Pensacola, Florida
Saturday November 1st 2014

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The Safe Seafood Myth As the Feds begin to reopen all of the Gulf fisheries, many are still not convinced the seafood is safe for consumption.

Earlier this month, the Associated Press conducted a poll that showed that 54 percent of people surveyed did not trust the seafood and 55 percent were not confident the beaches in the affected areas were safe for swimming.

Despite the numerous tests performed on seafood before it goes to area markets, those in the business still do not believe the data presented.
“(That the) seafood (is) safe in the Gulf is a lie,” says Frank Patti, owner of Joe Patti’s Seafood. “I’ve told the government, I’ve told BP. All this sophisticated testing is just smoke and mirrors and they don’t have the trust of the people. My customers don’t have the trust.”

Patti says his business has seen roughly half of the business it normally has during the summer thanks to the oil spill — and he doesn’t expect to see an influx in the coming months.

“I wish there were three quarters of what we normally have coming in,” he says. “They don’t want Gulf seafood and there is nothing we can do to convince them otherwise.”

Last week, BP’s Gulf Coast restoration program head Mike Utsler met with area officials, telling them that dispersants are not affecting seafood.

But new reports are surfacing that fish beachings (or jubilees) have become more prevalent this summer — with many marine scientists pointing the finger at BP.

“They have said they’ve done testing 11,000 times,” says Patti. “But the fact remains that they haven’t even opened up all of the federal waters.”

City Attorney Fined During the Aug. 19 City Council meeting, Mayor Mike Wiggins recommended a motion to discipline City Attorney Rusty Wells by fining him three days of pay for inappropriate e-mails he sent to a city employee during a Council meeting in April.

He also recommended Wells issue an apology letter to City Council and residents released through media and receive a letter of reprimand to be placed in his personnel file.

The decision stemmed from a motion made during the committee of the whole meeting on Monday to investigate the e-mails that Councilmember Maren DeWeese brought forward to the Council. DeWeese made a motion to terminate Wells because of their nature, but Wiggins made an amending motion to conduct an independent investigation because he had not had sufficient time to review the e-mails.

That motion passed 6-2, with councilmembers DeWeese and Sam Hall descending. Larry B. Johnson and P.C. Wu were absent from the meeting.

In a second motion, Wiggins recommended a motion to hire an independent party to investigate additional e-mails that were brought forward by Councilmember DeWeese to city staff on Wednesday that imply an inappropriate relationship with a city employee.

That motion failed 5-3.

Coby Firm On Petition Decision City Manager Al Coby tells IN his decision not to accept a petition to stop the construction of the stadium for the Community Maritime Park is final unless reversed by City Council or in a court of law.

“Mr. (Marty) Donovan did come to City Hall (Monday) morning at approximately 8:25 and did in fact request we take the petition,” says Coby. “We did not.”

Donovan and 10 other citizens who were behind the petition had 60 days under the City’s charter to collect signatures from 10 percent of the electorate to create a referendum. The deadline was Friday to report the signatures to the City clerk for counting.

Coby says he had indicated to Donovan that the deadline meant 5 p.m. since it was the end of the business day for City employees. Coby claims he extended the deadline by 30 minutes because he was on the phone with Donovan during that time.

The group then requested that they be allowed to deliver the 3,916-signature petition at 8:30 p.m. — that request was denied.

“Donovan indicated he would not be able to submit those by close of business. The charter is silent in time-wise, but we merely said it had to be submitted to the City clerk, and her normal business hours are 8-5.”

Early Voting Surpasses Maritime Vote The 2010 early primary election totals surpassed those of 2008 and 2006 — the year in which the Community Maritime Park was on the ballot. According to Supervisor of Elections David Stafford, 6,784 voted in the two-week span. More than 1,000 people voted on Aug. 21, the final early voting day. In 2006, 5,978 voted in the early election primaries.