Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday December 1st 2015


Just a Tourist Here – Johnson Resigns from TDC

Larry B. Johnsons days on the Tourist Development Council are numbered. Hes planning to walk away halfway through his term.
Ive just decided my energies would be better spent somewhere else, Johnson said Tuesday.
Johnson a Pensacola City Council member serves on the tourism board as one of two City Council appointees, the other being Councilman P.C. Wu. His term was suppose to run until 2012.
Id rather step away from it, the City Councilman said.
Johnson threatened to quit the TDC recently when the councils chairman, Denis McKinnon, refused to step down amid accusations he had conducted tourism-related business improperly; the state is currently investigating the matter.
I think it was, to use an old cliche, the straw that broke the camels back, Johnson said of the recent episode.
The current controversy aside, Johnson said there was some past frustration that led him to his decision to resign. He declined to elaborate.
Id rather not go there, the Councilman said. Id rather not relive those disappointments.
Johnson told his fellow city council members of his intentions during a Sept. 22 meeting. He then made it official with a Sept. 29 letter.
Johnson said he had suggested the board consider Councilman Brian Spencer to replace him. That decision wont be made until later this year, until which point Johnson will continue to serve.
Theyll be no lapse, he said.
Following his decision, Johnson said he has heard from some in the community that he should reconsider.
Whats happening now is Im having a lot of community support people I believe in, he said. They think, and this is coming from them, I have a voice that needs to be heard.
Though he wont be in the conversation as part of the TDC, Johnson did say he supported exploring how best the areas tourism marketing might be handled, via the current Pensacola Chamber of Commerce-model or a new private entity favored by the hotelier community.
The states investigation into possible Sunshine Law violations is looking into whether that conversation was started behind closed doors.