Pensacola, Florida
Friday September 19th 2014

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The Buzz 8/28/14

Insider Land Deal In 2012, the media began to notice a voting alliance on the Escambia Board of County Commissioners between Wilson Robertson and Gene Valentino. Fellow commissioners pointed out that the pair went out of their way to support each other. However, there was no visible connection other than the platitudes and voting support they gave each other in the meetings. Their two-man voting block in October 2012 played a major role in the ouster of County Administrator Randy Oliver and the rehire of George Touart.

In late 2011, Valentino began telling his friends and supporters about a hunting camp he owned in north Santa Rosa County. Inweekly looked up the property, 9779 Chumuckla Springs Road, on the Santa Rosa County Property Appraiser’s website. Valentino bought it from Lamar Brazwell, Commissioner Robertson’s business partner and the husband of Robertson’s administrative assistant at the county. Brazwell not only sold it to Valentino, but he sold it at a $25,000 loss, according to county records.

County staff has told Inweekly that Brazwell is a regular visitor to county offices. He never technically violates the state’s Sunshine Laws, but he visits commissioners—
sometimes he cajoles, sometimes he threatens, sometimes he asks their opinion on issues and offers his own, but he never mentions his business partner, Wilson Robertson.

No laws may have been broken in this land transaction, but does it pass the smell test?

Re-Entry Targeted Al Stubblefield, former CEO of Baptist Hospital, has taken on a new role as president of Re-Entry Alliance Pensacola, Inc. (REAP) and is inviting community leaders to join him for a special Community Leadership Program on Wednesday, Sept. 3, at the Baptist Medical Park on 9 Mile Road at 8:30 a.m.

REAP is a Florida not-for-profit corporation organized to provide assistance, support and community volunteer services to moderate to high risk ex-offenders reentering Pensacola and its surrounding communities from prison. The mission is to reduce rates of recidivism and revitalize those areas of Pensacola and surrounding communities that are experiencing urban decay and economic depression.

“Wanting to make a difference in my community, I jumped at the REAP opportunity,” Stubblefield said, “and immediately began looking for best-in-class communities with successful similar programs that have reduced the rate of recidivism and lowered the cost to county, state and federals governments as benchmarks.”

Stubblefield’s research took him to the Reentry Council of the City and County of San Francisco where efforts are lead by Wendy Still, Chief Adult Probation Officer for the Reentry Council.

“Wendy’s council has achieved amazing results in San Francisco,” he said. “The jail population of consolidated San Francisco is at a 40-year low, the adult probation caseload has dropped 25 percent in the last four years and individuals returning to custody have dropped almost in half.”

Stubblefield has invited Still to Pensacola to speak at the Sept. 3 meeting to inspire community leaders to “be inspired and become resolved to emulate the success she has achieved with her city and county.”

He said, “Imagine current incarceration expenses being freed up for use in more meaningful and productive ways in our community—what a huge difference that would make.”

Those interested in attending the Community Leadership Program are encouraged to RSVP to info@reapreentry.org or call 832-3014.

Media Musical Chairs Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. has announced that J.C. Lowe, who was Sinclair’s General Manager in Birmingham, will become the General Manager of WEAR TV 3 and WFGX in Pensacola.

The Meredith Corp. has agreed to buy the broadcast assets of WALA-TV, the Fox affiliate in Mobile-Pensacola, from Media General, Inc. for about $86 million, subject to certain purchase price adjustments. Meredith is a national media and marketing company. Its publications include Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle.

The PNJ publisher, Terry Horne, has announced he will be leaving Pensacola to become West Group Regional President for Gannett.