Democratic Chair goes after me

July 17, 2006

old ladiesDear Editor/Publisher:

Mr. Rick Outzen, publisher of the Independent News wrote in last week’s paper, “Most of those who oppose the waterfront park already have lost their children to these and other cities. Other supporters are retirees that moved here, after their children had grown. They could care less about your or my children.”

How much more divisive of a statement can a person make with regards to the park issue? Contrary to Mr. Outzen’s opinion, I have found the retirees involved in the maritime park issue and other local issues very concerned about both the children of Pensacola and Pensacola’s future.

Mr. Outzen and other promoters of the proposed maritime park project have tried to paint themselves as progressives and those who want to vote on the project, regressive. I believe it is the other way around and that the advertising firms and promoters of this project are using double speak.

Citizens who have the common sense to question placing expensive public structures on the waterfront in the direct path of hurricanes should be applauded for their thoughtfulness, not derided. Citizens who want direct input into how their taxes and property are utilized should be seen as valuable assets to the community, not naysayers.

Any group of people willing to spend their spare time standing in 90-degree heat collecting signatures and campaigning for what they believe should be commended. How often have we heard public officials chide the electorate for being apathetic and not proactive when it comes to important issues affecting their community?
Pensacola voters are active and involved in this issue but instead of being congratulated they are being castigated by a paternalistic group of myopic political and business interests.

Mr. Outzen should apologize to the retirees in our area.

Ron Melton

Chairman,

Escambia Democratic Party

 

MY RESPONSE: I see nothing progressive about stopping a waterfront project that will bring thousands of jobs and revitalize our community. I’ve not heard one member of Save Our City say we stopping the Community Maritime Park for our grandchildren.

The Escambia Democratic Party has blown another chance to become relevant in this area by failing to understand the issues and truly help this city due to its myopic approach to issues.


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21 Responses to “Democratic Chair goes after me”

  1. Mary J. Says:

    Mr. Melton does not speak for all democrats with regard to the waterfront park, nor can I believe he speaks for the entire D.E.C.. Poll your registered voters before you speak on their behalf, please, Mr. Melton. I for one would welcome a few more jobs to Pensacola: I’d like my property value to rise a little, and maybe, just maybe, I’d like to walk in a park on the waterfront in my retirement.

  2. Jason Says:

    With people like this speaking for the local Democratic party, it’s no wonder this area is so heavily Republican. I’m a (proudly)registered Democrat and I can say for a FACT that this guy has not, does not and most likely will not EVER speak for me. Ron Melton has probably done more to help the Republican effort in this area than most Republicans will ever do. After this park thing is behind us, true progressive members of the Democratic party in this area need to seriously consider a leadership change.

  3. Steven Says:

    While Mr. Melton, as Chairman of the DEC, may purportedly claim to speak for area Democrats, I can assure you that as a Democrat who is actively involved in both local and state Democratic Party affairs that Ron Melton speaks for neither the DEC, the FDP (Florida Democratic Party) nor Escambia County Democrats. Ron Melton has his own agenda and has done more to damage local Democratic efforts than anything the Republicans have ever done. The only person Ron Melton speaks for, is himself. Given what he often says, he should probably keep it to himself as well.

  4. Ron Melton Says:

    I am Ron Melton, Chairman of the Escambia Democratic Executive Committee (DEC). Contrary to what has been written on this page by others, not only do I speak for the DEC but also I am the official spokesperson for the Democratic Party in our county.

    As far as the maritime park issue is concerned, our DEC back in November or December voted to support Councilman Donovan’s position on the proposed park and that was to essentially allow the voters of Pensacola to vote on the park issue. The Republican Party followed suit a couple of months later.

    If park supporters believe they have a good case, they should stick to the facts and not ridicule their opponents unless their true intention is to create divisiveness.

    There is a credibility problem with blogs when people don’t have to identify themselves because any run of the mill liar can say anything they want without verification.

    An e-mail on this page written by an imposture using the name Steven is a perfect example when he claimed to be, “…a Democrat who is actively involved in both local and state Democratic Party affairs….”

    The Escambia DEC does not even have a member with the name Steven, nor did any past member by the name of Steven attend the DEC debate or vote on the maritime park issue. We also did not have a visitor by the name of Steven during our sponsored debate between Marty Donovan and Mort O’Sullivan.

    Another falsehood related to your readers by “Steven” is that without being a DEC member, a person cannot be “active in state Democratic Party affairs.” Any member or officer of either the Escambia DEC or the Florida Democratic Party would be more than pleased to identify himself or herself since all are either elected or employed by these two bodies.

    Good luck with your blog. Please screen your bloggers more carefully.

  5. Bill Says:

    Save yourself the effort, Ron.

    This Blog cares not about the Truth.

    The Other comments about Local Party affairs are Lies and Deceits from unofficial nor verifiable sources.

  6. Bill Says:

    Hmmmm….. No takers here, I see?

    Whoever Steve maybe? needs to come out of the closet!!!!!!!!

  7. Ray Says:

    There once was a young man named Steve
    A Demo member but he had to leave
    Long,slim and lean
    Looked like Howard Dean
    Now he lives in Navarre, I believe.

  8. Jim McClellan Says:

    I, too, am a Democrat, but I agree with Rick that the DEC made a mistake by jerking its knee in opposition to this project. Certainly, Mr. Melton is the official spokesman for the DEC (and by extension, the FDP here). But, he’s missing the larger point that the project is supported by a number of Democrats locally.

    As I have said frequently, our party does best when we focus on people — education, health care, jobs, etc. Pulling the party into an issue where there is no consensus is pointless. It doesn’t draw more supporters to the party and it does nothing to help our candidates in November.

    The individual DEC members could have all gone on record as opposing the park plan without proclaiming that to be the official position of the party.

    (Note that I have included my full name here.)

  9. WanderingHoo Says:

    Ron,

    I am a dedicated long-time Democrat but I have to take exception with your post. In your original post you state that the DEC voted to support the referrendum “to essentially allow the voters of Pensacola to vote on the park issue”.

    Yet in your letter you are obviously strongly opposed to the project. It looks to me as if your capacity to speak on the merits of this issue as DEC chair stops at allowing a vote and does not extend to an endorsement of a no vote.

    To attempt to use your position to throw the weight of the DEC and by extension the state party behind your PERSONAL views on the project is wrong and misguided. Either that or you have grossly misrepresented the reasons behind the DEC’s actions.

    This should not be a partisan matter. Panhandle Democrats have more than enough challenges this year without starting an internal feud over an already divisive issue. Unless you are in a position to assure area Democrats that Jeff Miller is going down to defeat in November and that the Democratic nominee for Governor will carry the region, I respectfully request you attend to those matters first.

  10. Jason Clark Says:

    I strongly agree with Mr. WanderingHoo. I’d like to think that, being an election year and all,the Democratic party would have more on it’s plate than this park vote. For or against, this isn’t a partisan issue in any way. To use the name of the Democratic Party (a party which I love dearly) in the same breath you use to state your personal opinion on the park matter is an irresponsible use of your position. This isn’t a Republican park or a Democratic park. It is a City park. And the city residents, regardless of party affiliation, will decide its fate. Stating that a vote should or shouldn’t take place is a neutral enough stance. However, implying that any political party as a whole is for or against this park is a severe overextension of your and the DEC’s reach.

  11. Ron Melton Says:

    As stated and restated, the Democratic Party of Escambia did not take a position for or against the proposed maritime park, only that the people of the city of Pensacola should have a right to vote on it. (The Republican Party holds the same position) The letter to the IN was based on a divisive comment Mr. Outzen made toward retirees vis-a-vis the park issue. I stand behind what I wrote. It’s all printed above.

    The members and officers of the Democratic Executive Committee are active on many issues as well as political campaigns. The party is about issues. Those of you who have expressed your desire for the party to direct our activities solely to political campaigns should volunteer for a campaign and if you don’t like the choices made by the DEC you can always run for a precinct seat and be involved in decision making and working on issues and campaigns from inside the party. Thank you for your input.

  12. WanderingHoo Says:

    Ron,

    Thanks for the reply. However, your post seems to bear out many of the points made above by myself and others.

    You signed your letter Chairman, Escambia Democratic Party. In that letter you make several points that can only be read one way: as support for and endorsement of those who are opposing the park.

    Yet as you point out, the DEC did not take a position on the merits of the park – just that on a matter of such importance citizens should have the opportuinty for individual input through the referendum process.

    I agree with you that this has become a divisive issue in our community. This is why I question your reasons for weighing in on one side or the other – without authorization from the DEC it would appear – in your role as Democratic Chairman and compounding the situation by reinforcing this perception in post #4.

    I appreciate how difficult your position must be as Escambia County Chair. Head coach of the Washington Generals is about the only other job I can think of that would be more frustrating. IMHO, when you are the underdog party you need to focus on finding candidates, issues and ideas that will attract new people to you rather than ones that divide what support you already have.

    Simply put I have no problem at all with you opposing the park and working towards it’s defeat in the referendum. I feel differently but that is how our system works and I wouldn’t change it. However, I have a major issue with you using your role as Party Chair to advocate on a issue the party has no reason to be on one side or another on, and has, for that very reason, expressly not taken a position on.

    The simple and correct thing to do at this point would be for you to acknowledge that you should not have signed this letter with your title as Chairman, but simpley as Ron Melton and to apologize for any misconception that it may have caused.

    I can only speak for myself, but this is one Democrat who would feel a lot more comfortable and confident seing such a correction on your behalf.

    Thanks again for the dialogue and for your continued hard work on behalf of Democratic candidates and causes.

  13. Ron Melton Says:

    In the past two years the Democratic Party via the executive committee took positions on multiple issues, some controversial.

    You can’t please everyone. We don’t stick our finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. However, if you have the money to poll every Democrat in the county before we debate and vote on an issue, be our guest. We do invite them to our meetings. Polls of registered Democrats would be persuasive but we don’t have the money to fund them.

    Realistically though, we are elected to lead and we will continue to do that unless it contravenes positions taken by our state and national bodies.

    Actions and positions Democrats have taken in the past two years:

    · Opposed Bush’s proposed raid of the social security system and private accounts

    · Opposed the reelection of Bush and other Republicans

    · Supported Democratic candidates for office

    · Supported relocation of the Main Street Sewer Plant

    · Opposed the Local Option Sales Tax

    · Supported impact fees on new construction

    · Proposed naming a street in Pensacola and the county in memory of Rosa Parks

    · Supported citizens of Pensacola to vote on proposed maritime park

    · Support Joe Roberts for Congress and Elizabeth Campbell for State Representative, District (3) (and more candidates after the primary).

    As far as this weird debate about which side is the most progressive, I guess I’m confused. It’s my understanding, Panhandle Progressives are opposed to the park as proposed. The Democratic Executive Committee, Republican Executive Committee and League of Women Voters all agree that Pensacola citizens should be allowed to vote on a proposed park on public land that will be paid for by tax dollars (radical notion). I must admit, I’ve never considered the Republican Party to be progressive but as I said, I’m confounded by taht particular part of the debate. Whichever side you’re on, civility towards your opponet is always better than divisiveness.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  14. WanderingHoo Says:

    I agree with you that to try to say one side or the other on the park issue is more “progressive” at least in the usual accepted political definition of the word is probably both counterproductive and ultimately inconclusive.

    Personally, I consider the prospect of the CMP as progress compared to the current state of things on the city waterfront. However, one’s view on site plans for public spaces is way down the list of if I would consider someone’s politics “Progressive” or not.

    I happen to have moved here a couple of years ago from Norfolk, VA where I saw the positive impact open park space, a ballpark and a maritme museum had on what has been a dynamic redevelopment of the core downtown region. If you haven’t done so, look into the difference between downtown Norfolk in 1990 vs. 2000. I moved here in part because I genuinely believe Pensacola has the capacity to experience the same type of rebirth and redevelopment.

    I also agree that civility is something that is sorely lacking in all forms of discourse these days – but especially in our politics. There are lots of reasons for this. Everything from the increased role of national parties, “safe” districts, the high cost of campaigning and the concurrent elevation of fundraising over strategy, and on and on and on.

    There will always be issues on which people disagree – often passionately. But that doesn’t mean debate can’t be respectful, rational and above all honest.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to some of my point.

  15. John Shaw Says:

    From what I’ve learned about Ron Melton, based on his local history, is that he is a crook. He attempts to gain local political seats for his own personal gain. As I recall, he ran for county commissioner of Zone 6 (I believe) a couple of years ago, which is the same area in which he runs a small business. Hmmm… Sounds like someone is seeking leverage there for personal gain. He runs a Belize Travel website which he uses to sell Belizian business advertising in trade for free car rentals, hotel stays, and other goodies for his numerous trips into the area. He hides behind numerous non-trackable yahoo, aol, and hotmail accounts to keep his enemies at bay. He seems to use local politics to make a stance and let people know who he is. Based on the above comments, I think Ron Melton should just shut up and crawl back into his hole. He is a crook. All I have to do is mention his name to people. If they know him, they cringe, as if he just shot their puppy. He is a demerit to the local democratic party and it would be in the best interest of the party if he would just go away. I speak as a Democrat in favor of the Meritime Park and progress for Pensacola. I, myself, moved here because I saw the potential of this beautiful city! I’ve seen what waterfront parks have done for other cities, such as Norfolk. It will only make our city stronger! I truely don’t think Ron Melton speaks for the best interest of the city or its inhabitants. He has his own agendas.

  16. routzen Says:

    let’s keep the name-calling down. You disagree fine – calling him a crook is crossing the line.

  17. ron melton Says:

    I know Ron Melton real well and I know for a fact he’s no crook. He does have multiple travel web sites for places he likes to travel such as, http://www.BelizeTravel.com and http://www.MundoMayaTrail.com and must make frequent business trips to Mexico and Belize. He also owns Best Valu Computers in Warrington. The shop gives free laptop and PC diagnostics. I also know Ron doesn’t use AOL or MSN mail servers. He’s just an all around good guy who shouldn’t be slandered the way you’ve just done. By the way John, what’s your middle initial? Thanks for the plug.

  18. Steve Stipek Says:

    It is certianly true about the issues brought forth from the out spoken Mr. Shaw as well as very many others. Now please do not misunderstand the well known truths of which they speak of. However, when so many people are saying the same well known facts about an issue or a specific individual more likely than not that body of popular belief is correct with their convictions. I.E., as the american people are with their current administration in the White House. Se Se?
    As to knowing Ron real well as stated by “routzen” What, routzen?
    Well believe you me it’s no party with an working next to an ego like that, as mentioned in the blogg by Ron where he said,”I am Ron Melton, Chairman of the Escambia Democratic Executive Committee (DEC). Contrary to what has been written on this page by others, not only do I speak for the DEC but also I am the official spokesperson for the Democratic Party in our county.” Now come on……Let’s comme on down to planet earth. Thank you all for taking the time to hear me out on this and let’s get this appointed
    double talker out, so please I strongly urge you all to call in and attend the meetings of the DEC. Along with speaking out and allowing yourself the truthes that you desirve to hear!

  19. Ron Melton Says:

    I couldn’t pass up responding to this UFO yahoo. Yea, half the public did not believe the US put a man on the moon and people like you still believe in UFO’s. Talk about ego, take a look at this link: http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/view_profile.php?userid=8260575.

  20. Raymond Says:

    Now THATS a LIB for yah !!!

  21. gfalcons Says:

    It’s just to bad for escambia county that they have a “Closet Republican” for the one person that may lead them into the truth. However, this will not happen with this type of low mentality diplayed by Ron.
    It would be best for all if you would just walk away so that a qualified person can handle hat needs to be done. After all Ron and Raymond “Like the old says go you are what you eat” and you both are eating it all up.Wake up and step back on the planet, at least you’ll know what is really going on. Or prehaps when you where campaigning at the Nixon Rallies you took one to many blow to the old mellon? I don’t know but something is up with you, we just need to figure it out.And we will.Good luck Ron, and oh yea I really love the pelican in your yard are you the owner of the team as well now?

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