Escambia County Pensacola Politics Veterans

Commissioner May comes to aid of parade organizers

November 7, 2013

The daily newspaper has an article on how the volunteers that have organized the Pensacola Veterans Day believe that they have been given the runaround by the city of Pensacola.

The Florida Department of Transportation toughened requirements this year for its “Maintenance of Traffic” permits, requiring that they be prepared by a civil engineer or someone trained in meeting the agency specifications. Since Bayfront Parkway and Garden Streets are state roads, every downtown parade–Veterans Day, Fiesta, Mardi Gras, MLK and others that use or cross those streets–will need to get such a permit.

City staff has been aware of this new requirement since last summer.

I began hearing about the problem yesterday, but didn’t have time to look into it.

According to the PNJ article, efforts by city officials to help the volunteers obtain FDOT permit had stalled.

County Commissioner Lumon May asked Larry Newsom, the county’s assistant administrator, to help with the FDOT application. It appears the parade will be allowed thanks to the efforts of the county and the cooperation of DOT.

  • CJ Lewis November 7, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Rick – you write “last summer.” Does that refer to “this past summer,” i.e. Summer of 2013 or, heaven forbid, “the last summer” in 2012? Presumably the former. Either way, Florida’s DOT [as distinguished from Pensacola’s “granddot”] presumably put out a notice of the pending rule, announced in advance that the rule was going to be effective on a date specific, and the rule kicked in on a specific date. More importantly, on what specific date did the Gulf Coast Veterans Advocacy Council find about this new requirement? It increasingly smells like no one on the City staff wanted to stick out their neck and risk being fired like all the others before them. As you point out, the City should have a series of standardized parade routes and proactively do all the legwork in advance to minimize the burden on sponsoring groups. Any pending problems with the December 14 Christmas Parade Route at this point? In the end, all of these parades and street events taken in the whole give the City of Pensacola a “sense of place” and promote economic development. Why not use Pensacola Energy “profits” to help fund these events as part of their marketing efforts? The City Council should get its arms around this issue adopting required ordinances, resolutions and policies to make this Hayward-proof. From what “grandot” reports here, this real problem is likely a lack of priority in City Hall. On the downside, no one seems to be in charge ensuring that no one can be held accountable. Kudos to Escambia County and Commissioner May for stepping in to save the City of Pensacola from itself. Perhaps Escambia County should be in charge of all parades in Escambia County?

    • Rick Outzen November 7, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Summer of 2013

  • grandot November 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Rick- City and state permit staff were present for a special events public meeting held at city hall where this very vital information was clearly shared several weeks ago. At that time it was suggested that city staff who have credentials could be pressed into use for this design and the plan then could be made available for all to use as a part of the economic development support of the city, staff said there was not time under their current roster of responsibilities and private engineers should be contacted. City, county, or regional tourism budget should have funds to create standard route plans to be available for all users. Staff indicated that it was not something for which they felt necessary to advocate nor explore further and that individual events should just add this cost to their budget, and factor into logistics plan. So much for eliminating red tape for benefit of majority of citizens. We need solutions seekers and community outreach oriented staff, not just messengers, and budget response to community need not just pretty image.

  • Leroy Carter November 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Since Brian Spencer seems to issue orders to Hayward and spencer wanted to remove the helo from the Veterans Park is it possible that Ciry is anti Veteran.

  • grandot November 7, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Rick- City and state permit staff were present for a special events public meeting held at city hall where this very vital information was clearly shared several weeks ago. At that time it was suggested that city staff who have credentials could be pressed into use for this design and the plan then could be made available for all to use as a part of the economic development support of the city, staff said there was not time under their current roster of responsibilities and private engineers should be contacted. City, county, or regional tourism budget should have funds to create standard route plans to be available for all users. Staff indicated that it was not something for which they felt necessary to advocate nor explore further and that individual events should just add this cost to their budget, and factor into logistics plan. So much for eliminating red tape for benefit of majority of citizens. We need solutions seekers and community outreach oriented staff, not just messengers.

  • Red tape November 7, 2013 at 9:46 am

    City has a history of making simple things very complicated whereas the county works to find ways to cut red tape. That is the reality.