September 14, 2006
The new editorial board of the PNJ has come out swinging. First, they ask the city council to delay any referendum on the expansion on the DIB. Today, they’re for Abolishing Island Authority.
I’ve always been in favor of smaller government, but I fear the backroom deals that will be made by making the beach administration a county department. Decisions that have been made at public SRIA board meetings could be shifted to decisions by dept. heads or the county administrator without any pubic input.
The County already “manages” Perdido Key. Is Perdido Key better off than Pensacola Beach?
Also, shouldn’t this decision be held off until Grover Robinson (in whose district the Beach lies) is on the board? He clearly has a bigger mandate from the voters than Whitehead, White or the two lame ducks – Dickson and Banjanin.
I do agree that general public often gets the shaft on SRIA votes and policies – Remember how long it took to get more lifeguards and we still don’t have a beach parking garage. However, there are no signs this county commission will be any more concerned for the public and won’t become just a rubber stamp for developers.
If the commission proceeds with abolishing the SRIA, then it needs to have a beach advisory committee that reviews in public hearings the policies and dept decisions for Pensacola Beach and makes recommendations to the commission. The Commission may ignore them, but at least the public will have input.
September 13, 2006
Over the summer, we had heard the Escambia County Administrator George Touart was pressuring County Atty. Janet Lander to write a legal opinion that the county commission could abolish the Santa Rosa Island Authority without a vote by the state legislature. Well they can’t but they will vote on Thursday on whether to ask the legislature to abolish the SRIA (Commission may abolish SRIA).
It’s interesting that Touart and Whitehead are pushing this issue during the lame duck period before Gene Valentino and Grover Robinson IV (who still faces a general election, but is expected to win) take office. Pensacola Beach is in Robinson’s district.
Why abolish SRIA? The buzz is that they want to raise the residential building cap on Pensacola Beach.
What about Buck Lee? The SRIA executive director believes he will be a county department head and no longer have the SRIA holding down his salary or voting on his contract.
There is definitely a consolidation of power happening – first, don’t rollback ad valorem rates and keep $31 million tax windfall; second, creation of finance dept to cut out Ernie Lee Magaha; third abolish SRIA.
September 9, 2006
It’s official. Gene Valentino is new commissioner for District 2. He beat Edwin Roberts 4,371 to 4,366, after five provisional ballots were counted.
Provisional ballots are those given voters who show up at the wrong precinct, don’t have proper identification or aren’t registered to vote.
In a race this close, anything can be given credit for the victory. However the recorded phone message from Superintendent of Schools Jim Paul for Valentino that was sent out over the Labor Day weekend may have given the Valentino campaign the boost that it needed. We know of one family – five votes – that voted for Valentino because of the call.
September 8, 2006
The Broward Co. Sheriff has hired a former prosecutor to be his inspector general who will have the power to investigate all alleged wrongdoing in his department. This might be one solution for Escambia Co. Sheriff Ron McNesby who is plagued with charges of abuse by his deputies.
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.
September 6, 2006
LOSER: Pensacola Christian College – They threw their support behind Commissioner Tom Banjanin. Many old-timers felt this was Banjanin’s strength and gave him a huge advantage. Grover still crushed him.
WINNER: Soccer Moms – They were Grover’s secret weapon. Mothers with their infants worked the polling places for Grover. They also heavily voted for the Maritime Park and the school 1/2 cent sales tax.
LOSER: WEST SIDE GOOD OLE BOYS- They elected W.D Childers to county commission. Then Bill Dickson – but they couldn’t put Myrtle Grove home boy Edwin Roberts in with a big majority. People on the West Side want change, too.
WINNER: Pensacola Young Professionals– Save Our City considered them pawns of their employers and dismissed their ability to get out the vote. PYP walked the streets, waved at intersections and voted.
LOSER: Tommy White – This former city council candidate went against the leaders in the black community and sided with the SOC. He appeared on their BLAB show and on the WSRE debate. His political gamble failed.
WINNER: Black Community – They once again became relevant in a city-wide vote. They voted and made the park a reality.
LOSER: WCOA Luke McCoy – He proved that he can’t drive an issue in the City of Pensacola. McCoy relentless attacked the CMP plan and gave SOC hours of publicity. Donovan was a regular guest. It helped to motivate the PYP and others to vote “Yes.”
WINNER: Pensacola City Council (except for Donovan) – The State Attorney dismissed the Sunshine Law violations and bribery charges and the park passed with 56% of the vote. They are more united and confident than ever.
WINNER: Pensacola voters – They are smarter than most people think.
September 4, 2006
Ron Melton, who has a controversial history as the chair of Escambia Democratic Executive Committee (Democratic Chair), has blasted the Democratic Black Caucus. He claims that they are a “phony caucus.”
Here are a few of the members of Democratic Black Caucus: Attorney Gerald McKenzie, Honor Bell, Al Henderson, and Oliver Darden. All are successful black businessmen, professionals and community leaders.
Why is Melton really upset with them? Who would the Escambia County Democrats want as their leadership and spokesman? Who is the phony?
August 31, 2006
We just happen to have a copy here.
PDF: Magaha suit
August 29, 2006
Top 10 hot items
- Stop Our City Blab Show #1 – review
- PNJ takes editorial stand in favor of CM
- PNJ scares up sells
- SOC supporter plays What if game
- Deputy breaks 21 yr old’s arm…then arr
- Is the U.S. falling apart?
- Hurricane questions for SOC Blab TV Show
- Marty shows lack of class
- BSoc has new yard signs
- Why SOC closed the 8/22/06 meeting?
August 25, 2006
In July, I wrote about the power of blogs (Blog, Blog, Blog) and told of Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s executive order prohibiting state employees from reading certain blogs – particularly BluegrassReport.org.
The owner of that blog, Mark Nickolas,sued (pdf) in July, claiming that the government censored Nickolas and other blogs because they were critical of Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s (R) administration.
We’re not sure if this blog is being blocked on Escambia County computers. We do know that Commissioner Mike Whitehead and Escambia Co. Planet George Touart have banned the Independent News from the old Escambia County courthouse.
If you believe the Independent News should be allowed back in the lobby of the old courthouse, email Commissioner Whitehead (email@example.com). I’m sure he’d love to hear from you.