Did a grudge play a role in bottle club vote?

The buzz around town is that Pensacola City Councilman Jack Nobles may have changed his position on the closing time for bottle clubs because Brian and Crystal Spencer were in favor of the ordinance that would have changed the closing time for bottle clubs from 5 a.m. to 3 a.m. The Spencers live and work downtown. Unfortunately Brian has worked with Ray Russenberger on a few projects. Crystal represented Russenberger in his divorce case a few years ago. Brian has been an outspoken critic of the city council.

The buzz is that Nobles saw the Spencers in the audience when the bottle club ordinance came before the council for final approval and switched sides. He not only changed his position but convinced the others to do the same.

Would Nobles be so petty? It is entirely possible. I saw him chair a committee meeting in August and publicly ridicule Larry Johnson – another person Jack dislikes – by refusing to let him speak until every other person in the room had come to the podium. We all saw him try to close down The Oar House earlier this fall. The Oar House is owned by Russenberger – who ran against Nobles in 2004.

In September, Nobles and six other council members passed the first reading of the ordinance – 7-1. Marty Donovan was in opposition. Mike DeSorbo and Sam Hall were absent.

It appears pettiness and grudges rule city and county politics. Pensacola and Escambia County will not grow up until its elected officials do.