It’s late …..and I’ve had too much to think – 8/24/06

August 24, 2006

EyeThe tale of two counties

The Escambia County Commissioners must live in a different county than the Escambia County I see. Right now commission chairman Mike Whitehead is caught up in taking financial oversight away from Clerk of Court Ernie Lee Magaha – a court battle Whitehead will surely lose.

There are rumors of a move to challenge this state legislature’s power over the SRIA so that the county commission can abolish it by a simple board vote. Political deals are being cut daily over zoning in the mid-Escambia County area.

Bill Dickson is ready to retire. Marie Young would rather bake cookies and do ribbon cuttings. Tom Banjanin is trying to convince people he’s holding down their taxes. And who knows who the hell Kevin White is?

Meanwhile the rate of death in the county is 20% greater than the rest of the state. We have working poor that can afford healthcare. A third of all children are homeless. School kids are depending on their schools to give them their only hot meals of the day. The county is so far behind in so many economic, health and educational indicators that Cuba looks like a better place to live than here.

And it’s the Wild West in the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff McNesby has paid more in lawsuit settlements the past year or so than the Escambia County spends on its public health clinics.

Yet the Commissioners continue to play their political games. They have a $31 million windfall due to property value increases, but we hear of no innovative programs to deal with any of our most pressing problems.

It is time we demand more of commissioners – the three that aren’t up for re-election are Mike Whitehead (district1@co.escambia.fl.us), Marie Young (district3@co.escambia.fl.us) and Kevin White (district5@co.escambia.fl.us). The two in office until December and who have a vote on the budget are Bill Dickson (district2@co.escambia.fl.us) and Tom Banjanin (district4@co.escambia.fl.us). You need to email each of them daily.

Nothing will change if we stay silent. Write them.

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