Pensacola Politics

Buzz: Other races

January 21, 2010


Some locals have been hoping that another Republican would jump into the State Senate race that now has Greg Evers, Dave Murzin and Mike Hill. The name that I heard most often was former Escambia County Commissioner Janice Gilley, but with the state GOP firmly behind Evers, a Gilley campaign seems unlikely.

Don’t expect Comm. Gene Valentino to drop out of his re-election bid. His political office is too important to him. His company, Collector Solutions, doesn’t need him. He will not give his office without one heck of a fight. That being said, don’t be surprised if Dave Murzin enters the race and gives up his bid against Evers.

Grover Robinson has been hurt by the Maplewood/Roads fiasco. Though few people think he did anything illegal, many are questioning his judgment. Still I can’t see Robinson being beat.

In the wings, people are lining up for Marie Young’s seat in 2012. However, I don’t believe Young is ready to give up the seat–the pay is too good and she has nothing else to do. Black politicians in Pensacola rarely give up their seats. Lumon May could run for Young’s seat. Pensacola City Council members Jewel Canada-Wynn and John Jerralds want to run for it. Ronald Townsend isn’t, but appears poised to run for another council term—this is two terms after he said he would retire.

BTW: Ron McNesby is running against Sheriff David Morgan in 2012— or, at least, that’s what he is saying around town.

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  • Jim Bryant January 23, 2010 at 8:37 am

    We’ve already got a great candidate with Greg Evers and I’d be surprised if anyone else wants to take him on.
    With Bud Day’s support the other day and the leadership of the senate as well as the NRA, you’d have to be off your meds to challenge Evers.

    Look to Murzin to drop out before too long.
    Voted for that commuter rail/CSX Obama rail bailout.
    All I needed to know.

  • Robert Cothran January 22, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Good Morning Rick,

    It is sufficient to say that my interest in the black community is singularly personal.

    As a volunteer recreational soccer coach, I have a deep appreciation for the sport and its benefits for the children and the community. I would consider the opportunity to participate a privilege.

    Please request that the community organizer directing this effort contact me at their convenience or at a time appropriate.

    Best Regards…

  • Robert Cothran January 21, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Thank you for your response Rick…

    I do fondly recall my time at UWF. You did fail to mention that I graduated from PJC in 95 prior to my attending the university. Both excellent institutions for which I feel a great deal of respect and gratitude.

    I hope you can appreciate that it was at these schools that I developed a deep affinity for considerate and responsible (albeit critical) debate.

    As I readily revealed to you some time back, Commissioner Valentino and I not only share a professional relationship, but, a friendship, as well. At the time, I thought such disclosure was appropriate given my desire to participate in your various Blog threads; many of which often dealt with Commissioner Valentino.

    I hope you do trust that that my association with Commissioner Valentino does not leave me devoid of my critical faculties when the Blog topic centers on him and\or his political positions.

    So far as your response to my commentary on Commissioner Valentino:

    I was merely commenting on what I found to be an unnecessarily mean spirited comment that served no discernable purpose other than to demean and offend. I don’t believe you provided any defensible reason for making such a comment.

    In response to your political observations, I believe many of Gene’s supporters and friends feel that the happenings at the BOCC these past few weeks were somewhat disconcerting and surely not his, nor, the Commissions finest hour. I hope that in the coming weeks it will be demonstrated that the Commissioners simply erred without any illicit intent. For what it is worth, I am confident this will be the case.

    So far as your response to my commentary on Commissioner Young:

    Do your facts not support your claim that ‘black politicians’ do not like to give up their seat’?

    Well, I suppose if I accept that Marie Young and Ronald Townsend are a representative sample of all black politicians, then, yes; I guess you could suggest that your facts do back up your claim. My only concern is that such a small sample lends to an incredibly high margin of error (something like 70%).

    Not to be overly sarcastic, but, if you allow me such a small representative sample, I could essentially ‘back up’ even the most outlandish statement.

    To be fair to these two ‘black politicians’, I am certain that if you applied your considerable research skills you could identify many ‘white’ politicians who have held their respective seats for much longer periods of time; perhaps even decades.

    I do hope you do not take any offense in my postings. I greatly appreciate the privilege of voice that you provide to the ordinary members of our community, including myself.

    • Rick Outzen January 22, 2010 at 6:45 am

      Alas the pool of black politicians on the county commission and city council in Pensacola is very small. Marie is one of one on the county commissioner. Ronald is one of three on the City Council. So my sample is two of four and definitely it would have been more accurate for me to have written Young and Townsend, without lumping Jerralds and Wynn in that statement.

      Having interviewed and met with many of the young African-American leaders (ages 25-40) over the past three years, I have come to understand their frustrations with their older leaders…and these young leaders, too, are part of the problem because they is a reluctance on their part to challenge Young, Townsend, Jerralds and Wynn. My commentary on the local black politicians is also a reflection of those interviews and discussions.

      I hope your interest in the African-American community is more than criticizing my logic. We are working to establish an inner-city youth soccer program. Would Collector Solutions be willing to sponsor the uniforms for a program at Legion Field—which is in west Pensacola, not too far from your offices?

  • chip chism January 21, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Game, set and match for Outzen…..

  • Richard Hawkins January 21, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Rick’s posts AND reader comments have moved more and more toward Gene and his personality and away from policy.

    I am not boorishly commentating on anyone, but I can definitely declare this change is not good for Escambia County.

  • Robert Cothran January 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm


    I must say that your commentary above is tasteless even for a boorish political commentator, such as yourself.

    With that being said, please allow me to make an observation or two:

    ONE :

    Concerning your commentary on Commissioner Valentino;

    While it is obvious that the intent of your commentary was to belittle and offend Commissioner Valentino, I believe your readers should glean from it a very compelling testimony on his business acumen.

    I would assert that it is an essential, understood aspect of any entrepreneurial undertaking that success is eventually predicated on the robustness of that derived entity; a robustness that is at least partially defined as the ability of that entity to exist and thrive without an undue dependence on a particular individual.

    If I were Commissioner Valentino, I would wear your statement above as a badge of honor. I would consider it an acknowledgement by one of his most fervent detractors that, in fact, he possessed the prudence to coalesce an idea and a team in the worst of financial conditions that is able to prosper without ‘needing’ him.

    TWO :

    Concerning your commentary on Commissioner Young;

    Are you suggesting that if she were ‘white’ she would be more willing to give up her seat? Do you honestly wish to imply that there is a racial distinction concerning the manner in which politicians strive to maintain their elected positions?

    I’ve seen many ‘white’ politicians ‘lose’ their seat, but, I don’t recall seeing many of them graciously stepping aside in order to allow the next citizen with big ideas a turn at the helm.

    What an utterly ridiculous statement…

    As always, thank you for the opportunity to participate…

    • Rick Outzen January 21, 2010 at 8:48 pm

      My intent is to neither belittle nor offend Commissioner Valentino, but to critique and judge him on his actions and words as an Escambia County Commissioner.

      As the president of Collector Solutions, Inc., you are in a much better position than I to judge Valentino’s business acumen and the robustness of CSI and its ability to exist and thrive without an undue dependence on Valentino, your CEO and founder.

      Valentino has told me on several occasions that he is indeed fortunate to have you and others to run his company so as to free him to work full-time as a county commissioner. He has told me and others that his focus is on his political career and he would like to run for Congress in 2012, or whenever Jeff Miller retires.

      Robert, I have difficulty understanding why Gene’s business acumen didn’t help him understand the competitive sealed bid process, three years into his first term. The purchasing department’s procedures are online. The general terms and conditions of the bid process are very clear on how mistakes made vendors are to be handled. I spent an additional hour today with Claudia Simmons, the county’s purchasing manager to be sure that I understood the procedures fully and was being fair to your boss.

      The procedures governing competitive sealed bids have been in place since 2005. Section 6 (2) clearly states: “No bidder shall be permitted to correct a bid mistake after bid opening that would cause such bidder to have the low bid, except that any bidder may correct errors in extension of unit prices stated in the bids, or in multiplication, division, addition or subtraction. In such cases, UNIT PRICES BID SHALL NOT BE CHANGED. (my emphasis)

      There is no ambiguity. Furthermore, Ms. Simmons told me that Roads isn’t the first company to make a unit price mistake on its bid. And Roads has protested other bids before —so they are very familiar how to do it. They had no grounds for a protest.

      So for your boss and founder, Gene Valentino, to claim “breach in the process” is ridiculous and has drawn criticism from local contractors, including the Association of General Contractors. There is no basis in fact for Valentino’s comment which he has repeatedly used as his reason for denying the low bid to Gulf Equipment.

      It’s because of actions such as these by Comm. Valentino that I believe he has a tough political battle on his hands. And while many in the community believe he might drop out of the race, I don’t think he will.

      As far as your analysis of my comments about Marie Young: Since your graduation from UWF in 1998, there have only been two commissioners for District 3, Willie Junior and Marie Young—in fact these are the only two people to ever hold that seat since it was specially carved out in the 1980s.

      When four county commissioners were appointed to replace those that were indicted in 2002, all four, Janice Gilley, Cliff Barnhart, Tim Wright and Marie Young, agreed to not seek re-election. Young has been elected to two terms since then. So the facts do support my observation.

      Ronald Townsend has told supporters in 2006 and 2008 that he would not seek another term. Yet each time he has filed and the word is he will run again this year.

      Thank you for writing. I hope I have cleared up your misperceptions about this post. I don’t find your comments belittling, tasteless or offensive, and I commend you for defending your boss. He will need your support through the State Attorney investigation and the coming months.