Friday, August 31, 2012

20 Questions

  1. How can any issue presented in any forum in Pensacola ultimately incurr an anti-Studer comment? Really?
  2. Why are people that are usually tight with money so free to give it candidates for yard signs, magnets and junk mail?
  3. Can anyone come up with a use for used yard signs other than garage sale signs? I've tried.
  4. Why does our "transparent" Mayor have frosted glass between the mayoral suite and the Public?
  5. How many miles have been put on the CNG car the city bought?
  6. When is Charlie Daniels coming back to the CMP?
  7. Can live, work, play be accomplished if play outweighs live and work?
  8. Has anyone told the Wahoos thanks for helping with the Veterans Memorial Park?
  9. Has anyone noticed how fast the City Parks & Rec Department cleaned up after the storm? Wow!
  10. Can the Marina Oyster Barn get flood insurance?
  11. Why is it that already wealthy people look for inside deals?
  12. How many people remember Thadeus Cohen and Becky Bray came up with Pelican Drop & Saturday Market?
  13. Can anyone get over the feeling when a baby smiles at you for no apparent reason?
  14. Why do big colleges want to play little colleges in football?
  15. Who does the power company call if their power goes out?
  16. If you had $5 million would you retire or reinvest it all?
  17. How long will it take to reopen the road to Fort Pickens?
  18. Has anyone noticed all the Frigate birds here since the storm?
  19. Is there anything better than getting off the school bus on a holiday Friday afternoon?
  20. Will Navy beat Notre Dame in Dublin tomorrow? 
Whew, I think its time to move on.  See ya next week.

Hayward / Servisfirst Relationship

Below are documents that show the following:

  • On December 16, 2010, Mayor Hayward appointed Thomas B. (Bo) Carter, former President and CEO of Coastal Bank and Trust to his Transition Team.
Transition Team
  • On April 1, 2011, Servisfirst Bank of Birmingham, Alabama opened its Pensacola office.  Thomas B. (Bo) Carter of the Mayor's transition team was named by Servisfirst as their local Chairman of the Board.
Pensacola Open
  • In the June 30, 2011 Deposit Market Share Report, issued by the FDIC, Servisfirst was the 3rd smallest bank in terms of deposits in Escambia County Florida with $24.9 million in total deposits.
FDIC
  • As of September 30, 2011, the City of Pensacola had $74.4 million in investments.  No money was on deposit with Servisfirst Bank.  All of the City's pooled investments yielded 0.25%.
Financials
  • On November 10, 2011 the City of Pensacola deposited $12,500,000 of the City's investment pool in Servisfirst Bank at a yield of 0.30%.
Financial Report
  • On December 20, 2011, Ashton Hayward entered into a mortgage with Servisfirst Bank for use with a secured revolving credit agreement of not to exceed $751,000.  This debt is on top of a $980,000 interest only balloon mortgage with Warrington Bank on his primary residence.
LOC Mortgage

Balloon Mortgage
  • This mortgage satisfied a previous mortgage loan from Coastal Bank and Trust where Mr. Carter was previously employed.
Satisfaction
  • Mayor Hayward's primary residence was assessed by the property appraiser at $877,000 in the 2012 assessment.
Assessment
  • On December 13, 2011, James D. Hayward, the Mayor's uncle and another party entered into a mortgage with Servisfirst Bank for a commercial property located on Baylen Street.
JD Hayward Mortgage
  • This mortgage satisfied a previous mortgage loan from Coastal Bank and Trust where Mr. Carter was previously employed.
Satisfaction
  • On February 14, 2012, the City of Pensacola deposited an additional $10,000,000 of the City's investment pool in Servisfirst Bank at a yield of 0.45%
Financial Report
  • Both of these investments yield between 15 and 20 basis points more to the City than the other pooled investments at BBVA Compass.
  • The 2 investments with Servisfirst total $22,500,000 or 28% of the City's investments.
  • The 2 investments with Servisfirst of $22,500,000 almost equal the Bank's total deposits the year before.
  • In a May 15, 2012, press release Servisfirst stated "ServisFirst Bank Pensacola reached profitability after one year of operation in the market. Overall, the bank has shown 67% growth year/year for the 1st quarter of 2012, with its loan growth reaching $448 million, a 30% increase over the same period in 2011."
Growth

All documents are submitted without comment, merely explanation. I will leave it to the Citizens to draw their own conclusions.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012 Neighborhood PCIP Matching funds meeting

Our PCIP program for neighborhoods is one of the strongest partnerships we have in our community and each year HOA's and NA's are able to improve their neighborhoods with matching funds from the City.

PCIP provides the City of Pensacola’s organized neighborhood groups with the opportunity to apply for up to $10,000 in matching grant funds for neighborhood improvement projects. Neighborhood groups must match the dollars with cash, in-kind donations, or sweat equity.  This is a 50/50 partnership.


Improvement projects on both public and association-owned property are eligible, as well as programmatic activities.

Past selected projects include:
Entryway signage
Landscaping
Decorative lighting
Cultural/historical programs

The workshop:
When: Thursday, September 6  at 5:30 PM

Where: Hagler/Mason Conference Room on the second floor of City Hall, (222 West Main Street).

Neighborhood groups interested in applying for grant funds are encouraged to have a representative attend this workshop, where the program and application process will be covered in detail.

A total of $50,000 is available in this year’s grant cycle. More information, including an online application, is available at cityofpensacola.com/PCIP. Applications are due by October 9, 2012

Hope to see you there!





Oh My!

Why bless their little hearts.  The PNJ can't help themselves.  Yesterday's article about my decision to run for Mayor was comical. 

DeWeese Targets Mayor.
Councilwoman ends re-election bid to take on Hayward 

Well shut my mouth! Is he running for re-election?  I asked David Stafford if anyone else had pre-filed.  He told me no.  I do declare.  Did the PNJ get a quote from the Mayor that he is running for re-election or is that "speculation"?

For the record, I am the only declared candidate for Mayor.  IF the Mayor files, he will be running against me...Just sayin.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Time to Move Forward

Two years ago, I supported Ashton Hayward for Mayor. Ashton promised fiscal conservancy, to personally sit down and negotiate on behalf of the City on issues, to keep his focus on public safety and neighborhoods and to work with City Council to make our City great.


Ashton Hayward as failed to keep too many of his promises and for that I am truly sorry.

His lack of active participation in our government and complete delegation of all duties not including a camera, requiring interaction with Council or the unmanaged public is ridiculous.

The backroom deals and City contracts for friends and supporters are shameful.

Our Mayor touts his economic development efforts and doesn’t mind spending our tax dollars flying all over the world on marketing trips but could not even bring himself to sit at the table and negotiate a $12 million development project at meetings right in City Hall.

He has shown us, through his budget, a document developed with little regards for the fundamental responsibilities of City government.

It is a budget that spends astronomical amounts of taxpayer dollars on soft, intangible expenses like advertising, branding and CNG vehicles while issues such as public safety, roads, sidewalks and neighborhoods are neglected.

It is a budget that continues to be all about building the brand of the Mayor, rather than serving the Citizens.

It is a budget that reflects a Mayor who spent all of our capital project related dollars through 2017 on politically popular projects in the first year of his term and now realizes that required projects are beyond his funding capability.

It is a budget that continues to build a barrier between our City employees and the Mayor that told each of their unions when running for office that he personally would sit at the bargaining table with them to negotiate, a promise he has not kept.

While many on the City Council may not agree with certain aspects of the budget, under the current interpretation of our charter there is little we can do, absent 6 votes, to change it. The Mayor will not attend Council meetings to answer our questions or concerns. The Mayor’s office will insist on Council passage as is, resist any line item adjustments and attack the Council in the press. Any efforts to change the budget will be met with stonewalling and objection. This is not the cooperation with Council he promised as a candidate.

Our current Mayor/Council issues have been described by many as growing pains and by others as dysfunction.

I disagree.

I campaigned for the charter changes. All of the videos and transcripts of the Charter Review Commission reflect an envisioned balance of power between the two branches, not the present autocratic manipulation of the charter Mayor Hayward has put forward in this first 2 years in office.

As I reflected on the upcoming election, I pulled out the simple, plain paper campaign flyers from when I first ran for office and found the saying "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." It occurred to me that, if re-elected to Council, the next two years would be more of the same between Mayor and Council.

My desire to make our City’s charter work is stronger than ever. With experience, we have come to understand where the vague or undefined terms are in the Charter and how to correct them, but I can not drive this change from my seat for District 3 constantly challenging the inattention and autocratic interpretations of the Mayor.

My opposition to the Mayor’s policies are negatively effecting District 3 as the Mayor attempts to politically punish me, while actually punishing the Citizens. Fire Station 3 is a prime example of this. I have been asking for some action in the only City owned building in all of District 3 for two years. Originally, Ashton Hayward told me “Repairing a fire station is not bringing jobs to Pensacola.” In the last two budgets, the Mayor has stated that he will repair the building, but when pressed can’t seem to find the money.

That is not productive, nor positive for moving District 3 or Pensacola forward.

I am therefore announcing my withdrawal from the District 3 City Council race and announcing that I have pre-filed to run for Mayor of the City of Pensacola in 2014.

I wish Andy Terhaar good luck as my new Councilman and I look forward to working with him when I am elected Mayor. I hope Andy remembers, when he takes office, that in the August primary, 70% of District 3 citizens voted for the fiscal reforms and stronger council promised by fellow District 3 resident Charles Bare. I hope Andy will stand up for what is right for District 3 and not just be a Mayoral yes man.

To be clear, as Mayor I will:

• Attend each Committee and Council meeting to personally present proposed policies, recommendations, contracts and initiatives and invite input from City Council and the Citizens

• Be responsive to Council and Citizens and support their direct access to department heads.

• Define each department and role within the City structure

• Work with Council to propose charter definition, clarifications and amendments to clarify many of the heavy handed interpretations of our current Mayor.

• Restore the trust of the City employees in the office of the Mayor and treat our employees fairly and with respect.

• Cut the office of the Mayor to a staff of 3, the Mayor, the City Administrator and a staff assistant saving the City over $500,000 annually.

• Amend the Charter to allow Council the opportunity to employ staff and an internal audit function independent of the Mayor.

• Focus on providing those fundamental responsibilities a city should and cut the constant spending on flashy projects and photo op management.

• Manage the City through respect and empowerment of our employees

• Include neighborhoods in every step of the budget process and create an environment of collaboration with decisions based on the needs of our citizens

• Return economic development leadership and tourism development to the professionals at the Chamber of Commerce and Visit Pensacola assisting where asked or needed and;

• Embrace our history as the City of Five Flags

All of the above are achievable by restoring City government to a proper balance while continuing the achievements we have made in the last four years. I look forward to serving the Citizens of Pensacola and making the City of Pensacola the City where thousands live the way millions wish they could.















Fire Station 3 Report

Fire Station 3 Report

What a Difference in Two Months

The Better Pensacola Forum poll in the Sunday PNJ stated that 76% of people polled believe Mayor Hayward is doing a good job.  Evidently the sample of 800 people was taken in June.  When the poll was taken:
  • People didn't know about the  DIB insider deal
  • The branding project had not been rolled out
  • The Mayor hadn't ducked out on the Studer negotiations and
  • People didn't know about the Molten Allen Williams insider deal.
I wonder if the PNJ reported on some of these issues if those numbers would hold?

We will see.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Should Fire Station 3 be Abandoned for Storm?

Are our firemen safe?

I was reviewing a report on the structure of Fire Station 3 prepared by Bullock Tice.  The draft was presented to John Asmar on July 25, 2011 and finalized in September 2011.

The report states:

"The exterior doors on this facility are currently in poor condition and do not meet current wind load requirements"

"The truck bay doors appear to be in good shape; however, they are not rated to meet current wind load requirements."

"The casement windows are deteriorating due to age and exposure over the years to the weather.  There are visible signs of significant rust along the jambs, head and sills of these units. The rust is great enough to question the current overall integrity of the window system."

"The modified bitumen roof is in poor condition"

"Based on Fire Station 6 Building Structural Assessment, it is assumed that Fire Station 3 is also under designed for wind force loads."

" Additionally, the roofing at the truck bay is in poor condition and at the north end, the roofs membrane has separated from the structure."

This is a serious issue and one that can't be resolved by the time this storm reaches us.  The Mayor has a had a year and done nothing.  I will bring this situation up tomorrow at our special meeting on hurricane preparedness.

The report will be posted in the morning.

Friday, August 24, 2012

20 Questions

  1. What other business owners lost deals because the DIB didn't invent a parking incentive program especially for them?
  2. How does the City know John Asmar doesn't have clients that are benefiting from policies he helps create?
  3. If a business is already located downtown, aren't the Mayor's real estate deals for downtown office space competing with tax payers for tenants?
  4. Since the Molton Allen Williams RFP address was City Hall, where's the lease and for how much?
  5. Will the Palafox Place noise controversy come to a peaceful ending?
  6. Will our new logo swell to huge sizes as the storm approaches?
  7. Who can get a bank to refinance a one year renewal $980,000 interest only real estate mortgage for each of the last three years with no principle reduction in this banking and economic climate?
  8. With a storm coming soon is the new Marine Corp Memorial insured by the City?  I hope so.
  9. Wonder if any BP oil will be coming ashore with this storm?
  10. If DROP doesn't mean go home anymore when it's over, why offer it?
  11. How many days, in the last two years, has the $100,000 plus rescue truck at Station 3 been manned?
  12. If its not going to be manned shouldn't we sell it or put it in a park for children to play on?
  13. Is anyone going to file a complaint with the state about the unsafe work conditions at Station 3?
  14. Who on the City staff gets free parking at the airport by signing their ticket?
  15. Is it legal for City employees or contractors to carry a weapon to work if they have a carry permit?
  16. Who wants Government Street opened up so bad and why? How much did they donate?
  17. Could council prepare a few proposed charter revisions and definitions and put them on a ballot?
  18. If the City gives the Chamber $250,000 per year to lead economic development, why not let them do their job?
  19. Is the information I am posting interesting, or should I do a pet issue with my chocolate lab next week?
  20. Is my open disagreement with the Mayor going to impact my District and it's support and funding from the Mayor?

Really???

I found the following email from the charter vote era.  (Click the picture to enlarge.) The PAC supporting the charter was formed by an organizing committee of Charter Review Commission members.  From the text of the email and the debate recap by Travis Peterson, no one from the Charter Review Commission envisioned the Mayor having the contract approval authority that he has declared he has under the Charter.

Travis has apparently either forgotten what we all fought for and promised the voters or he participated in one of the biggest snow jobs in Pensacola's history.  Deep down I know Travis is a great person.  Travis stand up and challenge the Mayor's interpretations of the charter.  YOU KNOW ITS NOT WHAT WE INTENDED.

Additionally, note how Travis Peterson characterises the opponents comments regarding autocratic rule.  I am sorry Mr. Fleming and Mr. Young.  You were right.  We must fix this mess.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Reason Why

Anonymous said...


Expecting city employees to report this is not realistic. Any employee who blew the whistle would be fired so fast it would make their head spin. "Axmar" calls employees in & tells them they are fired immediately -- or he has his HR "administrator" do his dirty work. He -- or the Mayor -- never have a conversation with the employee to relay any performance concerns. The employee is never given an opportunity to correct any deficiencies. The employee is just fired. Councilwoman DeWeese is taking a political gamble by going against the mayor, but her family doesn't rely on her council salary to put food on their table & a roof over their head. She's doing this because it's the right thing to do.

______________________

It's not a political issue.  It's right or wrong! 

I supported the Charter because I believed in the idea.  While Mr. Fleming, Mayor Wiggins, Mayor Maygarden and Mr. Young tried to warn us this could happen, we all believed naively that the Mayor would honor the spirit of the charter.

I was wrong. I helped create this situation and I want to make it right.

I still believe in our Charter.



Insider Deals over Rack of Lamb?

Based on a review of documents provided by the City which were part of a Federal subpoena in a case involving Molton Allen Williams (MAW) and discussions with knowledgeable parties, here is what I have learned. 

As far back as September of 2011, Stuart Freeman of MAW approached his friend Ashton Hayward and another friend John Asmar about MAW expanding its role in doing the City's insurance work. MAW has been a City vendor for many years.

September

In October 2011, a dinner at Jackon's occurred where executives from MAW had a meet and greet with the Mayor and his staff to propose the idea.

John Asmar, working exclusively through his jasmar@asmarlawfirm.com email account and in personal meetings, at places such as Global Grill and Happy Pig usually over drinks, provided Freeman with information regarding the City's insurance policies.  Asmar also provided access to City staff to gather all of the information necessary to evaluate the City's insurance position. 

Throughout October of 2011, City staff, at the direction of Asmar, met with MAW to evaluate the City's insurances.

Staff Meetings

In November, MAW presented Asmar solely through his jasmar@asmarlawfirm.com email account with the case for using Molton Allen Williams as broker of record.  The proposal even included pricing from MAW of $250,000 per year, a claimed $350,000 savings to the City based on MAW's estimates although that amount is not verifiable either by me, the City or even MAW.  MAW account executive Freemen asked Asmar how to proceed with further meetings with City staff.

The Case

This proposal was submitted 3 months before the RFQ was issued for the role.

It appears that no other insurers were invited or provided the access to the information or staff that MAW was provided prior to an RFQ being issued.

I do not believe the case for moving to MAW would have been documented by the City at all if John Asmar hadn't forwarded emails from his jasmar@asmarlawfirm.com email account to Elisabeth Buswell of the Mayor's staff to schedule meetings.

In mid-January 2012, there was a private dinner between all of the MAW executives and Mayor Hayward, Bill Reynolds and John Asmar at the MAW beach house.  A private chef was retained to make the dinner.

The Dinner

I am told a chauffeured car was sent to the Mayor's home to pick him up and take him home.

I am told dinner was rack of lamb.

A few weeks after the dinner, on February 9, 2012 BID 12-016 was issued for Property Insurance - Broker of Record Services.  Bids were opened on March 13, 2012.

The RFQ

Based on my review, the RFQ mirrors the MAW proposal received by Asmar as if it was custom tailored to MAW.

Based on the RFQ, the responses contain no pricing information.  Just qualifications.

I am told that MAW has been selected and is currently in place as the broker of record.

Insider deals from Ashton Hayward and John Asmar.

Questions:
  1. How much City business is covertly done through jasmar@asmarlawfirm.com?
  2. Did any of the recent DIB deal go through jasmar@asmarlawfirm.com?
  3. How would the City go about auditing the City related activity of Asmar through his law firm account?
  4. Who are the clients of the Asmar Law Firm? Does the City have a list? Conflicts of Interest?
  5. Why was MAW given exclusive access to prepare this detailed analysis?
  6. Has the Mayor and staff adequately disclosed the gifts and treats by a vendor?
  7. As the ultimate decision maker has the Mayor violated policy of accepting gifts from vendors?
  8. Why does the Mayor covertly benefit out of town friends over local businesses and taxpayers?
  9. Have City purchasing guidelines been broken in the backroom deal?
  10. Was the RFQ done purely to meet statutory requirements?
  11. Where are the RFQ submittal's available to the public?
  12. Would anything related to this RFQ ever be reportable to Council?






Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Asmar Usage of his Law Firm Email

Anonymous said...


You're not implying that the Chief of Staff has been conducting city business on emails from his private law firm are you?

Is there any proof of this??

August 22, 2012 10:32 AM


Use of Law Firm Email for City Business

The Mayor's Support and the Results



The Results

Is the City Breaking the Law regarding Fire Station 3?

Endangering firefighters is a State Violation.

633.807 Safety; firefighter employer responsibilities.—Every firefighter employer shall furnish and use safety devices and safeguards, adopt and use methods and processes reasonably adequate to render such an employment and place of employment safe, and do every other thing reasonably necessary to protect the lives, health, and safety of such firefighter employees. As used in this section, the terms “safe” and “safety,” as applied to any employment or place of firefighter employment, mean such freedom from danger as is reasonably necessary for the protection of the lives, health, and safety of firefighter employees, including conditions and methods of sanitation and hygiene. Safety devices and safeguards required to be furnished by the firefighter employer by this section or by the division under authority of this section shall not include personal apparel and protective devices that replace personal apparel normally worn by firefighter employees during regular working hours.



633.811 Firefighter employer penalties.—If any firefighter employer violates or fails or refuses to comply with ss. 633.801-633.821, or with any rule adopted by the division under such sections in accordance with chapter 120 for the prevention of injuries, accidents, or occupational diseases or with any lawful order of the division in connection with ss. 633.801-633.821, or fails or refuses to furnish or adopt any safety device, safeguard, or other means of protection prescribed by division rule under ss. 633.801-633.821 for the prevention of accidents or occupational diseases, the division may assess against the firefighter employer a civil penalty of not less than $100 nor more than $5,000 for each day the violation, omission, failure, or refusal continues after the firefighter employer has been given written notice of such violation, omission, failure, or refusal. The total penalty for each violation shall not exceed $50,000. The division shall adopt rules requiring penalties commensurate with the frequency or severity of safety violations. A hearing shall be held in the county in which the violation, omission, failure, or refusal is alleged to have occurred, unless otherwise agreed to by the firefighter employer and authorized by the division. All penalties assessed and collected under this section shall be deposited in the Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund.

Public Records Request



I also learned that many of these records were subpoenaed as part of a lawsuit and a harvest has already been made of those documents.  I requested what was supplied to the subpoena this morning.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mayor's Authority for Insurance

Sec. 3-1-3.6. - Insurance purchases and insurance claim payments.


(a) The mayor is authorized to pay claims without city council approval under any one of the following circumstances:
  • The payment of the claim is required by law.
  • The payment of the claim is controlled by language specified in an insurance policy.
  • The claim amount is within the mayor's purchasing authority.
  • All other payments for claims must be approved by city council.
(b) The mayor is authorized to purchase insurance coverages that are required by Florida Statutes or by City Code or that fall within the mayor's purchasing authority. In addition, the mayor is authorized to purchase the following insurance polices that are either routine, cover unusual risk factors, for which a premium increase is primarily based on inflation, or for which the market is extremely limited.

Those policies are:

  • Airport liability
  • Boiler and machinery
  • Commercial automobile physical damage
  • Excess workers' compensation
  • Fire truck and portable equipment physical damage
  • Gas excess liability
  • Group health insurance
  • Group life insurance
  • Group dental insurance
  • Pension board fiduciary liability
  • Police liability
  • Port liability and excess
  • Property insurance
  • Public officials liability.
(c) The mayor shall report all such administrative action to council, by memorandum, as these actions occur.



Man Up Mayor Hayward!

Mayor Hayward wants to open Government Street up to Ninth Avenue.  Why won't he say it?  He hides behind consultants and visioning sessions and tries to get Council to do it. 

The Citizens that LIVE there don't want it opened.  How much clearer do you need it to be?

That's the problem Mr. Mayor, you are so myopically focused on what your supporters want, you forget that the Citizens are our boss.

If you want Government Street opened, make a Mayoral decision to open it, make an annoucement, and bring it to Council yourself.  You do remember where we meet don't you?

Insurance Issue

I have started to get my hands around the insurance issue I previously discussed.  On the surface it could be ugly and involves not only the Mayor but, of course, John Asmar.

At the root of the issue is the attached Request for Qualifications - Broker of Record.

What I was told is that Mayoral and Asmar buddy, Stuart Freeman, of Molton Allen Williams of Birmingham came down last fall and started lobbying that the City needed to change the way it was doing its insurance and, of course, switch to Molton Allen Williams.  Many meetings and emails transpired whereby Freeman and Asmar developed a plan of attack which led to the below RFQ.  I will be making a public records request today and will post it after I have filed it.

Who won the RFQ? Any guesses?

RFQ

Monday, August 20, 2012

Credit Card, Travel and Other Expenses

A constituent asked me recently if anyone has been reviewing expenses incurred by the Mayor and his staff on any City credit cards and how much has he been spending on all of his travel.  The short answer is no one external to the authority of the Mayor has been doing so to my knowledge.

Therefore I sent the following email last night to City staff clarifying a previous request.

Of course, as soon as I receive the information I will share it with the Citizens here.

Why doesn't the City post this information anyway since it strives for transparency?


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fire Station #3 OFF the Grid

"Mold filled Station #3 on Summit Blvd lost power yesterday and the cause was thought to be a passing storm. But when Gulf Power could not find a reason for the loss of power they started looking at the Station. Apparently the meter box is rusted so badly that they removed the meter leaving Station 3 without power and on the backup generator. When is the City going to do something about this mold infested station and its newly found electrical problems? Our members at station #3 put their lives on the line for this City every day and at least they could give them a safe work place. I think they deserve at least that."


Please share if you think they do.

Philip Hoffman

President

Pensacola Professional Firefighters  

When Ashton was running for election, he sent the Firefighters the following email:

E mail from Ashton


This is a copy of the email I recieved from Ashton. I thought that everyone should see this. .......Gary

An independent study released today found "minimal issues with any outside employment" by our city firefighters.

In fact, of the 19 firefighters investigated in this witch hunt, only 1 firefighter may have an issue and it is non-disciplinary, reported the city manager.

When City Councilwoman Maren Deweese called for a "Vote of Confidence" for our City Fire Department, Wiggins referred it to staff. This effectively killed that motion. Diane Mack was vehemently opposed to this action, as well.

Just 38 seconds after the City Council voted to discipline City Attorney Rusty Wells over inappropriate emails he sent, the City Council gave him a "Vote of Confidence." Rusty Wells and Mike Wiggins were schoolmates at Pensacola High, graduating together in 1962. Wiggins "conducted" the investigation of his childhood friend, Wells.

I want you to know that firefighters are heroes in my book. You're willing to put your lives on the line and that kind of honor and courage deserves a "Vote of Confidence" and much more.

In my administration, you will have a seat at the table in the decision-making process. My door will always be open. I will not balance the city budget on the firefighters' backs and I will do everything in my power to make sure you have the equipment, training and staffing you need to protect yourselves and our citizens.

I want to thank you for your endorsement of me early on this race. I appreciate all the hard work you've done for my campaign. With just 8 days left, I hope you will show your support now more than ever. Remember, it's our city, let's take it back.

--Ashton


More details to come tomorrow sharing the timeline of the long over due rehab/rebuild of Firestation #3.  Mayor Hayward is fully aware of the mold and water intrusion issues and has chosen to delay and NOT fund repairs & improvements.     Mayor Hayward is personally responsible for this neglect.

Ashton Hayward values political favors over public safety.   Fire station 3 was so bad Gulf Power would not run power to it and pulled the meter. Ashton Hayward lied to the firefighters. 

Mr. Bowden's IPC "Editorial"

I love older folks, no need to sugar coat stuff anymore.  Get nostalgic and call it like it is.

About the IPC:

"IPC members know horse-trading politics means rewarding your friends, protecting political turf, hustling home the gold."

Say it like it is Mr. Bowden.  Say it like it is.

Ashton Hayward is a fitting new member.  Rewarding his friends, protecting political turf, bringing home the gold.

Congratulations Mr. Mayor, you're a "Good Ole Boy"

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Zimmerman (Z-Team) Monthly Report - $39,500

For the cost to us, the taxpayers, of $39,500 per month (which doesn't cover expenses), attached is the monthly report of the Zimmerman Agency.  If you can't stomach flash terms like:
  • "Ignition"
  • "Deep Dive"
  • "pitch"
  • 'Launch event"
  • "story placements" and
  • "Angle"
let me give you a layman's analysis:
  1. Hit up some local businesses for free stuff to use for out of area press
  2. Put together the "surfing beach ball" introduction gala
  3. Hit up some of their regional media contacts to mention Pensacola by giving away the free stuff
  4. Have made a few calls to media outlets I have never heard of
  5. Got the Mayor on the travel channel
  6. Leaked a chamber deal that was supposed to be confidential.
  7. Interviewed the Mayor's supporters to put them in some TV ads
  8. Put out some press releases
  9. Used more "partner" donated business stuff to get some free radio ads
  10. Finalized a communications plan which hasn't been communicated
  11. Brag about new facebook fans and twitter mentions
  12. Getting bids to replace the Five Flags at the base of three mile bridge with a surfing beach ball SCULPTURE
  13. Worked on a little airport, ESP and port stuff.
I'm glad you be able to "bring your eyes to this prize".  If the amount we are spending wasn't enough to fund a cop, a fireman or provide more sidewalks or services each month, then it would be funny.  But its not.

Zimmerman Report

Footnote:

How long did it take them to come up with their Zimmerman logo.

M
There!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Whew! What a week!

Thanks for making this week for my blog even better than last week as far as stopping by.  What a few weeks ago was dozens of visits is now thousands of visits.

I will continue to shoot straight, show the proof and not let the spin machine keep telling the fairy tale.

On the insurance issue, I have already gotten some details and will post some stuff this weekend.

Stop by over the weekend and see the colossal waste of money the Zimmerman Agency is.  I will post their first monthly report tomorrow.

I am ever so disappointed in the Mayor.
Well, its Friday.  Marine Aviation Tower event and the Revivalists.  Looking forward to the weekend.
Til soon,

Maren

Bill Reynolds is Conveniently Getting Amnesia

Several months ago when I brought up the Mayor's commitment as part of the last budget (2011-2012) to rehabilitate Fire Station 3, the City Administrator point blank told me that the City was asking FEMA for additional Ivan money and that if received that would be used for the Fire Station.

Fire Stations 3 and 6 were both severally damaged by Ivan.  Station 6 was rebuilt and then the City "ran out of money".

After that conversation, I communicated the conversation directly to Phillip Hoffman, the Fire Union President as it involved the health and welfare of his members as well as on the record during a City Council meeting.

Today I sent a note to the Mayor and Phillip reminding them of Mr. Reynolds representations to me prior to the trip to DC.

Mr. Reynolds is crabbing so badly, I'm reaching for Old Bays.  I am so happy that I communicated my conversation so many months ago to Mr. Hoffman as well as on the record during a City Council meeting.

Mr. Reynolds, your boss can find money for not one but two community centers, he can find money for a new plaza for the surfing beach ball at the end of the three mile bridge, and he can find money for commercials to air all over the Southeast featuring him.

Why can't he step up and take care of the firemen that protect the home he grew up in?

Where is this Mayor's priorities?

Waffling Billy

20 Questions

  1. Where is David Tuyo?
  2. Do you think Bobby Switzer had Pen Air in place when he started 40 South Palafox in Nov 2011?
  3. How lucky is Mr. Switzer to close on a building in February, have incentives in place for his buyer in April and a deal to sell the building done in May?
  4. Does the fact that DIB violated its own incentive policy of no free parking impact the validity of the deal?
  5. Are there any issues with Burney Merrill voting on an issue that indirectly benefits his business partner?
  6. How much will parking rates go up to pay for the Pen Air incentive?
  7. Will Pen Air coming downtown impact our local banks negatively?
  8. How much was the "Mayor's office" behind the scenes on this deal?
  9. If the "Mayor's office" was informed April 3 of the deal, why wasn't Council briefed at all?
  10. How long will the "Mayor's office" practice its "make it a crisis" policy?
  11. Outzen beat up Larry Johnson as being on a vendetta against Switzer. Does another Merrill own part of the Hayward Weekly?
  12. Was influence put on Outzen by Asmar or Merrill to "punish" anyone who questions the deal?
  13. Who owns the building that houses the offices of the Hayward Weekly?
  14. Do they pay rent or is it in-kind for advertising the landlords businesses?
  15. Did the DIB violate the interlocal with the CRA by not putting on Sunsets at Plaza Deluna when it had $31,000 in profits left over from the Pelican Drop?
  16. Why will the CRA not follow up with the DIB as to the rationale for cancelling the events when money remained?
  17. Why did the City have to forgive the $79,000 at all?
  18. Shouldn't the DIB manage its own policy without looking for the city taxpayers to bail them out?
  19. How does Pen Air coming downtown benefit anyone other than the downtown business owners?
  20. Isn't this too much for a Friday afternoon?
Hmmmm.

DIB Deal...Who Got What?

Estimate Alert...I do not have any details on the Theisen Contract so I have estimated the amounts based on a total purchase price of $5,000,000. (Could be low, could be high)

Winners

  • Bobby Switzer / 40 South Palafox - $850,000 ($5,000,000-4,000,000 Mortgage-150,000 Commission)
  • Harry Bell, Mayor's Cousin - $75,000 ($150,000 commission-$75,000 to John Carr, Broker)
  • John Carr - $75,000
  • Pen Air CU - $1,251,900 in free parking (assuming 9 hrs, $4.50 per day, 107 spaces, 5 days week, 52 weeks year, 10 years) Events are even more of a freebee
  • DIB - $79,000 (debt forgiveness)
  • Burney Merrill - his co-guarantor has a bunch more collateral.
Losers
  • Citizens of Pensacola - $79,000 in debt forgiveness to DIB (2 cops?, 2 firemen?)
  • Citizens of Pensacola - $1,251,900 in parking fees it will have to make up in the next decade
Yes, the above estimate assumes the 107 slots would be full every hour of every work day but it goes to show the potential enormity of the cost of the benefit to the City and the DIB.

If I was a betting girl, look for hire parking rates downtown to subsidize the Pen Air deal.

Really??? Getting more Information

I have heard from several local insurance agents that Mayor Hayward personally directed a contract for City insurance to a Birmingham firm and the account Manager is dating his sister?  Could be gossip, could be real.
If you have any information on this transaction or the parties involved, please let me know.  Anonymous is fine but please provide enough facts for me to research.
Hope this isn't true.

Update:
  • Have the Company's name
  • Have the Mayor's approval
  • Have a Federal Court Injunction
  • Got the name

Thursday, August 16, 2012

DIB Violates Its Own Policy Within 2 Weeks

This is what happens when bodies adopt policy on the fly to accomodate insider deals.

On April 3, 2012 the DIB Board adopted a Parking Incentive Policy.  The official minutes of the meeting below state:

Mr. Kimbrough presented draft policy guidelines for the establishment of an Economic Development Incentive Program and discussed the potential for such use to increase the employment in downtown. Much discussion ensued regarding the proposal to establish an Economic Development Incentive Program to encourage large employers to relocate into the downtown area.  Upon a motion duly made, seconded, and unanimously approved, the board accepted the proposed policy statement for establishment of an Economic Development Incentive Program with the stipulation that the words “free and/or” on the second line of the first paragraph be removed from the proposed draft policy.

As Presented

As Approved

Less than 2 weeks later, the Board passed a term sheet for a deal under this policy that provides:

The parking spaces will be made available on a ten (10) year term at no cost to the employer so long as the terms and conditions in the agreement described in paragraph 19 below are satisfied.

Am I missing something here?

What a hot mess!!

REALLY??

DIB Documents regarding Pen Air deal

As promised here are several relevant documents regarding the Pen Air deal.  Some key things to remember:
  1. Pen Air is just transferring jobs into the downtown area from other locations in Escambia County
  2. The "new jobs" already live here. 
  3. The building they are moving into is already on the tax rolls.
Document 1

A week after Bobby Switzer purchases the building, Merrill Land approaches the DIB. Stating " Bobby Switzer just acquired the Theisen building and we are trying to set up a meeting with you and Burney this morning to talk about parking."  No mention of Pen Air, not mention of jobs, just that the building has the same parking issues it has had since cars were invented.

Merrill Land to DIB

Document 2

April 3, 2012 DIB minutes where Parking Incentive Policy is passed.  I guess you can't do a deal if you dont have a policy.  Curiously, it also shows that the DIB has dumped Friday Family Flicks off on the Blue Wahoos but hasn't found a presenter for Sunsets at Plaza de Luna.  "As a result, Sunsets at Plaza de Luna will be cancelled for 2012."

What about the $149,000 the CRA gave you to put it on?
What about using the $31,000 profit you made off of the Pelican Drop?
What about living up to your interlocal with the CRA?

April 3 Minutes

Documents 3 and 4

Email between the DIB and Harry Bell, real estate agent for Pen Air and first cousin to Mayor Ashton Hayward, providing a proposed term sheet noting it is the thinking of the Board at the present time and a starting point for negotiations.

Heres our suggestion

Term Sheet 5 years free

Document 5

Chairman Merrill and the DIB met with Pen Air and Harry Bell to negotiate the final term sheet.

Negotiation meeting

Document 6

Based on the negotiations between Pen Air and the DIB, the DIB was able to negotiate an increase from 5 years of free parking for Pen Air up to 10 years of free parking for Pen Air.

GREAT JOB!  THESE UNELECTED OFFICIALS JUST GAVE AWAY 24 HOUR ACCESS TO 36.5% OF A CITY OF PENSACOLA OWNED PARKING GARAGE FOR THE NEXT DECADE.

Term Sheet 10 years free

Document 7

On April 16, the DIB BOD unanimously approved the 10 year incentive. 

From the minutes

Mr. Kimbrough then reviewed a proposed term sheet between the DIB and PenAir Federal Credit Union for utilizing the Economic Development Incentive Program. Much discussion ensued. Upon a motion duly made, seconded, and unanimously approved, the proposed term sheet was accepted as presented with the condition that the City of Pensacola forgive the outstanding balance on a loan for capital improvements to the Jefferson Street Parking Garage prior to the execution of the agreement with PenAir Federal Credit Union to assist with the projected loss of special event revenue.

So the City debt forgiveness was a condition set by the DIB board to move forward.  That surely is NOT how it was presented to City Council.

April 16 Minutes


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Answers to a few questions

Anonymous said...

What were the total incentives given to Pen Air and did Mr. Merrill vote on this?

Response:

The incentives were up to 102 free parking spaces for a signficant number of years.  According to the minutes, Mr. Merrill did vote for the program and the term sheet with Pen Air. Thanks!

Maren

Anonymous said...

Why didn't you go to the PYP forum?

Response:

I intended to. I had a meeting with about 30 constituents and the Airport staff on the Airport Buffer Zone. It ran a lot longer than I envisioned. Ultimately I had to chose between running for the job and doing the job. I will always chose doing it. Thanks!


Maren

Timeline on DIB Incentive

I will be posting key documents from this timeline tomorrow.  If you would like to see anything in particular, just send an anonymous comment.




Pelican Drop Profits DIB

The Pelican Drop on New Years Eve was the idea of former CRA Director Thadeus Cohen.  By anyones standards it has become a huge success.  Last year the Pensacola CRA transferred the Pelican Drop to the DIB.

As part of that agreement, the CRA provided the DIB $149,000 in funding for the events, but that was to include Family Flicks and Sunsets at Plaza de Luna.

In the March 2012 financial statement below, the DIB made a profit of over $31,000 off of the Pelican Drop event but canceled Sunsets at Plaza de Luna due to "lack of funding".

This is relevant because the DIB Board turned around and asked the City to forgive $79,000 so that it could "afford" to give Pen Air the incentive to move to the Theisen building.

Making a profit off of the CRA and sticking it to the City of Pensacola is not what I like to see happen to city tax dollars.

But under the Hayward Adminstration it must be OK.  As an aside, look who approved the CRA interlocal on the City's behalf, John Asmar.  The Mayor wasn't even copied.

Pelican Drop Financials

Interlocal CRA and DIB

Theisen Building New Owner

Yesterday I detailed the history of the Theisen Building and reflected the details of the transaction whereby 40 South Palafox Place LLC acquired the building on February 1, 2012.

My first post today will introduce the players in this deal and their relationships.

The Downtown Improvement Board is comprised of:

Burney Merrill
Chair - Merrill Land Company

Ed Carson
Vice-Chair - Carson Lovell, Inc

Corbett Davis II
Jewelers Trade Shop

Bob Van Slyke
Treasurer - Downtown Resident &; Property Owner

Evan Levin
Downtown Resident / Vinyl Productions

Grover Robinson
Escambia County District IV Commissioner

Brian Spencer
City Councilman - District 6

Franklin Kimbrough*
Secretary - Executive Director of the Downtown Improvement Board
*Mr. Kimbrough is an officer of the agency but not a member of the board.

40 South Palafox Place LLC is owned by Robert B. Switzer.

Burney Merrill is an owner in Merrill Land Company, Chair of the DIB Board, and has a business relationship Bobby Switzer.

John Asmar is Chief of Staff for Mayor Ashton Hayward.

Harry Bell is a real estate agent with John Carr & Associates, real estate agent for Pen Air and 1st Cousin to Mayor Ashton Hayward.

Relevant Documents

Merrill Switzer

Harry Bell

DIB Board





Tuesday, August 14, 2012

In his own words

Pensacola City Council – At Large B


Mayor Hayward is behind-the-scenes lobbying for Sam Hall to get re-elected, but he hasn’t stepped out publicly–which is becoming a running theme of his personal political strategy. For Hayward’s administration, a Bare win could be the signal that Pensacola voters aren’t as enamored with the mayor as they were last year and could be a good omen for Maren Deweese who faces an opponent for the District 3 seat. What Hayward has to worry about is Bare winning the primary with such a large margin that there is no run-off.

Rick Outzen - Ricksblog.biz


Welcome Back Jewel

Missed your voice of reason. 

Congratulations Charles...Our newest Councilman

Money can't buy City Council seats.  He who meets his neighbors wins.

Job well done.

Theisen Building Background

From Wiki-Pedia

The Thiesen Building, built in 1901, is a historic site in Pensacola, Florida. It is located at 40 South Palafox Street (the northeast corner of the intersection of South Palafox and West Romana Streets). On December 13, 1979, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The Thiesen Building is Pensacola's first commercial high-rise. At the time of its construction, this five-story building was the tallest building in Pensacola and the first with a modern elevator and steam heat. Built in a Renaissance Revival style, it features terra-cotta ornamentation on the west and south facades.

The Thiesen Building was considered a risky venture; some Pensacolians called it "Thiesen's folly". However, it proved to be financially successful, with retail stores on the ground floor and professional offices on the upper floors.

By the 1970s, the building had fallen into disrepair and had become vacant. In 1992 businessman Ray Russenberger purchased and renovated the building to provide offices for his paging company Network USA. He restored the exterior to its original 1901 design.
________________________________________________

As stated above, the building was built before cars were even invented and Pensacola had a streetcar line down the center of Palafox.  It was never built with car parking in mind.  However, the adjacent Jefferson Street parking garage provided a natural source of parking for tenants once it was constructed.

The Downtown Improvement Board manages the lot as it does all parking and parking enforcement in the downtown area.

All downtown businesses have employee and customer parking issues.  Restaurants, bars, the Blount Building, the Brent Building, the Federal Courthouse, etc.

In my opinion, based on the location and history of the building, parking issues have been an issue with the building for years and in a free market economy should have been considered by any investor in the building in determining a value in a purchase/sale transaction. 

On February 1, 2012, the building was acquired by 40 South Palafox Place LLC.

40 South Palafox was organized in November 2011 by Robert B. Switzer.

The relevant documents to this post include:

Property Appraiser Document

Warranty Deed

40 South Palafox Articles of Organization

Partisan Politics in Nonpartisan Elections

City Council is a non-partisan position.  I think it is one area that should always remain non-partisan as it is essentially neighbors elected to represent neighbors.  I truly don't know the political party of the remainder of Council nor do I really care.  We are there to do the City's business, which are nonpartisan issues in general.

That's why the attached email from the Republican Party Chairman of Escambia County is so disturbing.  In the email she identifies two candidates for Council as Republicans, she states that the two candidates provided the Republican Party with their information and solicits for volunteers to walk with them in neighborhoods.

A citizen inquired of City Staff if there were any issues with the Party's help and advertisements for City Council candidates.  They were told no.

Below is a Florida Statute that MAY be considered:

Florida Statute 97.021 Definitions

(21) “Nonpartisan office” means an office for which a candidate is prohibited from campaigning or qualifying for election or retention in office based on party affiliation.


Florida Statute 106.143 Political advertisements circulated prior to election; requirements.

(3) Any political advertisement of a candidate running for partisan office shall express the name of the political party of which the candidate is seeking nomination or is the nominee. If the candidate for partisan office is running as a candidate with no party affiliation, any political advertisement of the candidate must state that the candidate has no party affiliation. A political advertisement of a candidate running for nonpartisan office may not state the candidate’s political party affiliation. This section does not prohibit a political advertisement from stating the candidate’s partisan-related experience. A candidate for nonpartisan office is prohibited from campaigning based on party affiliation.


Partisan Email




Monday, August 13, 2012

This Week - Inside the Recent Pen Air Deal - Good Ole Boy Politics are Alive and Well

This week I will detailing out the actual progression of events surrounding the recent Pen Air incentive deal involving the Theisen Building.  The City forgave debt owed by the DIB so that the DIB could afford to grant an incentive to Pen Air for free AFTERHOURS, not business hours, access to the garage for Pen Air employees. 

Mayor Hayward likes to tout this as a major win for downtown Pensacola.  I think you will see it was a major win for the usual Good Ole Boy way of getting things done.

Through public records, the actual deal appears to be primarily a benefit for the DIB Chairman's long time business partner to facilitate the sale of his building to Pen Air. 

Interestingly, the real estate broker for the transaction appears to be Mayor Hayward's, first cousin, Harry Bell, who stands to make a handsome commission due to the City's granting the DIB the debt forgiveness.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Thanks for stopping by this week,

My blog has never seen the traffic it has seen this week.  Amazing that when facts are shared, people are curious. However, I am not counting on the PNJ or the Hayward Weekly endorsement this year. :)

I was tossing around other names for my blog going forward:

  • Marensblog.biz - He's a dingleberry.
  • EastEscambia.com
  • MLD.com
  • Pensacola INdigestion
Over the next couple of weeks, I plan on sharing a little deeper analysis on some of the deals that Mayor Hayward has made and let you see who is really benefiting under his administration.

Right now though its Saturday morning and time to be Mom!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Best,

Maren

Friday, August 10, 2012

Concerned Citizen Call

I just received a call from a concerned citizen asking how many African-Americans are members of the Irish Politicians Club.  I have no idea as I don't even know who the members are.  Can a member of the IPC let me know?

Irish Politican's Club Welcomes the Mayor

The Irish Politican's Club is welcoming new Good Ole Boys and Girls next Tuesday at 5pm in the Grand Hall.

The 2012 class includes:
  • Stan Connally - Gulf Power
  • Ashton Hayward - Mayor
  • John Jernigan - Southern Environmental
  • Dr. Paul Tamburro - Cardiologist
  • Autumn O Beck - McDonald Fleming
  • Jessica Lee - Kia
  • Brian Hooper - ES&C
  • Scott Remington - Clark Partington
  • Frank White - Sandy Sansing
I personally recall numerous conversations with the Mayor prior to him being elected that he would NEVER be a part of this organization if elected.  Just another unkept promise. 

Mayor's Ad Agency FIRED by Okaloosa

The Mayor's pick to lead the now petitioned advertising and rebranding campaign, Tallahassee based Zimmerman Agency, appears to have been very naughty over in Okaloosa County.  So naughty that they have been fired by Okaloosa County and questioned about their practices in a recetly released report detailing the fraud they facilitated happening through their invoices.

Remember the Okaloosa TDC director that bought the boat with County money?  The Director bought the boat as a passthrough in a Zimmerman Agency bill.  What this means is no one at the Zimmerman agency thought anything perculiar about a County agency buying a $480,000 yacht with County tourism money.

Below are links to the article and report of the firm engaged to review what happened.  We don't need to worry about a repeat  here in Pensacola, the City Administrator issued a memo to Council yesterday informing us that Derek Cosson, the City's Public Information Officer will have responsibility for overseeing the City's advertising efforts.  What could possibly go wrong?

Okaloosa TDC Report

NWF Daily News Article

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Upside has Some Downside...Evidently

Someone at the ECUA event today asked me if I was aware of a petition campaign against Ashton Hayward.  I was not aware of such an effort but started doing my homework.

Once again something you will not see in the Hayward Weekly or the PNJ is the fact that a petition against the Mayor's new branding campaign has begun.  Residents appear to not be pleased that the Mayor is planning on scrapping references to the "City of Five Flags" and literally scrapping the five flag poles in the plaza at the northern end of the three mile bridge in favor of the name PENSACOLA with a sculpture of the surfing beach ball or whatever it is as part of the new logo.

An artist rendering of the new plaza is below.



The petitioners have a site at: http://www.change.org/petitions/defend-the-city-of-five-flags

Citizens have several opportunities to come address council regarding the budget.  Council will not do anything to reduce the budget if citizens do not attend the budget hearings and voice their opinions regarding how the taxpayer's money is to be spent.

If you disagree with the Mayor's plans for rebranding, come on down and let the City Council know you would rather have services, sidewalks and streets rather than advertisements featuring the Mayor.

Tin Roof...Rusted

We've all seen the vague blog references.  Aunt Ginny at the PNJ.  It is a commonly known fact that Mayor Hayward's de facto "Aunt" is Pensacola News Journal Managing Editor Ginny Graybiel.  She is on the editorial board and essentially responsible for the news we read daily as well as the spin put on the article by the paper.  We have all seen articles written by reporters the night before and put online mysteriously change by the morning.

Please see below indisputable proof of the relationship between Ms. Graybiel and the Hayward family.

As the PNJ was recently making its endorsements of candidates, anytime there was a potential bias based on relationships in the community, the editorial board member would not participate in the the discussions.  I recall several endorsements that had such disclaimers.  Most recently the following was included with the PNJ editorial endorsement of Pam Childers for Clerk of Court.

Editor’s note: Editorial Board member Rebecca Boles did not participate in discussions on this recommendation. Her husband is a circuit judge.

This begs a question.  Each time the PNJ does a WE LOVE HAYWARD editorial or a hit piece editorial on City Council for daring to disagree with his policies or methods why is there not a disclaimer at the bottom that reads:

Editor's note:  Managing Editor Ginny Graybiel shares a home owns property with and is in a relationship with Mayor Ashton Hayward's uncle.

You know, transparency and all that.  Just sayin.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tomorrow's Hayward Weekly

In tomorrow's Hayward Weekly, the Mayor's propaganda machine has a cover story entitled "Disfunction Junction" that once again goes after Council for the current relationship between the Mayor's office and the Council.

Here's a summary: the mayor can't be bothered with dealing with Council, our issues with his policies and staff are ridiculous and no one other than me has any issues with him. The Mayor insinuates that I am the only councilmember with a fractured relationship with the Mayor's office while he is being sued in State Court by another member of Council.

As I stated earlier this week, let the fairy tale continue.

PNJ Unconditional Support of Hayward; Baiting the Buyer?

I received the text that was minimized on the email between Asmar and Justin Beck regarding the City's discussions about the PNJ property.  Beck clearly states as broker for the PNJ "We look forward to further discussions with you and the Mayor about the site".

Now the PNJ unconditional support of the Mayor is getting clearer.  Never offend the potential customer.  Otherwise that bunker building with no windows and printing presses for sale for $ 4.750 million may not be purchased or given one of the Mayor's new million dollar incentives to help a purchaser.

It is a smart move by the Mayor and Asmar, as long as you keep the PNJ on the dangle, the longer you can keep the good press going.

What could the City possibly need that site for and how would the City pay for it?  We have no capital dollars out until 2017 as they were all used to fund the 2 community centers in process. We don't even have the capital dollars to repair a fire station that has been identified since Ivan as needing extensive repairs.

In order to see what else has been discussed I have made a public records request of all communications to or from any City staff regarding the PNJ property since January 2012.

PNJ Building Flyer

John Peacock's Offensive Blog Post Response


From: Maren DeWeese
Date: Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 8:45 AM
Subject: Your offensive blog post

To: John.Peacock@edwardjones.com

Cc: ljohnson@cityofpensacola.com, smyers@cityofpensacola.com, pcwu@cityofpensacola.com, rtownsend@cityofpensacola.com, shall@cityofpensacola.com, bspencer@cityofpensacola.com, mpratt@cityofpensacola.com, jjerralds@cityofpensacola.com

Mr. Peacock (Fitting the way you like to show your feathers):

Just because you and your elitest friends do not see Council members at your downtown crowd cocktail parties where you wave around your checks applauding each other, do not belittle our efforts in our community. Me and my collegues on council participate daily in both non-profit, governmental, religious and community based organizations. From homeowners associations to charities, City Council members have participated in the following not withstanding the governmental assignements they hold due to office:

PC Wu - Habitat for Humanity
PC Wu - Salvation Army
PC Wu - Council on Aging
PC Wu - Soup Kitchen
PC Wu - St Christopher Episcopal Church
PC Wu - Rotary International
PC Wu - Navy League
Sam Hall - ACE
Sam Hall - Community Drug and Alcohol Commission
Sam Hall - Gulf Coast Citizens Diplomacy Council
Sam Hall - Mission Anglican Church
Ron Townsend - BOD Sacred Heart Health Systems
Ron Townsend - St. Joseph Catholic Church
Ron Townsend - BOD United Way
Ron Townsend - BOD Lakeview Center
Ron Townsend - Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity,
Ron Townsend - Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity,
Ron Townsend - Krewe of African Kings,
Ron Townsend - Knights of Peter Claver,
Ron Townsend - American Legion Post #193
Sherri Myers - Escambia-Pensacola Human Relations Commission
Sherri Myers - Bicycle Pedestrian Committee of the Transportation Planning Organization
Sherri Myers - Escambia County Mass Transit Citizens Advisory Committee
Larry Johnson - Board of Emerald Coastkeeper Inc.
Larry Johnson - St. Paul Catholic Church
Larry Johnson - Loaves & Fishes
Larry Johnson - Pensacola Tennis Association
John Jerralds - Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity
John Jerralds - Movement for Change
John Jerralds - Macedonia Baptist Church
Megan Pratt - Science Saturdays
Megan Pratt - Zoo Northwest Florida
Megan Pratt - WSRE Foundation
Megan Pratt - Communities in Schools of Northwest Florida
Megan Pratt - Montclair Elementary
Megan Pratt - 1st United Methodist Church
Megan Pratt - Mess Hall Childrens Science Museum
Brian Spencer - Project Greenshores Steering Committee,
Brian Spencer - Pensacola Museum of Art Board,
Brian Spencer - Pensacola Cultural Center/Pensacola Little Theatre Board,
Brian Spencer - WSRE –Public Television Board,
Brian Spencer - Pensacola Heritage Foundation,
Brian Spencer - American Cancer Society,
Brian Spencer - American Heart Association
Brian Spencer - Waterfront Rescue Mission Steering Committee.

As for myself, I have directly supported in the past year, in addition to volunteering time and effort:

Gulf Coast Citizens Diplomacy Council
Scenic Highway Foundation
Autism Pensacola
Pensacola Sports Association
Pensacola Chamber Military Appreciation Month
City of Pensacola Recreation Baseball
1st United Methodist Church
AK Suter PTA
Workman Middle School Advisory Council
Marine Corp Aviation Memorial Tower
ARC
Pensacola Symphony

Just because you dont see Councilmembers in tuxedos at the country club, please dont call our committment to making Pensacola a better place into question. Remember, each one of us stood up and has attempted to make a difference by running for council and serving. Mr. Peacock, you always seem to claim to have the big ideas first, maybe its time you put down the wine glass and step up to serve.

Sincerely,

Maren DeWeese

Monday, August 6, 2012

What's up with this?

While blasting City Council today for not rubber stamping any Mayoral initiative he presents, the Pensacola News Journal fails to disclose that they have had at least one meeting with Chief of Staff John Asmar regarding their Pensacola location.

When I recently requested emails from Asmar regarding communications with Mr. Asmar's current newspaper, one of the emails that surfaced was an email to Asmar from Justin Beck, a local commercial real estate broker, regarding "Yesterday's Meeting - PNJ Property"

The font was minimized to a point that I could not clearly convert it but definitely thanks Asmar for the meeting and discusses the Mayor directly.

This afternoon, I have placed a public records request for another clearer copy of the email below as well as all emails to or from City staff concerning the PNJ property.

Is the City looking at purchasing the building?
Why would the City want a building with no windows and obsolete printing equipment?
Should the discussions be disclosed by the paper?
Is there a conflict of interest?

Transparency please.







PNJ Editorial

I enjoyed the irony in the PNJ editorial today.  A business that has cut its local printing resulting in fewer jobs, cut is news room which has resulted in fewer jobs, cuts its service to the community which has resulted in fewer jobs, talks about the growth Pensacola can experience.  Growth evidently by everyone but Gannett.  If Pensacola is counting on the PNJ's commitment to growth we may need a backup plan.

Few outside of the downtown cocktail crowd realise how unhappy many in Pensacola are with the Mayor's performance.  They are tired of unkept promises, they are tired of decisions despite what the neighborhood's desire, the are tired of insider deals to benefit supporters and family members and they are tired of the needless spending on the Mayor's ego projects like branding and new ad campaigns featuring him.

Mostly, I'm just tired of fighting the Hayward media spin machine.  Let the fairy tale continue.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Great news for Pensacola!!

Florida's Panhandle sees lift from Airbus deal

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS NV
EAD.PA
€30.28
-0.73-2.34%
08/02/2012

Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd
STEG.SI
$3.29
-0.02-0.60%
08/02/2012

By Michael Connor

Thu Aug 2, 2012 2:53am IST

(Reuters) - Florida's Panhandle expects spillover job gains from Airbus's planned $600 million airliner plant in Alabama that could ease local economic pain from looming cuts in U.S. military spending, a city mayor from the region said on Wednesday.

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward said he soon expects to announce a deal with an aerospace company that will bring more than 300 jobs to his city in northwest Florida that is near or home to six U.S. military facilities.

Hayward declined to detail terms or identify the firm but said in an interview the agreement is for an expansion in Pensacola of a group now operating in nearby Mobile, Alabama, where the Airbus unit of aerospace group EADS (EAD.PA) last month said it would build its first U.S. factory.

"They want to expand. They want to go to Pensacola," Hayward said of the unidentified aerospace firm. "It would be a huge boom for our region, with 300 plus jobs in the city of Pensacola, which would be good paying jobs."

A city of 52,000 residents, Pensacola is the hub of an area in western Florida of about 455,000 people, according to government statistics. It had an unemployment rate of 8.4 percent in June, versus a U.S. rate of 8.2 percent and a Florida rate of 8.6 percent.

ST AEROSPACE

Newspapers have reported that Pensacola officials have met in Mobile with executives of Singapore Technologies Aerospace, an airplane repair group that is part of ST Engineering (STEG.SI). A spokesman for ST Aerospace in Mobile was not immediately available to comment.

Hayward said his region, which relies on the U.S. military, tourism and healthcare for much of its employment, also expected to add jobs created by new suppliers to the Airbus assembly plant.

Asked about an automatic $55 billion reduction in military spending set to take effect January 1 under Washington's U.S. debt ceiling compromise, Hayward said the cuts might sting his region's economy.

"It has the opportunity to have an effect, but what we are focused on is getting that aerospace sector going," Hayward said.

Southeastern U.S. states are keen to attract new aerospace business, and are hopeful that the plan by Airbus to build its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Mobile will spur the development of an aerospace corridor along the Gulf Coast.

The region has already had success luring foreign companies especially, and has seen growth in manufacturing jobs as carmakers like Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Volkswagen and BMW built plants.

In announcing the A320 assembly plant last month, Airbus cited the potential to create 5,000 jobs for Mobile and surrounding areas as suppliers move in.

(Reporting by Michael Connor in Miami, Additional reporting by Karen Jacobs; Editing by Kenneth Barry)