Saturday, September 16, 2006

Flexible Principles

We've already noted the mounting evidence that county commissioner Mike Whitehead and SRIA General Manager Buck Lee have been consorting -- some would more pointedly say, plotting -- to abolish the Island Authority.

The payoff for Lee is he gets to keep a job for which he's utterly unqualified. Doubtless, someone has promised he'll get a pay raise out of it, too.

As for Whitehead, he's been having wet dreams for decades over the prospect of eliminating the residential building cap on Pensacola Beach so his developer buddies/campaign contributors can junk up the place with high rise condominiums. They won't rest -- as too much of coastal Florida attests -- until they have walled off the entire beach from the public.

As Rick Outzen pointed out last Wednesday on his blog, there's another snake in this woodpile: county administrator George Tuart. According to Outzen, over the summer "Escambia County Administrator George Touart was pressuring County Atty. Janet Lander to write a legal opinion that the county commission could abolish the Santa Rosa Island Authority without a vote by the state legislature."

The queer thing is, Tuart was for the Island Authority before he was against it. In that February 2003 meeting with the Escambia County Charter Commission which we mentioned before, chairman M.J. Menge, a widely respected Pensacola lawyer, specifically asked Tuart to "give his viewpoint on the Santa Rosa Island Authority."

Check page 7 of the minutes [pdf format]:
"Mr. Touart stated that from an administrator's standpoint that he works very well with the SRIA, that it's an excellent organization, that the County plays a support role, and that the SRIA does a very good job. He also stated that if there is a recommendation for the Island Authority from the Commission and it has merit, they would certainly look at it. He also stated he would recommend against abolishing the Santa Rosa Island Authority." [emphasis added]
Whatever else may be said about this band of county pols, lick-spittles, and apostates, they sure have... um... flexible principles -- presuming they have any at all.

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