Wednesday, August 31, 2011

IN WEEKLY: Budget Woes Handicap Fire Service...Sixty percent of Pensacola fire stations undermanned

In February 2011, the IN Weekly printed an article surrounding the understaffing of the Fire Stations in the City.

The article states:

City officials often brag on the “world-class” Pensacola Fire Department. It was one of the major selling points for consolidation. What isn’t mentioned publicly is that 60 percent of the city’s fire stations are undermanned to the point that they don’t meet national fire safety standards. Precious minutes are being lost as multiple stations are having to be called in to fight fires before crews can enter burning structures.

Included in the article is a quote from Chief Schmitt

Interim Pensacola Fire Chief Matt Schmitt confirmed DeWeese’s statements concerning fire station staffing. “We’ve downsized with the budgets of every other city department here trying to make it through the economic hard times we are in,” Schmitt explained. “Positions were defunded; when someone retired out, we just didn’t hire in.”

Schmitt told the IN that the downsizing has created problems when working simultaneously with large, multiple incidents. “But, we do have a mutual aid agreement with the Escambia County Fire Rescue. We can draw on them for support, but it takes time,” Schmitt continued. “Before the downsizing, we could easily manage two major incidents at the same time. Considering the size and scope of a given incident, that could be extremely difficult at this time.”

I congratulate the Pensacola Professional Firefighters on reaching a deal with the Mayor's office on position funding in 2011-2012.  I just hope that the deal is implemented sooner rather than later as OUR CITIZENS LIVES may depend on it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

State of Florida to fund training for Port-related Businesses

More opportunity created by Seaport operations:  Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!

Thousands of Florida transportation industry workers could hone their skills using more than $2.2 million worth of state-funded training opportunities under a grant announced Wednesday. Business leaders, elected officials and the board charged with keeping Florida residents in the workforce said the grants will help companies that use freight facilities, such as JaxPort. The infusion of cash is intended to create jobs, improve employee performance and start career-focused courses in high schools to make the state more competitive internationally. The overall message of the stimulus: Florida has depended on agriculture, tourism and construction for too long. [Source: Florida Times-Union]

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Maren Deweese is a Bad Politician

Here is a quote from Rick Outzen's April 10, 2010 article...

"Maren DeWeese is a bad politician. She is an unselfish public servant with a heart bigger than all of Pensacola. She does what she believes is right regardless of the impact on her re-election or political career. She is a great mom who still wants to show her children how good government operates."

I am still that same person.

here's the link to the whole story:

Rick you didn't even verify your story and you have this all wrong.   You should have called your friends Maren and Jeff DeWeese.  I have never seen my husband more hurt by any one person as he was this morning as he read your blog, something he does every single morning of his life. So dissapointing.

What has happened to you?

Have you ever considered you are the poison pill here?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Agenda Collaboration Efforts

This week's agenda preparation showed to have several challenges and I would like to clarify the chain of events as they occurred. 

As you will see from the emails, it was business as usual and I, the nor the new CAO Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Messer and based on Mayor Hayward's response to me in passing on Monday, he too was not aware of the changes that had been made to the agenda preparation process.

My efforts to refine the process brought changes in July that the Mayor's recommendations would be sent directly to Council on the agenda, without the Council Presidents recommendation as had been done in the past.  

This week, the Mayor's Chief of Staff had made changes to the agenda process and forbidden the release of agenda items and the Agenda itself. 

When I arrived Monday afternoon to work on the Agenda,  Mayor Hayward asked in passing if there was anything I needed,  I stated,  "just trying to organize the agenda items and I still need your requests for review".  Mayor Hayward seemed surprised that I had not received his requests and said he would check on them immediately. 

The Chief of Staff had also given instructions that the agenda must go straight to the Clerk and the Council President was not allow to have access to it before it was published.  This is the Council's Committee of the Whole agenda and is to be approved by the Council President.

While I am not sure of the reason why a memo was sent to me from the Mayor rehashing old details about the agenda,  I am certain of my efforts to work in collaboration with the Mayor on agendas.  His schedule did not permit for our weekly meeting yesterday or last week and this is the possible cause for the breakdown in communication.

From: Maren Deweese

Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 5:42 AM
To: Bill Reynolds; Donna Harris
Cc: Ashton Hayward; Elaine Mager; Ericka Burnett
Subject: Mayor's Agenda requests

Good Morning,

I would like to follow up on our conversation from Friday.

Please contact me as soon as your review of the Mayor's requests for the August 15th agenda are complete.

The process for submission normally allows for my review beginning the Friday before an agenda is issued the next Tuesday, in case there is a need for follow up or additional documents. This gives staff and Department heads time to arrange for additional documents and gives them time to respond to questions.

The Agenda closes Tuesday at noon with no additions to be made after that time. Should a new item arise or an item need updating a revised agenda can be issued up until Friday at 5pm.

If you would like to discuss the Mayor's requests with me today, please contact me at 316-7671. I look forward to hearing from you today.

Best Regards,
Maren DeWeese
Council President
From: Bill Reynolds

Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 8:05 AM
To: Maren Deweese; Donna Harris
Cc: Ashton Hayward; Elaine Mager; Ericka Burnett; John Asmar

Subject: RE: Mayor's Agenda requests

Madam President,

Good morning and thanks for the email.

My review has been complete and the package is currently being reviewed by John Asmar. I thank you for dropping off the package on Friday and briefing me on the process. My goal is to have our transition over the next few months be as seamless as possible for you and the rest of council. I appreciate your patience as we transition.

My best,

From: Maren Deweese

Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 8:12 AM
To: Bill Reynolds; Donna Harris
Cc: Ashton Hayward; Elaine Mager; Ericka Burnett; Al Coby

Subject: RE: Mayor's Agenda requests

Thank you for your email.

Donna, please notify me as soon as the Mayor's requests are ready for my review.

Monday is a work day for my own business and rather busy on most Mondays so please advise when the package will be ready for pickup.

Let's discuss timing for the next agenda process to allow for completion 10 days in advance of a COW meeting. As in the past, I am willing to review Mayor's requests as they are completed to avoid the rush of reviewing all requests together.

best regards,
Maren DeWeese
Council President

From: Maren Deweese

Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 3:14 PM
To: Rita R. Lee
Cc: Ashton Hayward; Elaine Mager; Ericka Burnett

Subject: RE: Mayor's Agenda requests

Good Afternoon,

Please advise as to the status of the Mayor's agenda requests for Council's August 15th COW meeting.

I would like to pick up the package for review and have not heard from anyone on the Mayor's staff following this morning's email from the CAO.

One item, the discussion of Council executive is ready for me to sign and I will be by City Hall in a while, this would be the best time for me to pick up the Mayor's agenda items for review.

Thank you for your attention to this request. I can be reached on my cell phone as well 316-7671.

best regards,
Maren DeWeese
Council President
From Rita R. Lee on behalf of Mayor Hayward
Monday 8/8/2011  3:20pm

Council President,

I just checked with Donna Harris and was advised she spoke with you today and advised you the agenda items are not yet ready for you to pick up. I will check further for response and get back with you re status.

Thank you.
From Rita R. Lee on behalf of Mayor Hayward
Tues 8/9/2011 11:38am


The City Attorney has informed me that there is some misunderstanding concerning my memorandum of August 8, 2011, regarding mayoral agenda items.

I apologize for any misunderstanding and turmoil this memorandum may have caused you. As you well know, I am busy in many directions including wrapping up some important City business in order that I might attend the League of Cities meeting in Orlando the next three days with you and other Council members. That is also why I was unable to meet with you at our scheduled meeting this morning.

Upon reflection, I probably should have clarified in the memo that the agenda would be released to you as Council President, as opposed to Council members, under the same procedures that we have always utilized. Clearly, it is important for the Council President to be able to manage her meetings.

Again, I am sending you this email in the hopes that we might resolve this misinterpretation of my memorandum and continue my efforts to ensure that the process is fully transparent and understood by all.

Sincerely & Respectfully,

RRL for Mayor Hayward

Friday, July 22, 2011

Senate RESTORE the Gulf Coast BILL

The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourism Opportunities and Revived Economy of the Gulf Coast Act of 2011


On April 20, 2010, the tragic explosion of the Deepwater Horizon took the lives of 11 men and unleashed an uncontrolled flow of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico. The damage to the economic and environmental sustainability of America’s working coast is immense. The responsible parties have to be held accountable for the damages. At the same time, significant investment is needed to ensure the long-term health of the Gulf Coast ecosystem and economies.

The RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act of 2011 is a bipartisan, regional approach that will:

. Dedicate 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties charged to BP to the restoration of the Gulf Coast
. The Clean Water Act gives the EPA authority to fine parties found to be responsible for an oil spill.
. Under current law, these penalties are not returned to the place where the injury occurred.
. The RESTORE Act will establish the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund made up of 80 percent of all civil penalties paid in connection with the Deepwater Horizon spill.
. Provide needed resources to Gulf Coast States to start recovery immediately
. A portion of the funds will be allocated directly and equally to the five Gulf Coast states for ecological and economic recovery.
. States know what projects will best aid their recovery and can act quickly.
. The bill ensures that funds are spent responsibly and for their intended purpose—restoring and protecting the ecosystems and economies of the Gulf Coast.
. States must spend these funds on ecological and economic recovery activities along the coast, as defined in the legislation.
. Establish a Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council and a Comprehensive Plan for the Gulf Coast
. The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, established in the RESTORE Act, will develop and fund a comprehensive plan for the ecological recovery and resiliency of the Gulf Coast.
. The Council will be comprised of both Federal and State members, allowing agencies to work together and remove obstacles to implementation.
. The comprehensive plan will give priority to large-scale projects that contribute the greatest to the overall restoration of the Gulf Coast ecosystem, and projects in established state restoration plans.
. A portion of the Council allocation will be distributed based on proposals from the five Gulf Coast States.
. Establish a Long Term Science and Fisheries Endowment and Gulf Coast Centers of Excellence
. Five percent of the Fund will be allocated to a Gulf Coast research, science and technology program,
  including fisheries management.
. The program will establish Gulf Coast Centers of Excellence to advance research, science and  technology   in the Gulf around specific disciplines, including coastal wetlands restoration, fisheries, resilient coastal development, and sustainable offshore energy security and safety.
. The endowment will include funding for needed fisheries stock assessments and ecosystem monitoring to ensure the long term sustainability of our commercial and recreational fishing industries.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Maritime Development Leaders Honored


The Florida Ports Council – comprised of Florida’s fourteen deepwater seaports – met in Ft. Lauderdale on June 22nd and 23rd to talk about the future of Florida’s seaports and the maritime industry. During the two-day strategic planning meetings, the Council recognized Senators Jeremy Ring (D-Margate) and Jack Latvala (R-St. Petersburg) and Representatives Lake Ray (R-Jacksonville) and Dana Young (R-Tampa) for their efforts to ensure the sustainability of Florida’s maritime industry and to promote economic development and job growth in Florida.

Representative Young and Senator Latvala were recognized for their efforts to reduce unnecessary state security regulatory burdens on Florida’s seaports and maritime industry workers. Due to comprehensive Federal security regulations enacted over the past few years, these state laws were deemed inefficient, duplicative and unnecessary. Addressing Council members, Representative Young expressed “I am humbled to be the recipient of the 2011 Tugboat Award and it was truly my honor to work with the Ports Council and the statewide business and maritime communities to pass this important Seaport Security bill." Council President Doug Wheeler reiterated that “this legislation will allow Florida's Ports to be more competitive, while also maintaining a secure environment where Florida businesses can create jobs.”

Representative Ray and Senator Ring were recognized for their continuing efforts to increase state investment in priority seaport projects, and to create a planning environment that entices the private sector to locate or expand their maritime operations in Florida. Senator Ring informed Council members that the Florida Senate had stressed the need to invest approximately $100 million a year for the next five years in Florida’s seaports, adding “Florida’s ports are vital since they will serve as the economic engine for the 21st century economy Florida needs to compete nationally and internationally.”

Representative Ray touted that the Florida Legislature and Governor Scott had approved the investment of over $117 million this fiscal year in Florida’s seaports and stressed the importance of global trade and logistics to Florida’s economy. "I am honored to receive the Tugboat Award from our system of Ports in Florida as we join our efforts together to meet the needs of evolving shipping markets. The fulfillment of our vision will take Florida to a new and exciting future in international commerce."

Governor Scott was presented a Tugboat Award in May following the Security bill signing ceremony at the Port of Tampa for his efforts on behalf of the Ports and the maritime industry. “Governor Scott has been a tremendous advocate for the Ports since he took office and we appreciate all he is doing to put Florida in the best position to capitalize on opportunities for job creation and growth associated with the ever-growing global marketplace” said Wheeler.

Monday, June 13, 2011

CRA property disposal notice




City of Pensacola, Florida,  The Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Pensacola, a Florida special district (the “CRA”) hereby gives notice required by Section 163.380, Florida Statutes (2011), of
its intention to dispose of real property as generally described below (the “Site”) and to accept

Proposals for redevelopment of the Site as an economic development project (“Project”). Redevelopment Project proposals must include no less than 30,000 SF of business or professional office space, $4,000,000 capital investment, 100 new full-time employees averaging $45,000 in annual salary, and completion of construction within 24 months. Responsible proposers must be able to demonstrate that they have the financial and legal ability to carry out any proposal made. A mechanism to reasonably assure timely completion of these obligations will be required.

The Site is located in the Urban Core Community Redevelopment Area at 120 W. Government St., Pensacola, Florida 32502. The Site is approximately 0.66 acres, zoned C-2A and currently serves as a surface parking lot. Beginning in 2009 and continuing intermittently to date, in concert with the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce the CRA has negotiated with a third party a redevelopment and economic development proposal generally meeting the terms set forth in this notice. Before proceeding further, the CRA desires as a matter of good public policy and is required by law to consider alternative proposals concerning the disposition of the Site and encourages proposals from any interested and capable proposers.
Proposals for redevelopment of the Site must further the purposes and objectives of the Urban Core Community Redevelopment Plan (2010) and meet the minimum Project requirements set forth above. Information regarding the Site, the Redevelopment Plan, submission of proposals and other pertinent information available to the CRA may be obtained by contacting the CRA in writing at the address below. A copy of the current the Urban Core Community Redevelopment Area Plan (2010) is available at

A responsible proposer must provide a written, detailed outline of its proposal to the CRA at the following address on or before 4 p.m., July 14, 2011, which is at least 30 days after the date of publication of this

Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Pensacola
222 W. Main St., 5th Floor
Pensacola, Florida 32502
Phone (850) 435-1695

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

PCIP Grants for 2011

PCIP Grant Program

The City of Pensacola is accepting applications for the 2011 PCIP Neighborhood Matching Grant Program from neighborhood associations that have been registered with the City for at least 3 months. Neighborhood groups may apply for up to $10,000 which must be matched by cash, in-kind donations or volunteer labor. The deadline for applying is 5:00 p.m. on April 3, 2011.

Neighborhoods may apply for a grant under one of two categories: a) improvements to public property b) neighborhood improvement programmatic activities; or improvements to association owned property. All grant awards are subject to availability of funding at the time of award.
(You may request an application in WORD format by email to

PDF Application Links

"Association-owned" Property Improvements or "Programmatic Activities"

"Public Property" Improvements

Applicant neighborhood associations must attend the PCIP grant workshop on
Thursday, February 3, 2011, 5:30 p.m.,

Hagler/Mason Conference Room,
City Hall, 2nd Floor,
222 W. Main St, Pensacola, FL 32502.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Scenic Highway Foundation 2011 Lecture Series

Please join us for the first lecture in our 2011 series...
When: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 from 5:15 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Lectures begin promptly at 5:30 p.m.
Where: IHMC 40 South Alcaniz Street
List of Presenters:
Scenic Highway: Avenue of Heritage” Written by Earle Bowden,
Presented by Ms. Rhonda Grice.

A Sunday Afternoon Drive Through History,”
Presented by Ms. Suzanne Weathers.

Paving of Scenic Highway (1927)”
Presented by Ms. Gena Buchanan.

Life as a boy living on Scenic Highway in 1916 (and beyond)”
Written by Fred Howe, Presented by Mr. Eric Schade

A resident of Gaberonne: A conversation with Mr. Gonzalez”,
Written by Dr. Jack Kichler, Presented by Mr. Dan Deanda.

Our next lecture series is Wednesday, February 09 2011:
Speaker: Mr. Charles Booher Topic: Collecting History along Scenic Highway