Blog wins

August 31, 2006

Bsoc sign

Yesterday proved the power and influence of Rick’s Blog

Late in the afternoon, we posted an email from Kenneth Lamb (Is SOC backing out of WSRE debate?) that told of rumors of Stop Our City’s Charlie Fairchild and Marty Donovan pulling out of the televised debate on the Community Maritime Park referendum set for August 31.

Within 15 minutes, WSRE producer Tony Ferguson responded (WSRE responds …the show will go on without SOC). The program would go on, but without SOC because they objected to being questioned by WEAR Dan Thomas, IN Duwayne Escobedo and PNJ Carlton Proctor. WSRE refused to have the show’s integrity compromised and wouldn’t drop the journalists from the format.

An hour after the WSRE post – Marty Donovan agreed to participate in the televised debate – with reservations. Instead of Fairchild, Donovan will be joined be Tommy White (Stop Our City Blab Show #1 – review) who recently joined SOC and was on their Sunday, August 27 show. Tommy told listeners on the BLAB show that naming the park for Vince Whibbs, Sr. was a “dog and pony” show.

Not too bad for this little blog – the public will get a chance to see an honest, open debate on the park. Both sides will be asked direct questions and the speakers won’t be able to give flip answers without being challenged. This will be a history-making moment.

The Stop Our City objection is a sad commentary on these old white men. They argue about what they say was a lack of citizen input in the CMP process – yet they refuse to go on a television show that they can’t control. They accuse all the media of being against them. Could it be that SOC is wrong?

The facts are against Fairchild, Donovan, Elebash and their posse. And we all know the facts are bias when they don’t agree with the SOC opinions.

Remember the SOC motto: We have little minds so we can only dream little dreams.

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22 Responses to “Blog wins”

  1. Jeff Taylor Says:

    I appreciate the fact that representatives of SOC will be on the show tonight. However, SOC is correct that most local journalists are beholden to the politicians and “power brokers” in this closed shop. The concept of independent journalism is Pensacola is nothing more than a facade.

    The idea of our paternalistic city council having the audacity to think that the citizens of Northwest Florida cannot think for themselves is offensive at best. There has not been an open and competitive process regarding the use of the Trillium property. Rather it has been the council and certain other community “philanthropists”, who dont stand to make a dime of the deal (allegedly) trying to cram this idea down our collective throats. Why is the council so afraid of a competitive process and alternate ideas for the use of this property? Why does the council fear government in the sunshine? Why are people demagouging the memory of two deceased honorable Pensacolians for political and financial gain? Could it be that there are no other living honorable people to stand as the face for Pensacola government.

    Shame on all of you who think we need Big Brother to make bad decisions for us. We proved we can make bad decisions on our own when we elected you!

    Jeff Taylor

  2. Joe Says:

    Jeff, one simple question: what “financial gain” will the Park group get?

    And like that, all those conspiracy theories crumble for lack of motive.

  3. Jami Says:

    Jeff, it sounds like to me that the WSRE crew has secured an appropriate representative from each media outlet. Pensacola is only so big. Let’s see, you have the resident TV news station represented, the pre-eminent FM public radio station, the daily paper and the weekly paper. What more do you want? Sorry, Luke McCoy and Mark O’Brien and for that matter of fact, Kenneth E. Lamb are not considered “reporters,” they are in the business of opinion.

    As far as the competitive process goes, how many developers from outside the area do you think would be willing to hang in there for two years and battle for a piece of property that they will have to spend millions on to clean up before they can build on it? What would you have in the end? Would the developers from outside be willing to foot the bill so the folks of Pensacola can have waterfront access? I don’t think so.

    Now about the demagoguery…the widows of both Mayor Whibbs and Admiral Fetterman have jumped into the fire in favor, as their husbands were. They are simply making theirs and their husbands positions clear.

    No honorable living people as the face of Pensacola? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Quint Studer is as honorable as it gets. Mort O’Sullivan is right up there with him. I am positive both of these men have been hurt by the accusations that have been thrown at them, yet they stand before everyone, sticking to the vision, with HONOR. Mayor Fogg and the rest of the council are honorable and courageous.

    Wake up and pull you head out of the sand and wake up in the 21st century.

  4. Jeff Taylor Says:

    Joe,
    Thank you for your question. I wish I could live in a utopian society wherein savvy businessmen and politicians actually work for the benevolence of the constituency and not there own personal gain. We dont live in that place. The fact that money will made by “interested” persons is not in doubt. The construction and methodology of how these people will make a profit to me is moot. Look no further than the county commissions’ dealings on the soccer complex property off Hwy. 29 to know money will be made. The real question is why the council and proposers of the Maritime Park are afraid to have their plan compete, openly and fairly, against other proposed uses for the property. Why are they so vehemently opposed to this referendum that puts power in the hands of the people?

    The motive is the same motive since Judas’kiss, money! If you believe otherwise you should vote in favor of the park. Then enjoy driving your family on our congested roadways, past panhandlers and piles of debris, through downtown neighborhoods that have not received a dime from the CRA, by the dilapidated sewage treatment plant and to your beautiful new park.

  5. Jim McClellan Says:

    Jeff is heavy on anger and resentment; light on facts and research. Congratulations! You pass the SOC entrance exam.

  6. Joe Says:

    “The construction and methodology of how these people will make a profit to me is moot.” Boy, that’s a real purty way of saying, “I dunno.”

    Pensacola has been burned by politicians in the recent past, so I can understand some degree of suspicion on your part. But this ain’t the soccer complex, and we’ve got to get past this blind mistrust of community leaders if we ever want any progress. If you would read over the Park lease agreement and other documents, you will see that the City is very well protected from any abuse or malfeasance, and that the CMPA group — and especially Mr Studer — have been amazingly generous in their commitments regarding public access and money. Everyone involved is primarily interested in a great park for the community.

    The RFP thing is a lightning rod. The opposition accuses Studer of carpetbagging, then says we need more outside developers. They aren’t interested in any “process;” it just sounds better than their usual brand of negativism. Ask them what their plan is, what kind of “better” offer they expect to get from their magic RFP, and they can’t answer you. They know Pensacola won’t get a better deal than this one; no developer who’s really out for money would agree to set aside the best land for public waterfront access, or invest millions into buildings that will be owned entirely by the City.

    The main reason the Park people don’t want to re-open the property to RFPs is simple: the ball is already rolling. To stop the process again will delay any hope of actual development for years, if not forever. Honestly, who would willingly put themselves through this process? Life is short; two of the Park’s principals (and Lord knows how many SOC supporters) have passed away in the time people have been arguing about it. The property has sat vacant for years; it belongs to us, the public, and we would like to use it within our lifetimes. If there’s no legitimate reason to expect a better plan — except a lukewarm fantasy of crazy outside developers — then there’s no reason to vote against a great deal for the city and a great Park. Vote YES on September 5!

  7. Bill Braskey Says:

    According to Jeff, nothing should ever be done because [GOD FORBID] some dern tootin’ high falootin’ politician might run off with the booty!

    Get over your negativity, Jeff. This is not the soccer complex, and for you to make that comparison is simply stupid.

  8. Jeff Taylor Says:

    I appreciate Jim’s comment. Like Jim, I once liked to resort to sarcasm when I could not fashion a legimate argument. Of course I was eight then. Jim, please feel free to respond with “oh yeah, well I bet my dad could beat up your dad” next time you dont have a legitimate argument.

    As for Joe’s well thought response. RFPs are how legitimate democractic government institutions solicit ideas for development of public areas. This deal was engineered in the backrooms of city hall with the intent of circumventing a legitimate public process. As to the issue of waterfront access, have you been to Pensacola Beach or Perdido. Once again, the issue is simple. Why have the council and proposers of this project sought to circumvent established guidelines for RFPs? Even the Soviet Union came to understand the value and benefit of glasnost. A policy permitting open discussion of political and social issues and freer dissemination of information.

  9. Jeff Taylor Says:

    Bill, thank you for your comment. You label me as negative because I want the people to have the power to make decisions. That is what a referendum does, and I will happily accept the decision of the people. If the Maritime Park is approved by the people, then I will happily pay my taxes and take my girls to a ballgame and enjoy peanuts and cracker jacks. I am not against the concept of the Park. I am against the backroom, good-ol-boy network process that gave birth to the idea.

    As to my negativity, I would would rather be skeptical than naive my friend. Meanwhile, please enjoy your Kool-Aid.

  10. Bill Braskey Says:

    “This deal was engineered in the backrooms of city hall with the intent of circumventing a legitimate public process.”

    And your proof of this is what? Seriously, spit it out, Mr. sophisticated debate master.

    Truth is, you have no proof… only more baseless assumptions and negativity. Now, it would be great if you would practice what you preach, and deal with facts.

  11. Jami Says:

    What I would like know is why “Mr. RFP” Marty Donovan did not ask for RFP’s for the property in the two years between Trillium 1 and the introduction of the Maritime Park idea. In addition, why has “Mr. RFP” Donovan not headed the movement to solicit RFPs for the adjacent Bruce Beach property?

    Jeff, I am beginning to think that you SOC folks are communists. They don’t want anyone making money. They don’t want to increase the tax base. They just want a park. I want people to make money! Want to know why? Because I am a single mom working for a small business in Pensacola. When my boss makes more money, I make more money. My boss pays tax on his money. So, I want every business in Pensacola to “roll in the dough.”

    Also, no one was afraid of a vote, but let’s trust our elected officials. They have all of the data and frankly, I don’t want to have to go to the polls every time there is a major decision to make.

    Oh, and about that soccer complex…though the comparison of the two scenarios (CMP and Commission debacle) is indeed ridiculous, the county SOLD the soccer land this year to Gulf Power and made a 7 million dollars PROFIT. Got any problems with that?

  12. Interested Observer Says:

    Jami, I’ll correct the last part of your post…the county sold the soccer complex at a loss to a private developer (Moulton Properties) who then sold to Gulf Power for a significant profit.

  13. Jim McClellan Says:

    Jeff, if you don’t want a sarcastic response, the back up what you’re saying with facts.

    To suggest that this issue hasn’t been subject to public debate is clearly ridiculous. There have been volumes written about it, numerous television stories and, let’s not forget the Master Lease Agreement, which clearly spells out all of the provisions. It’s available for all the world to read.

    The suggestion that there wasn’t an RFP is simply wrong. But, you know that, already. What you don’t like is that the Council acted within its powers to provide an outline of what the bidders should offer. That’s fairly common. (Read through all of the RFPs that are available from the Florida Administrative Weekly.) The Council then directed that there be public hearings about the specifics.

    If you suggest there should have been more public input before the RFP was issued, that’s your opinion — but know that many of us are fine with the process.

    You accuse the CMPA folks of backroom dealing to create the park plan, but the fact is that they did (completely legally) what the SOC did not do: They took the initiative and offered up a proposal for something positive while Fairchild and his ilk were still taking their victory lap over Trillium 1.

    That makes it pretty clear to me that SOC does not and never did have a plan, didn’t want one and would fight whatever came up.

    Now, on to some of your other rambling. There are plenty of business owners, wealthy and otherwise, who give their time and money to make this community a better place. If you cannot understand that, then you must simply refuse to acknowledge all of the community events and charities that exist solely because of the support they receive from generous people in the community.

    I’ll say this again: If you want to debate the issues, then lay out some facts and support what you say.

  14. Jami Says:

    Thanks to Interested Obsever. I stand corrected.

  15. reality chuck Says:

    City could have avoided all the conflict by putting out an RFP and letting the best man and plan win just like they did the parcel on 9th Avenue, and the same process they use to buy a truck or computer. Why didn’t they for a 40 mil loan?

    Taxpayers didn’t get a chance to even look at a better plan . Many bet a park area could be set aside then rfp the rest and come out with a better deal for the taxpayers.

    And didn’t the county try to give the civic center to the city a few years back and they didn’t want it?

    CRA has been working on the downtown area since the early 80’s and will be tapped out for anything else to be improved. Sorry it just doesn’t look like that area is ready to take on a 40 mil loan?

    Think we can get a better deal.

  16. Jami Says:

    You have to invest money to make money. What could be a better deal for the taxpayers of Pensacola than to get lease payments from tenants, and at the end of 60 years, own all the buildings and improvements? Not to mention the “domino” development effect of an increased tax base in the surrounding area.

    The reason the city likes this plan so well is that NO OTHER DEVELOPER in their right mind, wanting to make big profits, would let lease payments go to the city and not into their own pocketbook. The city council knows a GREAT deal when they see one.

    As far as taxpayers not getting a chance to look at the plan, where were you the past two years? There were many public meeting with the planners and Ray Gindroz. There were revisions made to the original plan that were taken from ideas given by the public at those meetings.

    And how much input did the city council give you about the 9th Ave. property? Who cares? The city council was ELECTED to make decisions such as these.

    Avoid a conflict in this town? IMPOSSIBLE.

  17. Rick Outzen Says:

    There was an RFP – two groups responded. The second group only wanted to be involved in the commercial part of the project.

    Before the RFP was put out – beginning in March, 2003 after the first Trillium proposal was defeated – any group could have made a proposal on the property. After Fetterman-Studer-Cavanaugh asked for conceptual approval in Jan. 2005 – others still could have made a proposal.

    Bilbo Donovan did call WCI and others begging them to submit an idea.
    None would. Other the SOC meetings at Bayview park. Donovan held no meetings with his constiuents before his vote against the CMP proposal.

    Chuck, your statement – “CRA has been working on the downtown area since the early 80’s and will be tapped out for anything else to be improved.” – simply isn’t true.

    Please read the documents. Don’t accept the SOC party line. Look at what Bob Kerrigan and his private, independent investigation discovered after examined the park plan.

  18. reality chuck Says:

    City could have avoided all the conflict by putting out an RFP and letting the best man and plan win just like they did the parcel on 9th Avenue, and the same process they use to buy a police car or computer. Why didn’t they just follow the process for a 40 mil loan?

    Taxpayers didn’t get a chance to even look at a better plan . Many bet a park area could be set aside then rfp the rest and come out with a better deal for the taxpayers.

    And didn’t the county try to give the multi use civic center to the city a few years back and they didn’t want it?

    CRA has been working on the area since the early 80’s. Will this tap out the fund for improvements that were in the original CRA plan that have not been done yet? It just doesn’t look like that area is ready to take on a 40 mil loan?

  19. Reality, chuck it out? Says:

    Reality Chuck, please site your facts for the cra being tapped out? the feasiblity #’s early on showed the cra could pay the annual debt service and have a couple of million left for CRA projects (cra wouldn’t have moved any further on this at that time if it was projected to be tapped out). With the latest projection of future revenues, there’s even more available for non cmpa projects.

  20. reality chuck Says:

    City could have avoided all the conflict by putting out an RFP and letting the best man and plan win just like they did the parcel on 9th Avenue, and the same process they use to buy a police car or computer. Why didn’t they just follow the process for a 40 mil loan?

    Taxpayers didn’t get a chance to even look at a better plan . Many bet a park area could be set aside then rfp the rest and come out with a better deal for the taxpayers.

    And didn’t the county try to give the multi use civic center to the city a few years back and they didn’t want it?

    Will this tap out the fund for improvements that were in the original CRA plan that have not been done yet? It just doesn’t look like that area is ready to take on a 40 mil loan?

  21. reality chuck Says:

    I did go to the first Gindroz planning and he said the logical place for conference center was on the city property by the civic center near hotels and restaurant row? Something must have changed.

    Thanks for clearing everything up.
    Play Ball.

  22. Jami Says:

    Chuck, how about changing your whole post instead of just re-posting with the last paragraph changed. Seems to me you really don’t want to have engaging discourse.

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