First question to ask

The Aquarium misrepresentations are the latest indication that local boards need to change their approach to proposals. The very first question should be of staff, not the vendor or proposer: Has staff verified the representations made by this group?

The city staff failed in 2007 to verify all the development team members in the maritime park proposal by Land Capital Group. Over three years later, the CMPA board discovers the misrepresentations and fires MPDP, Land Capital’s successor.

In a solid investigative piece in the daily newspaper, reporter Jamie Page discovered that the non-profit Aquarium for Pensacola, that wants to build an aquarium on the site of the Main Street Sewage Plant, doesn’ t have support of the political leaders it claimed. It couldn’t provide proof to the Page that it had the 70,000 petition signatures it claimed also.

Based on those claims, the ECUA Citizen Advisory Committee voted 8-2 on January 18 to delay the bid opening for the plant’s demolition by two months to allow Aquarium for Pensacola time to conduct a feasibility study.

Staff should have done some background investigation into Aquarium for Pensacola.