Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your family and some turkey.  We eat ours.  Leaders wear theirs.  :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Independent" Weekly Strangely Silent on Merrill Lease

Big news in PNJ.
Big news on 1620
Merrill owned "Independent Weekly" ....Crickets!!!!!!!!!!

As Outzen likes to say when he beats his "watchdog" chest

"There are no sacred cows at the Independent News – which is why local politicians, bureaucrats and powerbrokers fear us so much.

We’re old school, two-fisted journalism at its best."


Lapdog not watchdog!

As requested, Here is the Pitts Slip Lease in Question

By the way, Merrill was on the radio this morning stating that Merrill Land wants to renew the lease as is.

I bet so. 

However, the lease expired in June 2013.  THEY HAVE NO LEASE CURRENTLY.  It's time for an RFP.

When will the Mayor put out an RFP for the facility, one that includes fair market value percentage rent like on other City leased facilities.

Also, by the way, the CITY now owns the building, the restaurants and the deck per City Attorney Jim Messer's letter below.

Messer states:
"In your letter to Dick Barker, dated February 8, 2008, you stated the building had been sold to Merrill Land LLC.  Pursuant to Section VII of the lease, title to any building or other permanent improvements on the property shall vest with the City upon termination or renewal. It would appear that upon renewal of the lease title to the physical structures will vest in the City."

Congratulations City Residents!  We own the property that houses one of Pensacola's premier restaurants.


Monday, November 25, 2013

The City's Demand Letter

Demand Letter


City and PNJ Wake up...Merrill owes up to $5 million in back rent.

City demands more rent from Fish House owners

Headline at

The City and the PNJ finally catch up.

As I have been stating for a long time the City has some real issues at the Pitt's Slip Marina Complex.

The City finally woke up and is demanding up to $5 million in unpaid rent for the facility.  I have been highlighting the issues there for months.

On July 26, 2013 I posted:

9. The original lease envisioned a restaurant paying percentage rent.  I don't believe the Fish House or Atlas currently pays percentage rent as discussed in the lease.

Here are other relevant posts:

I can't wait to see the impact the Mayor's demands have on the Downtown Crowd.  Time to choose sides people. 

Merrill vs. Hayward. 

Round 1.  Hayward.

Here's a Round 2 question for Merrill?  How did Barker and the City's 30 year independent auditors miss this fact?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Inappropriate language for a press release


In the old (2011) email exchange above, then Mayoral press guru Travis Peterson drafts a press release regarding the Blount School acquisition.  Sent to John Asmar, Bill Reynolds and Housing Director Pat Hubbard, Peterson uses a colorful quote from the Mayor.

Did you learn that one from Outzen or did the Mayor say that?

I hope you do not choose to use language like that in your current employer's press releases.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

REAL Transparency

Mayor Hayward talks about transparency, then turns around and throws up road blocks to and excessive charges for public records requests.

Mayor Hayward talks about transparency, then turns around and uses his private email account to keep records from being retained on City servers.

Maybe we need to be a little more British here in Pensacola.

The British House of Commons receives freedom of information requests from many places.  What do they do with them?  Publish the requested info on the the internet for all to see.

Some requests fulfilled that would be interesting in Pensacola:

  • Gambling website attempts
  • Pornographic website attempts (probably none since certain folks retired)
  • Speakers official travel expenses
  • Blocker websites
  • Top 500 sights (Facebook Number 1 at the Commons)
  • Bottled water expenses (Mayor's Red Bull?)
  • Gifts Received (Pink Club Car Caps?)
Take a look and see what real transparency looks like.

Why not post every public records request to the internet after fulfilled?

In the mean time just check back here for the facts.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hayward Continues Losing City Dollars at Pitts Slip

Way back in 2011, City Attorney Jim Messer sent the letter below to the Tenant at Pitts slip.

Messer Letter to Cyr

Its been over two years, the lease discussed has expired, and we the Citizens are losing money every month on the Pitts Slip lease.

CAO Castille tells Council she's on it.

Castille to Council

Another month lost and another month or Fair Market Value rent the City will never see.

Tick tock Mayor, You are wasting our money.  I hope Ms, Clark and Mr. Bare are keeping a total of what you squandered.

Why won't the administration attack this lease agreement with the same zeal and vigor it attacks Studer leases at the Maritime Park?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pensacola Fire Pension...Doing in Right...Without the Mayor Jacking With It

The Collins Institute at FSU recently published its list of local pensions that are "Doing it Right".  The Pensacola Fire Pension made the list of the best in the state based on its funded percentage and contribution levels by employees.

Final report


Hard for the Mayor to eat crow on this one but he has stopped attempting to close the Fire Pension.

It would have been hard for CAO Castille to go against the Collins report.  She is on the Board of Directors of the Institute.

Board of Directors

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mayor Tried to Curtail Palafox Market. Denied Permit. Fear of Farmers

Last month Mayor Hayward made a big deal about Palafox being one of America's Great Places.  As seen above he threw a celebration at City expense to have his photo made before the "large crowd" of 150. Its not like he had much to do with it. The DIB drove the vast majority of the events that garnered that national attention.

  • What did the Mayor and his team try to do when the Market attempted to grow?  Kill the growth of the Palafox market by denying permits.
  • Why did they try to kill the growth?  It was killing the grass!  Really? 
  • Why did they eventually issue the permits and back off?  Asmar was afraid of farmers.
In the email exchange below, City Neighborhood Services Director David Flaherty denied the permit for the Market to use additional space for growth.

Only after former DIB director Kimbrough pleaded with the Mayor's staff did Outzen's boy John Asmar push the permits forward because Asmar feared farmers showing up in front of City Council.

That's right!  Fear the farmer.  Maybe we can recruit some farmers to help us on some other issues since they seem to scare the Mayor and his Staff.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Mayor "Transparency" has Public Records Staff that Doesn't Understand the Law.

No other way to say it.  Sorry Ms. Ballard, but you have no idea what you are doing.

Ms. Ballard, or should I say Bollard, is the City's new Mayoral roadblock to public records.

Her job is to stymie all public records requests.

In the email to me below, Ms. Ballard responds to my objection that a standard 2 minutes per email is charged.

We are not required to itemize in detail, the individual reviewers names, date of review and start/stop times. You have been provided a breakdown of the number of emails per account, the labor cost for review/redaction, the number of phone records and the labor cost for review/redaction of those phone records. The City Public Records Policy and payment procedures have been reviewed and approved by Barbara Petersen of the First Amendment Foundation and the Special Counsel for Open Government, Attorney General's Office to ensure that we are complying in good faith with the Public Records Act of the State of Florida.

Then how do I know if you are charging me fairly?  Trust you?  Riiiiiight.

Roadblock Bollard Letter

Well now.  It appears Barbara Peterson disagrees with the Offical Supressor of All Public Records Jane Ballard.

To answer your specific question, no, an agency cannot adopt a rule that it will charge for 2 minutes time to review each email or document. Many agencies, in providing an invoice of costs for providing requested records, will provide the requestor with an estimate of how long it will take to review each email – for example, 500 emails at 1 minute per email. That is, however, only an estimate of the time. Once the agency has reviewed all the emails, it can then charge only the actual time it took to review the records for exempt information and provide a copy to the requestor. Some emails may require no review – Let’s meet for lunch – and others with attachments and a long string, make take a few minutes.

In the end, the agency can charge only the actual cost and only if the time it took to review and redact required an extensive use of the agency’s resources.

I hope this makes sense. If you have any questions, or need more clarification, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Barbara A. Petersen, President
First Amendment Foundation
Tallahassee, FL 32301


Ms. Peterson, this is Pensacola. The Mayor or his appointees will tell you what you said. Once Jane says it Barbara, it is so.  Jane's an expert.  She went to a class taught by!

Does the City have a method to track actual time?  I certainly hope so.  Its the law...Actual Time Only!

Transparency?  Can he be seen through those frosted walls on the seventh floor IF you get a pass from the armed security after going through the metal detector.  Hmmmm.  Open government Hayward Style!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Mayor's intent to "take over" the DIB goes back almost two years

In the below July 2012 email, Asmar asks Messer for a legal opinion on terminating the DIB's parking management agreement.

But the way Asmar wanted to do it, that pesky City Council would have to approve.

Folks, the staffing changes at the DIB were not a co-incidence but a coup.

The sad part is insinuating Hilary Gilles was in some way being terminated for cause.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In Plain Sight Part Two

Remember Spencer and DAG.
  • Spencer's roomie doesn't get Community Center contract
  • Spencer has Mayor throw out results
  • Spencer writes RFP
  • Spencer picks committee
  • Spencer chairs committee meeting
  • Spencer's roomie chosen
  • Spencer votes for roomie.
But they are separate?  No they are JV partners.

Additional plain sight.  This one will be followed up on.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In Plain Site

The Mayor, without question, directed that his buddy Jerry Pate receive no bid or not low bid City contracts for work. 

He directed Jerry Pate be placed on an independent organization's contract without bid or quote.

Did he get something in return?  Only time will tell.

But the "First Lady" got some swag!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

DIB Fires 100% of paid staff. PNJ reports...Nothing

One week after winning an award for the Palafox corridor, DIB Executive Director Ron Butlin terminated both of his employees on Friday.

Did you read about it in the PNJ.  Nope.  100% gone.

Did anyone ask:
  • Why?
  • Who will replace them?
  • Who will be the point of contact going forward?

Here are a couple of documents we will need going forward.

State of Florida Formation Documentation

By Laws


2014 Strategic Overview

I looked at the strategic overview.  It doesn't mention gut the organization.

Interlocal forthcoming for the City to manage?  Another place to allocate overhead?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Public Records Costs

I am attempting to obtain a few emails from the City of Pensacola.  Hobby I guess.

Well the City has a new policy stating that it costs 2 minutes per email for the staff member to review the information.  Check out the costs I was quoted below.
  • R. Lee: 123 emails @ 2 min per/ 4.25 hours to review @ $18.82=$79.98
  • E. Buswell: 226 emails @ 2 min per/7.5 hours to review @ $18.82=$141.15
  • A. Ballenger: 19 emails @ 2 min per/.5 hours to review@ $18.82=$9.41
  • J. Messer: 55 emails @ 2 min per/1.75 to review @$18.82=$32.94
  • J. Matteson: 195 emails @ 2 min per/6.5 hours to review @$18.82=$122.33
  • C. Castille: 3 emails @ 2 min per/.25 hours to review @$18.82=$4.71
  • L. Cox: 15 emails @ 2 min per/.5 hours to review @ $18.82=$9.41
  • C. Merrill: 198 emails @2 min per/6.5 hours to review @$18.82=$122.33
  • Total PST emails (per Cost Estimate) = 834 /27.75 hours to review & redact @ $18.82= $522.25
I better start looking for change in the couch again.