Pensacola, Florida
Friday October 31st 2014

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The Buzz 7/4/13

TRUTH IN GOVERNMENT Despite how Interim County Administrator George Touart tried to position it, Sheriff David Morgan didn’t request the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) raise the property tax rate.

In his memo to the U.S. Department of Justice, the sheriff outlined a plan to address the understaffing at the county jail gradually. His proposed 2014 jail budget included funds sufficient to “increase detention staff by 42 certified staff in fiscal year 2014, and budgeting for payment of detention staff holiday leave, FLSA and other compensatory time, and base salary the same rate that the BOCC pays its road prison detention staff.”

The minimum total cost of this plan in fiscal year 2014 was estimated to be $5.2 million. The sheriff wrote DOJ,  “This increase in staff and payment for leave, when implemented, would adequately address the immediate security concerns that are the basis for this DOJ recommendation.”

Sheriff Morgan told DOJ that his plan was rejected by the BOCC not on its merits, but rather because it was considered too costly by the BOCC. The sheriff was never asked or permitted to provide formal justification for his budget.

“The BOCC has taken the position that the maximum increase in the Sheriff’s Jail budget for FY 2014 is $2.6 million,” he wrote, “and that it is impossible to increase the Sheriff’s Jail budget by $5.2 million without increasing the millage rate for ad valorem Escambia County property taxes.”

WILL NELSON TAKE ON SCOTT? U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D) is seen by many around the state as having the best chance of defeating Gov. Rick Scott next year. Nelson is being actively sought as a candidate by Democrats from Miami to Jacksonville to Tampa to Northwest Florida.

Newly-minted Democrat Charlie Crist is simply not getting the traction. Progressives don’t trust him. He has switched parties three times as well as positions on almost every key issue—gun control, health care, education, etc. Many see him as a closet homosexual—an anachronism in an age when gay politicians have been accepted and won elections.

The Democrats simply don’t believe that Crist can beat Scott in the 2014 general election.

On the other hand, Sen. Nelson is a proven winner. He will rake in campaign contributions and has the campaign organization to win the governor’s race.

The buzz is Nelson will make his announcement—either yes or no—in July. Our prediction is Nelson will enter the race.

POLLING FOR MAYOR Pollsters were calling Pensacola residents on June 26. The caller asked to speak to the youngest registered voter.

This is how one reader described the call, “The operator asked me to participate in a short survey that wouldn’t take longer than three minutes. I agreed and she asked me to rate Ashton’s performance on a 1-5 scale from very favorable to very unfavorable in regards to his current performance as mayor. She then asked me about the chances of voting for Ashton in the next mayoral election. Both responses were ‘Not going to happen.’”

The caller asked voters to rate the following candidates Hayward, Brian Spencer, Charles Bare, Donna Clark and Mark Taylor. She also asked for ratings on Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist.

The reader said, “It struck me as a finger in the wind poll from folks with a vested interest in the first and second names mentioned being mayor. Caller ID said Miami, FL 305-384-7367.”

This is probably the first of several polls being done this summer. PYP will have its Quality of Life survey, which will also probably rate the mayor’s performance. That will include both city and county residents.