Celebrity Death Match: Lamb vs. Avelli
July 31, 2006
Refuting Mark Avelli’s Lies
By Kenneth E. Lamb
I don’t normally get into give-and-takes with other columnists, but the following from Mr. Avelli is so filled with lies that I have to do so now.
Just so you know that I’m not cutting and pasting his words, I reproduced them verbatim, with his initials, MA, leading his words, and my initials, KEL, leading mine.
Mr. Avelli published his column on July 29, 2006 through NW Florida’s leading public internet forum, Gulf1.com.
One other note: I will use the word “lie” because I know Mr. Avelli is far and away intelligent enough to know the truth. If you tell someone something you know is not the truth, as Mr. Avelli is doing here, then you are a liar. And what you tell then, are lies.
Lesson #1 on Trillium – with Lamb’s rebuttal in bold
by Mark Y. Avelli
This is the first in a series of artic les to inform the public of facts on the Trillium venture.
The Trillium waterfront advocates are superb propagandists lead by a charismatic leader endowed with limitless finances to bamboozle the public to gain control of $ 100 million dollars of valuable public waterfront assets, for 60 years, for the whopping sum of $1,00 per year.
LAMB: First, Mr. Avelli lies to you when he says anyone other than the citizens of the City of Pensacola will own – and control – this land. In fact. Mr. Avelli’s first lie is the Big Lie of the so-called Save Our City horde of nihilists.
I’ll disregard Mr. Avelli’s typo in stating the lease fee, which should read $1.00. The non-profit corporation, Community Maritime Park Associates, Inc., pays that money to the city treasury. There is no private asset ownership whatsoever in this transaction.
The $1.00 per year is required legally to allow the non-profit corporation the right to oversee the Waterfront Park’s operation s. All rents, leases, and sales taxes generated by the Waterfront Park flow directly into the city treasury.
At the end of the 60-year period, the land is still in the hands of the citizens, and full ownership of all building and other improvements on the property – built and paid with private investment money – reverts in total to the city.
Let me put it this way: Pretend you leased out your land for $1.00 per year to a non-profit corporation which supervised the building and maintenance of hundreds of millions of dollars in buildings and improvements. At the end of the lease, you own everything on the land.
Frankly, any of us should live so long as to get a deal like that. But Mr. Avelli tells you that deal is a “bamboozle.” Please Mr. Avelli, I have some land; please “bamboozle” me into giving me everything you paid for at the end of the lease, with me owning it, free and clear!
This enterprising leader has hired a cadre of experts, public relations firms a nd accounting claques to camouflage the dubious financial clarity of the venture.
Lamb: If what I just wrote is unclear to Mr. Avelli, he has no business pretending to be competent to discuss the deal. What is clearer than “the city owns the property forever?”
This first infomercial is to help the average area resident understand their personal stake in the Trillium venture.
LAMB: Unfortunately, you are about to see Mr. Avelli is not being honest enough with you to even discuss this project, but let’s continue anyway.
1. The City Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is a small city department with a FY 2006 budget $ 2.793 million dollars, or only 1.4 % of the total city budget. Only three people are employed to eliminate downtown slum and blight. This department has existed since 1984.
2. The CRA plans to borrow $ 40 million to build a $ 16 million baseball park for a private investor in a sub minor league baseball team. The remaining funds will be used to build a UWF conference center, classrooms, maritime museum, and undefined access by the public to the waterfront.
LAMB: So many lies, so little space to refute them.
Anyone who looks at the architect’s rendering knows access to the waterfront is what this project is all about. Mr. Avelli can see that – as can everybody else – which is what makes this another Big Lie. The truth is that the entire perimeter of the property opens out to the water. To see this for yourself, go to: http://www.propensacola.com/concept-pensacola.asp
Of the 27 acres that are available, only 5.5 are dedicated to commercial development. That means 79.63 percent of the total land area is non-commercial.
As for individual buildings and improvements, Mr. Avelli knows the two Biggest Lies are about the multi-use stadium, and the conference center.
The truth is that both of those facilities are available to anyone who pays to rent them.
The stadium is a 3,500-seat facility with all fixed-back seats. It is a venue for other sporting events, such as UWF soccer, high school football, baseball and soccer, local, regional, state, and national tournaments and championships for all of those – and many other – sports, concerts, festivals, graduations, and public celebrations. The left-field walls open up to provide an additional 6 acres of space for events held there.
The conference/continuing education center is also open to public rental. Since the City tore down the decaying Bayfront Auditorium, we need an open-to-the-public space to replace those venues. The conference/continuing education center will house everything from dances to Mardi Gras balls.
Here is the best part, which Mr. Avelli can’t seem to grasp – well, he tells you he doesn’t get it, publicly anyway: All rent money goes straight into the city treasury.
In fact, all leases will be open to the public, because the non-profit corporation, Community Maritime Park Associates, Inc., runs under the Florida Government in the Sunshine Act. That means all meetings are public meetings; all records are public records – you can read any lease that you want to read.
Here’s another extremely important safeguard Mr. Avelli doesn’t want you to know: Federal District Court Judge Lacey Collier will be on the board of the non-profit corporation. Well known for the legal discipline in his courtroom, he is the best watchdog you could ever seek to be on a non-profit corporation’s board.
And Mr. Avelli knows every bit of what I just wrote is true. Which makes every bit of what Mr. Avelli wrote – a lie.
3. CRA yearly bond payments on the borrowed $ 40 million dollars is $ 2,532,880.
4. Yearly portion of Item 3 for ball field is $ 1,013,152. Team owner yearly commitment for use of field is $ 175,000 or a shortfall of $ 838,152 each year for 30 years. Guess who is responsible for covering this shortfall, if not covered by rental from other undefined events? The history and experience of the Civic Center provides a clue for expectations.
LAMB: This lie is as classic as the slight-of-hand trick of “Guess which shell covers the pea?”
Mr. Avelli wants to lie to you by presenting this as if each component of the Waterfront Park is somehow independent of the park as a whole. Debaters call this “The cut and paste argument.” It is a fraud.
Telling the Big Lie his way leads to this type of insane statement Mr. Avelli could also make: “The open green area will cost X-dollars. It will receive no lease money from anyone, so “Guess who is responsible for covering this shortfall, if not covered by rental from other undefined events?”
Mr. Avelli is lost somewhere out in space with that Looney-Tunes logic. By that corkscrew thinking, all parks are financial disasters, and Mr. Avelli can belly ache about every park anyone wants to build.
The truth is that the Waterfront Park is composed of:
- The University of West Florida,
- A multi-use stadium anyone can rent,
- A conference center anyone can rent,
- A maritime museum that will honor the past, while looking into the future,
- Commercial space that will produce sales tax and leasing revenues – all of which go straight into the city treasury,
- And waterfront access unlike anything else on the north Gulf coastline.
CHARISMA is a most dangerous existing quality in man; it has affected human lives and altered the course of history.
VOTE NO ON SEPT. 5 TO STOP THIS PROJECT HATCHED IN SECRECY AND BYPASSING CITY PROTOCOL FOR “REQUESTS FOR PROPOSALS.”
LAMB: These last Big Lies border on the paranoid schizophrenic.
How anyone can say that a subject that is the biggest source of talk in Pensacola is somehow “hatched in secret” is totally beyond me. It would be funny, but it isn’t funny at all, because this type of thinking is threatening to torpedo the best idea yet for downtown Pensacola.
As for “Request for Proposals,” the truth is that the city did issue a Request for Proposal (RFP). In response, they received only two, one of which is the current proposal by Community Maritime Park Associates. The non-profit Community Maritime Park Associates board – will ensure that the waterfront remains open to our citizens.
Don’t let the Big Lies of the so-called Save Our City nihilists steal your future, and the future of your children, and your grandchildren; vote “YES!” on Sept. 5 for the Waterfront Park!