September 4, 2006
Pensacola City Council candidate Jerry Howard wrote a letter to Gulf1.com:
Vote NO on September 5th by Jerry Howard
As we get closer to September 5th I would urge the citizens to consider the following as they relate to the CMPA Proposal to develop the Trillium property.
1. The citizens own this valuable 30 acres of waterfront property and the city of Pensacola has already purchased and invested $10 Million in this property. We don’t have to give away our 30 acres to any developer and then give them $40 Million to develop something that the community did not have any legitimate input on.
2. Why did Quint Studer and other community leaders begin their “dream” for the current CMPA only 6 weeks after hurricane Ivan when the community at large was still reeling from damages to their homes and businesses? Shouldn’t their efforts have been to rebuild our community and what was the rush on doing anything with the Trillium land?
3. Why did the City Council and our Mayor avoid public input on this process and meet in private meetings on this project when the City Charter clearly states that the sale of any city owned property must use the Request for Proposal procedure? The city council spent 23 minutes discussing this plan at the committee of the whole in January 2005 before giving conceptual approval of this $80 Million project. How many companies in the US do you know that would approve a project of this size with only 23 minutes of discussion?
4. Why does Quint Studer claim to be doing something FOR Pensacola when in fact the current CMPA proposal/contract clearly states the Pensacola is doing a lot FOR Quint Studer by giving the CMPA $40 Million which is to be used in part to build a baseball stadium for his sub-minor league team? If Qunit Studer wants to contribute to our community, then let his group PAY fair market value for the land the PAY for the Baseball stadium.
5. The city did follow the RFP process on the 1.8 acres of city owned property at the corner of 9th Avenue South and Romana streets and received five “local” responses from “experienced developers” and recently selected the best one for that project. This will result in selling the 1.8 acres with the revenue going to the city and then development on that property that will result in thousands of dollars of ad valoreum property taxes each year “forever”. This $20 Million dollar project will provide some “affordable” housing in
downtown Pensacola. Isn’t it interesting to see what happens when the RFP process is followed? What other proposals could we have received on the 30 acres of waterfront property other than a baseball park in the middle of it all?
6. What is the best use of the 30 acres of property? I don’t know so let’s ask all 56,000 Pensacola citizens what their ideas are through a series of publicized meetings and then complie those ideas until we get a clear consensus of opinion. Then and only then should a national RFQ be issued and we can then evaluate those proposals. The City Council will be in control of this RFQ process and if they (and the citizens) are against Condos, then simply state that in the RFP.
7. A vast majority of my friends, neighbors and business associates are voting NO because of all the questions raised above. Let’s hope that the city council (with some new members after November 7th) and”get it right” on the next time. It’s really easy to follow the rules set forth in the city charter and we’ll all be very pleased with the end result after an open and honest park planning process that involves citizen input and utilitizes the RFQ process. This is what brings a community “together.”
Let’s take this baby apart:
1. Anyone reading the actual documents will tell you this is not a giveaway. Ask Atty Bob Kerrigan who paid for an independent review (Kerrigan’s independent review approves park). Who is more believable – an attorney without nothing at stake or candidate running for office?
Also we can’t let Howard, Donovan and others say the process was not legitmate. We already know how Donovan twists words (Marty attacks;WSRE debate ; Never begged) and Howard is following the Donovan playbook. The planning and input process lasted 14 months from Jan 2005 approval of the concept to March 2006 approval of the final plan. There were over 50 public meetings held – including some run by Marty Donovan’s brother’s company – The Avery Center.
Also, I dare to say that Studer has made more charitable donations to this community since Hurricane Ivan than Fairchild, Donovan and Howard combined.
2. No one said the Studer-Cavanaugh-Fetterman began “their “dream” for the current CMPA only 6 weeks after hurricane Ivan.” I personally don’t like that he insinutates that Adm. Fetterman wasn’t thinking of the community’s well being, but I’ll let that go. The Pensacola News Journal reported that Studer and Fetterman were called to a meeting with city staff for a discussion of the park as possible catalyst for revitalizing the city after the storm (Pensacola News Journal, “A city divided”, Aug. 20, 2006).
Studer had been working on a new ballpark since 2003 (Pensacola News Journal, “Pelicans’ next order of business: Deciding on a place to play in ’03”, Jan. 12, 2003; Pensacola News Journal, “Firm: Baseball can thrive in area”, April 29, 2003).
3. I love these questions. The State Attorney ruled the meetings between the council and park proponents were to avoid public input (State Attorney’s response to Garner complaint). The 23 minute process wasn’t final approval – just the concept so that the public input meetings could be held. How many U.S. companies would hold a public meeting on a concept without first meeting with the proposers?
4. I’m surprised to see Jerry Howard personally attack Quint Studer. Marty (Marty really feels), his wife Helene (SOC is the victim) and Melanie Nichols (Nichols hates Studer) say that they and SOC haven’t “demonized” anyone. Howards attitude is the same as Mayor Folmer who held back Montgomery for 22 years until Bobby Bright was elected (News Story).
5. The Ninth Ave was a sale of the land. Why do SOC want to sell the Trillium land instead of leasing it? There was an RFP process, Donovan worked hard to get other proposals – no one was interested in building the public sector, maintaining it and giving all the profits back to the City.
6. How does the Howard public process work? Do we list all 56,501 ideas for the park that every Pensacola may have and then we have a show of hands? Then we tell national developers they have to build it. Where do their profit go? To them? or the City like the CMP plan? Does SOC guarantee to support whatever proposal comes of this process – even if it’s the Fetterman-Cavanaugh-Studer proposal?
7 . Mr. Howard, are your neighbors voting no because the “facts” you’ve given them? What will be your platform if the park passes? How will you bring the community together?
August 30, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: August 29, 2006
CONTACT: Bob Kerrigan
LAW FIRM BACKS PROPOSED PARK
Our firm has invested in the community in many ways. We have supported virtually every fund-raising effort to make the city a better place. We have sought nothing in return. We have no business relationship with Mr. Studer, and no such relationship is contemplated. We have a long and well-documented commitment to the minority communities in our city. We have also been active in our criticism of decisions of the City Council in the past. In sum, we have no ulterior motives in the endorsement we now make of the Maritime Park.
We have read the documents available to the public available on the city’s website. We have asked probing questions regarding the feasibility of the proposed Maritime Park. We have examined the criticisms, including the suggestion that taxes will increase, and find them to be without merit. Our conclusion is that the proposed park will be of great benefit to the city and the region. A level of trust is required in any endeavor of this magnitude. We place great stock in the participation of Judge Collier, President Cavanaugh and many other outstanding citizens. We are also mindful of the vision of Admiral Fetterman and Mayor Whibbs that this national museum would be a tremendous economic boost to the community. We believe the overtures to include meaningful participation by the minority community are sincere, and we will watch to assure those commitments are kept.
Many years ago we acquired property in the middle of the Trillium tract. We gave this property to the city on the condition that the land be used in the public interest. We believe the Maritime Park meets that requirement. If the park is rejected, it’s benefactors and supporters at all levels will have little appetite for any further efforts to improve this land. The city, through Tom Bonfield and John Fleming, has exercised great care in the drafting of the agreements which created a critical safeguard by giving the city a virtual veto the subleases. The governing structure which will be established will allow for meaningful citizen input as the plan unfolds.
We support the Maritime Park and urge its passage.