What about Perdido?

The Escambia County Commission will district redistricting today. Steve Stroberger come on 1370 WCOA this morning to discuss who his neighbors in Perdido and Innerarity Island feel about moving into District 1.

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1 thought on “What about Perdido?

  1. The real BIG issue is that the Florida Constitution requires county election districts to be contiguous. Neither the current nor the proposed District 4 is contiguous. On October 5, the Florida Association of Counties briefed the BCC and described the constitutional contiguous requirement as had Assistant County Attorney Robinson in her September 27 memorandum. The Florida Associations explained that county districts can be contiguous via a body of water. In this case, Pensacola Beach is contiguous to Perdido Key via the Pensacola Pass a body of water of only a few thousand feet. That needs to be the starting point in a redone districting plan. In my November 29 letter to the BCC, my public input for this evening’s BCC meeting, I also recommend that they not gerrymander the districts to protect the incumbents as they have repeatedly said over and over and over that they intend to do and desperately want to do. I also recommended that the City of Pensacola be contained all within a single district that includes all of the city and about 10,000 more people living in adjacent unincorporated areas. I oppose the BCC plans to divide the city up among three county districts so that two are represented by Republicans and one by a Democrat. That’s what the BCC said aloud is their goal – the city divided up among two Republican and one Democrat commissioner. The city covers less than 4% of the county and has less than 17% of its population. County Attorney Rogers announced at the November 3 BCC meeting that the “McMillan” federal court remedial order expired in 1988. She made that point again in an e-mail sent to the BCC on November 20. I found a copy posted to Chairman Bergosh’s blog. I raise the McMillan issue with the BCC in my letter because the commissioners have openly said that they are trying to pack more Blacks into a new District 3 to create a racially gerrymandered district to benefit Commissioner May. The record shows that the action is being done at the specific request of May. If McMillan no longer applies, then there are no legal grounds for affirmatively creating a racially gerrymandered Black majority-minority district and especially because the county’s Black population is only 21.4% with a majority living in the current Districts 1, 2, 4 and 5. Also, if McMillan no longer applies then should we have reverted after 1988 back to “at-large” election as in Santa Rosa County with all county voters again voting in all county elections? That seems a key question to answer first by looking at the remedial order or by formally asking the local federal court for clarification. As another twist, pre-McMillan the school board had seven members all elected “at-large” with five required to live in specific geographic residency areas and two allowed to live anywhere in the county. Should the 2022 school board have seven members (again) or the current five? You would think that the school board would want to know the answer to the question. I’ve not found any documentation that Supervisor of Elections Stafford’s role was any more than compiling data and drawing lines as directed. If any commissions believe that Stafford has certified that the proposed districting plan is legal then they should ask him that tonight.
    The BCC should hit the PAUSE button, resolve the constitutional and McMillan issues and then try again after Christmas. If they only want to immediately address in 2021 the problem of a 10.95% gap between the largest and smallest county districts, that is a simple fix. They just need to move some parts of District 1 into Districts 2 and 3. They can then do a more detailed redistricting effort in 2023 complete with meaningful town halls.

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