Pensacola

Myers asks obvious question about hatchery items on agenda

December 11, 2017

In November, Pensacola City Council members Brian Spencer and Sherri Myers wanted to discuss the fish hatchery that Mayor Ashton Hayward wants built on Bruce Beach. The items were pulled after City Attorney Lysia Bowling said it would not be appropriate to discuss them because of a lawsuit had filed against the city regarding the lease with Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission.

Today, the Pensacola City Council will consider two new agenda items regarding the fish hatchery that have been proposed by Council member Jewel Cannada-Wynn and Mayor Hayward.

Myers asked Bowling why the different rules for the mayor.

“We were led to believe that it would not be appropriate to discuss our agenda items due to a lawsuit filed against the city,” wrote Myers in an email. “Then low and behold, the mayor and a council member collaborated to place on the agenda, with the blessings I assume of the city attorney, an item that would declare the lease is “clarified” that construction on the Bruce Beach property has commenced. REALLY!”

She continued, “I don’t think the city attorney can have this both ways, either we can’t discuss the fish hatchery in public, or we can. Ethically, I think it is unfair to Councilman Spencer and me that we were denied the right to have our agenda items discussed, while the Mayor and Councilwoman Cannada-Wynn can have their Bruce Beach agenda item placed on the agenda.”

Last night, Myers wrote Inweekly, “I spoke with city attorney. She still takes the position she took back in November. I am glad to see she is consistent. I do not believe she was consulted about the Mayor’s agenda item regarding the ‘clarification’ of the hatchery lease.”


The persistent issue with Mayor Hayward and his administration is the rules are applied differently for different people.

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  • CJ Lewis December 11, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    I read the agenda item that seems to be asking City Council members to make a judicial decision about the validity of the lease. However, there is no evidence provided in support of the agenda item demonstrating that FWC commenced construction prior to May 12, 2017. As such, if you believe the plain language meaning of the words in the lease, it is VOID. If a lease is VOID, I would think it has no legal effect. How can the City Council amend a lease that is already VOID? Is that even legal? Perhaps the lawsuit plaintiffs could ask the court to stop the City Council from rendering a judicial decision. Also, why does the “Clarification of Lease Agreement” claim that the City continues to lease the property to FWC? Isn’t that the issue before the court, the validity of the lease? Further, what about the role of the CRA and the 2010 CRA Plan? Is the CRA now an impotent agency? The agenda item does not include a legal opinion in support so perhaps the City Council should today direct the City Attorney to prepare one citing Florida Statutes and case law in support of the proposed legislative action. Lastly, on the upside, every “measure” taking by the City Council is subject to referendum. In 2009, the Charter Review Commission wanted the people’s power to challenge actions of the City Council to be broader than just ordinances (city laws) and resolutions (city policies) so at the last moment they decided to use the term “measure” to describe what voters could challenge by referendum. In this case, especially since the proposed action seems illegal, and putting a fish hatchery on Bruce Beach seems such a ridiculous idea, I would not be surprised if a referendum is organized and successful.

  • Moose December 11, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Myers should ask for a clear explanation, on the record, before any discussion occurs as to what has changed from the earlier opinion that now allows them to discuss this without jeopardizing the lawsuit.

  • George Hawthorne December 11, 2017 at 9:13 am

    The Council needs to SUE the City Attorney for malpractice because of all of her deficient legal rulings and legal administration of the City’s business. How many of her “opinions” have caused the City to be embroiled in losing litigation that have costs the City MILLIONS of sorely needed revenues?