Outzen: Our Local Fake News Leader

Outzen has made a living out of effectively selling spots in his top 100 influence list. The last list was embarrassing to say the least. Selling praise is not all that bad because it is self-evident silly. His man-crush on the Mayor is well, beyond embarrassing. You could say he is unfair, but he has a right to be unfair because he controls what is printed. He is steadfast in his desire to paint everything that is being accomplished to promote the City of Pensacola in the most negative fashion possible.

Calling what he prints “news” is like calling cod “a snapper filet.” It may look like snapper, but it ain’t quite the same. But pretend snapper isn’t killing the community image – his substitute for news is.

Posted in City of Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, News Articles, Pensacola City Council, Politics, Studer | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

As Paul Harvey used to say: “And now, the rest of the story.”

An open letter to the citizens of Pensacola from the Office of the Mayor…


Letter available as a PDF here.

Posted in City of Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, Pensacola City Council | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to Pay their Fair Share

I know we are all pleased having Navy Federal here. But, the elephant in the room is their failure to pay any federal income tax. As this article points out although the basis of federal tax exemptions for small very limited in scope credit unions is part of our national fabric, massive 60 billion dollar banking businesses are not. For any business person facing the possibility that a competitor 60 times bigger can pay better wages and support extraordinary compensation for their executives because they are not required to pay federal income taxes is an unfair competitive advantage. And that is exactly this credit union disparity as compared to our local banks. Congress should end this federal income tax exemption for any credit union over a billion dollars in assets. This is an unsupportable abuse of the historic tax exemption afforded to small local credit unions.


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Lots of Scrambling to Explain the Ball Drop

PNJ, it’s ok to say you dropped the ball.

The PNJ missed any coverage of the Triumph confiscation of the BP oil spill money plan for nearly two years. The editor just published an editorial extolling the benefits of diverting money away from Escambia County. The cartoon accompanying the editorial portrayed our county commissioners as buffoons. She wrote that the money would be better given to a private corporation ( that is accountable to no one ) than to our county commissioners.

The PNJ publisher needs to have a meeting with the editor and explain to her that baselessly bashing our elected officials is not advancing the efforts of so many others to bring new industry here. It is a continuing problem as Gannett’s musical chairs staffing of the PNJ never finds anyone here very long. The irony of her editorial blaming state senator George Gainer for protecting the small counties in his district’s claim for some of the BP money is Mr. Gainer’s district was formerly represented by Don Gaetz. Mr. Gainer is protecting his constituents which Mr. Gaetz seemed to forget when he was their senator as he set up the Triumph Corporation and provided not a penny to these smaller counties impacted by the oil spill. So, all the small counties to the east of Okaloosa were neglected and counties to the west of Okaloosa, including Escambia were cut out of any of the BP oil spill recovery. Destin residents comprise a majority of the five board members of Triumph that will decide where they will spend $1.5 billion. Destin, Mr. Gaetz home.

The PNJ editor advocates not giving 18 million to each county (eight) because the smaller counties are well, smaller counties. Problem is that cuts out Escambia and Santa Rosa as well. She says she favors “regional” projects. It is obvious she has absolutely no idea what they are or how they could impact our two counties. Her editorial is a last minute effort to justify the PNJ ignoring for two full years this grab of the BP money. So what, it didn’t matter is the implication of the editorial. Yes it matters. It matters to the smallest counties and it matters to us. Senator Gainer sees this for what it is, a grab for cash for unaccountable spending. He is trying to insert accountability. Any responsible newspaper should applaud the effort.

Shallow as the editorial is, the greater harm of the editorial is the insulting manner with which she disparages all county and city elected officials and by implication we the ignorant voters that have elected them. Real great stuff for recruiting businesses to locate here.


Triumph For Them Not For Us
A Very Unusual Meeting in Sandestin

Posted in Escambia County, Florida, News Articles, Pensacola News Journal, Politics, Republican Party, Santa Rosa County | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Limiting Non-Economic Damages in Med Mal & Nursing Home Lawsuits: Poll Results

Polls Reveal Majority of Americans Against Limiting Non-Economic Damages in Medical Malpractice & Nursing Home Lawsuits

Public Policy Polling (PPP) recently released data from phone polls conducted in late March on the topic of H.R. 1215, a House bill that will be voted on in the next several weeks. H.R. 1215 seeks to limit non-economic damages to $250,000 in medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, prescription and OTC drug and medical device lawsuits. PPP asked the same set of questions to between 500-700 registered voters in 7 red (Republican) and purple states (those that have voted both Republican & Democratic in the past several elections). Polling only red & purple states was intentional, as Republicans have traditionally leaned towards tort reform, the act of limiting medical malpractice and nursing home abuse lawsuits in favor of protecting big corporations. PPP found that in the polled states of Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Alabama and Arizona, support for H.R. 1215 was virtually non-existent, with over 60% of polled citizens in every state disagreeing with the bill.

Even more impressive was the percentage of voters in each state that believed nursing homes should be held accountable if acts of negligence caused the injury or death of a loved one. The amount of support for nursing home abuse and negligence lawsuits was 77% at its lowest (Florida), and 86% at its highest (Georgia).

Finally, each state’s opposition to H.R. 1215 grew stronger as the person conducting the phone interview gave more information on the bill to voters.

Poll Results by State
The poll results for each state are as follows:

  1. Florida:
    • 63% against H.R. 1215
    • 77% believed nursing homes should be held accountable for negligence/abuse of loved one
  2. Georgia:
    • 68% against H.R. 1215
    • 86% believed nursing homes should be held accountable for negligence/abuse of loved one
  3. Pennsylvania:
    • 68% against H.R. 1215
    • 81% believed nursing homes should be held accountable for negligence/abuse of loved one
  4. Texas:
    • 70% against H.R. 1215
    • 85% believed nursing homes should be held accountable for negligence/abuse of loved one
  5. Utah:
    • 64% against H.R. 1215
    • 82% believed nursing homes should be held accountable for negligence/abuse of loved one
  6. Alabama:
    • 63% oppose H.R. 1215
    • 81% believed nursing homes should be held accountable for negligence/abuse of loved one
  7. Arizona:
    • 67% oppose H.R. 1215
    • 81% believed nursing homes should be held accountable for negligence/abuse of loved one

Lawmakers’ Re-Election Bids May Depend on H.R. 1215
If lawmakers haven’t paid attention to the constant stream of H.R. 1215 opposition voicemails and emails coming from their constituents, they may want to start. PPP’s survey found that regardless of political party affiliation, 58% of voters would be less likely to vote for the re-election of their representative if he or she supported the bill.

The bottom line here is that voters have simply reached a point where it has become inexcusable to continue to allow big businesses to get away with oversight, negligence, and greed at the expense of the American people. Whether Democrat or Republican, PPP’s data shows that voters refuse to buy into the idea that non-economic damages don’t encourage corporations, hospitals, and other healthcare-related businesses to be BETTER. In this era of profits above all else, awarding non-economic damages in line with the injustice incurred sends a message that we deserve more as patients, nursing home residents, and people.

Link to H.R.1215 – Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017

(originally posted by Levin & Perconti, Chicago, Illinois, Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog, April 10, 2017)

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A Very Unusual Meeting in Sandestin

Four days after the Bondi settlement announcement of the 1.5 billion dollar BP settlement, the Gaetz/Destin group of three directors met with the other two directors in Sandestin. Fully two years prior in 2013, Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. was created by then Senator Don Gaetz in anticipation that substantial sums would be received by the State of Florida and he wanted to control those funds. Very few people during this two year period understood how this was all going to circumvent local control over the settlement funds. These minutes are interesting. UWF staff appear to be involved yet there is no defined role for UWF by statute or otherwise. It all is made to appear very official with grand theatre demonstrated by comments from Senator Gaetz and others. It all sounds like such a great idea. In the end however the five directors of Triumph Gulf Coast are accountable to no one. They are free to award the money with virtually unlimited discretion. Five unelected people parceling out 1.5 billion plus earned interest. No one, no one has any idea how this is going to operate including the board of directors.

Triumph Gulf Coast Board of Directors, Meeting Minutes, August 18, 2015 (pdf)

The following is the statute that created the Triumph Gulf Coast Corporation in 2013, two years before the Bondi announced settlement.

Florida Statutes Part VI, Gulf Coast Economic Corridor (pdf)

A Triumph For Them Not For Us (pdf)


Posted in Escambia County, Florida, Politics, Republican Party, Tallahassee | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Murder on the Space Coast

A Who’s Who…*

murder-space-coastJuan Ramos (photo) – A Cuban refugee who arrived in Florida during the Mariel boatlift, Ramos was living in Cocoa when he was arrested and convicted of murder. He was sent to death row when he was 25 years old. He was acquitted after a second trial.

Wilton Dedge – Was a 20-year-old high school dropout from Port St. John in 1981. He lived with his parents in Port St. John and worked on car transmissions at a shop in New Smyrna Beach. He spent 22 years in prison for a rape he did not commit.

William Dillon – Was an out-of-work 22-year-old living with his parents in Satellite Beach in 1981 when he was arrested, tried and convicted of a murder he did not commit. He spent nearly 28 years in prison before being exonerated.

Gary Bennett – Was an out-of-work 26-year-old who has spent the last 33 years in prison for the murder of his neighbor Helen Nardi in 1983.

Gerald Stano – Regarded by many to be both a serial killer and a serial confessor, Stano was executed for the Brevard County murder of Kathy Lee Scharf. He was already serving several life sentences in Florida when he was convicted in Brevard.

Dean Moxley – Now a retired judge, Moxley was the chief prosecutor for the State Attorney’s Office in Brevard County. He personally prosecuted Dedge, Ramos, Bennett and Stano and was the supervising attorney for the Dillon trial.

Clarence Zacke – The owner of a West Melbourne junkyard, Zacke dabbled in the stolen car business before starting to smuggle marijuana from the islands on his own plane. Arrested on drug charges, Zacke then worked to eliminate the witnesses against him. He ordered the murder Richard Lee Hunt, the brother of prosecutor Michael Hunt. He also tried to have State Attorney Doug Cheshire and Judge William Woodson executed. He raped his adopted daughter for years. He became a star witness for the state in several high profile cases.

John Preston – A former Pennsylvania State Trooper, Preston used tracking dogs to become an expert witness testifying around the country in criminal cases. He was discredited and proven to be a fraud. His testimony helped send Wilton Dedge, Juan Ramos and William Dillon to prison.

*Written by John A. Torres, Florida Today, March 19, 2017original article at this link)

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