September 13, 2006
Here is why William Cobb (Stop Our City supporter) believes the Community Maritime Park passed – as per his letter posted on gulf1.com:
False Representation by William T. Cobb
I am concerned that the (Artistic?) pictures printed so many times and so boldly by the Pensacola News Journal, depicting the ballpark as about 40% of the width of the “Trillium” property, probably were not knowledgeably analyzed by any of those who voted for the “Park?”.
Having checked the site personally, I see that the ball park, PNJ-depicted as 40% of the width of the property, would take only about 300 feet, including stands and all. What would be the Homeplate-to-fence dimension of such a ballpark? Will the Ball Park take a greater slice of the property in the final design?
All of the features of the depicted “Park” would have to be designed for Midget occupancy in order to get a semblance of the ballyhooed “Vision”.
I also think it wrong for the publications, and the fanciful “mailings”, to have shown a great expanse of Beach on the east side of the property, where there is none (and probably never will be), making the property appear larger than it is.
In summary, I believe that the Public was misled by the Promotions of the CMPA, with a majority of the Councilmen supporting, and that the Citizens will eventually see a vastly different “Park” that mainly serves the “Special Interests” that raised the huge “Campaign Fund”.
I believe that the producers of the “conceptual” drawings so widely used bear some responsibility for mis-informing the Public on a matter of civic importance.
Cobb will not accept that Save Our City was the one caught misrepresenting the facts – no maritime park, giveaway to a millionaire, just a ballpark, no citizen input, $1-a-year lease.
September 13, 2006
A week ago, we woke to find that not only the Community Maritime Park had passed, but that the district that voted heaviest for the park was Marty’s.
Since then, the District 4 councilman has been invisible. He failed to show up for the council committee meetings on Monday.
The rumor is that Donovan may resign and form an environmental group to fight the park.
If Marty resigned – who do you think should be appointed to replace him?
September 12, 2006
It has been a week since the Community Maritime Park passed. Everything is the same, but everything has changed.
The Pensacola City Council, except for Marty Donovan, is more unified than ever. Mayor John Fogg is becoming a stronger mayor each day. His participation in the discussion on the future of Pensacola on WSRE last Thursday was insightful and inspiring.
The Pensacola Young Professionals have already moved on to their next projects – affordable housing and internships for college students.
On the Missing Persons List are Marty Donovan, C.C. Elebash, Sam Hall, Luke McCoy, Blair Stevenson, Melanie Nichols and P.A. Ucci.
We’ve got to build on the momentum of the CMP vote. The city council needs to vote in favor of the referendum for the expansion of the DIB area. Our downtown is more than Garden and Palafox streets.
Once that is passed. The next step is for the City of Pensacola to begin annexation procedures. We have too many urban areas that benefit from city services but don’t pay city taxes. The city limits need to be expanded to Nine Mile Road on the north and Blue Angel Parkway to the west. The annexed areas will benefit from better law enforcement and fire protection as well as better recreation and overall public services.
For the life of me, I can’t understand the daily newspaper’s editorial position of waiting. When you have a victory, you need to take advantage of that political capital and keep pressing ahead.
The future of Pensacola is only as bright as we believe it can be.
September 11, 2006
Letter to the PNJ:
Vote them out
Thank you to Charles Fairchild and his Save Our City political action committee for trying to save our downtown waterfront for the residents of Pensacola.
He and his group were “out-monied.” Proponents poured money into this project, more than I have ever seen in the 40 years I’ve lived in Pensacola. Now it’s time to oust the Pensacola City Council members who voted for this project, along with the mayor.
That being said, I can only hope and pray that the Community Maritime Park project is built as presented to the public without what I call “oopsies,” such as cost overruns, modifications or deletions of public amenities, restrictions of public access to the waterfront, city/property tax increases, etc.
I voted no. Will I visit the maritime park after completion? Probably, since it’s going to be there whether I like it or not.
Not for ball games, however. There’s enough of that on TV.
— Virgil Reich
Stop Our City was out-voted, Virgil. The park passed so get over it.
The final park will most definitely be modified from the conceptual drawings. As the public uses it, changes will be made to fit their demands. Most projects morph over time. However, the public will have access to the waterfront. And no property taxes will be increased to pay for the Vince Whibbs Community Maritime Park.
As for cost overruns, the City’s obligation is $40 million, no more. Community Maritime Park Associates will have to manage with those funds. Hopefully, they will catch a few breaks on construction costs.
I’m not sure I follow the logic of voting out the City council because the park passed.
September 8, 2006
Pensacola City Council candidate and Stop Our City supporter Jerry Howard wrote a viewpoint against the Vince Whibbs Community Maritime Park (Jerry Howard) for the right-wing website Gulf1.com.
Today, Howard’s viewpoint has disappeared from Gulf1.com. Other anti-park epistles are still there.
Maybe Walker Texas Ranger can help us investigate.
September 8, 2006
From my morning emails:
Search as hard as I could, I still failed to find one outrageous lie from SOC.
However, I did find one with the Maritime Park Promoters.
It involved stating that the park would be paid for only by “businesses within the downtown CRA area.”
Anyone who knows beans about the C.R.A. is aware that un-incorporated area taxpayers must pay 70% of the C.R.A.’s cost as the result of a lawsuit filed by the city.
Just as a sidelight, I have a eyewitness who on election night was sitting next to Councilman Nobles in David Stafford’s office.
When the early returns began to show supporters were winning, Councilman Nobles called Quint Studer and said, “Well old buddy, … we’ve done it.”
Of course we all know there was never any impropriety between Nobles and his “old buddy” Quint Studer. Why our state’s attorney had copies of emails that read like the script of new TV show, “The Sopranos” and personally interviewed hundreds of people all within less than 24 hours and found nothing!
Amazing! Wonder if that attorney needed any help finding their way home to Gulf Breeze.
P.S. Not to worry, I’m just one of those taxpayers who has financed the Gulf Breeze Sopranos for the last forty years and I never even get to vote…… and this is what our local media terms as, “fair.”
September 7, 2006
It’s late and I should be in bed, but the numbers side of me won’t let me stop looking at the park vote. Here’s what happened in the other districts:
District 1 – PC Wu Yes: 1391 No: 1406 Voter turnout: 48%
District 5 – John Jeralds Yes: 1231 No: 900 Voter turnout: 41%
District 6 – Jewel Cannada-Wynn Yes: 1284 No: 679 Voter turnout: 40%
District 7 – Ron Townsend Yes: 855 No: 544 Voter turnout: 32%
City-wide voter turnout: 49.4%
Predominately black districts – 5,6,7: Yes: 3370 (61.4%) No: 2123
We will learn the exact demographics of the vote next week.
September 7, 2006
Jerry Howard is running the District 3 Pensacola City Council seat held by Mike Desorbo. Howard was a big Stop Our City member and campaigned heavily against the Vince Whibbs Community Maritime Park.
There are three precincts in District 3: Cokesbury UMC (30), Cokesbury @ Summit (42) and Our Savior (58). The YES vote was 1,892 No vote was 1,564. The park passed with a little under 55% in DeSorbo’s.
Being the incumbent is worth 5 to 10 percentage points. Therefore DeSorbo could end up beating Howard by 18 to 23 percentage points in November.
I don’t think Save Our City will be around to help Howard either.
September 7, 2006
There was something about the WSRE debate that has been gnawing at me the last two days. It was this quote:
Marty represents District 4. That district has three precincts: East Pensacola Heights Rec Center (35), Trinity Presb. Church (46) and Bayview Park Rec Centet (40). The Yes votes were 2006; No votes 1562. Marty didn’t even win his own district.
Who was Marty representing? Did he really ever ask his constiuents what they wanted?
September 7, 2006
PNJ columnist – and the man that Marty Donovan said was the only journalist he trusted – Mark O’Brien gave his observations on the Sept. 5th election (Mark O’Brien: Money, young people ). He sees that the public wanting change, the young vote and money as the factors as to why the park passed and Grover Robinson IV won.
O’Brien mourns the loss of Banjanin without mentioning how much the worse the county has become under his “leadership” the past 12 years. He completely ignores how the black community overwhelmingly voted in favor of the park and how diverse the pro-park supporters were compared to the Save Our City followers.
But Mark wouldn’t know because he wasn’t at the election night party that the Friends of the Waterfront Park hosted at Seville Quarter on Tuesday – the only one of the top PNJ writers/editors not there. The Seville Qtr crowd was black, white, young, old, established community leaders, average Joes, moms with their young children, and people with physical disabilities. Mark, the park won because of its widespread support in the community.
Was money a factor? Yes, it always helps. However, in the 2004, the candidates who raised the most campaign dollars lost most of the county and city races. Raising the most money doesn’t work unless your candidate or your cause wins over the voter.
Grover beat Tom because he built a network of friends and supporters that worked for months to help win election. He was the better candidate for a county that’s the poorest and most unhealthy in the state.
I do agree it was time for a change. Mark, you failed to recognize this in the weeks leading up to the election and backed the wrong horses in these races.