2014 Election Environment Escambia County Pensacola

Weekend Buzz: Pitiful County, Eric gets his record and Robo attacks begin in District 2 (audio)

July 28, 2014

Pitiful Escambia
The most profitable illegal business in Escambia County appears to be dirt.

The Board of County Commissioners learned last week that only one borrow pit has a permit to operate legally.

Horace Jones, Jr., interim director of the county’s Development Services Division, told the board, “Looking at our records and our systems, there was only one which, as of now that we know, has a borrow pit permit.”

Borrow pits are used in construction and civil engineering. Soil and sand are extracted from the land and used for many of the major construction projects in the area. The county commission –Mike Whitehead, Bill Dickson, Marie Young, Tom Banjanin and Kevin White-passed in 2005 ordinances that required pit owners to put up surety bonds and submit reclamation plans for how they would restore the property after the soil had been mined.

Six years later Campbell’s Sand and Gravel in Century and Green Fill Dirt Sand Pit in the Wedgewood area were cited for operating borrow pits without permits. In August 2011, county staff told the commissioners—Gene Valentino, Grover Robinson, Wilson Robertson, Marie Young and Kevin White— that six borrow pits had been operating illegally for at least five years.

The concern then, as it was on July 24, was how to get the illegal borrow pits in compliance. Three years ago, the commission voted to allow the owners to get interim permits that would give them a year to meet all the legal requirements. Those permits expired on Dec. 5, 2012. None of the owners renewed their permits.


Attorney Mike Papantonio said that he would not be surprised if an investigation led to criminal indictments.

“There were laws on the books for nine years that these companies ignored despite being given several chances to get in compliance, and it appears that until Commissioner May started asking question the county staff turned a blind-eye to the violations,” said Papantonio.

“This is the type of dirty politics that is usually reserved for Third World countries,” he said. “The environment is raped and pillaged, greedy people make millions, citizens get sick and die, and the regulators stand by and just watch.”

Eric gets his record, finally

Attorney Eric Stevenson finally got the public record (June 27 follow up )that he requested from Jane Ballard, public records coordinator for the City of Pensacola.

Stevenson was forced to wait for over 45 days for Ballard to answer his June 6 request regarding the mayor’s use of outside council. When he finally received a response from Ballard on the city’s public records website, the only document was a pdf of a series of emails between her and attorney Bob Kerrigan. The date of those emails was June 6, the same day of his request.

“Why did I have to wait a month and a half for this? She had the answer the day I made the request,” said Stevenson.

This is what the city took over 45 days to deliver: Re__Work_Order__W000367-060614___W000367-060614_Kerrigan_Response (1)

Robo Attacks

Someone has set up two illegal, automated phone calls attacking Doug Underhill, who is running against Gene Valentino for the District 2 Escambia County Commission seat.

One tries to make a big deal out of a boating infraction 10 years ago – Read more. The other is that Underhill may have helped a Democrat in a political campaign. The caller warns “Stay away from Democrat Doug.”

Florida Election law requires that electioneering, such as these calls, must identify who sponsored/approved the ad.

Hmmm, who could be behind this?


You Might Also Like