Donovan emails: Elebash bashes

August 14, 2006

angryOn December 21, 2005, Elebash was preaching to Fairchild, Marty & Helene Donovan, Melanie Nichols and Sam Hall the message which he actually bolded: ballpark, Studer, referendum and a $100 million, 60-year project.

Elebash is really fixated on Studer. He had already written a viewpoint for a vote that’s months away….so much for an open, educated mind.

For Elebash this is about more than a waterfront park….sadly.


From: “C.C.Elebash”<>
To: “Charles Fairchild”<Charles@FlaCPAs’com>
cc: <>;”Helene Donovan”
<>;”Melanie Nichols”<mel3O3@aol’com>;
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2005 1:47PM
Attach: Wrong2.doc
Subject: Petition for referendum

Charles: Sam Hall and I had a chat today. He asked me to contact some people for contributions, which I will do. You probably will have to depend on “grass roots” contributions, but some “angels” may emerge in the process.

Here are my views on the present situation

I) Save our City (SOC) should be focused on getting 8,000 signatures or whatever the goal is. Don’t worry about the referendum until you have the signatures. The referendum campaign will take care of itself after you get 8,000 signatures.

2) I hope you have a plan to commence collecting signatures the morning after Council approves the project, whether it be Jan. 12 or whenever. Don’t wait until Council act before you decide how you will collect the signatures. Be ready to go as soon as Council votes on the project. You want to achieve your goal as soon as possible.

3) Keep on stressing ballpark, Studer, referendum and a $l00 million, 60-year project. ($42 million bond issue,$40 million interest, $20 to $25 million in real estate, and a 60-year lease.)

Victory this time will be sweeter than last time. In 2003 we were just fighting City Hall. This time the adversary is a very wealthy man who has already spent $600,000 promoting the project and who has intimidated the Council.

Attached is a Viewpoint I plan to submit as soon as Council approves the project.

Thank you for all your god work, best wishes and good luck. — CC


5 Responses to “Donovan emails: Elebash bashes”

  1. Joe Says:

    He keeps adding “$20-25 million in real estate” to his estimates, as recently as last night’s show.

    I know there’s a big temptation to reach that nice, round $100 million mark, but honestly… does the S.O.C. “financial expert” really not understand the concept of a LEASE?

    Take the 9th Avenue project they keep touting as a great example of “the process” they want. Whatever goes there will be a welcome addition to the City, but let’s face it: once we sell it, it’s not ours. The public isn’t allowed there unless the private owners say it’s okay. And if the value skyrockets in the future, too bad: we already sold it.

    With the Waterfront Park, the City will get the lease money year after year, and if they want to sell it after 60 years, they certainly can — for a lot more than $20-25 million, I’ll bet.

  2. Tom Garner Says:


    I have to say that, while I agree with your assessment that C. C. Elebash has an issue with Studer, I don’t agree that this is necessarily a problem. The fact is, there is a perception in this community, and I believe it to be a justifiable perception, that those with wealth and influence are given an inordinant degree of deference by local elected officials over those who do not possess wealth or influence (ie: most of us). From that perspective, I think it’s perfectly reasonable and logical for Studer to be made an issue in this campaign.

    And of course, why should it surprise anyone that those with wealth and influence would be given deference by elected officials. I suspect that it’s been that way since at least ancient Rome. Of course, the longevity of this practice is not a justification for it, so I’m actually very happy that there are persons in the community who are willing to make a public issue of these things.


    Tom Garner

  3. Jim McClellan Says:

    I disagree with Tom. I don’t think it’s necessarily deference to wealth and influence. Within any large group of people, there are a few who have big ideas — and the energy and endurance to see those ideas to fruition. Those people tend to rise to the top of their fields, usually acquiring wealth along the way.

    Their influence comes from that fact that many of us see them not as the enemy, but rather as people from whom we can learn.

    Admiral Fetterman rose to the highest levels of the US Navy. Vince Whibbs operated a successful business that has become a Pensacola institution. Quint Studer ran Baptist Hospital and then formed his own consulting business that has been very successful.

    It doesn’t surprise me that these same folks are the ones who advance ideas like the CMP. They have a track record in that regard. On the other side of the ledger, there appears to be a host of people who only seem to engage in the negative. That is to say, they only seem to rise up in opposition to ideas (which is easy) rather than promote their own (which, as Studer, et al can attest, exposes you to a laundry list of insults, innuendo and accusations.)

    People who are willing to put themselves out there to make something good happen are all too rare. I’m just glad we have as many as we do.

  4. Tom Garner Says:


    While what you say may be true of some who rise to the top, we can’t forget that the opposite can also true. Look at the W.D. Childers and Bo Johnson scandals. While this is not to suggest that Studer, etc. are engaged in anything illegal, I do question whether what they are proposing, and what apears to be their significant influence with council members, is in this community’s best interest.

    Tom Garner

  5. Jim McClellan Says:

    Okay, let’s look at Childers and Johnson. Both of them were long-time elected officials, not private citizens. They rotted the system from the inside for their personal, financial gain. No one is seriously alleging that to be the case here, are they? If so, then I think your own advice to Rick Outzen might be in order: tell it to the state attorney.

    Realistically, in terms of comparative character, I don’t think even the most strident SOC folks will put Fetterman, Whibbs or Studer in the same class as Childers or Johnson.

    However, your point is that they might have wielded “undue” influence with the Council. I just don’t think that’s true. I think they realized they shared a similar vision, studied the feasibility of actually making it happen and set about to do that. Again, it doesn’t surprise me that when people who have significant accomplishments to their credit propose an idea that it is taken seriously by elected officials.

    It would be nice to think that every citizen of the city would be willing and able to put forth the effort that the CMP team did, but the fact is, most of us don’t engage until someone else puts the idea out on the table.

    I’ll say this again, there are getting to be fewer and fewer people willing to step up and fight for good ideas. Why? Because it’s very hard.

    On the other hand, uniting people in opposition is far easier. That’s because they don’t have to agree on what they want: Some want condos on Trillium; others want nothing; and still others just want it to be their idea. But, they can agree that they don’t want this.

    If they prevail, then I don’t think we’re ever going to get consensus. We will have stripped the Council of its authority to make decisions like this, and the public will be too fragmented to force them to.

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