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Monday, September 26, 2016

Mirza AHMAD Ignores County Ordnances

On August 19, 2016, I wrote a blog post, "Mirza Ahmad Danger to Community."  That post spotlighted the documented fact that Escambia County's Code Enforcement had cited Mirza AHMAD for having an unlicensed junk yard at 2910 W Blount Street.  Among the many violations recorded, one was about attracting mosquitoes and rats.  The citation read:  "Section 42-196(a) Nuisance Conditions" poses a threat to the health and well being of residents of District 3--and his potential voters.  This county ordnance refers to the "creation or maintenance of any condition conducive to the breeding of rats, vermin, flies, mosquitos, or other anthropods that are capable of transmitting diseases directly or indirectly to humans.  Sec 42-197(a)  For conditions conducive to the breeding of rats, vermin, flies, mosquitos, or other anthropods: "Complete removal of all contributing conditions" [emphasis added].

Well, the saga continues and Mirza AHMAD, who is running against incumbent county commissioner Lumon MAY, continues to thumb his nose at the county's Code Enforcement and Planning and Zoning departments.

He is now engaged in stalling tactics.

To remedy the unsightly, not permitted junk yard, the county wanted all vehicles removed within ten days.  But, AHMAD could appeal and apply for a Development Plan Review.  This process requires a person to submit plans to the county's Planning and Zoning.  This department decides if the property's use complies with the county's land use zoning requirements.

Here is the timeline based on county records of AHMAD simply scheduling and missing meetings and trying to delay the process.  In the meantime, his unpermitted junk yard continues to pose a danger to the community because it attracts mosquitoes and rats.


26 JUL:   Notice of Violation issued for vehicles on property.

08 AUG:  AHMAD submits plan drawings one day LATE.  County rejects drawings.

22 AUG:  Pre-application for site review had been submitted on 17 AUG.  Meeting is schedule for two weeks.

31 AUG:  AHMAD misses pre-planning meeting with Development Plan Review.

08 SEP:  Development Plan Review meeting scheduled for 14 SEP.

14 SEP:  AHMAD misses Development Plan Review meeting.

Mirza AHMAD has missed two scheduled Development Plan review meetings.  The county is attempting to work with AHMAD and inform of the requirements needed to satisfy the county's Development Plan review.  County staff has accommodated all of his requests.  Still, he just blows them off.

Why is anyone taking AHMAD's political campaign for county commissioner seriously?

And yet some fairly prominent Black politicians are inexplicably tying their personal reputations to a businessman and political candidate who is unfit for office.  Mirza AHMAD cannot be bothered with complying with county ordnances--especially where he is cited for posing a danger to the community.

Hyperbole?  On 27 July 2016, on the very day that Code Enforcement cited Mirza AHMAD for violating a county ordnance about attracting mosquitoes and rats, the Pensacola News Journal reported that Escambia County had its second confirmed ZIKA case, citing the Florida Department of Health.

So, we have a businessman running for county commissioner who is operating an illegal junk yard that attracts mosquitoes that could carry the ZIKA virus and he is blithely endangering the community by missing Development Plan review meetings.

Why does not the Department of Health step in and tell him to remove his illegal junk vehicles immediately?  Why does this danger to the allowed to community persist?

Friday, September 23, 2016

"Been There, Done That" Hosts Meeting on Surviving Po-Po Encounter

On 22 September 2016, Pensacola group, "Been There, Done That," founded by Ms. Nicole Barnes and assisted by Baptist Behavioral Medicine therapist, Ms. Lashica Charley, and Nicole's daughter Deja, hosted a community meeting at the Englewood Baptist Church.  The purpose of the meeting was to explore how to survive an encounter with the local police.  Two local experts, attorney Aaron Watson and Pensacola Police Department Chief David Alexander, spoke for about 90 minutes and answered questions from the floor.  Chief Alexander spoke for a majority of the time and hoped there would be a larger community discussion of the complex issue of community policing.  "Been There, Done That" is planning more meetings for later in the year.

On each side of a civilian-police encounter is a situation fraught with uncertainty and danger, both experts agreed.  The civilian has constitutional rights.  The police have rights related to enforcing the law.  They may or may not violate your constitutional rights during the encounter.  Mr. Watson advocated that you comply with police commands and sort out your constitutional rights the next day.  The main focus should be to survive the encounter.

Attorney Watson provided a handout from the American Civil Liberties Union covering encounters with police, immigration, or the FBI if you are questioned, if they come to your home, and if you are arrested.  The following are just a few of the recommendations:

  • You have the right to remain silent.  If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.
  • You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car, or your home.
  • If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
  • You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested.  Ask for one immediately.
  • Do stay calm and be polite.
  • Do not interfere with or obstruct the police.
  • Do not lie or give false statements.
  • Do remember details of the encounter.
  • Do file a written complaint or call your local ACLU if you feel your rights have been violated.
  • Stay calm.  Don't run.  Don't argue, resist or obstruct the police, even if you are innocent or police are violating your rights.  Keep your hands where police can see them.
  • Ask if you are free to leave.  If the officer says yes, calmly and silently walk away.  If you are under arrest, you have a right to know why.
  • You have the right to remain silent and cannot be punished for refusing to answer questions.
  • You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but police may 'pat down' your clothing if they suspect a weapon.  You should not physically resist, but you the right to refuse consent for any further search.  If you do consent, it can affect you later in court.

Chief Alexander provided a checklist of 11 things to remember and do "When Confronted by a Law Enforcement Officer.  These are provided below in abbreviated form:

  • 1.  Keep your hands in plain view so the officer can see that you are not armed or pose an immediate threat to him.
  • 2.  Don't make any sudden moves, reach under a seat, reach into your pocket, put a hand inside a jacket, etc.  These furtive movements may alarm an officer that he is in danger.
  • 3.  If you have a firearm in your vehicle, inform the officer immediately of its location and let the officer remove and secure it during the encounter.  Under NO circumstances should you ever reach for the weapon.
  • 4.  Listen to the officers instructions and if you do not understand what he requires of you, ask him to repeat his request.
  • 5.  Do what the officer requests of you.
  • 6.  DO NOT take an aggressive or hostile position or attitude.
  • 7.  Answer the officer's questions honestly and as completely as you can.  If there is information you wish not to divulge, politely inform the officer you do not wish to provide that information.  If he insists and you are adamant in your position, invoke your legal right to not answer until you have spoken with an attorney.
  • 8.  Maintain and produce official identification when asked by an officer.
  • 9.  Don't argue with an officer.  You have the right to request to speak with a supervisor if you can't get answers to your questions.
  • 10.  No one likes to be stopped or questioned by law enforcement; however, remember these contacts are necessary if we are to provide for your safety and security and to enforce the laws we are sworn to uphold.
  • 11.  If you are detained and arrested DO NOT resist.  Remember, resistance could lead to additional charges even if you are innocent of the original charge.
If you listen to Attorney Watson, he advises that you NOT CONSENT to searches.  Protect your constitutional rights when answering questions from law enforcement.

As an editorial aside, Sheriff Morgan was invited to attend but apparently he declined or did not respond to the invitation.

Remember, Sheriff Morgan just won the Republican primary and he did not receive a single Democratic vote.  He apparently provided for some Black guy to enter the Democratic primary who then promptly skeedaddled and disappeared to points unknown--thus depriving Democrats of the opportunity to vote in the Republican primary.  The only time Sheriff Morgan comes into the Black community is when he goes to a Black church that has received funds from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund or otherwise gets ECSO support and the Sheriff can sing obscure Negro spirituals that no one remembers.

Below, are video presentations of the community meeting.

Ms. Nicole BARNES

Attorney Aaron WATSON