Why attack the attorneys?

Our position is justice has the best chance to come to light in the courtroom when good attorneys are on both sides of the issue. Another media outlet sees it differently.

The News Journal has repeatedly attacked the Escambia Board of County Commissioners over the 401(a) retirement plan. Last Friday, the daily expanded its vitriol to include the Levin Papantonio Rafferty Proctor Buchanan O’Brien Barr & Mougey law firm for representing the BCC – pro bono – against claims made by County Clerk Pam Childers.

The News Journal hasn’t gone after the local firm that represents Skanska USA or the firms depending Big Tobacco in cancer death cases or those who helped BP spin its misinformation during the BP oil spill. It could be argued those cases are more important than the county’s retirement plan, so why now disparage a firm?

Why would the News Journal single out Levin Papantonio Rafferty and accuse them of not caring for the best interest of average citizens? Instead the daily newspaper directs people to seek help from the Orlando-based Morgan & Morgan.

I talked with the several of the Levin Papantonio Rafferty partners over the weekend. They believe it wasn’t a coincidence the attack was posted online on early Friday morning – two days before it appeared in Sunday edition – the same day the PNJ front page touted a call for a committee to study changing county government. The editorial strike seems to be timed to bolster the need for the charter study group.

I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but I was told the firm looks forward to depositions to uncover the truth and why some seem set to derail the trial before it happens.

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7 thoughts on “Why attack the attorneys?

  1. Your information is excellent, Joan, and I’m learning a ton from it. I agree entirely it’s better to be armed with all the information. My frustration lies with people who apparently believe the best way to move the County forward is to try to blow up the BOCC and attempt to position Downtown-centric leadership. If they did get that dark money fundraising machine set up, we are going to see a barrage of PR/propaganda on a whole new level, so I share your concern with having solid information to share with County taxpayers in that eventuality.

  2. WE all make typos
    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0100-0199/0125/0125.html

    Homework
    PART IV
    OPTIONAL COUNTY CHARTERS
    125.80 Short title.
    125.81 Definitions.
    125.82 Charter adoption by ordinance.
    125.83 County charters; general provisions.
    125.84 County charters; optional forms.
    125.85 County charters; executive responsibilities.
    125.86 County charters; legislative responsibilities.
    125.87 Administrative code; adoption and amendment.
    125.88 Civil service.

  3. Melissa
    Mostly what I meant is it certainly doesn’t hurt to go read Chapter 125 and pay attention. For one, this isn’t on the Oct 14 agenda and it looks like chairman made a mistake thinking it was a COW on the 14 earlier, yet it’s a regular meeting.
    The agenda for 11/9 is not up but if this group plans to make a presentation it doesn’t hurt to do homework ahead of time to see who is blowing smoke or not.
    For instance now that I glanced through the chapter — 125.48 doesn’t have anything to do with forming a charter.
    As far as what tiny Century is doing, well that’s another story. The CATF to update the charter is flailing about. The interim manager is resigning Dec 1. 2021 Personally I think if Century would just hire someone who can manage the utilities, that would be a plus. If Century disincorporates and goes to ECUA at least we know how the county and ECUA handled Innerarity and it wasn’t ideal for the residents. Sometimes status quo is acceptable.
    “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference” I doubt the folly of the group for better government will get very far, but you never know, so it doesn’t hurt to be informed.

    To put this back on the rails of the original topic. Pensacola News Journal attacking the attorney via Marlette most likely, by the “immoral” comment was parroting Underhill — that’s one of his rhetorical devices to try to shut people up or he calls them carpetbaggers, cowards and other insults. Pretty funny.
    HaHa./s
    Pot meet Kettle

  4. Joan, I typically stay out of City business, except, for instance, when Downtown is trying to sew chaos at the County in order to shove an elected mayor over the BOCC, consolidate to raise the millage rate, and suck Escambia taxpayer dollars for their gentrification program.

    If I were a City resident, though, I’d be very interested in having another good hard look at how well the Strong Mayor experiment is working.

  5. To this:
    “On the charter government issue, lost in the discussion is that there are four forms of county charters to include the three described in Section 125.48 and also a consolidated government”

    and this:
    “We now have 11 years of bad experience in the City of Pensacola that shows we lack enough local talent. Crestview has changed to a professional manager form and even tiny Century is headed in that direction. ”

    Personally I am exhausted with the conflict but these two statements, thank you for typing them out Mr Lewis, actually helps me to have a little more of an open mind about the discussion.

    I agree lack of talent is a problem, as far as tiny Century.

  6. Rick, it ain’t a conspiracy theory if it’s actually happening.

    Just ask Escambia EMS how theoretical that all felt.

  7. To date, none of the law school graduates have made public a real Memorandum of Law on the annuity issue that would get a passing grade in a first semester Legal Research & Writing class at least at Georgetown. The annuity issue is not “rocket surgery.” In 1996, did the Florida Legislature intend to authorize county governments to purchase annuities for county officers and employees other than the two very narrowly described classes mentioned in the law. If so, it seems unlikely that everyone can get an annuity because Escambia County only offers it to elected officials and county employees in the senior management class. If authorized, I could see a public purpose for allowing the senior management class to do so because both in cities and counties they move a lot to include between states. I think the only real issue is if elected officials are authorized to vote to give themselves annuities. To date, the BOCC has presented no actual real evidence of any type in support of that self-serving argument. On the charter government issue, lost in the discussion is that there are four forms of county charters to include the three described in Section 125.48 and also a consolidated government. It sounds like the “fix” is in on the County Executive Form but its hard to see why anyone who voted to professionalize the Superintendent of Schools position in Escambia County would now support the opposite making the County Executive position a local popularity contest. We now have 11 years of bad experience in the City of Pensacola that shows we lack enough local talent. Crestview has changed to a professional manager form and even tiny Century is headed in that direction. The BOCC “could” propose a County Manager Form much like it has now with the benefit of providing term limits, shorter two-year terms of office and a recall provision so voters could remove a bad commissioner. A smarter approach that perhaps a new BOCC will take would be to ask the Florida Association of Counties to conduct an independent assessment of the Escambia County government to identify what is broken that needs fixing, what needs some minor adjustments and what might be working well that needs to be reinforced. I support smart change not just doing “anything” different.

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