Pensacola's Grass Politics

Under the guise of frugal landscape management, the Pensacola City Council is poised to limit and restrict the use of Plaza Ferdinand VII. In doing so, they are stomping on our constitutional rights to assemble in public places.

There is no shortage of grass seed, sod, or landscapers in the area as far as I know. Just as there is no shortage bums that reside there.  The ‘shortage’ seems to be somewhere in City Hall. It smacks of a more nefarious way to limit public assembly for dissent or any other reason.

The constitutional right to assemble is not dependent upon the amount of money in the bank.

The matter will come before the City Council for a final yes/no vote on August 13. Locals should make plans to attend that council meeting and tell City Council what you think. I think that grass does not trump the constitution.

related link: Council moves to restrict use of Plaza Ferdinand VII

6 thoughts on “Pensacola's Grass Politics”

  1. She is probably right, from a horticultural perspective. But what is stopping the city from doing whatever maintenance may be needed to keep it presentable? It’s like having a new white sofa in the living room that you’re not allowed to sit in for fear of getting it dirty.

    It’s beginning to sound a bit ridiculous. Not you, them. It’s not unlike the stupid beach mouse that UWF repopulated on Perdido Key after hurricane Ivan wiped them out, contradicting the natural selection of nature that the environmentalist wackos seem to worship. So now the environmentalist wackos are making human development there impossible or prohibitively expensive with ‘fees’ for humans to use their own properties however they see fit, for the benefit of a mouse.

    So now, because grass might be trampled on and killed, the public park is supposed to be off limits?

    I suggest they contact a landscaper to see what they can do to maintain the park instead of closing it to public gatherings because they don’t want to maintain it. Wiggins Landscaping does a nice job on my lawn. I’m sure they could do the same for the city.

    How about this angle? If the city fathers see an area worn out because of public use, it would serve as a reminder to them that Americans/Pensacolans have a voice, and use it.

    They should be glad that the park is used so much that they need to increase their maintenance budget to keep it in a state that they want it to be in. Else live with what they got. IMHO, restricting access is not the answer.

  2. Ross: Just as a point of order, Susan Woolf is the Assistant City Attorney, not the Assistant City Manager. My error.

    Staff’s position is that those are the months in which the grass can best recover. Apparently it is legally doable. I’m not sure how I feel about it, personally. It’s a balancing act between public use for all and maintaining our most historically significant showcase park.

  3. Derek,
    My problem with this proposal is exactly this: “permits would only be issued in the months of June, July, and August, with a maximum of two events in each of those months.”

    Ms. Woolf’s decision to legislate public access as off limits 8 months/year is the problem and using grass as justification to do that is absurd.

    It’s not about Tea Parties. Its about the 1st amendment right to assemble 12 months/yr.

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  5. Ross: Just to clarify, the Assistant City Manager, Susan Woolf, who drafted the ordinance, has said that the City would not try to prohibit Constiutionally-protected gatherings, such as the “Tea Party” rally there earlier this year.

    That said, there are certainly many who would argue that, as publicly-owned space, it should be open for ANY use.

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