newspaperFrom San Francisco Bay Guardian:











Read the details: CENSORED!

Hot, Hot, Hot – 8/24/06

August 25, 2006

Rick's BlogTop 10 posts of the day

  1. Has Mark O’Brien lost it?
  2. SOC declares war…pro-park signs stolen
  3. SOC shows waterfront plan
  4. Stop Our City kicks DeWeese out of meeti
  5. W.D. Childers – prison mug shot
  6. Who is stealing Grover’s signs?
  7. Park recap…while you were sleeping
  8. It’s late …..and I’ve had too much to
  9. Powerful new ad for Community Maritime P
  10. Tie Deputy breaks 21 yr old’s arm…then arr/ Health of Escambia County is Bleak

questionYesterday, United Way of Escambia County held a meeting in conjunction with Florida Dept. of Health and Partnership for a Healthy Community – labeled “Escambia Community Collaborative 2006”.

Some of those in attendance: Blaise Adams, Evon Emerson, Dr. John Cavanaugh, Dr. Tom Delano, Kevin Doyle, Flack Logan, Michael Duncan, Honor Bell, Dr. Rick Harper,  Steve Deneke, Rhette Anderson, Dr. John Lanza, Francis Dunham and representatives of Legal  Services, Council of Aging,  Dept. of Children & Families, United Celebral Palsy, DEP, Children Home Services, Catholic Social Services, Catholic Charities, Escambia Coalition on Housing, Lakeview Center, Families First and Better Save Our City.

No elected officials – no Escambia County Commissioners, No one from County Administration, no Pensacola City Councilmen and no one from Stop Our City.

Objectives: Define a vision for a strong, healthy Escambia County; community-wide focus to improve priority issues; develop strategies and target resources to combat problems.

Heated moment: PNJ Publisher Kevin Doyle pushed for the group to list six main issues. One participant chimed in what happens if we do a survey, but public doesn’t want to pay for the solution?

My response: “We lead! We say it’s no longer acceptable to be the poorest or second poorest county in the state of Florida.”

At Chamber Pres. Evon Emerson’s request – the group identified these issues:

Education, Affordable Housing, Poverty, Healthcare, Living Wage, Environment, County-wide Public Transportation.

There are more meetings ahead,but this was a good start.

doorPensacola City Councilman Marty Donovan is upset that Community Maritime Park supporters met with councilmen individually before presenting the park proposal. His, Fairchild’s and the Stop Our City position is that this made the deal shady and it should have been done in an open meeting.

My position is meeting individually with councilmen or with city staff prior to making a presentation is a sound practice for government – as long as only one councilman is in the room. It helps develop good agreements.

Marty Donovan must have thought so last April when he worked with CSX railroad and city staff to negotiate the removal of the pilings at the mouth of Bayou Texar. In the PNJ article, Donovan admits he worked on the negotiations prior to the council vote, and also briefed Blair Stevenson (head of Bayou Texar Foundation & fellow SOC member) on the agreement before the council meeting.

It appears closed door meetings are okay – if they’re Donovan’s idea.

Council to weigh pilings deal
Pensacola News Journal (FL)
April 24, 2006
Author: Alvin Peabody

The City of Pensacola and CSX Transportation appear to have reached an agreement over the disposal of pilings that are under the railroad trestle at the entrance to Bayou Texar on 17th Avenue.

The council’s Committee of the Whole is set to discuss the proposed agreement today. The council plans to take action when members meet Thursday.

“We’re quite satisfied with what has been agreed upon,” said Pensacola City Attorney John Fleming, who joined several city officials in negotiations with CSX and state Department of Environmental Protection officials.

CSX spokesman Gary Sease in Jacksonville agreed.

“We obviously think that it (the agreement) is an excellent outcome for all involved,” Sease said.

The agreement is designed to ease concerns among area residents and advocacy groups who maintained that removing the pilings would allow for the city to dredge a wider and deeper channel between the railroad trestle and the Cervantes Street Bridge. The dredging would improve tidal flow to Bayou Texar.

The agreement also could alter the outcome of a pending lawsuit against the railroad company about the pilings’ removal.

“I think we were able to come up with a good settlement that has some potential to improve the area,” said Dick Fancher, DEP’s district director.

The city-CSX agreement seeks to resolve two key points:

Under the new agreement, CSX will use a clamp, crane and a vibratory hammer to extract all of the pilings after the trestle is replaced in June.

The state Department of Environmental Protection issued an emergency permit on July 20 that allowed CSX to remove the pilings to at least 1 foot below the mud line. The company, which owns the railroad, had contended that removing all of the pilings would cause more environmental harm to the bayou than cutting them off at the mud line. But the city countered that the remaining sections of the old pilings below the surface would be exposed over time. Also, material and sediments trapped in the channel would further impede the tidal flow from Pensacola Bay.

The trestle was built with wooden pilings in 1888 as a connection between Pensacola and Jacksonville. CSX began work last summer to replace the wooden trestle with a structure that needs only 11 concrete support pilings. The new bridge will increase the navigable underpass used by boaters from 20 feet to 44 feet.

The issue of who would pay for the removal of the pilings’ remnants was settled after CSX agreed to pay or reimburse the city if the city opts for future channel dredging.

Pensacola City Councilman Marty Donovan helped push for the new CSX modifications.

“In our negotiations, there was a spirit of cooperation and willingness to understand how critical the removal of the pilings is to the health of the bayou,” said Donovan, a former president of the Bayou Texar Foundation.

Foundation President Blair Stephenson said the community-based environmental group has been briefed about the agreement and was satisfied with the proposal.

“We’ve been concerned for years about the pilings’ removal, and we’re now pleased that the city and CSX have worked hard to achieve that,” Stephenson said. Her group successfully negotiated with CSX in 1989 on the removal of rocks from the bridge.

The foundation is not a party to the lawsuit filed against CSX on March 21 by a local environmental group, Emerald Coastkeeper Inc. The Coastkeepers are seeking a temporary injunction to halt work on the trestle-replacement project. Circuit Judge Michael Allen has not scheduled a hearing.

Larry B. Johnson, an Emerald Coastkeeper board member, said Friday that lawyers for the group were reviewing the agreement and that no decision has been made about the lawsuit.

“We hope to have a statement on the agreement and about the lawsuit early next week,” Johnson said.

Rick's Blog

Top 10 Posts

  1. Sorry, Todd – You are a monkey’s uncle
  2. Weekend Escape – Edie Brickell
  3. Hopkins wants City to Sale Trillium
  4. County dumps on City again
  5. PNJ has shrunk
  6. Stidham stalls
  7. Can you pass Eighth Grade math?
  8. Rick’s Analysis of Pensacola City races
  9. Stop the madness! Testing Pre-K
  10. Inside Emerald Coastkeeper Fundraiser

beerI attended the Emerald Coastkeeper’s BAYOU FAIS DO DO’ Cajun party at Haji Shrine Temple on Saturday Night. Larry B. Johnson helped organize the event. The food was catered by one of the famous downtown eateries in New Orleans – Mothers – red beans & rice, jambalaya, crawfish ettoufee and bread pudding. The only thing missing was the famous Mother’s roast beef po-boys.

EC president and co-founder Mike Papantonio gave an impassioned speech on the importance of environmental activism. He told the audience of 250-300 that there ‘rogue’ corporations in America that  callously harm the environment of a community and won’t change their methods unless a group like Coastkeeper forces them to do so. “They hide behind saying ‘We need to study the issue more’; ‘The science doesn’t exist to fix the problem’;  ‘People will lose jobs’ or “Our scientists don’t agree with your scientists.’ All are delaying tactics to wear out the opposition.”  To learn more about Emerald Coastkeeper, visit Emerald CoastKeepers, Inc.

Some in attendance – Carl Wernicke, Michael O’Donovan, Dr. John Bray, Carol Moore (executive director of EC), Ashton Hayward, Phil Wooley, Judge Marcy Goodman, Bob Tyler,Tony Gentry,Chips Kirschenfeld.
Spoke with Ross Goodman about his campaign for circuit judge against Jim Messer. Armand Grundy-Gomes was there, too – he’s running for Escambia Soil & Water Conservation Board.

Got postive feedback on the IN cover story Left Behind Part 1: Heathcare – although one person let me know the local medical society wasn’t happy with us.

Hot, Hot, Hot – 8/2/06

August 2, 2006

Rick's BlogAnother record. Most visitors to date. Top 25 blogs worldwide


  1. Sorry, Todd – You are a monkey’s uncle
  2. Dammit, why cant we be first in something
  3. Walmart and Healthcare
  4. Charlie just doesn’t get it
  5. Bye, Bye Raymond
  6. Oh, My God, Part II – Check out Tom Wells
  7. Private schools are not that great
  8. Healthcare for some, Part 2
  9. Who makes what?
  10. Letter from Parents of Lisa Dickson


Pensacola, Florida – Escambia County Supervisor of Elections David H. Stafford reminded Escambia County citizens today that Monday, August 7th is the last day to register to vote for those who wish to cast a ballot in the September 5th election.


Florida law mandates that registration books close 29 days before an election. New registrations and party changes must be completed on or before August 7th in order for them to be effective for the September election. Updates to a voter’s address, name, and signature are permitted after the book closing deadline.


Escambia County citizens have several ways to register or update their record:

Online/By Mail: Visit and complete, print, and sign the online application. Be sure to include a valid Florida Driver’s License number, a valid Florida ID number, or the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number in the appropriate space. Mail the completed application to: Escambia County Supervisor of Elections, PO Box 12601, Pensacola FL 32591-2601. Or, take the completed application to the Elections Office at 213 Palafox Place, 2nd Floor, in downtown Pensacola. Or, call (595-3900) or e-mail the Elections Office ( to have a form mailed to you.


In Person: You can register at the Elections Office at 213 Palafox Place, 2nd Floor, in downtown Pensacola, at any Florida Driver’s License Office, and several other governmental offices and public assistance centers. Registration forms are also available to pick up at many locations countywide. For a complete list of locations throughout Escambia County, visit or call or e-mail the Elections Office.

coffeeThe Senate voted 71-25 last night to back legislation that would open an 8.3-million-acre patch in the Gulf to exploration. Florida is not included.

The House passed legislation in June that would do away with a 25-year-old moratorium on most drilling in federal waters along the nation’s east and west coasts, giving individual states more authority to set limits on exploration. TheHouse & Senate will have to have conference committee to reconcile differences.

The Senate bill would allow Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to reap 37.5% of royalties from the new lease sale beginning in 2017.

Republican leaders cut a deal last month with coastal lawmakers, including Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., that guaranteed the measure would keep drilling rigs well off the Florida coast.

RO Note: According to the Sierra Club, the area to be open for exploration only has 47 days worth of oil and four months worth of natural gas.Sierra Club flyer pdf

Rick's Blog New record for hits

Today’s Top 10 Posts 

  1. WCOA Blog down
  2. Steve K corrects Outtakes column
  3. Healthcare for some, Part 2
  4. Democratic Chair goes after me
  6. School Salvation
  7. Arnold stands up for Paul
  8. Fetterman Night Success
  9. Good news, bad news
  10. Stop Our City ironies


Here are the Top 10 for the month of July

  1. Stop Our City Video
  2. Stop Our City Video – Part 2
  4. Democratic Chair goes after me
  5. WCOA Blog down
  6. Oh, my God! or is it Todd’s God?
  7. What is next for Stop Our City?
  8. Who is stealing Grover’s signs?
  9. SOC tapped out
  10. School Salvation