Where did SOC go wrong?

September 6, 2006

lensI promise not to beat up on Save Our City, but I do think there is value in analysing what happened:

SOC came out of the petition process with considerable momentum. For nearly two months, the Community Maritime Park supporters were silent and let SOC dominate the news. Their message was a series of sound bites – baseball park, $1-a-year, giveaway to a millionaire, no citizen input.

The SOC press conference held on the steps of City Hall on the emails re-enforced the message and added an new dimension of possible backroom deals.

Then I think SOC got overconfident and got distracted by side issues – like trying to abolish CRA, fighting the expansion of the DIB and the candidacies of Sam Hall, Jerry Howard, Bill and Tom Banjanin. They were making plans for beyond the referendum vote.
Charlie and Marty should never have spoken at the Rotary Clubs and other civic groups. The more details they tried to give the more people saw through their weak arguments. The more it motivated young professionals and others to vote “Yes.”

Their yard signs “We can build a better waterfront park” hurt them badly. It pointed out that they had no plan for the waterfront. SOC wanted the voters to focus on the “WE”, but it didn’t work.

Another mistake was claiming in their mail outs that there was no maritime museum. The public believed in Adm. Fetterman and knew his widow Nancy was working hard to build the museum. CMPA had a series of press conferences announcing big donations to the museum. This hurt SOC credibility.

Also Quint Studer became more visible the last two weeks. SOC’s personal attacks on him as greedy and out for himself didn’t match the man the public saw. Though SOC tried to back off of the attacks and claim they never happened, the public remembered.

Then Marty Donovan’s public name-calling hurt, too. Calling Jeff DeWeese a weasel on BLAB and attacking Duwayne Escobedo, the Independent News and me in the WSRE debate made him out as a bully and hurt his credibility, too.

And lastly, the charges made against the Pensacola City Council by Tom Garner hurt SOC – even though Garner says he has no relationship with SOC. Donovan was heavily quoted by Garner, but in the end, the State Attorney’s office believed the other council members, not Donovan. The public say it as desperate political attack by SOC – even though they weren’t involved.

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4 Responses to “Where did SOC go wrong?”

  1. Joe Citizen Says:

    It is too bad that Donovan’s opponent in City Council District 4 race dropped out. I think Marty’s tenure would have been over as we have all seen his lack of integrity.

  2. Jim D. Says:

    Has anyone seen or heard from Donovan? Is he in hiding? Charlie has been all over saying nice things and generally acting responsibly and being a classy loser.

    Doesn’t Marty feel some obligation to speak to the thousands of people he whipped into a frenzy or will he just let his mouthpiece Luke McCoy do it for him? Tune in at 4:00 p.m. to 1370 AM for the hysterics.

    Not that I’d ever expect it from Marty, but a little class would be appreciated by both sides of the issue.

  3. Pensacola Pete Says:

    Great analysis, Rick. I very much got the impression that SOC was a ticking time bomb doomed for self-destruction. It’s too bad these folks wasted so much time and energy on absolutely awful tactics.

    The claim that “there is no maritime museum” absolutely infuriated many in the community and kicked the CMP supporters into high gear. I had occasion to speak with John Cavanaugh several times over the summer and each time after we had concluded our business he asked me how, how, how, can the opponents say there is no museum? It was his favorite topic. He became a man with a mission, namely to debunk the SOC lies.

    I’m told the same was true for Nancy Fetterman and the Brown family. These are not people you want single mindedly focused on your downfall. Maybe had the SOC kept on topic and not resorted to character assassination and outrageous lies they would have had a better result. I’m personally glad they didn’t and I’m thrilled the CMP passed.

  4. o'brien fan Says:

    why would anyone want to run against Marty after watching the type of negative campaign that he ran to challenge the Maritime Park? A challenger would have to muster huge financial resources to counter all of the misinformation and half-truths and lies that Marty would spread in order to retain his throne in front of the tv cameras. Unfortunately the folks in Cordova Park stand behind their local boy because he swam in the bayou as a kid, went to their schools, eats at the Oyster Barn, etc. He may be a bad boy but he is their boy. For what its worth Marty is a non-issue on the council because he is unable to get anything done and is constantly on the losing end of 9-1 votes – what a waste of a council seat!

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