On August 9, 2016, downtown hotspot in Seville Quarter, Phineas Phoggs, hosted a candidate forum jointly sponsored by Pensacola Young Professionals, the Seville Rotary Club, and the Pensacola Propeller Club. The Pensacola Chamber of Commerce also participated in questioning the candidates. This blog post covers the two candidates for the Board of County Commissioners District 3, challenger Mirza AHMAD and incumbent Lumon MAY. It is a good thing this was a forum and not a debate. Had it been a heavyweight fight, Ahmad's cutman would have run out of towels and bandages as the blood would have spilt from cuts above both shut eyes, a broken nose, a few missing teeth, and bleeding ears. Ahmad has proven that he does not know the issues. He just throws stuff out hoping that his audience thinks that empty concepts and vacuous ideas will gain him votes. His big ideas for schools is an after-school training program. Superintendent Thomas, who spoke in the last tranche of candidates, explained that in the past eight years the number of technical academies located inside the high schools has grown from nine to sixty. One academy, established with the support of the National Flight Academy, comes with Federal Aviation Administration certification allowing graduates to work on aircraft. Is that vocational enough, Ahmad? In other words, Ahmad's idea is ridiculous. He does not know how the federal system works on transportation issues. May, on the other hand, explained that any improvements to the railroad system or the overall transportation system in the county, would require collaboration with the City, the Florida Department of Transportation, our representatives in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., and other stakeholders. Ahmad appears to have watched too many empty speeches where he thinks that he alone among all the elected officials in the county can fix deep rooted problems.
May is very self-effacing. He does not like to brag. What he did not tell the Pensacola Young Professionals (he's a former member) and the Seville Rotary Club members is that since 2013 he has secured at least $21 Million in program funds for District 3. This included sidewalks constructed ($445,556); drainage projects ($6,674,370); roadway and bridge projects ($9,832,522); resurfaced roads ($2,200,000); street lights ($236,000); a sewer project for Brownsville ($337,000); and, $1,300,000 to purchase the Brownsville Community Center and use it as a job training, recreation, and cultural arts facility. This specific project, begun this summer will be completed in January 2017. Plus, an intern program for the district. And many other accomplishments to numerous to list.
So, the next time someone says, "Lumon's done nothing for the district," give him or her this brief list. I will be writing up the complete list at a later time. May brings home the beef.
This blog post presents the District 3 BOCC candidate forum as it occurred: Opening statement by Mirza Ahmad; opening statement by Lumon May; the transportation question from the moderator from the Pensacola Propeller Club; closing statement from Mirza Ahmad; and, closing statement from Lumon May.
THE CANDIDATE FORUM
Mirza AHMAD, opening statement
Lumon MAY, opening statement
CSX Freight and Transportation Question
Mirza AHMAD, closing statement
Lumon MAY, closing statement