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Saturday July 26th 2014

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The Buzz 12.2

FIGHTING FATHERS Something may be amiss in the M.C. Blanchard Judicial Center. The website of Fighting Fathers of District 1, fightingfathersofdistrict1.com, has begun posting complaints about rulings by local judges in family law cases. The website is reminiscent of the old anti-Ron McNesby website, ronniemacabusespower.com, that bedeviled the former sheriff’s administration for years.

On its home page, Fighting Fathers points the finger at Circuit Judge Tom Santurri, who reportedly while ruling upon an Emergency Motion in her case, chastised mother Denise Lepinay for allowing a video posted on the website in which her 4-year-old son identifies Santa Rosa County Deputy Denae Winfield as the person who struck him with a belt leaving a vicious bruise on his upper thigh.

According to the website, Judge Santurri “noted that he did not like the posting of the video as the child appeared in pull-ups, and that such videos attracted perverts.” He allegedly admonished Lepinay, telling her that she had exercised poor judgment by allowing the video to be posted, and subsequently took the children from her and allowed only supervised visitation, leaving the children with her ex-husband and Winfield.

OFFSHORE DRILLING COMEBACK While Escambia County is still digging up oil patties on Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key, the Florida lawmakers are quietly plotting a new bill on offshore drilling. The oil industry spin machine, led by such groups as Consumer Energy Alliance, is already working the conservative blogosphere hard.

You will hear over the next few months:

1) Offshore drilling wasn’t the problem. It was the poor government response–in other words, don’t blame BP, Transocean and Haliburton. If we had more skimmers then there wouldn’t have been a problem.

2) The Deepwater Horizon disaster was neither catastrophic or irreparable.

3) Our response to the disaster was purely emotional and unfounded. Offshore drilling is safe. The spill’s effects are largely behind us.

4) Obama is the problem–his drilling moratorium was ill-advised and made things worse.

5) About 85 percent of our territorial waters are off-limits to oil exploration and production. Untold billions of barrels could be extracted off our coastline if we were willing to go after it.

6) We need the oil for national security because fossil fuels are still needed.

7) We survived the largest man-made environmental disaster, and it was only a temporary inconvenience.

The oil industry lobby almost pushed through an offshore drilling bill in the spring, but the Deepwater Horizon explosion happened days before the vote. Expect the lobbyists to be back with even more cash and more propaganda next session.

GANG WAR BREWING? The number of drive-by shootings and home invasions continue to rise in Escambia County. Are the local gangs caught up in a deadly game of revenge?

The shooting at the Moorings Apartments on Old Spanish Trail Friday, Nov. 19 that killed Prentiss Mitchell may be tied to the November 6 drive-by shooting on Texar Drive of Joel Harris.

The buzz among family and friends is Mitchell was killed in the parking lot of the Moorings because the shooters believed that he was connected to Harris’ death.

The week before Thanksgiving, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said that they were looking for three men for questioning in regards to Harris’ murder. One, Darius Devon Williams, 19, was arrested on charges of two counts of failure to appear, contempt of court and aggravated assault without intent to kill. He is being held in the Escambia County Jail without bond. All of the charges are unrelated to the murder. The two others were Kendell Jamal Cushon, 20; and Anthony Martiz Whitehurst, 20.

On Nov. 24, Aaron Cornelius Mitchell turned himself in. Mitchell has been accused of murdering Prentiss Mitchell (no relation) at the Moorings.
HAYWARD LISTENS TO BAKER Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker has been advising Pensacola Mayor-elect Ashton Hayward. In a telephone interview, Hayward said that he has had several conversations with Baker, who was elected St. Petersburg mayor in 2001 and re-elected four years later with more than 70 percent of the votes cast.

Baker focused on five areas: education, economic development, public safety, neighborhoods and improving city services. Hayward plans to do the same. He plans to spend the next few weeks meeting with council members, city staff and community groups—spending more time listening than talking. He aims to focus on one or two big projects immediately upon taking office, projects that fit into the context of his 20/20 plan. Hayward has been pleased with the reception he has gotten from the community since the election.

“People want to be part of the solution,” Hayward said. “We have so many untapped resources in this city.”

LAND CRASH The Maritime Park Development Partners, the master developer for the Community Maritime Park, was hit in August with a default judgment for “failure to answer the Writ of Garnishment,” in the amount issued of $374,860.71 plus interest, by the Clerk on July 16, 2010.

This default judgment for the garnishment has been apparently set aside, according to sources, but there is an even bigger default judgment in Arizona against Scott Davison and Land Capital Group for $7.38 million. Wells Fargo is the plaintiff.

Remember it was Land Capital Group that won the master developer competition and was approved by the Community Maritime Park Associates board of trustees in 2008. The contract, however, is with Maritime Park Development Partners. Hoar Construction was brought into the deal last spring when MPDP had trouble meeting the bond requirements.