyone else. I even saw three city firefighters and one city police officer in the store shopping too. They were wearing masks but I did not see any of them tell people who refused to wear mask to put them on. Why should they care about the mask ordinance if Mayor Grover Robinson does not care?

    Does Governor Ron DeSantis really exercise such absolute power to endanger the public health by discouraging people from wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic? His power during the pandemic is described in Section 252.36 Emergency Management Powers of the Governor, Florida Statutes? Other than Councilwoman Sherri Myers and I, has anyone else actually read Section 252.36? How about Section 252.38 Emergency Management Powers of Political Subdivisions? Myers and I have read it. Anyone else? Where is it written that Governor DeSantis has the power to increase the number of Floridians who get infected with the COVID-19 virus, are hospitalized and die? How about Section 381.0016 County and Municipal Regulations and Ordinances, Florida Statutes? Anyone read it? It seems very important given that the Florida Department of Health issued a Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 on March 1, 2020 and keeps renewing it.

    Has anyone actually read Executive Order 20-52 cited by Governor DeSantis in his Executive Order 20-244? I wonder if he has even read it. Executive Order 20-52 amends and reaffirms Executive Order 20-51. I challenge anyone to read it and then read the city’s Ordinance 15-20 and try to find a shred of evidence that the ordinance is inconsistent with the executive order. In fact, the opposite is true. The key to keeping businesses open is wearing masks. The more people wear masks the sooner we will get back to normal.

    The combined effect of Republican Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-244 “and” Republican Mayor Robinson’s stubborn refusal to enforce any part of Ordinance 15-20, because he does not want to upset Governor DeSantis, is that more people in the city will get infected, be hospitalized and die. Robinson’s Neglect of Duty during this COVID-19 pandemic should be the “key” campaign issue in 2022. Commissioner Lumon May’s silence on Mayor Robinson’s refusal to enforce the mask ordinance is just deafening.

    The City Council should also amend Ordinance 15-20 to require that Mayor Robinson report to it in writing each month the total number of city residents and city workers who have been infected by COVID-19 and the total number who have been hospitalized or die. City voters have a right to know. The City Council should demand the numbers.

    I agree with Councilwoman Myers that we need to modernize our city government to adopt a form of government, like the one in Gulf Breeze and Milton, that provides for accountability. Politicizing the position of chief administrative officer, the role of Pensacola’s Mayor, was never a good idea but now people are dying because of it.

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