PNJ’s Markie O’Brien fired several shots at the Community Maritime Park today. His disjointed set of points make no sense.

To compare the Park with its huge economic impact to a North Hill Preservation Association is ludicrous. The Park benefits both Escambia & Santa Rosa counties as well as Pensacola. The other only helps a few residents.

WCI and the City Council had more than 18 months to make proposals. They sat on the sidelines.

The question is:
Are a ballpark/multi-purpose stadium, maritime museum, UWF marine research center, retail & office complex the best use of this property for the entire community? Gindroz, other urban planners and the majority of the community say yes!

If we like the plan, we don’t need to keep shopping the land.

Property value is not the issue. If it were, we’d be building $500K+ condos on it. We don’t need more upscale housing.

Comparing WCI with Studer/Fetterman/Cavanaugh is also ridiculous. The reason this community has been so accepting of the plan is because of the character of these men. Had WCI been the first to make a proposal, people (including the PNJ) would be up in arms about a developer taking over the waterfront property.

O’Brien did nothing but muddy the waters today. Hopefully no one will take his ranting seriously.

Read O’Brien’s article @http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com/news/html/762B52D2-14F9-4613-BC13-42F6C19476CD.shtml

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We are losing high paying jobs at an alarming rate. Solutia and International Paper have had several large layoffs – and there will be more. BRAC will cost us nearly 1600 high-paying positions.

Whose job is it to find better jobs for this community? The Pensacola Area Chamber of Commerce.

What kind of jobs are they finding for us? Call service centers.

How many UWF & PJC students can’t wait to graduate so that they work on phone and in windowless office? None.

Who is holding the Chamber accountable? Don’t know – other than our paper.

Maybe we should give someone else a turn at it. Escambia County’s average hourly pay is a dollar less than other workers across the state and $2.50 less an hour than the national average.

The Escambia County Commission needs to evaluate its financial relationship with the Pensacola Area Chamber of Commerce and openly discuss whether its time for a change on the economic development front.

I want my kids to live and work here after they graduate – but if all we have to offer them are jobs answering phones or waiting tables, then it won’t happen.

The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process has deemed NAS Pensacola as the big loser. We are losing Navy Education and Training Professional Development and Technology Center with its three-star admiral, the Officer Candidate School and the Defense Finance Accounting Service. These losses will cost us 1,579 jobs, which translate to about a $150 million hit to our local economy.

What does this tell us about the future of our beloved naval air station? Is it doomed to being a base kept alive more for its historic significance than for its usefulness as a training facility?

It is time we really look hard at NAS Pensacola and see what opportunities are out there.