Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Letter to Mayor Hayward

Today I composed two letters to Mayor Ashton Hayward regarding the use of the city's Tree Trust Fund, and the City's use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides on city land and facilities. The first letter regarding the tree fund is published below:

Sherri Myers

Councilwoman, Pensacola City Council, District 2
526 Parker Dr, Pensacola Florida 32524
(850) 484-0902, SherriM@pensacola.ci.fl.us

January 23, 2011

Mayor Ashton Hayward
Office of the Mayor
180 Governmental Center
P.O. Box 12910
Pensacola, Florida 32521

Dear Mayor Hayward,


By way of this letter, I am making three request: (1) an open record request, (2) an audit of the City of Pensacola’s Tree Trust Fund, (3) a moratorium on the expenditure of any funds from the Tree Trust Fund until an audit and a review of the city’s past, present and future policies regarding the use of the Tree Trust Fund have been completed.

This is an open record request pursuant to Florida Statute 119. The term “record” is to be construed liberally to include all records, written, recorded, electronic, and oral communications that have been memorialized in any manner.

This open record request seeks to obtain information regarding the source of all funds the City of Pensacola has use since January 2005 for the purchase and planting of trees, shrubs and other forms of vegetation. Please make available for inspection the following records:

1. Records that reflect all funding sources used by the City of Pensacola for the purchase of trees, shrubs, and other vegetation since January 2005.

2. Records that reflect the source and amount of all funds received from any source for tree and reforestation mediation due to Hurricane Ivan or any other natural disaster since January 2005.

3. As to paragraph 2, provide all records that reflect how and where those funds were spent, including the types of trees, shrubs or vegetation purchased.

4. Records that reflect the amount of funds received for tree and/or reforestation remediation from any source connected with, or resulting from, improvements to I-110, or any other road improvement project.

5. As to paragraph 4, all records that reflect how and where those funds were spent, including the types of trees, shrubs or vegetation purchased.

6. Records that reflect the source and amount of all funds placed in the Tree Trust Fund since 2005.

7. Records that reflect the amount of tree remediation funds the City of Pensacola received from the development on Bayou Blvd, which includes the Rave Theater, and other commercial properties on the site.

8. Records that reflect the amount of tree remediation funds the City of Pensacola received from the development on Airport Blvd., known as “Cobblestone” .

9. Records that reflect the amount of tree remediation funds the City of Pensacola received from the development at Airport and North Davis Hwy. that includes “Rooms to Go”, as well as other establishments.

10. As to paragraphs 7, 8 and 9, provide all records of whatever kind that reflect how those funds have been spent, including the types of trees, shrubs and vegetation purchased and planted.

11. As to all of the above paragraphs, please provide records that reflect funds expended for purchases other than trees, shrubs and vegetation.

12. Records that reflect the status and amount of funds presently in the City’s Tree Trust Fund.

13. Records that reflect any plans for the use of the funds that are currently in the City’s Tree Trust Fund.

14. Records of correspondence, e-mails and other forms of communication between any persons, City staff or any other persons affiliated with the City of Pensacola regarding the use of the Tree Trust Fund.

Please make these records available for inspection in an area that is free of “air-fresheners” and other such forms of air pollution.

Please contact me, either personally or through your designee, to arrange a time for the inspection of these records.

Finally, I am requesting the Mayor’s Office conduct an audit of the City’s tree fund. including expenditures and polices since 2005. I am requesting a moratorium on any expenditures of the tree fund until the audit is completed, an appropriate plan is developed for the use of those funds consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Land Development Plan, and approved by the City Council with input from the citizens.


Sherri Myers
Councilwoman, District 2

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Declaration of Interdependence
The Declaration of Interdependence expresses the reality that should guide our actions and policies in Pensacola and Escambia County.
It was written for the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

We are the earth, through the plants and animals that nourish us.
We are the rains and the oceans that flow through our veins.
We are the breath of the forests of the land, and the plants of the sea.
We are human animals, related to all other life as descendants of the firstborn cell.
We share with these kin a common history, written in our genes.
We share a common present, filled with uncertainty.
And we share a common future, as yet untold.
We humans are but one of thirty million species weaving the thin layer of life enveloping the world.
The stability of communities of living things depends upon this diversity.
Linked in that web, we are interconnected — using, cleansing, sharing and replenishing the fundamental elements of life.
Our home, planet Earth, is finite; all life shares its resources and the energy from the sun, and therefore has limits to growth.
For the first time, we have touched those limits.
When we compromise the air, the water, the soil and the variety of life, we steal from the endless future to serve the fleeting present.

Humans have become so numerous and our tools so powerful that we have driven fellow creatures to extinction, dammed the great rivers, torn down ancient forests, poisoned the earth, rain and wind, and ripped holes in the sky.
Our science has brought pain as well as joy; our comfort is paid for by the suffering of millions.
We are learning from our mistakes, we are mourning our vanished kin, and we now build a new politics of hope.
We respect and uphold the absolute need for clean air, water and soil.
We see that economic activities that benefit the few while shrinking the inheritance of many are wrong.
And since environmental degradation erodes biological capital forever, full ecological and social cost must enter all equations of development.
We are one brief generation in the long march of time; the future is not ours to erase.
So where knowledge is limited, we will remember all those who will walk after us, and err on the side of caution.

All this that we know and believe must now become the foundation of the way we live.
At this turning point in our relationship with Earth, we work for an evolution: from dominance to partnership; from fragmentation to connection; from insecurity, to interdependence.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I love MaClay Gardens in Tallahassee. While I am filled with wonder at the pristine beauty of this priceless little paradise, I am also saddened for I realize that at one time all of the gulf coast was lush with many species of large trees. The long leave pines at MaClay are larger then any I have seen in Escambia County. They fill me with awe. I feel so privilege to walk among them, to touch their bark and smell the sweet aromatic scents that come from the bark when it is heated by the summer sun.
The great natural beauty of northwest Florida has been ravished and plundered for the all mighty dollar. No where is this more evident than in the City of Pensacola and Escambia County. Though both entities have tree ordinances designed to protect certain species of trees, there is little enforcement. I go to the Development Review Committee meetings in Escambia County and not once have I observed a negative ruling against a developer, builder or property owner who request to cut down or mutilate a protected tree. The failure of the City of Pensacola and Escambia County to protect our lost paradise is a crime against nature. We must hold our public officials accountable for these acts. We must demand strict enforcement of tree ordinances. We must stop run away clear cutting developments such as Cobblestone that took out over 17,000 trees. We must stop the continued degradation of Carpenter Creek and the ecosystem that supports its vegatation and wildlife. We must demand sustainable development that protects our natural resources.
This blog is the people's blog. It will tell us how to do this. How to speak truth to power. How to be the voice of the voiceless. Come share your ideas. If earth speaks to you - share her thoughts and wisdom. Share her tears and groanings. Share her joys and sorrow. Speak! Speak! with whatever means you have. Speak!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


This blog is dedicated to my mother, Pearl Weaver. Pearl was born on October 28, 1912 in the mountains of Arkansas. My grandfather owned a 25 acre farm up in the mountains a round St. Paul. There were no close by neighbors. My grandmother had five children born on their mountain. They built their own log home from trees my grandfather cut down without electricity. Can you image that! . They had no electricity or running water. The water came from a well and springs. They didn't have a washing machine so they washed clothes in a buckets with soap my grandmother made. My grandparents grew all of their own food. My grandmother, made flour and corn meal from scratch. They grew angora goats that were used for wool to make clothing. They grew cotton and my grandmother made cloth from it and all of their clothes. Their only form of transportation was the horses and wagons they owned. They were completely self sufficient and healthy, except for one child that contracted anthrax and died. My grandmother was a midwife and deliver babies for women who lived in the mountains. There were no doctors or hospital so people doctored themselves with herbs and home remedies. The first time my mother saw an automobile she was 10 years old. The car was a novelty at a carnival.

My mother had a large extended family that also lived in the mountains. My great grandfather who fought in the civil war lived close by and had a large and prosperous farm.

The kids in the mountains attended a one room school for three months out of the year. My grandfather was on the school board and had idealogical difference with the rest of the board members. He believed school should last more than 3 months out of the year. This didn't set will with some of the other members. They attached him and beat him up one day when he was riding his horse through some woods up. it was probably this event that lead my grandfather to move his family to Gonzales, Florida so his five kids could go to Tate High School.

My grandparents suffered much misfortune when they sold all of their animals and farm and moved to Florida. Grandpa didn't know how to grow food in Florida's sandy soil, so he ended up working on farms owned by others - something that must have been humiliating to a experienced farmer.
My grandparents lived in a tent for several years in Gonzales. They didn't have electricity and had to cut trees down by hand and build a house without all of the high powered tools and prefabbed stuff we have now.
Grandpa never complained for he had accomplished what he came to Florida to accomplish
- his five kids when to Tate and graduated from school with a high school diploma - a big deal back then.

During the time my grandparents lived in Gonzales, the depression and world war II started. Life was extremely difficult. There was rationing of food and products. Both my grandparents caught Malaria. My grandmother never recovered and caught TB. She died without medical attention in the log house my grandfather and great grandfather had built. Oh, there was no air conditioning back then, but they had trees - lots of them that keep the property cool. Three of mama's sisters also came down with TB.

Within five years of moving from their mountain sanctuary my grandmother died, one of the sisters died, and my mothers cousin Hattie died at age 29 of some unknown disease. Hattie's parents both died shortly afterwards. Mama said it seemed there were always coffins being taken to the cemetery and the revenue boys coming into the Gonzales woods and arresting moonshiners. I really think my family died from drinking well water as their property was in walking distance to the Chemstrane Company, now Monsanto.

After taking care of sick relatives who were dying, my mother had two children whom she reared without any assistance from my father. We were always poor. We never owed a car. We had two modes of transportation - leather sole express and the bus.

My mother was a hard worker. Working is all she knew. She worked until she was 88 years old. She always took the bus to work and then walked where she needed to go. She had an incredibly strong body ,and while she was well up in her 80's could out hike me.

My mother loved nature. She didn't have a desire for material things. She just wanted a little shack in the woods. She wanted to go home - to the mountain top where there are no city lights and the stars are infinite in a black sky. When mama was a child her mother entertained the children with star gazing. My grandmother took her children out in the night and spread a blanket on the ground to lie on and look up at the heavens. My grandmother taught her children the location and names of stars. My mother did the same thing with me.

My mother loved all life. I never heard her utter an unkind word about anyone. She saw animals that shared our space as equal to humans; that embodied the face of God and who had rights that required protecting. She would often go on missions to disrupt fox hunting, pigeon shoots, and demonstrated again wearing furs and animal testing. When she was confronted with cruelty and mistreatment of animals and people, she had a simple solution. She would always say, "That's why Jesus had to come".
When she was 84 years old, she meet Al Gore at an earth day event in Nashville and he assisted her into an air balloon. She loved reggae, Lawrence Welk, Keeping Up Appearances and other English comedies. I think her favorite movie was The Full Monty. She never developed even the slightest bit of dementia. She was an inspiration and the wind beneath my wings. She taught me compassion, a strong work ethic, a faith in God and Jesus, and a deep love for God's creation.
This blog is for my mother.