Pensacola, Florida
Monday November 24th 2014

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The Buzz 10/11/12

McCain’s Romney Rally As the November election nears, Pensacola is seeing its share of Mitt Romney stumpers. Following a visit from Mike Huckabee a few days prior, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) made an Oct. 2 stop at The Fish House.

While Romney was not in attendance, the scene was otherwise reminiscent of the candidate’s campaign visit during the primary season: Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Chumuckla) and Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward gathered on the restaurant’s deck to introduce McCain, who relied heavily on his naval background to connect with the locals.

“I want to talk very seriously to our veterans,” the senator said. “This is the most important election of our lifetime. Whoever takes Florida is probably going to be the next president and that person has to be Mitt Romney.”

The 2008 presidential candidate spoke about the current national debt, and also criticized President Barack Obama’s policies, such as the recently passed Affordable Care Act.

“We’ve just gone over $16 trillion dollars in debt. This is the same president who said he would cut the deficit in half and said if we didn’t get our budget balanced in his first term then he didn’t deserve a second term. I guess he’s got a little amnesia on that one,” McCain said, before laying into the new health care law. “When Mitt Romney is the president of the United States, the first thing he’ll do is repeal and replace Obamacare. He will stop this overwhelming avalanche of government regulations that is shifting the free enterprise system in America that has caused us to have the longest recession in history with the exception of the Great Depression.”

McCain, who was a Vietnam-era prisoner of war, also talked about what he views as the president’s lack of leadership during the war in Iraq.

“I believe this president does not know how to lead this country. He does not understand the importance of our military,” the senator said “He does not understand that the forces of radical Islam are there and are a direct threat to our country. We’ve lost over 4,000 brave young Americans who sacrificed their lives in the war in Iraq. Now we are losing the peace after we have won. The Taliban is coming back and Al Qaeda is coming back because they know we are weak.”

Evoking a call-response back-and-forth, McCain asked the Romney supporters in attendance how many times they had heard Obama say the word “victory.” A number of people shouted back “never.”

“You know what service is like,” McCain wrapped up his remarks. “It is your obligation. We have to get this vote out. This is going to come down to Florida.”

Local Romney Parade Continues A couple of days after McCain’s visit, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) also dropped by The Fish House. He spoke to about 30 people at a private Oct. 4 fundraiser for Congressman Steve Southerland (R-Panama City), using the opportunity to praise Romney’s debate performance the night before.

“He needed to make the sale, and Mitt made the sale last night. The debate wasn’t about policy issues. It was about how he handles himself,” Boehner said. “The economy was a fidgety place for the president to focus. And it’s with their pocketbooks that people vote. The President wanted to talk about anything other than the economy.”

The Speaker described polls that show Obama leading in battleground states as “goofy,” and told attendees that the race is in a “dead heat” in key states. He encouraged Republicans to vote and questioned the reliability of traditionally left-leaning voters.

“We’re going to get our people out,” Boehner said. “Blacks, Hispanics and young people are the people most hurt by this economy. Do you really think they are going to vote for this president? I don’t think so.”

Dogs on the Beach? Dogs that currently enjoy splashing in the gulf and racing over the white sands of Pensacola Beach do so at the risk of earning their masters a hefty ticket. Karen Sindel is hoping to change that.

Following an Oct. 10 presentation to the Santa Rosa Island Authority, the local resident will make the rounds to Escambia County officials. Sindel has already floated the idea of allowing dogs limited beach access, and said the response has been good.

“Everyone seemed very positive,” she said, “it’s just that nobody has taken the ball and run with it.”

Sindel is proposing that dogs be allowed on certain stretches of the beach, and during limited hours. Leashes would be required during turtle or bird-nesting seasons.

The dog proponent points out that more than 20 other Florida counties allow for pet access on the beach. Once she began researching the matter, she explained, she learned that Northwest Florida has a reputation for banning dogs.

“It wasn’t like, ‘Oh no, they don’t allow it,’” Sindel said. “It was like, ‘Pensacola Beach is the most un-pet friendly beach in the state of Florida.’”

CNG Station Opens Partnering together, the city of Pensacola, Pensacola Energy and the Escambia County Utilities Authority have opened a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station on Pine Forest Road. The station is the first of several that the agencies have planned.

The new station is located at the ECUA’s sanitation facility, and will service an estimated 80 vehicles from all three entities’ fleets. There are eventual plans to open the $1.8 million facility to commercial fleets and the general public.

Last year, ECUA and Pensacola Energy finalized a 10-year CNG agreement. Under the agreement, Pensacola Energy, an enterprise of the city, will maintain the station and ECUA will pay monthly transportation charges, as well as an indexed price-per-diesel-gallon equivalent of fuel used.

Myers Requests Clarification Pensacola City Councilwoman Sherri Myers has filed a Motion for Clarification or Rehearing. She is requesting Circuit Judge J. Scott Duncan clarify his late September ruling on a lawsuit the councilwoman filed against Mayor Ashton Hayward.

Myers’ lawsuit challenged the scope of the mayor’s authority, and specifically the May 15 memorandum in which Hayward requested that council members channel communication with city staff through his office.

When Judge Duncan issued an Order Granting Complaint for Writ of Quo Warranto In Part and Denying Complaint for Writ of Quo Warranto In Part, both Myers and the Mayor claimed their respective perspectives on the matter had been validated. While Myers pointed out that the ruling allowed for council to make inquiries, Hayward read the decision as backing up his position that individual council members would need to communicate with staff via his office.

“Given the language of the formal statement issued by the Mayor following the issuance of this Court’s Order, Petitioner is compelled to respectfully request that this Court provide clarification or its Order, which would delineate the proper scope of the Mayor’s communication policy authority,” states Myers’ new motion.