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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

DACA, LET IT BE

On September 5, 2017, as part of a nationwide show of solidarity with the Dreamers, also known as undocumented immigrants covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Grace Resendez McCaffery, of Costa Latina, pulled together local supporters in downtown Pensacola, Florida.

I STAND WITH DREAMERS, PENSACOLA




Three very courageous young ladies, all brought to the United States through harrowing, life-threatening journeys at very young ages up to 13-years old told their stories. Claudia, Sandra, and Jessica expressed how much the fear of being deported places their families under day-to-day stress. Without driver's licenses, their parents cannot risk driving to the store for groceries.

While they may be undocumented, those in DACA status are not criminals. In fact, in order to be covered by DACA, every Dreamer passed extensive criminal background checks. And, as long as they do not commit a crime, they will not be a priority for deportation for the Department of Homeland Security.

And, while they may be undocumented, two immigrant men, one covered by DACA, gave their lives for this country they love, trying to rescue victims of Hurricane Harvey.

But, the young immigrants also told stories that are quintessentially American immigrant stories. Being undocumented, their parents found whatever work they could, most likely repairing homes and infrastructure wrecked by Hurricane Ivan more than a decade ago when Escambia and Santa Rosa counties were devastated and locals were in need of salvage work and home repairs. Ever since, they have lived in the shadows ever fearful of deportation.

As children, the three young ladies from three different families told of working hard in school, studying, and while in college working to put themselves through college. Claudia, now married to an American and applying for citizenship, came to America when she was 13 not knowing a word of English. Now, 28, she is a college graduate.

While working, they pay federal, state and local taxes, but they receive no social welfare benefits. They cannot purchase health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. They paid for their own schooling because they were not eligible for scholarships. All America has ever expected of its immigrants is to work hard and contribute to society. The Dreamers, and there are nearly 800,000 of them, are either proudly serving in the military, attending college, or working. For all intents and purposes, they are Americans except for their certificate of citizenship.

Jessica, Claudia, and Sandra openly expressed how much they love the only country they have ever known. Sandra, who came here as an infant from Mexico, knows nothing of Mexico. Jessica knows nothing of Mexico. Their entire lives are focused on making a better lives for their families and their eventual children. They want to be good citizens, raise solid families, pay their taxes, and vote.

According to the New York Times, here is what we know:

"Those who have DACA status can keep it until it expires. Beneficiaries whose status expires before March 5, 2018 can renew their two-year deportation protection and work permit by Oct. 5. There are approximately 200,000 people in this group, the last to benefit from the program, which will fully expire in 2020.

Unless Congress acts in their favor, DACA recipients will begin to lose protection March 6, 2018. They will no longer be eligible for lawful employment and they will be deportable. However, recipients who renew their status before March 6 can continue to work for the length of their renewal, which may be up to two years."

Claudia, Sandra, and Jessica, and nearly 800,000 Dreamers are now in legal limbo.

But, we can change their legal limbo. We can call our Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson and Representative Matt Gaetz and tell them we want the U.S. Congress to fix this problem.

Senator Rubio's phone number in DC is (202) 224-3041. His office number in Florida is (407) 254-2573.

Senator Nelson's phone number in DC is (202) 224-5274. His office number in Florida is (561) 514-0189.

Representative Matt Gaetz's phone number in DC is (202) 225-4136. His office number in Pensacola is (850) 479-1183.

As Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, stated, in part, in his press release on DACA: 

"At the heart of this issue are young people who came to this country through no fault of their own, and for many of them it’s the only country they know. Their status is one of many immigration issues, such as border security and interior enforcement, which Congress has failed to adequately address over the years. It is my hope that the House and Senate, with the president’s leadership, will be able to find consensus on a permanent legislative solution that includes ensuring that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute as a valued part of this great country."

The struggle continues.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

SHERIFF MORGAN'S MERITOCRACY PROBLEM

Among the many problems inside the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, one problem has escaped public notice--the lack of Black sheriff deputies and Black civilians.

Related to this lack of diversity is the appearance that promotion to the rank of Captain--a position or paygrade that has zero qualifications listed in the "Rules of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office" dated March 8, 2013, and released to CJ's Street Report on March 11, 2016--is a political plum job for a sworn law enforcement officer of unswerving allegiance to Sheriff Morgan. Loyalty to the Sheriff appears to be the primary determinant of promotion to Captain rather than competence.

On page  40 of the "Rules," there are qualifications for promotion to Lieutenant from Sergeant, but the rank of Captain is not listed.  Sheriff Morgan can promote a deputy to captain for any reason he wants to, and reserves the right to fire a captain for any reason he wants to.  This is how Sheriff Morgan perpetuates cronyism, favoritism, toadyism, and general incompetence within the ECSO.  The reason why deputies leave the ECSO is simple--they cannot stand the work environment created by Sheriff Morgan and enforced by his chief deputies.  A simple look at data from the Sheriff's Office and the promotion of two white sergeants to captain provide a glimpse into this putrid work environment.

According to July 2016 Census Bureau estimates, 23% of the population of Escambia County is Black, with Hispanics at 5.6%, Asians at 3%, and whites were 64.8%.

However, the ECSO released its Equal Opportunity Log to CJ's Street Report on January 31, 2017.  Of the 389 law enforcement personnel, from Deputy Sheriff Trainee to Sheriff, 341 were white (87.6%) and 27 were Black (6.9%).

Of the ECSO's civilian staff (excluding schools), 189 of 231 (81.8%) were white and 12.9% were Black.

Thus, white deputies and civilians are over-represented in the ECSO while Black law enforcement and civilian personnel are under-represented--by around 50% compared to the Census data.  This is a government agency--the one making life and death decisions on the streets of the county--that does not represent the diversity of the county.

The EEO Log also reveals that above the rank of Lieutenant, there is not one Black law enforcement officer responsible for supervising a division. Not one.

Of the 12 captains, 11 are white and 1 is Asian.

In December 2016, Sheriff Morgan, Chief Deputy Simmons, and Chief Deputy Haines managed to promote two white sergeants--Andrew Nelson HOBBS and David Owen INGRAM Jr.--to Captain with a rank of Major. While captain is their grade, major comes with additional assignment pay, much like receiving combat pay or airborne pay.  A major's assignment pay is worth roughly another $1,500 per month on top of the pay for a captain.

The annual pay for a Sergeant (class code 6136) ranges from $44,483 to $66,724, for Fiscal Year 2015-2016.  The annual pay for a Lieutenant (code 6137) ranges from $52,320 to $78,481. And, the annual pay for a captain (code 6138), and excluding assignment pay, ranges from $73,223 to $109,835.

Thus, assuming that the two white sergeants were within the middle of the Sergeant's payscale at roughly $55,000 and they were promoted to the bottom of the Captain's payscale (excluding Major's assignment pay), they each received roughly an $18,000 pay hike for simply being white and loyal.

Why is this the wage of just being white and loyal?

Because they were promoted over at least one Black Lieutenant, two Asian Lieutenants, and one Hispanic Lieutenant (see EEO Log).  Moreover, on the "2016 Official Promotional Law Enforcement List," Sergeant HOBBS was ranked 12th on the list to be promoted to Lieutenant and Sergeant INGRAM was not even ranked for promotion.  In other words, even if they had been promoted to Lieutenant, they were not as qualified as other personnel on the approved list.

Thus, both HOBBS and INGRAM not only jumped over 3 minority Lieutenants, they also jumped over Sergeants who were more qualified to become Lieutenants.

When Sheriff Morgan ran for office he touted himself as an opponent of the "Good Ole Boy" network.  We can now see Sheriff Morgan for what he really is.  He and his two chief deputies are more than willing to perpetuate the corrupt GOB game, but this game has serious negative effects on people of color in terms of promotions and income growth.  A pay raise of perhaps $18,000 would certainly help a person put a down payment on a house or pay medical bills or save for their children's college education.

That the promotions of HOBBS and INGRAM came at the expense of arguably three more qualified minority Lieutenants and other Sergeants suggest that Morgan, Simmons, and Haines are the primary reason deputy sheriffs are leaving the ECSO.

Whatever the motivations of Morgan, Simmons, and Haines in promoting less-qualified or unqualified personnel over minorities and other more qualified Sergeants indicates to the rank-and-file that studying hard, playing by the rules, and sacrificing to get ahead really do not matter.  What really matters is whether you are undyingly loyal to Sheriff Morgan.  What really matters is that you campaign for Sheriff Morgan's re-election.  What really matters is that your wife works as the Sheriff's secretary.

Why are sheriff deputies leaving the ECSO?  Because Morgan, Haines, and now Simmons poison the work environment with their corrupt favoritism and cronyism.

While the Board of County Commissioners grapple with increasing pay for deputies--which would also benefit the top-heavy, virtually all-white management--perhaps the commissioners might want to examine why deputies leave the ECSO in droves and why Sheriff Morgan promotes less qualified candidates over more qualified candidates.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

CANNADA-WYNN ROLE IN CLOSING MORRIS COURT PARK

INTRODUCTION

This is the sixth article on the closure of Morris Court Park.  It is based almost entirely on emails released to CJ's Street Report under W001859-051217 which requested "documentation generated by or received by the Office of the Mayor (and subordinates) regarding Morris Court Park between January 1, 2016 and May 12, 2017."

This evidence is incontrovertible.  District 7 City Council member Jewel CANNADA-WYNN was a key player performing three substantive roles: (1) she was the go-between the Office of the Mayor and the Area Housing Commission, (2) she helped concoct the cover story that criminal activity was the reason for the closure and proposed transfer, and, (3) she was to mislead the community by putting them under the impression that nothing was amiss--particularly before the November 2016 election.

This article is written in two forms--short and long.  The short version is a succinct summary of all the events related to the closure and proposed transfer of Morris Court Park from the City of Pensacola to the Area Housing Commission, emphasizing Cannada-Wynn's role.  The long version goes into more detail and explanation.  Links to the evidence can be found in the long version.

SHORT VERSION

Criminal activity in and around Morris Court Park was the concocted cover story used to justify closing Morris Court Park and eventually transferring control from the City of Pensacola to the Area Housing Commission [AHC].

Criminal activity, both drug- and gang-related, originated with the head of the Area Housing Commission, Dr. SINGH.  Dr. Singh held a meeting in late June 2016 with Mr. Brian COOPER, director of Parks and Recreation, and Assistant Police Chief Timothy LYTER to discuss the criminal situation at Morris Court Park.  The outcome of this discussion is not known.

Eight months later, in early March 2017, Cannada-Wynn sent a request for Pensacola Police crime data for Morris Court Park to Mr. Eric OLSON, City Administrator.  Cannada-Wynn's request for crime data came after the Area Housing Commission's board of directors had already voted in February 2017 to request the city transfer the park to its control.  On March 9th, that request was fulfilled within 100 minutes when the PPD emailed Olson 29 pages of crime data.  The PPD provided no analysis, no conclusions, and no recommendations.

In November 2016, Cannada-Wynn told the Westside Redevelopment Board that she was working with the community to "institute a plan to deal with some of the concerns."  This was a misleading statement, at best.  The only concerns about criminal activity had come from the Area Housing Commission and the only plan Cannada-Wynn was working on was the plan to close the park under false pretenses and transfer the park from the City of Pensacola's control to the Area Housing Commission.

At every step in the process to close Morris Court Park and transfer the park from the City of Pensacola to the Area Housing Commission, District 7 City Council member Jewel Cannada-Wynn was deeply involved.  She held meetings with the Area Housing Commission to convey information and/or requests from the mayor's office.  She was instrumental in requesting five years of crime data related to Morris Court Park, a request that most likely originated with Dr. Singh as a cover story for the park's closure.  She coordinated and conferred with the Area Housing Commission and the Office of the Mayor.  She was briefed by the mayor's office.  There is essentially no part of the process that Cannada-Wynn was not involved.  Moreover, she mislead her constitutents about the process and the intended outcome.

LONG VERSION

The Criminal Activity Cover Story

On June 21, 2016, Dr. Abe SINGH, Director of the Area Housing Commission, sent an email to Mr. Brian COOPER, Director of Parks and Recreation, raising concerns about people "experimenting with drugs, breaking into neighboring buildings, stealing cars and gang fighting. These individuals are using the park as their 'hangout' arena."  In the email he was requesting a meeting with then Chief of Police David ALEXANDER and Assistant Police Chief Timothy LYTER.

On July 1, 2016, in response to a request from Cannada-Wynn to close Morris Court Park for the upcoming holiday weekend duty to Facebook indications of future criminal activity, Mr. Eric OLSON, City Administrator, reported that in late June Singh, APC Lyter, and Cooper had met and discussed the criminal situation around Morris Court Park.

Olson's email told Cannada-Wynn that "Morris Court Park is being closed and will remain closed until the Parks & Recreation Department can complete its planned maintenance (that may take several weeks).  All the gates have been chained and locked and signs were going up this afternoon."  We know of no maintenance that was done at Morris Court Park.

In short, the criminal activity around Morris Court Park was the cover story, the fig leaf, the plausible excuse, for closing the park and transferring the property to the Area Housing Commission--a cover story that apparently originated with the Area Housing Commission.

This interpretation of a cover story becomes abundantly clear when it is demonstrated that 8 months would go by before the Office of the Mayor and Cannada-Wynn actually requested crime data for the area.  Moreover, Cannada-Wynn would request the crime data after the Area Housing Commission's board of directors had already approved requesting the property's transfer.

On March 5, 2017, Cannada-Wynn informed Olson that she had requested Pensacola Police crime data for Morris Court Park.  Specifically, Cannada-Wynn requested the "number of complaints for the last five years for Morris Court Park.
Please include the types of calls, deaths, arrests, citations, assaults, batteries/trespassing/gang activity etc.  I need the information for an action item for April."


On March 9, 2017, within a period of 100 minutes, from 1426H when Olson sent Cannada-Wynn's request to Chief Alexander to 1606H when Ashley JONES from the PPD emailed Olson 29 pages of data for crimes reported at 1200 N W Street, 1301 N M Street, and 1401 W Lloyd Street, Cannada-Wynn's request for crime data was satisfied.

According to the released crime data, there was no analysis of the crime data and there were no recommendations from the Pensacola Police Department.  CJ's Street Report will be doing a separate analysis of the crime data.

Cannada-Wynn's role in misleading the community and giving them a false impression can be seen in the minutes of the November 15, 2016, board meeting of the Westside Redevelopment Board.  According to the minutes of the meeting, "Ms. Cannada-Wynn indicated there was a concern with activities at the Morris Court Park, and it has been difficult for the neighborhood.  She has been working with the neighborhood to institute a plan to deal with some of the concerns."

The only demonstrable "concern with actitivities" came from the Area Housing Commission who wanted the park transferred back to its ownership under the ruse of drug and gang activity at the park, and there is no record she had been working with the "neighborhood...to deal with some of the concerns."

In fact, it is only November 30, 2016, that Cannada-Wynn announced a community meeting scheduled for December 7, 2016, a meeting that appears on the Office of the Mayor's weekly update as an important action item.  In other words, Cannada-Wynn's role is to put the community's concerns asleep with a soothing bedtime story.

The Choreography of the Transfer

We have already established that Dr. Singh, head of the Area Housing Commission, Brian Cooper, director of Parks and Recreation, and Assistant Police Chief Lyter met in late June 2016 to discuss the crime situation at Morris Court Park.  On July 1, 2016, as a result of that meeting and Cannada-Wynn's request to close the park temporarily, Morris Court Park was closed for "planned maintenance."

On August 4, 2016, Cannada-Wynn emailed Olson informing him that she had "had a meeting with Area Housing in ref. to Morris Court.  I would like to meet with you to discuss the meeting."

On September 16, 2016, Dr. Singh sent a letter to Mr. Keith Wilkins, Assistant City Administrator, suggesting that Morris Court Park be returned to the Area Housing Commission.

The documentary evidence is dispositive that Cannada-Wynn's meeting with Dr. Singh was instrumental to the process of transferring control of Morris Court Park to the Area Housing Commission.  Dr. Singh only mentions his prior meeting with Cannada-Wynn, which we now know happened between July 1, 2016, and August 4, 2016.  Cannada-Wynn still has not  disclosed when this meeting took place.

According to a February 28, 2017, weekly update on the status of the Morris Court Park transfer, in addition to a revised legal opinion on Morris Court Park, apparently in reaction to an inquiry from Mr. Don KRAHER on the legal status of the park, it is noted that Cannada-Wynn has been tasked to "confer with AHC" [Area Housing Commission].

It is after the tasking to confer with the Area Housing Commission that Cannada-Wynn submits her request for five years of criminal data.  One can surmise this request originated with Dr. Singh who had originally raised this issue in June 2016.

On March 28, 2017, the legal transfer of Morris Court Park is put on the agenda of the City Council.  The originator is the Office of the Mayor.

Proof that the criminal data had absolutely no bearing on the closing and transfer of Morris Court Park to the Area Housing Commission comes from a March 21, 2017, email from Dr. Singh to Mr. WILKINS, Assistant City Administrator.  Singh informed Wilkins, "Keith, I presented this transaction to our board last month and they agreed to take back the land in discussion, thanks."

In short, the Area Housing Commission's board approved the transfer in February 2017--before Cannada-Wynn requested the crime data.  Some time in late February 2017 Cannada-Wynn had been tasked to "confer with AHC."  It is reasonable to assume that Cannada-Wynn requested the five years of crime data at the behest of Dr. Singh.  It is also reasonable to assume that the crime data is a fig leaf, a cover story.

Between April and May 2017, the Office of the Mayor was waiting for the Area Housing Commission's board to make a decision or provide guidance.  It is not clear.

We do know that an action item from the mayor office's in early April was to "coord w/JCW."  In mid-April, the mayor's office was awaiting some action by the Area Housing Commission's board for a possible transfer of the property at a May City Council meeting.  They mayor's office was waiting for the AHC board to meet on April 27th to effect the transfer at a June City Council meeting.  And we know from the last email we received in the Public Records Request, that the AHC board did meet on April 27th, the mayor's office was contacting the AHC staff, and that Cannada-Wynn was to be briefed on the developments.

CONCLUSION

In summary, at every step in the process to close Morris Court Park and transfer the park from the City of Pensacola to the Area Housing Commission, District 7 City Council member Jewel Cannada-Wynn was deeply involved.  She held meetings with the Area Housing Commission to convey information and/or requests from the mayor's office.  She was instrumental in requesting five years of crime data related to Morris Court Park, a request that most likely originated with Dr. Singh as a cover story for the park's closure.  She coordinated and conferred with the Area Housing Commission and the Office of the Mayor.  She was briefed by the mayor's office.  There is essentially no part of the process that Cannada-Wynn was not involved.  Moreover, she mislead her constitutents about the process and the intended outcome.

Monday, June 5, 2017

CANNADA-WYNN TO ENDORSE MAYOR ASHTON

According to leading African American community activists, they are hearing from sources inside City Hall that Democratic City Council member Jewel CANNADA-WYNN is expected to endorse Pensacola mayor Ashton HAYWARD, perhaps as soon as this week.  These reports cannot be confirmed.  Cannada-Wynn stopped answering my phone calls back in May.

But, these unconfirmed reports do make sense in the context of everything Cannada-Wynn has done to close Morris Court Park and deceive her constitutents throughout her successful re-election campaign in 2016.

Previous public disclosures and CJ's Street Report articles have proven that Cannada-Wynn had at least one meeting with Dr. SINGH, head of the Area Housing Commission (AHC), prior to September 16, 2016 to discuss returning Morris Court Park to the AHC.

Both Cannada-Wynn and Dr. Singh have failed to comply with public records requests (PRR) to specify when that prior meeting(s) occurred.

In response to my PRR W001587-051217 asking for "the specific date of this meeting prior to September 16, 2016.... includ[ing] letters, emails, memoranda, and calendar or diary entries of the meeting" all I received was information already in the public domain that shed no light on any prior meeting(s) between Cannada-Wynn and Dr. Singh.

I also submitted PRR W001858-051217 coming at the problem a different way.  In this request, I asked for "all documentation generated by or received by the Area Housing Commission regarding Morris Court Park from 1 January 2016 to 12 May 2017."

The information I received was the same given for W001587-051217.

In other words, neither Cannada-Wynn nor Dr. Singh want to disclose when they met prior to September 16, 2016.  Now, the language "prior meeting" does not necessarily exclude that there was more than one meeting.  The "prior meeting" could mean the last meeting in a series of meetings.

I also submitted PRR W001859-051217 to determine who ordered Morris Court Park closed and when did they issue that order.  Specifically, I requested "documentation generated by or received by the Office of the Mayor (and subordinates) regarding Morris Court Park between January 1, 2016 and May 12, 2017.  And, to request all documentation received by or generated by the Parks and Recreation Department regarding Morris Court Park specifically focused on the closure of the park. This would include any instructions, directives, and guidance to close the park."

And I received, wait for it, nothing.  So, Morris Court Park is ordered closed and there is not one piece of paper, not a post-it note, in the Mayor's office or in the Department of Parks and Recreation ordering the park closed.

Apparently, everyone in Pensacola's city government operates by telepathy, or, they communicate via means not susceptible to discovery via Public Records Requests.

Then, CJ's Street Report discovered through a search of Florida's online public records that neither the man, James A. Wolfe, nor the company, Wolfe Construction located on Nine Mile Road, were certified as contractors.  On February 20, 2013, James A. Wolfe, or whoever he is, filed a fictitious name document with Florida's Secretary of State.  Two days later, he acquired a tax account for Escambia County.  And, by March 23, 2013 the City of Pensacola issued a Purchase Order to Wolfe Construction for $90,510 to improve three city parks.

I then submitted PRR W001865-051717 asking for "Records of all City inspections and approvals of work done by Wolfe Construction on Morris Court Park in 2013."

The response from the city was that "there are no responsive records or documents to your request for public records."

So, a man named "James A. Wolfe," who may or may not actually exist, creates a fictitious company called "Wolfe Construction" located on Nine Mile Road, gets a contract in excess of $90,000 in just over a month after declaring this company exists, improves three parks, and the City of Pensacola has no records of design approvals, permits, or inspections.

What does that suggest?

It suggests one of two possibilities.  One, "James A. Wolfe" was someone closely connected to a city official or city employee who manipulated and exploited the city for profit.  Two, "James A. Wolfe" was a city employee or city official who could manipulate and exploit the city for profit.

Of course, Wolfe Construction of Nine Mile Road did, in fact, make improvements to Morris Court Park, and presumably Armstrong Park and Estramadura Park.  If the company had not done those improvements, surely an investigation would have been warranted.  But, since the improvements were done, no one bothered to look at or for the documentation.

Is the closure of the park and deeding the park back to the Area Housing Commission related?  I do not know.  That may be doubtful.

But, the history of the City of Pensacola's machinations and backroom deals related to Morris Court Park suggest that one cannot rule it out.

What is clear is that the City of Pensacola--the Mayor's Office, Cannada-Wynn, and Dr. Singh of the Area Housing Commission--want to provide the public as little information as possible about Morris Court Park.

The mayor also wants to give Cannada-Wynn all the credit for saving the park and having it refurbished.  That is an outright lie.

Public pressure from community activists and County Commissioner Lumon MAY forced the mayor and Cannada-Wynn to back out of the agreement with the Area Housing Commission.  Throughout 2016 and into 2017 Cannada-Wynn has been double-dealing and selling-out her constituents.

So, it is entirely plausible that Cannada-Wynn will endorse the mayor's re-election bid this week or some time in the future.  She has tied her fortunes to the mayor's.  She has proven that her loyalty to the mayor takes precedence over her duty to her constituents.

And, rumor also has it that the mayor and Cannada-Wynn are planning to close Kiwanis Park located on W Romana Street.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

MORRIS COURT PARK: CITY'S GROSS INCOMPETENCE

INTRODUCTION

This is the fourth article on Mayor Hayward's and Council member Cannada-Wynn efforts to close Morris Court Park, deed it back to the Area Housing Commission, and deprive children of a safe, clean park to play in after-school, on weekends, and during the summer. Their efforts are unconscionable.  The City awarded a contract to a company that was not a certified construction company run by a man who was not a certified contractor.  Second, given the simplicity of the structures built, the City wildly overpaid.

The first three articles can be found here: "UWF's Parks Assessment Study Reconsidered;" "Cannada-Wynn Abandons Children in Morris Court;" and, "Cannada-Wynn Coverup on Morris Court Park?."

The "Assessment" article determined that the Mayor is using the University of West Florida's study to close community parks.  However, not only is the UWF assessment flawed, but it's claims about the unsustainability of the city's parks is unsubstantiated.  The UWF omits any discussion of class and race related to city parks.  And, as will be shown in this article, the City's mayor, and directors of Public Works and Parks & Recreation spend money very unwisely.

The second article observed that Cannada-Wynn had been misleading her constitutents for several months, assuring them she was concerned about the park while she worked with the mayor's office and the Area Housing Commission (AHC) to close the park and return it to the AHC.

The third article noted that Cannada-Wynn has refused to divulge how many meetings she had with the Area Housing Commission and when those meetings took place. She has not divulged that information in response to a Public Records Request, nor after I told the City Council at a Boyd Forum that her information was not forthcoming, and after a second Public Records Request.

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that the mayor's claim, based on the UWF assessment, that the city's park system is "unsustainable" is highly questionable.  In fact, the mayor and the two key directors demonstrate they are grossly incompetent in the execution of the contract to improve Morris Court Park and over-spent taxpayer's money.

NO DUE DILIGENCE WORTHY OF NAME

Had city officials conducted fifteen minutes of due diligence they would not have awarded a contract of $90,510 on March 27, 2013, to a man, James A. Wolfe, and a construction company, Wolfe Construction, that did not have a contractor's license and was not a certified construction company.

In fact, they awarded that contract to improve three city parks to a man who had only filed a fictitious name document with the Secretary of State on February 20, 2013.  Two days later, he filed for a business tax account with Escambia County.  That business tax account was closed on January 9, 2014.

Neither "James A. Wolfe" nor "James Wolfe" nor "Wolfe Construction" at Nine Mile Road were certified contractors, according to records at the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation.

What explains how a man without a contractor's license and without a certified construction company, can get a contract for $90,510 to improve three city parks?  The first thought is rank incompetence by the mayor and his directors of Public Works and Parks & Recreation.  The second thought is that someone in the city government was a witting or unwitting accomplice in this negligent activity.

Not only did the business tax account expire in January 2014, but the Mayor and the Department of Public Works continue, as of 2017, to include Wolfe Construction at Nine Mile Road as a bonafide vendor in contacts worth millions of dollars.  Wolfe Construction is listed in the February 2017 contract for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program Baywoods Gully Phase II, but also the April 2017 contracts for the Bayou Chico Stormwater Treatment Enhancement Project and the Pensacola Airport Fuel Farm Road Reconstruction.

Wolfe Construction has not been in business for over three years.  In fact, the only valid thing about Wolfe Construction is that its fictitious name filing is still valid.  Can the mayor and the director claim they are doing due diligence?    Of course not.  This is rank incompetence.

And, when it comes to university professors opining about what is sustainable and unsustainable, perhaps they should first consider how much the mayor and the Director of Public Works wasted just on the improvements for Morris Court Park.

CITY WILDLY OVER-PAID FOR MODEST IMPROVEMENTS

The invoice for Morris Court Park was for $42,236.  For that price, Wolfe Construction built two dugouts, one shade structure over benches, two picnic structures, and a new sidewalk (5' x 120').  Very simple construction.

Wolfe Construction bought, for all three parks, materials worth $5,533, of which $2,192 was for Morris Court Park.  Wolfe Construction did not pay one penny for those materials.  The costs of those materials were deducted from the final payment of the contract.  Home Depot and American Concrete Supply billed the Department of Public Works directly.  All Wolfe Construction had to do was distribute the costs between the three parks.

How much profit did "James A. Wolfe" and "Wolfe Construction" make on the Morris Court Park improvement?  Probably around $25,000 for that one park.

If you use the standard accounting calculations from the Business Economics website run by a certified public accountant, the Final Net Profit after direct and indirect costs, overhead, and taxes was $3848.

The calculations using the Business Economics model for a residential contractor looks like this: Adjusted Contract Price is $41,640. Cost of Construction is $24,884 (60%), though in this case that is wildly inflated.  Direct Margin of 40% is $16,656.  Indirect Cost, 21% of ACP is $8,744.  Gross Overhead, 7% of ACP is $2,195.  Gross Profit Before Taxes, 12% of ACP is $4,997.  Notice that these three components add up to the Direct Margin of 40%.  Taxes (23%) on Gross Profit is $1,149.  That leaves a Final Net Profit of $3,848.

But, Wolfe Construction does not appear to be a normal construction company with investments in equipment and trucks.  Wolfe Construction appears to have been a one-man operation run out of an office on Nine Mile Road.  At worst, Wolfe had to cover office rent, telephone, and maybe a receptionist for a few months.  Wolfe Construction could have subcontracted the concrete work (four bases and sidewalk) and the five wooden structures.  There were no materials costs.

For all three parks, using the Business Economics calculations, the Final Net Profit would have been $8,363.  But, the other two parks added just four shade structures and two more sidewalks.  So, out of $90,510, Wolfe Construction could be looking at a total profit of $54,000 for all three parks.

Now, given how little due diligence the City of Pensacola did in awarding a contract to Wolfe Construction and given how little work was actually probably done by Wolfe Construction, a profit of $54,000 appears excessive.

So, before City officials and university professors start talking about what is "sustainable," the City Council ought to investigate how much the departments of Public Works and Parks & Recreation wasted giving a contract to an unqualified company that may or may not have had a witting or unwitting partner in city government.

And, two further points.

One, the building of the two dugouts was a complete waste of money on two grounds.  For one thing, baseball has not been played at Morris Court Park for at least a decade, according to informed sources.  And, for another thing, dugouts are intended to protect players from batted and thrown balls.  These two dugouts do neither.  The players are completely unprotected.

The two dugouts:

DUGOUT: FIRST BASE SIDE

DUGOUT: THIRD BASE SIDE

Second, no one in Parks & Recreation bothered to ask the residents and the children who use the park what they wanted in terms of a facility upgrade.  We know that the City did not spend money on equipment, as the City Council specified.  Pictures of the basketball court and the playground equipment show wear and tear.  In the case of the playground equipment, it should have been replaced.  In the case of the basketball courts, they should have been repaired.





















And, here are pictures of the two other picnic/shade structures with concrete bases and the shade structure over benches that need to be repaired or replaced so that children and adults do not rip their clothes while sitting on them.











Friday, May 19, 2017

White Privilege and Racial Microaggressions

On May 18, 2017, Dr. Julie Patton of the University of West Florida's Department of Social Work's Race & Reconciliation project hosted a talk on "White Privilege" by Dr. Chris Cotten.  The talk attracted a capacity crowd at the J. Earle Bowden Building.

Below is the presentation as it happened.

Dr. Julie PATTON and Community Announcements

Introduction of Dr. Chris COTTEN

Dr. Cotten, Part 1

Dr. Cotten, Part 2

Dr. Cotten, Part 3

YouTube Video on Microaggressions

Dr. Cotten, Part 4

Dr. Cotten, Part 5

Dr. Cotten, Part 6

Questions and Answers, Part 1

Questions and Answers, Part 2

Questions and Answers, Part 3

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Civil Citations in Florida Circuit 1

On May 13, 2017, the Pensacola chapter of the League of Women Voters held a business meeting at the Pensacola Yacht Club.  The group's Education Committee, headed by Dr. Paula MONTGOMERY, featured Mr. Paul WALLIS, Chief Probation Officer of the 1st Judicial Circuit as guest speaker.  This speech is part of the League of Women Voters pipeline-to-prison project of its Education Committee.

Mr. Wallis has at least 30 years of experience in the criminal justice system, including the last 10 years as Chief Probation Officer for Florida's Judicial Circuit 1.  This circuit includes Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties.  Mr. Wallis has served with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office (9 years), the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office (3 years), the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (18 years), as the Assistant Superintendent of Okaloosa Regional Detention Center (3 years), the Superintendent of Escambia Regional Detention Center (4 years), and the Regional Director South Region of Detention Services (10).





The following videos cover the event as it happened.

Introduction: Dr. Paula Montgomery

Mr. Paul Wallis, Chief Probation Officer, Circuit 1















Q&A: Distribution of Citations

Q&A: Status of Students

Q&A: Incentives of Officers

Q&A: Citations in Other States

Q&A: Community Service

Q&A: Fees and Penalties

Q&A: Citations and School Records

Andy Marlette Gift to Speaker