Did you know that in Pensacola, citizens have the power to force our city council to reconsider a vote, and if they don’t, to force a citywide referendum?

Yesterday, Mayor Robinson asked city council members to take $5 million in Local Option Sales Tax dollars from important infrastructure projects and instead use it as an incentive to help ST Aerospace — a multinational company owned by the Government of Singapore — expand its operations at Pensacola International Airport.

These are dollars that were meant to fund infrastructure things like sidewalks, bike lanes, drainage projects, parks, public safety equipment, and other critical needs. But despite Pensacola’s critical infrastructure needs, we’re being asked to use that money to essentially bribe a foreign government to create jobs here.

I told council members that, if they agreed to the mayor’s request, I would begin the process outlined in our city charter to force a referendum on the matter. Council members voted 4-3 to approve the request, and me being a man of my word, here we are.

The full “reconsideration” process is outlined in Sections 7.03-7.08 of our city charter — which you can review yourself at cityofpensacola.com/charter, but here is how is works, basically:

1. Ten city electors have to file an affidavit with the City Clerk forming a “petitioners’ committee.”
2. The petitioners’ committee must then get 10% of the city electorate (~3700 people) to sign a petition calling for the reconsideration of a measure. This to be done within 60 days.
3. If the petition threshold is met, the city council has 45 days to repeal the measure. If they don’t, it goes to a referendum to be held no less than 30 days and no more than 60 days past that point.

So — if you live in the city limits, and like me, believe that voters approved the LOST for infrastructure needs, not for corporate welfare — I’m asking for your help. I need nine fellow city residents to kickstart this process. Find me on Facebook or drop me an email at derek@cosson.me.

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