Pensacola, Florida
Monday November 24th 2014

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The Buzz 10/20/11

JOHNSON DROPS OUT No one invited him to the party. And he’s none too happy about it.

“That’s another example of why I’m leaving the TDC,” said Pensacola City Councilman Larry Johnson.

The Tourist Development Council met Tuesday, Oct. 11. Johnson, who sits on the board as a city council-appointee, wasn’t there.

“No one informed me,” Johnson said. The city councilman recently made known his intent to resign from the board. But Johnson intends to sit on the TDC until his successor is chosen by the city council.

“Therefore, I’m still on the TDC,” he said.

Johnson cited the slight as another example of what he views as a problematic tourism council. The city councilman’s ire with the TDC appeared to come to a boil in September when its chairman, Denis McKinnon, refused to step down amid a controversy regarding how some recent business has been handled; the state of Florida is currently investigating the issue, ascertaining if any council business was discussed among members out of public view.

McKinnon said Wednesday that he had no idea what Johnson was talking about.

“How could he be left out?” he asked, explaining that the meeting had been announced at the group’s previous meeting and also in an email sent to all members, including Johnson.

McKinnon said he was aware of Johnson’s resignation, but that it was not discussed at Tuesday’s meeting. The TDC, the chairman said, mostly dealt with how best to handle nearly a million dollars in unexpected revenue. Much of the money was designated for various financial obligations already on the books, but more than $300,000 will be up for grabs soon. The TDC will be accepting applications for the tourism funds.

RACE FOR CAMPAIGN DOLLARS Sam Archer, the Republican running in a crowded field against incumbent District 5 Escambia County Commissioner Kevin White, has raised the most money of all the candidates — followed by District 1 Commissioner Wilson Robertson ($51,710 ), newcomer Pam Childers ($40,550) and Sheriff David Morgan ($40,518). Childers (R) is running or Clerk of Court. Longtime incumbent Ernie Lee Magaha has yet to file for re-election.

A closer look at Archer’s report shows that $70,000 of his contributions are loans from him to the campaign. He has spent most of this money ($71,628) on billboards ($58,393) and campaign signs. Commissioner White has raised $4,950 and spent less than $100.

Sheriff Morgan has out-raised former Alcohol, Beverage & Tobacco Director John Powell ($19,540) better than 2 to 1. Powell was forced to resign from ABT after his bosses found out about a scheduled Tallahassee fundraiser sponsored by casino industry lobbyists.

In the very crowded County Commission District 3 race — a seat currently held by Marie Young (D), who has announced she will not run for re-election — Lumon May is the top fundraiser with $21,549, of which he has only spent $112. Hugh King, who was one of the first to file and has since changed his party affiliation from Democrat to No Party Affiliation, has only raised $3,828 and has already spent nearly all of it ($3,189.67).