Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday September 17th 2019


Rant & Rave 9.2.10

BOYCOTT LOCAL BUSINESSES Having lived downtown for the better part of my 28 years, I’ve become very familiar with the problems that have hindered our poor community from reaching its potential. Every week, countless articles are published decrying the lack of opportunities for young people and lack of progress in downtown development. Each year, scores of talented college graduates and young professionals move out of our area to pursue better career opportunities. Recently, it has become apparent to me that the main problem keeping downtown Pensacola from becoming a vibrant Mecca for hip urbanites is a simple one: too many local businesses.

While this is a heretical idea for some, I believe it has merit. Local businesses are so passé, representing a Pensacola way of life that can best be described as disappointing and old-fashioned. Ask yourself if you would rather take your family to Saturday morning breakfast at, say, the Coffee Cup, a restaurant that has seemingly been in Pensacola since the Civil War, or would you rather have a nice triple-stack at an IHOP, a business known all over the country? I know my choice.

Before you drive to work, would you rather have a cup of coffee from End of the Line Café, and have to brush shoulders with young students, artists and political activists, or would you like to hit a drive-thru and order a Venti Frappuccino from a newly constructed Starbucks on Wright Street? Make mine a large, please.

Large corporations have had nothing but a positive effect on our lives, as this summer has shown. It is because of this desire to improve my beloved downtown that I am calling for a boycott to local businesses. Pensacola will not become a great city until we strip away all local color, drive away all of our homegrown business owners and replace them with the noble, benevolent corporations that have served our country so well.

I personally will not be satisfied until downtown is stripped of local businesses and replaced with Hard Rock Cafés and Taco Bells. It is clear that if Pensacola is going to be as great as other cities, it must look like every other city. I encourage everyone reading to join my struggle as we await the day we can gaze downtown and see a true reflection of America. (But seriously, a Starbucks downtown would be nice).
—James Hagan, Pensacola

FAMILY POLITICS “Outtakes: Outzen Political Machine” (Independent News, Aug. 26) was hilarious!

My father was talked into running for mayor of Blountstown when the longtime and popular incumbent got out of the race, then got back in at the last minute. My dad didn’t realize it until it was too late to pull out. He didn’t even want the $1-a-year post and didn’t bother to campaign. When the results were in, he got about a hundred votes out of three or four hundred cast. His comment afterwards was, “I’m kin to more people here than voted for me.”
—Jim McClellan, Pensacola

GREW UP I love looking through the IN to get the liberal, progressive view of the youth in northwest Florida. I liked the “Choose or Lose” cover (Independent News, Aug. 19) and had to laugh at the MTV parody—it was a parody, right?

Well, I realize most who contribute to the IN are young, intelligent progressives, although mostly uninformed or misinformed due to their youth, and I must admit that during my youth, I, too, believed the liberal view was the only view until I matured and developed my own opinions.

Again, I loved this week’s cover which reflects the mindset of the youth vote today, which appears to rely more and more on MTV and The Daily Show, for what they believe to be an unbiased news source. Spike Lee would love this—keep up the good work.
—Dan Gordon, Pensacola

WELLS’ APOLOGY ENOUGH I found what City Attorney Rusty Wells wrote identical to what I would have written under similar circumstances (Independent News, “Outtakes: Simple Rules,” Aug. 19).

Amazing how closed-minded Republicans can be when they set their minds to it: no sense of humor at all, always the high road, in public. As always, I’ll be waiting.
Nobody, and I do mean nobody, can remain on that high road for very long and get away with it. Councilwoman Maren DeWeese’s day will come and with it a bunch of lame excuses that won’t do her a bit of good. She is a political target waiting for an opportunity to be used—and she will be.

For now, we have everyone wanting Wells to be fired for less than appropriate conduct. I wouldn’t call it “conduct” that should result in his being fired—but then again, there’s that “no humor” thing.

The play must continue.
—Richard Walker, Pensacola

GREYHOUND LOVE As if it’s not enough that greyhounds are forced to race until they are no longer useful and then discarded like garbage, some dogs have again tested positive for cocaine on Florida tracks.

Besides drugging them, this cruel industry subjects these gentle, sociable couch potatoes to a life in a cramped cage—denied the attention and care from a loving family they deserve. Illness and injuries—including broken legs, heatstroke and heart attacks—claim the lives of many dogs.

The greyhound racing industry is also dying. Since 2001, 25 tracks have closed in the U.S.; there are only 23 tracks remaining in seven states.
People who care about dogs should continue to stay away from tracks and betting parlors. To learn more, visit and
—Jennifer O’Connor, PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Vir.