At its meeting this week, Pensacola’s Downtown Improvement Board voted to ask City Hall and Escambia County to split the cost to hire an attorney to write a new anti-panhandling ordinance.

What in the hell?

Isn’t this the same board that led the push for Pensacola’s last anti-panhandling ordinance just last year? You know, the unconstitutional one that the ACLU sued the city over, until the city, in the face of certain legal defeat, repealed it?

Isn’t this the same board that has mismanaged downtown parking into a complete and utter clusterfuck?

And now they want to pay an out-of-town lawyer to carefully design some convoluted law just so that we can sweep Pensacola’s poor out of sight instead of addressing the root causes?

I don’t know how it’s possible that the DIB hasn’t learned from its mistakes, or how the board’s priorities could be so bass-ackwards.

But after this week’s meeting, I do know one thing: it’s time for Mayor Grover Robinson and the city council to replace the entire DIB.

The folks on the DIB aren’t bad people. I know several of them personally, and I know that they want what’s best for downtown Pensacola. But the unelected board has proven time and time again that they are out of touch with the priorities of both citizens and our elected leaders.

After the DIB meeting, Mayor Robinson clapped back and told the DIB to focus on fixing the parking mess they’ve created. I’m glad he said that, but it’s not enough. It’s time for wholesale change at the DIB.

And while we’re at it, let’s make the board look a little bit more like Pensacola. Right now, each of the five DIB members are white, and the youngest person on the board is 51 years old. This is a great opportunity to make the DIB more diverse.

If you agree that the DIB’s priorities are irreversibly mixed up and that it’s time for the entire board to be replaced, I hope you’ll take a moment to sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/mayor-grover-robinson-replace-all-five-members-of-pensacola-s-downtown-improvement-board

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