Weekend Buzz: Quiet, Organization and Pcola linked to national stories

December 16, 2013

County & City Coast Thru Christmas
City of Pensacola and Escambia County governments try to coast to the end of the year without any drama. Neither the City Council nor County Commission meet again until next year.

County needs the break for tempers to cool down after George Touart was removed from the candidate pool for the county administrator job. Mayor Ashton Hayward needs to figure out to get out of the hole he dug on the Pitt Slip lease and his attack on The Fish House. According to his statement last week, Hayward wants to resolve the issue before the end of the year.

The Independent News has yet to receive the public record of the partial assignment that it requested last Monday. No press conference has been scheduled by Hayward and no mention of any future “Mornings with the Mayor.” However, the mayor will hold tonight a town hall meeting for District 5 at 6 pm at the McIlwain House, located at 1200 E. Blount Street.

Tourism Gets Organized
Visit Pensacola, Inc. will hold a three-hour organizational meeting today. Visit VP Steve Hayes says the meeting is to:

1. Provide an overview of tourism from the perspective of the Escambia County Tourist Development Council (TDC)
2. Provide an historical view from the Tourism Administration & Convention Committee (TACC), which was the committee
3. Provide an overview from the Escambia County Destination Marketing Organization perspective
4. Give a snapshot of the makeup of Visit Pensacola, our roles/responsibilities, reporting metrics etc.

Pensacola Links To National Stories
An investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed questionable behavior by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives that has prompted bipartisan concern among Washington’s oversight community. Cited in the story is the local ATF sting “Anything for a Buck” that netted 75 suspects in 2011:

In Pensacola, the ATF hired a felon to run its pawnshop. The move widened the pool of potential targets, boosting arrest numbers.Even those trying to sell guns legally could be charged if they knowingly sold to a felon. The ATF’s pawnshop partner was later convicted of pointing a loaded gun at someone outside a bar. Instead of a stiff sentence typically handed down to repeat offenders in federal court, he got six months in jail — and a pat on the back from the prosecutor.

The other story with a Pensacola link is about the CIA agent that has been missing in Iran since 2007–Robert A. Levinson. The family’s attorney is David McGee of Beggs & Lane.

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  • joe December 16, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    CJ Lewis, don’t the city of Pensacola businesses and residents benefit from bed tax revenues generated in Escambia county, i.e. Pensacola Beach as two of the biggest tourist attractions in the area are in the COP while the visitors are staying in Escambia county?

    As a santa rosa county resident and COP business and property owner I get the double taxation COP residents carry but the divisiveness isn’t a good thing. Tourism and the associated revenue is a serious matter and should be dealt with by serious people…Visit Pcola, Esc county, COP council. You paint a picture of gov’t kind of like Pres Obama and Prime Minister Cameron and their selfie with the Danish politician. they were yucking it up unseriously while there are serious matters to deal with in this world.

  • jeeperman December 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I thought the county was tasking Visit Pensacola with promoting the area with bed tax revenues.
    Not with general fund/sales taxes/gas taxes/or any other taxes.

  • CJ Lewis December 16, 2013 at 11:05 am

    When Visit Pensacola, Inc. meets, they should discuss if they are responsible for promoting all of Pensacola (i.e. all of Escambia County) or just part of Pensacola with the Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board (“a body corporate and agency of the city”) promoting 44 blocks of part of “Downtown Pensacola” and Mayor Hayward personally responsible for marketing the rest of Pensacola Proper within the helter-skelter Pensacola City Limits. If there are going to be three (or more) entities marketing Pensacola, Visit Pensacola, Inc. should sponsor a coloring contest with City Council Members asked to color in the area they think City taxpayers should pay to promote on “The Upside of Florida.”

    City taxpayers should not be taxed to promote any place outside of City limits. On the downside, Mayor Hayward and most City Council members disagree. It gets worse, just last week the Council considered a new City scheme to promote job growth from Mobile County to Walton County. My guess is that no one in Mobile County or Walton County or anywhere in-between is losing any sleep trying to promote job growth inside Pensacola City Limits. Pensacola City Hall jobs are certainly a very important part of the economy in Santa Rosa County.