Escambia Delegation Supports Term Limits For ECUA Board Members

January 21, 2021

A bill that will impose term limits on members of the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority has been endorsed by the Escambia County Legislative Delegation.

Rep. Michelle Salzman, now serving her first term in the Florida House, proposed the bill and has received the support of delegation members Sen. Doug Broxson and Rep. Alex Andrade,. That almost ensures that it will pass the Legislature and become law this year; local bills impacting local areas usually pass without any opposition.

The bill will limit ECUA board members to three, four-year terms.

Salzman set out to rewrite that legislative act that gives ECUA its authority after a 2018 grand jury investigation that was not made public until September 2020.

“I’m not trying to create a political issue or red tape, but we just need to make sure we don’t make those mistakes again. If we don’t see a positive change, we can do more or consider dissolving the entity altogether if that is best for the citizens,” Salzman told NorthEscambia.com last month. “The current way the special act is written, there is no authority over the five board members, no way to hold them accountable for how they operate.”

While she did not specifically mention him, Larry Walker served on the ECUA board representing District 5 for nearly three decades — from 1988 to 2000 and 2004 until his defeat by political newcomer Kevin Stephens in 2020.

Salzman first called for an oversight board appointed by the Escambia County Commission and Pensacola City Council, but backed upon from that proposal.

“We don’t need to remove the whole reason ECUA is there; we don’t need to take all of their authority away from them,” Salzman said.

NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.

Century Library To Be Closed Most Of February For Remodel

January 21, 2021

The Century Branch Library will be closed for three weeks in February for an extensive interior remodel.

The remodel will feature an expansion of the children’s area by reducing on-site storage. There will also be improvements to the public service desk for increased accessibility, an improved adult reading area, new carpet, new paint, new lighting and new furnishings.

An additional sidewalk, benches, bicycle area and tables have already been added outside the library.

While the library will be closed, Feeding the Gulf Coast youth meals will be available for the week each Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Library materials that have been reserved through the library’s website will also be available each Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Borrowed items can be returned during the closure by using the outdoor book drop on the south side of the building.

Pictured: Some of the outside improvements at the Century Branch Library. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Escambia County Man Arrested On Charges Related To U.S. Capitol Attack

January 20, 2021

An Escambia County man has been arrested for his alleged role in mob attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Jesus D. Rivera, 37, was taken into custody at his residence Wednesday morning for his alleged role in the riot and siege at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, according to the Jacksonville Field Office of the FBI.

Rivera is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct on Capitol buildings or grounds; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in the Capitol buildings.

According to federal court documents, Rivera uploaded to his Facebook account a five minute video showing a crowd of individuals in the U.S. Capitol crypt. Approximately 13 seconds into the video, Rivera changed the direction
of the camera toward the individual recording the video and Rivera’s face is clearly visible. The video ends with the individual recording the footage, Rivera, beginning to climb out of a window.

Rivera uploaded two other videos to Facebook that allegedly show Rivera approaching the U.S. Capitol and then on the U.S. Capitol grounds surrounded by individuals demonstrating or protesting. In the videos, Rivera states, “record numbers here in DC.”. Rivera late states, “hey guys, if you are on here, share this live because I am about to take my ass to the middle of the state Capitol and see what’s going on, where they are trying to jump in.”

Rivera’s Facebook account has since been deleted.

Pictured: Screenshots from Facebook videos that allegedly show suspect Jesus D. Rivera of Pensacola inside the U.S. Capitol and on the Capitol grounds. Pictured inset: Rivera’s driver’s license photo.