Real News podcast: Battle for Perdido Key

On NewsTalk 1370 WCOA yesterday, District 1 Commissioner Jeff Bergosh gave his side of his debate with District 2 Commissioner Doug Underhill over redistricting.

“I wasn’t really going to say much yesterday, but Commissioner Underhill immediately rattled off what he was going to take from District 1 without any thought to the elected officials that sit there currently,” said Bergosh. “The first thing he wanted, and I sent you the map, was to take Precinct 95. Well, that’s where duly elected ECUA member Vicki Campbell sits. He was just going to yank her right out of office. It’s also where two very important schools for District 1 lie geographically. Bailey Middle School and Helen Carroll Elementary.

He continued, “He wanted to take everything south of 98, which would have been parts of Precinct 73, 55, and 61, which would have taken another school out of District 1. He threw all that out there, just kind of nonchalantly. And I just kind of said, ‘Look, I think we need to start at the year 2000 lines and work backward. And of course, from there, he kind of lost it a little bit and was not real happy about that. But what he threw out was a non-starter with a lot of mumbo jumbo and platitudes, but it really added up to nothing. It just goes right in the rubber sheet because it won’t work. It’s a non-starter.”

After the show aired, Commissioner Underhill responded with a press release to the media.

“Yesterday’s meeting to discuss redistricting was simple, concise and professional,” wrote Underhill. “Supervisor of Elections David Stafford demonstrated the professional conduct for which his office is well known, delivering the facts without emotion or bias. Each in our turn discussed our actions to date and expressed our thoughts on which precincts may logically be affected by the moves to balance the districts.”

He continued, “Unfortunately, Commissioner Bergosh attempted to derail an otherwise professional conversation with the absurd proposal that Beulah and Perdido should be in the same Commission district. With his trademark lack of discipline, Commissioner Bergosh interrupted the discussion when the floor was not his, attempting to push an idea that has no merit beyond his personal political vendettas. To the great credit of the other Commissioners, not one of them indicated any support for the idea.”

Here is Underhill’s release: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.

And here’s the podcast:


3 thoughts on “Real News podcast: Battle for Perdido Key

  1. After listening to Stafford’s presentation and hearing the very disturbing follow-on discussion, in which four of five commissioners made clear their gerrymandering ambitions, Barry the only one to keep his cards close to his chest, a much better idea is a citizen redistricting commission. Let each BOCC, School Board and ECUA member appoint one person. Even if the 15 try to be loyal soldiers and do the bidding of their appointing officials, their interests are so much at odds that they will cancel each other out. The two “going in” rules should be that the districts must be contiguous as required by the Florida Constitution. Right now, the districts are not contiguous. Any fool can see that Pensacola Beach and the current District 4 are not contiguous. Pensacola Beach is contiguous to the current District 2. A bit shockingly, District 3 Commissioner Lumon May talked about wanting Pensacola Beach to be in his district. Why not the City of Gulf Breeze too? In addition, all of the City of Pensacola should be in a single county district just as all of the Town of Century is in a single county district. In 2011, the City of Pensacola was gerrymandered among Districts 2, 3 and 4. The city’s current population is about 10,000 less than the county’s ideal district size. The county’s Black Voting Age Population is only 15.7% which begs the question when is someone going to ask the Federal Court when county voters can again vote for all commissioners and school board members as done in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa County. The current arrangement disenfranchises Black, Democrat and Independent voters in Districts 1, 2, 4 and 5 and Non-Black, Republican and Independent voters in District 3. Commissioner Jeff Bergosh says –

  2. Also to the credit of the other commissioners, they were smirking. Maybe not Bender.
    Remember at first Underhill telegraphed he wanted both beaches and all the waterfront in D2?
    May, tongue in cheek, said he wanted the beach in D3.

    This may get interesting.

    Has Andy pulled out the crayons yet?

  3. I hope Bergosh gets Perdido Key in D1 because he honors the public’s right to be on the Beach.
    Underhill tried to shut down the Beach Access #4, most likely for his own personal use. Perdido Beach was restored with FEMA funds post Ivan and more follow up restoration was supposed to happen to protect those emergency dune restoration projects. One can do a bit of research on FDEP and FEMA about that plus look at Underhill’s Inlet Management Plan that still uses taxpayer funds to restore the beach, although dumps it off shore to accrete, essentially trying to deceptively make it seem Perdido Beach has not been restored with public dollars.

    All No Trespassing signs need to be removed.

    It clearly states in one of the FEMA documents that because of the public use of the beach, and the 4 accesses that Perdido received the funds for dune restoration berms post Ivan.

    Will the beach front property owners be opposed..Most likely.

    I hope Bergosh gets the votes to put Perdido Key in D1 to undo Underhill’s hamfisted grasp at personal benefit from public office.

    If you watch the meeting video, Underhill filiBLUSTERED to May after Bergosh brought that forward.
    It’s actually a little humorous.

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